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Cougs go Apple pick-ing
Three picks and a TD fumble return lead to victory
By Malamute, Posted 21 November 2004

Alex Brink threw for two touchdowns and ran for another as Washington State beat Washington 28-25, to win its first Apple Cup since 1997. Four turnovers led to the UW defeat, as it finished 1-10 on the season, its worst in its 115-year history.

Lame-duck coach Keith Gilbertson (7-16) finished on a sour note over his two-year career at the UW. Gilbertson has agreed to resign after a campaign that has now mercifully ended for Washington. University president Mark Emmert, who attended the game, would not comment on whom Washington's next coach would be.

On a bright note, the UW may have found next season's starting quarterback, Isaiah Stanback, and his go-to-guy, WR Craig Chambers. Stanback replaced starter Casey Paus in the third quarter and led the Huskies on two scoring drives. He scored on a one-yard run late in the period and hit Craig Chambers with a 39-yard TD pass with 4:04 to play to cap the scoring.

Punter Sean Douglas boomed a 78-yard punt (the second longest in UW history) that helped set up Stanback's scoring throw. Starting from its own 7-yard line, WSU went three and out, moving the ball to its 12. Then Kyle Basler's 51-yard punt was returned by Sonny Shackelford to the UW 45. A personal foul moved the ball to the Cougars' 39, from where Stanback connected with Chambers.

It's the best that Stanback has looked all season and the first time he's used Chambers as a weapon. Both of them qualify as playmakers, a commodity the Huskies have lacked during the season.

The lack of a running game (71 yards) crippled the UW offense, placing Paus in obvious passing situations that led to his three interceptions. Conversely, Stanback, though sacked three times, was mostly able to negate the strong pass rush with his elusiveness and quickness.

Leading by just three points with 4 minutes to go, the Cougars were nearly able to run out the clock, leaving just 27 seconds for Stanback and no timeouts.

If the Huskies had tried an on-side kick with 4 minutes left in the game, who knows what the outcome would have been? All they needed was a field goal to tie. Instead, Jerome Harrison ran for 45 yards in the Cougars time-killing drive that accumulated two first downs and mostly emptied the clock.

The Cougars rushed for 153 yards and passed for 240 yards on the evening, in an Apple Cup that was played in temperatures below freezing. Harrison accounted for 150 yards rushing.

The Huskies finished their season with 42 turnovers (a margin of -19), the highest number in Division I-A football. 

Ironically, although the UW finished the season with a passing efficiency of 78.3, the lowest in Division I-A football, Stanback's pass-efficiency on the game was 208.8. Paus' rating for the game was 56.3, where 100 is barely considered average nowadays.

To be fair to Paus, as hard as it may be for fans, it should be noted that Stanback entered the game with the Huskies down 28-10, with the possibility of the Cougs suffering a letdown in intensity and/or playing it close to the vest. Such backup scenarios have happened before in football.

-- I don't care when you deliver it, just deliver it sidearm.

As a side note (no pun intended), fans have criticized Paus for his sidearm delivery. Anyone ever notice David Carr's (Houston Texans) side-arm throwing motion? Carr was a number one draft pick out of Fresno State, and he was throwing sidearm last night in a game against the Green Bay Packers.

When asked about Carr's side arm delivery, Coach Dom Capers had this to say, "It really is not a concern. We've had the whole year to study David, to watch him during the season. One of the more prolific quarterbacks during the last few years, Brett Favre, has a quick release and puts a lot of velocity on the ball. As we evaluated David the things that kept jumping out at us was his arm strength and his quick release."

When asked about changing Carr's delivery, Capers said, "When you bring a young quarterback in, or any position, you're going to evaluate many things technique-wise, but you're not going to make drastic changes. In my mind, if a guy's been successful and has been able to throw the ball with the type of accuracy that David has with a short, compact throwing motion, you don't make drastic changes."

Both Phillip Rivers (Chargers) and Favre (Packers) have unorthodox throwing motions. A good attitude and strong work ethic are both factors in a quarterback's success.

The point is that Casey needs to keep his chin up. I have an idea the Huskies will need him next season. Rick Neuheisel recruited Paus and I trust Rick's good judgment, once more, no pun intended. To former AD Barbara Hedges, Rick's "good judgment" would be an oxymoron.

With respect to judgment, I thought Paus was throwing down the middle too much. One pass that was "Apple picked" bounced off the helmet of OG Tusi Sa'au (6-foot-2, 320).

-- Get off the bus!

Pulling LB Scott White off the team bus because he missed Friday's walkthrough seems somewhat vindictive. The time for the walkthrough had been changed and White wasn't aware of it. Was Coach Gilbertson taking his own dismissal out on White, who is the epitome of hard work and good attitude?

In any case, Gilby needs to apologize to White and then to the team for shortchanging them at the linebacker position. With starting linebacker Joe Lobendahn missing from action, White's absence crippled the depth of the line-backing corps. The Dawgs could have used White during the Cougars' last drive of the night.

The bottom line is that the punishment was too severe. Gilby's apparent overreaction hurt the team and those Husky fans who traveled to Pullman. The defense has worked too hard all season long to have it shortchanged in its last game.

-- Wait 'till next year.

"We have no idea who's going to be our coach," center Brad Vanneman said. "But I believe this strongly and I believe this absolutely. The new coach is going to be sitting on a winner."

I couldn't agree with him more. Thirty-nine of the 44 two-deeps are back next year, which, in itself, is an enticement for a prospective coach.

Team 1 2 3 4 Tot
UW 10 0 7 8 25
WSU 14 7 7 0 28

Time Team How Player(s) Score
1st Qtr        
13:24 UW FG Evan Knudson 19-yard kick UW 3-0
7:49 WSU TD Troy Bienemann 6-yard pass from Alex Brink. Loren Langley kick. WSU 7-3
4:56 UW TD Joe Toledo 4-yard pass from Casey Paus. Knudson kick. UW 10-7
2:07 WSU TD Brink 1-yard run. Langley kick. WSU 14-10
2nd Qtr
4:07 WSU TD Will Derting fumble return. Langley kick. WSU 21-10
3rd Qtr        
9:56 WSU TD Jasson Hill 22-yard pass from Brink. Langley kick. WSU 28-10
4:26 UW TD Isaiah Stanback 1-yard run. Langley kick. WSU 28-17
4th Qtr        
4:04 UW TD Craig Chambers 29-yard pass from Stanback. Chambers 2-point conversion from Stanback. WSU 28-25

Statistic UW WSU
Total First Downs 15 17
  Rushing 3 5
  Passing 9 12
  Penalty 3 0
Total Net Yards 248 393
Net Yards Passing 177 240
Net Yards Rushing 71 153
Completions-att-int 16-34-3 15-24-0
Punts, yards, average 6-284-47.3 7-305-43.6
Sacks by (number, yards)    
Return Yardage 45 17
  Punts Yards 6-45 2-5
  Kickoff Yards 4-75 4-61
  Interceptions Yards 0-0 3-12
Penalties Yards 7-64 11-130
Fumble: number, lost 3-1 3-2
Time of Possession  29:33 30:27

Passing cmp att yds tds int
Alex Brink 15 24 240 2 0
Casey Paus 10 24 74 1 3
Isaiah Stanback 5 8 100 1 0
Sean Douglas 1 1 3 0 0
Sonny Shackelford 0 1 - 0 0
Rushing att yds tds long  
Jerome Harrison 29 150 0 21  
Allen Thompson 6 20 0 9  
Alex Brink 7 -15 1 1  
Washington Rushing att yds tds long
Isaiah Stanback 9 -3 1 9  
Kenny James 4 8 0 0  
Casey Paus 1 -19 0 -19  
James Sims 23 85 0 11  
Pass Receiving rec yds tds long
Jason Hill 4 78 1 41  
Michael Bumpus 4 51 0 25  
Troy Bienemann 4 38 1 16  
Chris Jordan 3 73 0 33  
Washington Pass Rec. rec yds tds long
Joe Toledo 2 15 1 11  
James Sims 3 23 0 7  
Anthony Russo 2 17 0 9  
Greyson Gunheim 1 3 0 2  
Sonny Shackelford 2 10 0 5  
Bobby Whithorne 1 5 0 5  
Robert Lewis 1 4 4 0  
Craig Chambers 4 100 1 42  
Punting punts yds long Avg
Kyle Basler 7 305 55 43.6  
Sean Douglas 6 284 78 47.3  
Attendance: 34,334          

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