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Washington tops Washington State to earn Apple Cup

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) -- Stanley Daniels' big, red, watery eyes
scanned the locker room in search of another teammate to hug.

It wasn't hard to find one. After four tumultuous years that
would make any man cry -- even a 320-pound lineman -- tears, cheers
and big plays finally flowed for Washington on Saturday night.

Battered fill-in Carl Bonnell threw for 271 yards and two
quick-strike touchdowns before Louis Rankin romped to a 77-yard
touchdown early in the fourth quarter to rouse the previously
flat-lining Huskies to a 35-32 victory over Washington State in the
Apple Cup.

"It's huge. It's the Apple Cup. I don't care if you're 12-0 or
1-and-whatever," Daniels said, emotions following his tears.

The big plays flowed most of all for Washington (5-7, 3-6
Pac-10) -- and all but ruined hopes for a bowl bid for the Cougars
(6-6, 4-5).

Alex Brink, who took Bonnell's scholarship in 2003 when Bonnell
decided to go to Washington instead, was 32-for-54 for 328 yards
and two touchdowns.

But Brink couldn't trump all this:

--Cody Ellis scoring Washington's first touchdown with an amazing
one-handed reception, then a juggling act between his legs, on a
64-yard pass from Bonnell, who acknowledged "a special feeling"
on being back inside Martin Stadium.

--Marcel Reece -- with six catches in 10 games -- erupting for a
69-yard touchdown catch and run.

--Reserve linebacker Chris Stevens blocking a punt for another
touchdown.

--Marlon Wood's 87-yard kickoff return, after the Cougars had
taken a 14-7 lead, to set up Rankin's first score.

And then Rankin's late romp.

Asked which big play killed his team, Washington State coach
Bill Doba said, "All of them."

No wonder Daniels was weeping moments after he accepted the
Apple Cup from Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire in the locker room.

"There was a lot of emotion," Daniels said. "We poured our
hearts out to the team."

There were almost as many big plays as Daniels and his
classmates had seen in four years while going 14-32 at UW.

Four of Washington's scoring drives were four plays or less. The
fifth touchdown came when Stevens slid through to block a punt by
Darryl Blunt and fell on the ball in the end zone for a 28-17 lead
near the end of the third quarter.

Washington State answered with another long drive and a 15-yard
touchdown pass from Alex Brink to Cody Boyd. A disputed, 2-point
conversion pass to Brandon Gibson made it 28-25 Washington with
11:17 left.

But on the next scrimmage play, Rankin -- who finished with 118
yards rushing -- found a perfectly blocked right side and zipped
free for his 77-yard score to put the Huskies ahead 35-25.

An interception of Bonnell by Husain Abdullah at the WSU 44 with
eight minutes to go recharged the Cougars. Gibson then made a
diving catch in the end zone of a 33-yard pass from Brink -- with
Mesphin Forrester on his back -- to close Washington's lead to 35-32
with six minutes remaining.

Brink drove his team near midfield in the final two minutes. But
an intentional grounding penalty ruined the drive, which ended when
Jordan Reffett sacked Brink on fourth-and-16 with 59 seconds left.

A wild Washington celebration ensued, with players releasing two
months' worth of frustration amid fans and band members who stormed
the field.

"It was a ton of fun," senior linebacker Scott White said.

Daniels was still in uniform, minus his gold helmet, a good 20
minutes after Washington's first win since September. It was as if
he didn't want to take off his gear, knowing it was his fellow
seniors' last games after four, long years of enduring three head
coaches.

"Leaving it all out there one last time, winning this game,
this was our storybook ending," White said.

A week after their sixth straight loss -- 20-3 pratfall to
previously winless Stanford -- the Huskies played like that disaster
never happened.

"It speaks to the courage of our young men," coach Tyrone
Willingham said. "A week before we were written for dead ... They
never stopped working. And I'm proud of them for that."

The Cougars finished the regular season with three consecutive
losses after being ranked No. 25. Last season, they started 3-0
then lost seven straight before beating Washington.

Saturday, they allowed Washington's offense -- wayward since
do-it-all quarterback Isaiah Stanback was lost with a severe foot
injury a month ago -- to score its most points since a
season-opening win over San Jose State.

"I didn't see this coming at all. A lot of us were surprised,"
WSU star defensive end Mkristo Bruce said. "We kind of feel like
the only thing that really can beat the Cougars is the Cougars."

This wild game was actually scoreless for a quarter and a half.
But the Cougars then went 95 yards in 16 plays, the last Dwight
Tardy's 14-yard touchdown run. The teams then scored 21 points in
4½ minutes to create a 14-14 tie at halftime.

Bonnell did give the Cougars one big play when he tried to force
a deep pass to a well-covered Ellis. Eric Frampton easily
intercepted and ran behind blockers for a 43-yard touchdown return
and a 14-7 WSU lead.