The Play. The Kick.
Dec. 27, 2012
Editors Note: The following stories are featured in the special Apple Cup edition of Cougars Quarterly. The publication is sent to Cougar Athletic Fund members and season ticket holders. To learn how to join the Cougar Athletic Fund click HERE or call 1-877-IMA-COUG. For WSU Athletics ticket information click HERE
By Jason Krump
Kalafitoni Pole had just begun to clap in celebration.
Then he saw the ball.
"Logan hit him (Washington quarterback Keith Price) and was flipping him around," Pole, a redshirt sophomore nose tackle from Union City, Calif., remembered.
"All of sudden I see the ball come out. I reached up with one hand and grabbed the ball."
What Pole thought was going to be a sack by Logan Mayes quickly transitioned into something much more.
Suddenly, Pole found himself with the ball and instantly became the focus of 30,000 cheering fans at Martin Stadium and a national television audience.
"I was on autopilot. My body just took over. I just started running."
Pole ran. and ran. and ran, until he was caught and tackled by Washington receiver Cody Bruns at the five-yard line.
"Maybe I shouldn't have ate so much for Thanksgiving dinner," Pole joked.
Pole's interception on the first play of overtime will surely be what people remember about the 2012 Apple Cup. But also not to be forgotten is the play by Mayes that forced Price to throw the ball under duress.
"I lowered my head to hit him," Mayes recalled of the pressure he put on Price. "He kind of sidestepped but I still got his legs. I pulled him at an angle and he tried to throw the ball up as he was going down.
"I could feel him release the ball and my first thought was 'Ah, dang-it, he probably just dumped it off.'"
Price did dump it off, into the waiting arms of Pole.
"I really thought Toni was going to take it all the way," said Mayes, a sophomore linebacker from Eugene, Ore., and son of WSU legendary running back Rueben Mayes. "Toni is a good athlete. He outran pretty much everyone except the receiver, who made a great effort tracking him down."
When Mayes and Pole saw Andrew Furney's Apple Cup winning 27- yard field goal split the uprights, the significance of the moment was not lost on either of them.
"There are only so many rushing the field moments that you get playing football," Mayes said. "That was a great one that I'm going to remember for the rest of my life."
"It was nice to see all the fans able to rush the field at the end of the game," Pole said. "It meant a lot to share it with them.
"They deserved it. Their love for the Cougars and being there for us all season is special."
Andrew Furney couldn't resist.
The Washington State kicker, whose 45-yard field goal with 1:59 left in regulation tied the Apple Cup and forced overtime, was kicking into the net on the WSU sideline when the first play of overtime was about to take place.
"I peeked over and said 'I got to see this first down,'" he recalled. "I saw the ball go up in the air. I didn't see Toni (Pole) catch it but I heard the cheers."
Watching his teammate run, Furney began to run with him.
"I was high stepping down the sideline," the Burlington, Wash. native said with a smile. "I almost started crying. My initial reaction was this is the game right here."
But when Pole was tackled, Furney's emotions changed from elation to seriousness in the blink of an eye.
"It went from yelling, screaming, almost crying, to the second I saw him get tackled I honestly said, `I actually might have to win this game right now.' I walked straight to the cage and got some kicks in."
The Cougars drove to the nine-yard line when Furney's right foot was called on to win the Apple Cup.
As Furney was setting up, Washington called timeout, but he still managed to get a kick in.
Without the ball.
"I told Gilby (holder David Gilbertson) earlier in the game, 'If they try to ice me, we're going to try and get a kick in,'" Furney explained.
"Of course, they call the timeout so we tried to get an air rep in there," he added. "That was just more a mental thing to try and go through it and get comfortable out there."
When the real kick happened, Furney knew it was good the second he made contact.
"It's really indescribable," he said. "There was an instant grin. It was a great feeling just knowing you can put it through the uprights for the guys on the team."
Official Website of Washington State University Athletics | Bohler Athletic Complex | PO Box 641602 Pullman, WA 99164-1602 | 1.800.GO.COUGS