Washington State and Stanford staged the 11th iteration of WSU’s annual football appearance in Seattle Saturday night, with the 12th to kick off the Cougars’ 2014 season.
WSU athletic director Bill Moos has scheduled Rutgers for Labor Day weekend next year. The game is tentatively scheduled for Friday, Aug. 29, though it’s subject to television preferences that could move it to Thursday night of that weekend.
Rutgers, previously a member of the Big East, will be debuting as a Big Ten member in 2014.
WSU’s Seattle game was instituted in 2002, the Cougars’ last Rose Bowl season. The game has traveled a winding road of varying philosophies and opponent strength, from Football Championship Division Grambling State in 2005 to top-five teams the past two years in Oregon and Stanford.
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It climaxes a week of WSU events in the Puget Sound area designed to increase visibility for the school, and Moos and president Elson Floyd have been solid backers of the concept.
“We will decide on a yearly basis which of our games we will bring to Seattle,” Moos said on a Seattle Times chat last week.
Moos, who took over for Jim Sterk in the AD position in 2010, has voiced the notion that the Oregon schools would be logical opponents for the CenturyLink game. Oregon State came in 2011 and the Ducks, then second-ranked, played here last year and the game drew 60,929, second-largest total in the history of the event to the 63,588 the first one with Nevada attracted in 2002.
This year’s game came about as part of quirks of the WSU schedule, Moos has explained. The Oregon State game is Oct. 13, but moving it to Seattle and keeping the Stanford game in Pullman would have meant WSU would have had three straight home games in September, not an optimum scenario for the fan base.
Apodaca gets time
When WSU quarterback Connor Halliday went out early in the third quarter, it augured the longest playing time of the season for backup Austin Apodaca, a redshirt freshman who played some late minutes against Southern Utah two weeks ago.
Apodaca went 15 of 29 with one interception (for a touchdown) and two touchdowns.
“I thought the whole game, I tried to do too much,” said Apodaca, saying he was “skipping over things,” as opposed to going through all progressions.
He got whacked hard by outside linebacker Kevin Anderson and lay on the turf for a moment before getting up, and for a moment, it appeared WSU might have to go to true freshman Tyler Bruggman of Phoenix. But after a punt, Apodaca was able to continue.
“It’s college football,” he shrugged of the big hits.
Asked what he needs to do this week if he’s the starter at California, Apodaca said, “I have to prepare the same, be ready if my number’s called.”
•WSU coach Mike Leach gathered the Cougars on the sideline during the period when the game got away from them in the third quarter and spoke briefly to them.
“He just said, ‘We need to focus up,’ ” Apodaca said. “We just weren’t doing our jobs, all across the board. If we want this thing to work, everyone has to do their part.”
• The Seattle game has lately produced some disastrous results for the Cougars, who lost 44-21 to Oregon State in 2011, 51-26 to Oregon a year ago and 55-17 on this night.
•Bellarmine Prep product Michael Rector had two catches for 93 yards for Stanford, including a 48-yard touchdown. “Coming into the game, we didn’t expect to throw as much, but the weather allowed us to and the rain kind of died out,” he said. “It turned out nice for us.”