Washington quarterback Keith Price was intercepted on the Huskies' first offensive play in overtime Friday against Washington State. The Cougars kicked a field goal to win on their first possession.
PULLMAN — The Washington Huskies wanted to strike fast once they found themselves in overtime in the Apple Cup on Friday.
Instead, they were stricken quickly with a turnover that led to Washington State’s stunning 31-28 victory.
After seeing WSU score 18 points in a row to tie the game, then missing their own field goal that would have won it, the Huskies got the ball to start overtime.
Quarterback Keith Price dropped back for a pass, but was pressured quickly by Logan Mayes and tried to toss the ball to running back Bishop Sankey. Instead, WSU lineman Kalafitoni Pole picked it off and almost returned it for a touchdown before being tackled at the 5-yard line.
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“I should have probably just taken the sack and lived to see another day,” Price said. “But I … was trying to check the ball down to Sankey and as I was throwing it a defender got it and the ball went up in the air — a duck — and the guy picked it off.”
Washington receiver Cody Bruns chased down Pole, making what he said was his first tackle since his days at Prosser High.
“I ran a little out so I was kind of on the line of scrimmage,” Bruns said. “I didn’t really know what happened. Next thing I know I saw one of their defensive linemen with the ball, and I knew I needed to catch him.”
Huskies will have
to wait on bowl
The good news for the Huskies is they still have one more game. But they’ll have to wait awhile to find out where.
Washington is 7-5 and there is little doubt they will be selected for a bowl. But the defeat against WSU makes the picture a lot muddier. The Pac-12 has seven guaranteed bowl contracts, and eight eligible teams. With a victory, many figured UW might go to the Las Vegas Bowl, which has the No. 5 pick. Now it seems more likely UW could end up in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco or maybe even the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque. And there’s maybe even a chance the Huskies would be relegated to having to fill an at-large spot of a bowl that doesn’t have a team guaranteed to it.
The Huskies are likely not to know until after the games of next weekend.
The Cougars said they hurried to take the Apple Cup trophy to linebacker Travis Long in the locker room. Long had started 47 consecutive games, every one of his WSU career, before injuring a knee in the Arizona State game last week.
When WSU seniors were introduced, Long came out of the tunnel on crutches, and in tears, to meet his family.
“We all knew, without No. 89 out there, we had to step up,” said Logan Mayes, son of WSU running back great Rueben Mayes, who replaced Long.
Quarterback Jeff Tuel, about what he said before the game, “I told the guys, if you have anything that’s holding you back mentally, just let it go. The other thing was, just playing for Travis. We had a lot to play for.”
Paying tribute to Long, WSU coach Mike Leach said, “Travis has been kind of outnumbered with the mentality that’s needed to win and play this game. Over the process of the season, more and more people have jumped on board with the same mentality Travis had.
“You start off with a couple and pretty soon the number grows, and eventually you evolve into a tough football team instead of one that just signs up and plays.”
• It was WSU’s largest comeback in any game since it overcame a 20-2 deficit against California in 1994 to win 26-23. But that deficit was at the end of the first quarter. It also was the Cougars’ largest second-half comeback since they overcame a 27-6 third-quarter deficit to stun top-ranked UCLA 34-30 in 1988.
• WSU senior slot receiver Gino Simone: “It’s been a long four years here. Tonight, it’s all worth it.”
• The Cougars had seven tackles for loss, bringing their season total to 92, most since the 98 of the 2003 team, the last WSU squad to make a bowl game.
• Tuel likely played his last game at WSU, although the Cougars are appealing to the NCAA for a fifth season based on his injury riddled 2011 year. “It means the world,” Tuel said of the victory. “I couldn’t have gone out in a better way.”