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Pac-12's greatest games No. 11: Apple Cup chaos (Washington beats WSU in 3OT … or does it?)

November 11,2017 17:19

Washington kicker John Anderson connected on his fifth field goal of the game — this one from 49 yards — to give the Huskies a 29-26 lead in the third extra session. On the first play of WSU's possession, quarterback Matt Kegel, in for the injured ...


The 95th Apple Cup was a thriller with a controversial finish. Once it ended, the true chaos descended …
Date: Nov. 23, 2002Location: Martin StadiumScore: Washington 29, Washington State 26
What happened:
The thrid-ranked Cougars — remember those days? — jumped to a 17-7 halftime lead, only to see the Huskies rally with 10 points in the final three minutes to force overtime.
The teams traded field goals in the first OT … and the second.
Washington kicker John Anderson connected on his fifth field goal of the game — this one from 49 yards — to give the Huskies a 29-26 lead in the third extra session.
On the first play of WSU’s possession, quarterback Matt Kegel, in for the injured Jason Gesser, threw a quick pass to his left. It was deflected instantly by Washington’s Kai Ellis, who then pounced on the ball.
The officials huddled on the field, then declared the pass went backward, turning the loose ball into a fumble recovered by Ellis … and ending the game.
“It was a backward pass, therefore a fumble, and we ended up with the ball. So the game was over,” Washington coach Rick Neuheisel said at the time.
WSU’s Mike Price took issue with the call and voiced his displeasure to the officials on the field.
“That was just a bad pass. It was a forward pass,” Price said later.
Why it’s No. 11:
A triple-overtime, four-hour rivalry game is a good place to start.
Then add the controversial finish and the stakes — WSU was playing for a berth in the Rose Bowl — and you have a classic.
(Note: The referee that evening happened to be Gordon Riese, better known for being at the center of the most controversial finishes in conference history:
(Riese was the side judge for The Play but got caught out of position and didn’t see that Cal’s fifth lateral went forward; and he was the replay official for the Oregon-Oklahoma onside kick abomination.)
But the scene that unfolded after the game turns the ’02 Apple Cup into an all-timer:
It was unprecedented in violence, vitriol and fear.

Furious WSU fans tossed bottles and plastic souvenirs onto the field; there were even reports of players throwing bottles back into the stands.
One WSU fan tracked the Huskies to their lockerroom and got too close for comfort, prompting Neuheisel to reportedly respond:
“Get your (bleeping) hands off my players!”
Barbara Hedges, the UW athletic director, later said she “feared for my life.”
(There were no serious injuries reported, but players required treatment.)
It was the last Apple Cup for Price, who would soon take the Alabama job.
It was also the last Cup for Neuheisel, who was fired the following summer.
Greatest games series: IntroductionGreatest game No. 25: The Toilet Bowl (Oregon vs. Oregon State)Greatest game No. 24: The ‘Hill Mary’ (Arizona stuns Cal)Greatest game No. 23: That magical Snake (ASU outlasts Washington)Greatest game No. 22: Leinart vs Rodgers (USC holds off Cal)Greatest game No. 21: Warner, Rockne and a rivalry (1925 Rose Bowl)Greatest game No. 20: When the officials really did suck (Oregon vs. Oklahoma)Greatest game No. 19: The Anthony Davis game (USC blasts Notre Dame)Greatest game No. 18: The hurricane game (UCLA collapses at Miami)Greatest game No. 17: Charles White runs wild (USC beats Ohio State)Greatest game No. 16: Kenny Wheaton’s interception (Oregon slays Washington)Greatest game No. 15: John McKay’s gamble (the 1975 Rose Bowl)Greatest game No. 14: Warren Moon’s miracle (Washington shocks Washington State)Greatest game No. 13: USC holds off Wisconsin (the 1963 Rose Bowl)Greatest game No. 12: Oregon’s run to the Roses (the 2009 Civil War)
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