SEATTLE – It couldn’t have been sweeter for Alex Brink.
Three career wins against the Huskies, the first Cougars quarterback to do it.
He set an Apple Cup record in net yards passing with 399. He tied the rivalry’s touchdown pass record with five. He completed 68 percent of his passes.
And the senior’s last pass in a Cougars uniform was, in true form, for the touchdown that won his team the 100th Apple Cup over Washington.
“It kinda worked out perfectly,” Brink said. “The perfect ending.”
The ball soared into the hands of wide-open receiver Brandon Gibson, who trotted into the end zone to give WSU a 42-35 lead with just 31 seconds left in the game. The Huskies couldn’t put together their own touchdown drive in that little time.
And Brink emerged from his rough WSU career a hero.
He stood on a podium beneath Husky Stadium’s western goal post, looking out at his teammates, and raised the Apple Cup trophy over his head.
“This is us,” Brink shouted. “This is us.”
But according to the WSU record books, this turbulent 5-7 (3-6 Pac-10) season was just as much about Brink. He finished with 3,818 passing yards and 26 touchdowns.
And throughout his four years, he tallied 10,913 total passing yards and 76 touchdowns. Both are school records, and he moved up to third place on the Pac-10’s all-time list for passing yards and sixth place for touchdown passes.
Brink may have never gained the Cougar Nation support that stars Ryan Leaf or Drew Bledsoe did before him, but he made a name for himself. He tied Leaf’s record of 12 games with 300-plus passing yards.
WSU head coach Bill Doba said Brink deserves a lot of credit for this season’s high points. And though Brink had his bad games, such as last week’s six-interception loss to Oregon State, he “has done it all year for us,” Doba said.
And Doba praised Brink’s third Apple Cup win.
“If that’s not a signature win,” Doba said, “to heck with everybody.”
Saturday night, Brink took off his Cougars uniform for the last time. And he’ll never again run out of the tunnel at Martin Stadium with 35,000 fans cheering him on. But he hopes his career at WSU can springboard him through the NFL draft, he said. He wants to see what happens.
“I just know that I’m so appreciative of everybody that’s been a part of my career and my time here at WSU,” Brink said.
“You know, I couldn’t have asked for a better ending, and looking back on it there’s obviously been some ups and downs, but I wouldn’t trade any of it for anything.
“I mean, the people I’ve met, the experiences I had, are some of the greatest memories that I’ll ever have.”