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Wednesday, November 18, 1998 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Cougars: Words Will Never Hurt Them

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

Mike Price ended his weekly press conference wondering if any verbal grenades had been lobbed over the mountains yet.

Consider the Washington State coach a psychic or a sage after 19 battles with cross-state rival Washington. Less than an hour after his tongue-in-cheek inquiry, the Apple Cup assault began.

Husky receiver Andre DeSaussure fired the first salvo - several inflammatory remarks about Pullman - as he chatted at a table surrounded by Seattle media.

His words, to be exact, were: "I think Pullman is crap."

And he didn't stop there. DeSaussure said he would rather die than take a recruiting trip to Pullman and referred to the town as a fun place "as far as being a lot of drunk people."

The unsolicited comments Monday upset UW Coach Jim Lambright, who demoted the Huskies' second-leading receiver (25 catches, 491 yards) to third-string flanker and said DeSaussure might not make the trip to Pullman.

Lambright immediately began damage control yesterday. "I definitely apologize to the people of Pullman for what certainly, I hope, isn't typical of the class of our football team," he said.

DeSaussure didn't get the chance to say he was sorry because of a gag order imposed this week by coaches.

It was the type of statement expected from someone unfamiliar with Apple Cup protocol, but not a fifth-year senior.

"He's just Andre," co-captain Lester Towns said. "Out of all of the seniors, you'd expect him to maybe do this. He's just Dre. He's real cool, but he's crazy."

Lambright called the comments symbolic of DeSaussure's up-and-down career. "He takes one step and then takes two steps backward," he said.

DeSaussure's comments injected life into what was shaping up to be a ho-hum Apple Cup. The Huskies (3-4 Pac-10, 5-5 overall), who are 10-point favorites, would have preferred not to awaken the Cougars (0-7, 3-7) from their seven-game losing streak.

"You don't know what this could do to them," Towns said. "This could be the thing to really fire them up, who knows?"

Is the penalty too harsh?

Last year, Cougar receiver Chris Jackson shot off his mouth about his ability to blow past the UW secondary. Price cringed, but eventually gave Jackson a slap on the wrist. The WSU senior responded with 185 yards and two touchdowns in a 41-35 victory.

Just another difference between Huskies and Cougars?

Copyright (c) 1998 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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