Alrighty then, let’s try this again. NOW we’ve got the in-game highlights of the 2010 Apple Cup, ripped for your pleasure!
Now obviously we’re a WSU blog, so, no, there won’t be any UW highlights here. At least not any “good” UW highlights, if you follow me? Yeah, they won the game fair and square, we aren’t disputing that. But when it comes to highlights, these are for the WSU fan, not really anyone else. So please don’t complain that these are only Coug highlights and we lost, blah blah blah. We know that, and that’s not the point here.
Anyway, continue on for the goods, plus a few thoughts here and there…..
1) Jeff Tuel, what can we say anymore? The sophomore is making more and more plays every single game, whether it’s scrambling for a first down with his legs or making some big-time throws when the team needs him the most. The kid is looking like the real thing, and I cannot WAIT to see him next year!
Some throws in particular that were impressive:
The 35-yard sideline/corner route that Blackledge hauled in, at the 8:10 mark of the video. Here was Tuel, rolling to his right, throwing the ball nearly 40 yards in the absolute perfect spot, right along the sideline. Either Blackledge catches it or it’s out of bounds as an incompletion, but as the announcer was saying, there was no way to defend that throw. A great catch by Blackledge to get the foot down, but just a tremendous throw by Tuel on the run. The touch, the velocity, the accuracy, it’s all there in that throw.
There was a deep out he throws at the 3:40 mark. Nothing too special, a pretty standard throw. But he threw it from the far side of the field, from his own 44-yard line, all the way across to the 40 on the other side of the field. That’s a really good throw for one simple reason – it’s a throw that really good QB’s HAVE to make, because it’s a play that a lot of defenses will challenge you to make if you have wideouts who can go deep!
For example, Jared Karstetter has shown last year and again this year that he is able to get loose deep down the sideline and use his long frame to go up and get the ball. We’ve seen it many times, and so have opposing defenses. They know he likes to do that, so they adjust accordingly. The corner gives about a 10-yard cushion at the snap, and they are giving Karstetter the underneath route if they want it. Karstetter runs the out pattern, and is wide open. But you still need enough arm and accuracy to get it there before the corner can close, even with all that cushion. Tuel shows he has the right stuff on that throw. There just aren’t a lot of NCAA QB’s who can hit the WR between the numbers on a deep out like that. I’m not saying the guy is Brett Favre or anything, let’s not get crazy. But while it doesn’t seem all highlight-ish, well, it’s still a really good throw!
The other deep corner route to Blackledge was excellent too, at the 8:40 mark of the video. Tuel throws it from the far-right hash on his own 48, to Blackledge down at the 20 on the other side of the field. Blackledge was running an out-and-up out of the slot, against single coverage against a linebacker. But to make that throw even more difficult, Tuel’s got to not only get it over the coverage of the linebacker and hit Blackledge in stride, he still has to get it to come down in front of the corner in Richardson, who was covering Marquess Wilson on the fly route but broke off to defend Blackledge once Tuel made the throw!
The point is, the window to get that thing to come down safely was pretty tight, but for a long gain like that from the other side of the field? Really an excellent throw in a big-time spot in the game, just 5:30 left and trailing by a TD.
Finally, the last TD pass of the night, at the 9:05 mark. It’s a bad snap (again, jeesh!), but Tuel gathers it in off a hop, and from the right-hash throws back to his left for the TD. He only threw it from the 22, so it’s not like the distance was all that great. But to throw it back across the field, over the linebacker in coverage and still hit Marquess Wilson right in the hands, where only he could get it on the deep post, as Wilson established himself between the defender and the ball? And with the pressure of the game, a chance to tie up the Apple Cup with 4:28 left to play? Tremendous job by the sophomore QB of seizing the moment!
Let me say it again - I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE TUEL AGAIN NEXT YEAR!
2) James Montgomery – Sutra railed on this a little bit, both during and after the game, but Monty played pretty well and maybe they should have gone to him a little more. He ran hard, seemed to have a little extra bounce in his step, and even hauled in a screen pass for a nice gain. We still don’t know if he’ll get the extra year of eligibility, but while he’s not quite as explosive as he was pre-injury, he looked pretty damn good to me!
3) The defense vs. Chris Polk – I don’t know about you, but I thought Chris Polk had an 80-yard TD run every time he touched the ball. It only SEEMED like that was the case. But yes, the Cougs did in fact stuff him a few times, so I thought what the heck and included some of them in the highlight. But even with those tackles-for-loss, Polk was big-time. He can go pro now if he wants, we, uh, certainly won’t object if the third-year sophomore checks out his NFL options!
4) I love how the announcer screams “…and the HUSKIES have got it!” as Kevin Kooyman scooped up the ball off Locker’s flubbed fly sweep at the 6-minute mark of the video! Just like Ted Miller referring to “Washington’s Marquess Wilson” the other day on ESPN.com, the more things change, the more they stay the same (translation – we still get NO RESPECT!
I guess that’s it. In the end, UW got the job done with their juniors and seniors, and they overcame a bunch of freshman and sophomores and won it with their veteran QB making a big play late. That’s really the bottom line.
And as good as things looked at times, yeah, there’s a lot of work to do for 2011 for our Cougs to be a bowl team. But hey, 8 starters back on both sides of the ball, lots of frosh and sophomores all over the depth chart, there is a lot to look forward to as this program grows up under Paul Wulff.
All for now. GO COUGS!