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Cougs beat Huskies for Apple Cup

SEATTLE — Trandon Harvey, who had earlier fumbled a punt to help Washington take the lead for the first time, caught a short pass from Alex Brink and ran 39 yards for the winning score with 1:20 remaining to give Washington State a 26-22 win Saturday in the Apple Cup.

The thrilling finish capped a wild final 31 minutes in which there were four lead changes. It also ended a seven-game Washington State losing streak.

Harvey used a key block from fellow receiver Greg Prator for the deciding score, which gave the Cougars their second straight win over the Huskies after six consecutive Apple Cup losses.

Washington State's Jerome Harrison, the national rushing leader, ran for 207 yards on 36 carries — 192 over the final three quarters. The Cougars won the Apple Cup in Seattle for the first time since 1997, when Ryan Leaf led them through the Huskies to the Rose Bowl.

There will be no bowl of any kind for the Cougars (4-7, 1-7 Pac-10) this season, though. They finished with their worst conference record since 1999. Yet the wild, stomping celebration that ensued on Washington's "W" logo at midfield afterward gave no hint of that.

The Cougars' stomping led some Washington players to charge from their sideline and confront them, with a few brief shoving matches within the mass of 100-plus players.

So ended Washington coach Tyrone Willingham's debut season. The Huskies finished 2-8 and 1-7 — an improvement over last year's school-worst season when they went 1-10 and 0-8 in the conference.

Harrison, who had school-record 1,693 yards through 10 games, extended his own Pac-10 record with his 14th straight 100-yard game. He reached that before halftime, but his team led only 13-7.

But Washington wasn't taking advantage.

One week after rolling for a season-high 490 yards in a startling win at Arizona, the Husky offense repeatedly missed opportunities through the first 2 1/2 quarters. Quarterback Isaiah Stanback twice overthrew wide-open receiver Anthony Russo to spoil potential touchdown passes. When Russo dropped a third-down pass on the opening series of the second half, the usually unflappable Willingham punched the air in disgust.

But then, on the next play, Washington finally found an opportunity upon which it could capitalize.

Harvey muffed a low Washington punt. The ball bounded to Husky J.R. Wolfork at the Cougars 35. Seven plays later, Stanback lofted a 16-yard scoring pass to Chris Chambers to give the Huskies their first lead, 14-13, with 7:41 remaining in the third quarter.

Washington State recaptured the lead, 19-14, on a 10-yard Harrison run with 2:53 left in the third quarter. But Stanback then completed three straight passes for 61 yards to set up a 3-yard touchdown run by James Sims. A 2-point conversion pass from Stanback to Russo put Washington up, 22-19 with 14:50 left — and set up the exciting end.