Apple Cup Series: Legendary games and legendary figures

Ryan Tolar, Washington Huskies. Wahsington State. Apple Cup. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Ryan Tolar, Washington Huskies. Wahsington State. Apple Cup. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images) /
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Apple Cup
Billy Joe Hobert, Washington football, Apple Cup. /

1991 – Billy Joe Hobert and Mark Brunell

In the 1991 season, the then second-ranked Huskies were pursuing an 11-0 regular season record at the time of the Apple Cup. WSU was unranked and they played like a team that had won only four games that year, by committing 16 penalties for 169 yards.

In reality, UW didn’t need that help.  Because they racked up 430 yards on offense, being led by quarterbacks Billy Joe Hobert, with three passing touchdowns, and Mark Brunell, who ran for a touchdown and threw one. Those performances led to a 56-21 defeat of the Cougars. The Huskies went on to win a second straight Rose Bowl and became co-National Champions.

1988 – Timm Rosenbach

The Apple Cup in 1988 had bowl game implications for WSU and UW. The Cougars had already secured a post-season appearance. The Huskies needed a win to get a bowl bid. After trailing 21-9, the Cougars would close the gap to 28-26. A field goal gave Washington a 31-26 lead.

Washington State blocked a punt and recovered the football. This set the stage for a 5-yard touchdown run by quarterback Timm Rosenbach and a 32-31 victory for Wazzu. Rosenbach would go one to be the #1 pick in the 1989 NFL supplemental draft. The Cougars went on to their first bowl game in seven years while the Huskies’ bowl aspirations fizzled.

1975 – Warren Moon and Spider Gaines

Any Apple Cup list described as legendary must surely include UW head coach Don James. The winningest coach in Huskies history was making his Apple Cup debut in 1975. The Huskies were 5-5 at that point in James’ initial season as head coach. Washington State was ahead 27-14 with approximately three minutes remaining in the game. A ‘pick-6’ for UW cut the lead to 27-21 at roughly the two-minute mark.

When UW regained possession, eventual NFL Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon threw a ‘Hail Mary’ pass that seemed to be short of the intended receiver, but bounced off of a defender and into the hands of Huskies’ receiver Robert ‘Spider’ Gaines to complete a 78-yard game-tying touchdown, it was their second hook-up of the day. The point-after-touchdown was successful for a final score of 28-27 and a Huskies’ win.

There are other other games in the Apple Cup series that some may claim as legendary. With the success that both PAC-12 teams from the state of Washington have had in this 2018 season, another legendary game could be coming up.