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Originally published November 23, 2009 at 7:39 PM | Page modified November 23, 2009 at 9:46 PM

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Huskies tight end Kavario Middleton says UW will score 50 against Cougars in Apple Cup

Despite an 0-10 record heading into the 2008 Apple Cup in Pullman, the Washington Huskies were listed as seven-point favorites, expected to get the one win that would prevent historical embarrassment.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Despite an 0-10 record heading into the 2008 Apple Cup in Pullman, the Washington Huskies were listed as seven-point favorites, expected to get the one win that would prevent historical embarrassment.

Not that many of the Huskies felt too good about any of it at the time.

"Last year was pretty much a disaster, so it was pretty hard to be optimistic about anything," said UW sophomore tight end Kavario Middleton.

It showed on the field as the Huskies dropped a 16-13 double-overtime decision to a Cougars team that posted some of the worst statistical numbers in Pac-10 history, but could end the season at least crowing that it beat the Huskies. Washington, meanwhile, finished 0-12, the worst record in school history and the most losses in Pac-10 history.

But indicative of an improved mental state for Washington as the 2009 game nears, Middleton let slip Monday that the Huskies are planning to score 50 points against the Cougars, about the only real bit of trash talk levied during UW's weekly media luncheon.

"We want to put up 50 points," Middleton said of Saturday's 3:30 p.m. game against WSU at Husky Stadium. "Run the score up. Put on a show. We're just trying to make a statement that we are the real deal."

Those words might not go over much better with UW coach Steve Sarkisian than they will in Pullman as the Huskies coach had said earlier in the day that he isn't a big fan of the kind of spicy commentary often associated with a football rivalry.

"I like to think that we put our helmets on, we put our uniforms on and we talk with the way we play," Sarkisian said. "It's not about what you say, it's what you do."

No Husky, though, could even muster up the energy for a little trash talking a year ago.

In fact, Middleton said that the drudgery of the season, which had already resulted in the firing of coach Tyrone Willingham, had a lot of the Huskies essentially tuning out by the time UW traveled to Pullman for last season's game.

"I wasn't [mentally] there," Middleton said. "It felt like a lot of people weren't completely there."

Still, UW jumped ahead early and seemed in position to win before a late WSU rally tied the score and the Cougars then prevailed in double overtime.

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"That was pretty bad," said defensive tackle Daniel Te'o-Nesheim. "We don't want to go through that again."

That game is the lone Pac-10 win for the Cougars under second-year coach Paul Wulff, who is 1-16 in conference play. WSU has lost each of its other conference games under Wulff by at least 13 points.

Sarkisian, though, says he won't reach back to the memory of that defeat in talking with UW's players this week.

"I just think, the bottom line for [UW's players] is they felt like it was a game they had under control that didn't turn out the way they wanted it to do, and left for a bitter taste in their mouth," he said. "I think you can sometimes make a mistake trying to harbor thoughts and feelings of the past, and miss what's going on in the present and in the future. We're not going to dwell on that [2008 loss]. We're going to move forward. This is our chance to be part of this rivalry and this tradition from this year, and onwards and upwards for however long we're here. We're going to embrace it that way instead of trying to live in the past of it."

Te'o-Nesheim, though, said the memory of past Apple Cup defeats still burns.

"We don't want to lose any more Apple Cups," he said. "Hopefully we can get it back to Seattle and it stays here for a while."

Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or bcondotta@seattletimes.com.

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