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Show Me a Hero
By Casey Anderson, Posted 19 November 2004

For the past few years, as the week of the Apple Cup came upon us, there had been a general consensus by various and sundry “experts” that the Dawgs had no shot at victory over the 10-win farm boys from the Palouse.  Somehow, someway, the mediocre Huskies have managed to pull off miraculous wins against heavily favored Wazzu teams in recent history.  Call it luck, or call it a superiority complex on the part of the Dawgs, or maybe, as Bob Rondeau did, chalk it up to the “Husky mystique”.  For whatever the reason, the purple and gold have the redneck and gray’s number.  So, the question is not whether the offensively inept, one-foot-out-the-door coached, dubious-history making under-Dawgs are going to win the 2004 Apple Cup.  The question is HOW ARE THEY GOING TO WIN.

And what a difficult question it is!  Huskyfans can’t expect a Cody Pickett to Corey Willams-type laser beam into the end zone victory; Williams is injured, and with only six touchdown receptions this year and a heaping bushel of INTs, none of the quarterbacks can be counted on to fire a game winning pass…not to the right team anyways.

How about a game-breaking play akin to Reggie’s 50-ish yard grab over Marcus Trufant to set the Dawgs up for a score and force the game into OT in 2002?  Hmmm, interesting idea.  While Paus may not have the cannon of Cody Pickett, there’s a possibility he might be able to chuck a ball in the general direction of emerging stud receiver Craig Chambers and let “The Gambler” work some YAC magic against the Coug DBs…but if it comes to OT, there’s going to be some field goal kicking to be done.  Then John Anderson trots out…oh wait, he’s not here anymore.  Okay, never mind that plan, let’s come up with something else.

I’ve got it.  The Dawgs take out the Coug quarterback, a la Tank Johnson, then force the backup quarterback into a backward pass turnover Kai Ellis-style, stopping the Cougs on their final scoring drive and preserving yet another glorious Husky victory!  Hold up.  I’ve just been informed that, in order for these kinds of plays to happen late in a game, a team must have, first, a pass rush, and second, a defense that has some gas left in the tank thanks to an offense that can hold on to the ball for more than three downs and buy the D time for a breather.  Nix that plan.

Maybe the seniors on this Husky squad will have enough pride, enough moxie, enough purple heart to “git-r-done”.  How about a special teams score from pre-season all-Pac-10er Charles Frederick?  Perhaps Zach Tuiasosopo can play with some fire and open up some much-needed holes for Kenny and Shelton to rip off some big chunks of yardage…Oh they’re hurt, out for the season apparently.  Geez, you spend the last few games tailgating in the parking lot rather than actually going into the stadium and you end up completely out of the loop. 

Win one for the Gilber?  Now here’s an idea!  How about, in his last hurrah as Husky head-man, Gilby works some serious motivational mojo, playing the tried and true “Northwest Championship” card, hyping the Dawgs into a frenzied pack of frothing football maniacs with an appetite for Cougar meat?!  What?  The Ducks and the Beavs already beat the Huskies this year?!  No way.  Seriously?  Isn’t there some sort of federal statute prohibiting this sort of thing?  I’m calling my local legislator.  Doesn’t the UW have some lobbyists that can get this taken care of?

This is quite a conundrum.  In searching for a hero for the ’04 Apple Cup, I’ve managed to rule out the offense, the defense, the special teams, and the coaching staff.  That doesn’t leave a whole lot of players to choose from.  Then again, who’d have figured on a 5’8” basketball player saving the day, or a Williams not named Reggie catching an Apple Cup game winner?  I can’t wait to see who will be the hero that saves the Apple Cup for the Dawgs in 2004.


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