Sports

Spotlight on Sports

Well, sports fans, I'm back from another losing weekend in Seattle and it's getting old mighty fast.

No more fun trips across Puget Sound on a ferry loaded with happy Seahawk fans because it's been a long, long, time since the Hawks gave the home fans something to cheer about. There were a few more happy faces than normal on the 4:40 ferry last Sunday after Seattle battled back from a 26-7 deficit only to fall 26-20.

It was Husky Stadium Saturday to see if the Dawgs could break a losing streak against former coach Rich Neuheisel's UCLA Bruins, then Qwest Field Sunday for the NFC West clash between Arizona and Seattle.

It was a long, long, weekend and we'll check out the 2-8 Seahawks in two weeks before they play at Dallas.



Dawg house

Tailgaters started to arrive at Husky Stadium early in the morning and they had to bring both lunch and dinner as Saturday's game didn't kick off until 7:15 p.m. It was dark by 5 o'clock and the innovative Husky throng in the south parking lot not only had generators to keep televisions going but to keep lights on while they cooked dinner. The usual throng was a bit thinner than usual due to the late start.

The fans were there to hiss and boo at Neuheisel, UW's head coach for four years who left in a huff after betting in basketball pools. He came into Seattle from Colorado with a band playing. I was one of the first to interview him on radio at McCormack Woods golf course in Port Orchard during a Husky alum fundraising event.

He was always very personable to me and we chatted often during the four years he was at the Husky helm. They expected big things of him at UCLA and the Bruins got off to a good start but stumbled midseason.

Tailgaters still were talking about the long Husky losing streak under Tyrone Willingham. I, along with many others, can't figure out why the Huskies kept him on as coach when they fired him at midseason.

The long, long, drought started at Apple Cup last year, the 100th version when the Cougars showed their claws with 14 points in the final period on the way to a 42-35 win. A trip to Hawaii followed and the Rainbows outscored Washington 35-28.

Like I said earlier this season: It's the worst Husky team I have ever watched from high in the press box. The loss to Oregon 44-10, then the narrow setback to BYU 28-27 when Jake Locker was called for unsportsmanlike conduct and the extra point had to be tried from 18 yards back, seemed to take the life out of Washington.

I watched as Oklahoma dismantled the team, Stanford prevailed and Locker was injured and gone. Arizona,

Oregon State, Notre Dame, USC and Arizona State pinned losses on the Huskies, the Trojans by a 56-0 count, and then the UCLA boys topped the Dawgs 27-7, scoring the last 20 points against the woeful Huskies.

The stats told the story as Washington had 45 plays through three quarters for 127 yards while the Bruins had 52 plays for 251 yards.

Washington is 0-10 and 0-7 at home, the first time they have not won a home game since 1889. They went 0-9 in 1969 and, needless to say, Husky Tyee faithful are anxious for it to be over.

Now it's on to Pullman Saturday for the noon version of the Apple Cup and interest in this 101st meeting between the cross-state rivals really has waned.

There will be more Port Angeles and Sequim people at the Hurricane Ridge Winterfest ski swap than will watch this game on television.



Martin Stadium

Washington State hired Paul Wulff from Eastern Washington and he went to Pullman with high hopes. Those hopes have been dashed as the Cougars became the most generous team in the history of the Pac-10 over the course of the season.

WSU has seen opponents score 58-plus points against them six times this season but they did hold Arizona to 31 points last Saturday.

Who can win? In 11 games, the Cougs have given up 533 points, an average of 48.4. Washington, in 10 tilts, has given up 411, an average of 41.1

Will Martin Stadium be rocking, as usual, for the Apple Cup? Since students don't begin the Thanksgiving trek home until Friday, maybe there will be a nice crowd but many are calling this the Rotten Apple Cup.

I like the Cougars at home and for no other reason than they are at home. The game could come down to which field goal kicker has the best range, as neither team can muster much offense.

Oh, well, there will always be next year. Me thinks Wulff will turn the Cougs around quickly but it's going to take a quick announcement of a new head coach and a complete coaching staff shuffle to help the Huskies.

Whoever the new coach is will have 23 offensive players and 18 defensive players back, and that doesn't include the return of Jake Locker at quarterback or running back or free safety or wherever he plays.

At least the Cougars have one win going into the Apple Cup as they beat Portland State 48-9 in week three. Cal beat up on the Cougs 66-3, Oregon won 63-14, Oregon State 66-13 and so it went.

After a 59-28 loss to Arizona, Wulff said his team competed and they have high hopes of getting their first Pac-10 win at Arizona State. "Next week is a winnable game," he told the team.



Wednesday whirl

The college basketball season is under way and the Peninsula Pirate men have their lone home game until January at 8 p.m. this Friday against Big Bend. I'll have a report on the Pirates and the new college three-point line next week.



Columns by KONP 1450 AM sports announcer Scooter Chapman appear weekly in the Sequim Gazette. He can be reached via e-mail at scooter@olypen.com.





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