I didn't really have anything better to do with my Saturday. Sure, I had a soccer game to referee around five o'clock or so but that's later. Sprawled out on the couch, I was working the channel scroll button on the remote around noon when I remembered there was a Cougar football game on. Easy to forget after a few disappointing weeks in a row and now they face one of the best running backs in the country against a rushing defense with a porosity of a hole in the ground.
Well, at least this would serve as an excuse to stuff my face full of the leftover pizza and Cheez-Its in the fridge (for those of you doubting me, a great combo). I warmed up a couple slices, poured out some delicious cheese squares and settled into the couch.
Lo and behold, the Cougars actually got a stop on the first drive. Alright, I thought, don't get too excited because all this team will do is let you down again. The entire first quarter, surprisingly, no points were scored. Something weird was going on here. Oregon State was playing like they looked surprised the Cougars had shown up and Washington State decided to take full advantage.
Forty-three seconds into the second quarter, Logwone Mitz rumbled into the endzone for the Cougs to take a 7-0 lead. Fine, but they'll cough it up, they always do and Quizz will remember whom he's running against and start to tear it up again.
Almost ten minutes later, Oregon State hadn't scored and James Montgomery crashed into pay dirt to give the Cougars a 14-0 lead. For the first time in recent memory, I was on the edge of my seat for a Cougar football game. My hands were clenched tightly together, almost cutting off circulation to my hands. The Cougars hadn't possessed a lead like this since they played Portland State in 2008. The halftime gun blew and the score remained the same. I had to referee a soccer match at five o'clock so I threw all my gear together and got quickly dressed in the geeky uniform I'm made to wear. I whipped up a quick sandwich for a little more fuel for the soccer match and I was back on the couch.
At the beginning of the second half, possibly the best play call the current coaching staff ever made, Jeff Tuel moved right running what appeared to be an option. Then Tuel floated a beautiful ball to favorite target Marquess Wilson to take a 21-0 lead. I screamed like a little girl. I screamed like a kid who found out every day was Christmas.
It was then Oregon State began to make me uneasy. The Beavers scored a couple touchdowns on quick drives with a WSU field goal mixed in made the score 24-14. As time was winding down, WSU had the ball again and the only way I was going to feel truly comfortable was with another touchdown. When Chantz Staden became the third Cougar running back to score and give the Cougars a 31-14 lead, I erupted. My head almost hit the ceiling. On the ensuing kickoff, Oregon State fumbled and gave WSU the ball back. This meant the Cougars got to do something they haven't done in forever: they took a knee in victory formation.
This team finally won a conference game. After coming down from my initial high of excitement after the game, I can better put it in perspective. Does this game represent a turning point for the program? The simple is I just don't know. We all kind of expected this to happen this year so the only really surprising part was the game in which the victory occurred. Perhaps it would've been a turning point last season. But it still represents and shows us the team has made progress.
Does this game save Paul Wulff's job? Again, the simple answer is I don't know. Bill Moos is a loyal man who was on the committee that hired Wulff and I'll take him at his word that he truly will not make a decision until after the season is over. There probably isn't a number of wins he had in his mind of being the minimum prerequisite but rather whether, in his view, this team has gotten better and has the young talent to improve and sustain success. The presence of young players like Tuel, C.J. Mizell, Sekope Kaufusi, Marquess Wilson, John Fullington and others would seem to indicate he does.
But I don't want to think about any of that right now. What I want to think about is the fact that the Cougars won a football game in their conference for the first time since 2008. Enjoy it please. Worry about whether Wulff and his staff deserve the axe later. I know it's been a while, but we know just how to celebrate a football victory. So please, do it. We can talk about the rest of this stuff later.
Last Week: 2-2
I'd like to say a quick thank you to the UW for not thinking about having a game on Thursday and what that will do to traffic. Thanks guys!
Rick Still Hate You Too UW 31, Say Goodbye To Bowl Hopes 20
Wow, Oregon State is falling and falling fast.
Still Not Bowl Eligible 35, Quizz Will Be Back 10
Rivalry Game! By the way, why is it an axe? I thought folks in the Bay Area loved trees.
Jim Harbaugh = Next 49ers Head Coach 42, Oregon Game Was A Fluke 20
Obscure Pick of the Week: Nothing like being named after a steak. I have no idea where I was going with that.
Salisbury 31, Delaware Valley 20
Dunderhead of the Week: Mother Nature. I know the wind was terrible in Pullman but it was terrible over in Seattle as well. Over a quarter million homes lost power. Mine wasn't one of them. So why am I complaining? I got hit with a leaf in the face. Jerk leaf.
And, of course, John Buccigross
+++++++sponsored by Greg Davis Sports Photography+++++++++
The 2010 athletic season is here…and you know what that means…It's time for a whole new season of Cougar Athletics! Football, soccer and volleyball, just to name a few, are preparing for their 2010 seasons. If you need "game action" photographs for your newspaper, magazine, web site, blog, etc., then Greg Davis Sports Photography should be your choice for all things "Cougar" and "Pac-10 Conference"! Coverage for specific athletes or upcoming events is also available. Check out the images from games, practices and events from last season, and be sure to come back often for uploads from all of this season's action.