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Cougars defeat UCLA in final seconds, euphoria reigns

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That was fun! Then it was scary! Then it was fun again!

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning. That was some night, wasn't it? For some of us, it was also quite the early morning. It's funny what Cougar football will do to one's body clock. I can't imagine a time in the last 10 years when I'd stay up until past three in the morning, and not even feel tired (deployments notwithstanding). And it's now happened two of the last three weeks. When UCLA went ahead with just over a minute left, it was looking like another late night/early morning was going culminate in a kick to the groin. Nope!

There really aren't enough superlatives to describe the 2015 version of Cougar Football anymore. Starting quarterback injured? No problem. The backup will come in and, after throwing some passes that hinted at a high level of nervousness, throw an absolute beauty of a fade pass to get WSU back in the lead. UCLA breaking tackle after tackle? Yeah, that may have been bad, but WSU countered with forcing and recovering two crucial fumbles.

UCLA marching down the field with relative ease? Maybe so, but that defense will turn up the intensity and keep the Bruins out of the endzone time after time. If you want to point to one difference in the game, that would be it. Lead for most of the second half, only to watch it slip away with just a minute left? No biggie. These guys will just calmly go down the field and score the winning touchdown with three seconds to go. What a team. What a year. The best part? We get to watch these guys three more times.

Likes:

  • The toughness and guts of Luke Falk - Goes without saying but I'll say it anyway. That dude is tough as nails. I wonder if that mouth-breather who sat behind me at the Apple Cup and ripped Falk the entire night has changed his tune.
  • Gerard Wicks' tough running - The dude moves piles. I'd love to see him get more carries.
  • Gabe Marks - everything about him
  • Zach Charme - Far and away his best game of the season. He was outstanding.
  • #SpecialForces as a whole - Blocked punt, solid coverage teams, zero miscues.
  • The patchwork offensive line keeping Falk clean when it mattered most - That Bruin front four really gets after the quarterback. Falk wasn't touched on the winning drive.
  • The speed of the defense - They struggled to fit a lot of runs last night, but Paul Perkins is really good for a reason. They rally to the ball better than any Cougar defense in ages.
  • Defying Vegas - WSU covered the spread yet again (obviously) and won on the road as a double-digit underdog for the second time this season.
  • Coug Twitter after a win - Unparalleled awesomeness
  • A legitimate chance at a 10-win season - I can't believe I just wrote that.
  • Being ranked - BEING RANKED

Dislikes:

  • All those missed tackles - I know UCLA has some studs, but man, gotta tackle better.
  • Josh Rosen - My lord, that kid is going to be awesome, and his ability to evade pressure is otherworldly for someone who was playing in high school last season. He got away with about five big mistakes last night, but his receivers didn't do him any favors. Luckily WSU only has to face him once more, I think.
  • The announcers somehow thinking Gabe Marks interefered on the game-winning touchdown. GTFOH with that.
  • Still trying to figure out how only one second ran off the clock on the last kickoff.
  • Jim Mora - Everything about him. What a baby. Coaches dirty players. Blames the refs after a loss. Not even a group as elite as the Navy SEALs could save you from our Air Raid, Jimbo. Deal with it.

Finally, one of the best things about playing so late is that the national media takes notice. Let's get to some of their reaction:

This is only semi WSU-related but I laughed audibly:

Go Cougs.

Football

Cougars take down No. 18 UCLA, 31-27 - Spokesman.com - Nov. 14, 2015
Until the second half. Until he led the Cougars back from a two-point halftime deficit with a go-ahead touchdown drive on his first series back in the game, giving WSU a lead it did not relinquish until late in the fourth quarter. Until the defense gave him as many chances as he needed, forcing and recovering a second-half fumble while shutting out the Bruins in the third quarter.

Luke Falk connects with Gabe Marks with three seconds left to lift WSU past UCLA, 31-27 | The Seattle Times
Luke Falk, hurt in the first half, comes back to lead another clutch fourth-quarter drive and connects with Gabe Marks on a 21-yard touchdown with three seconds left to lift the Cougars to a 31-27 win over the Bruins.

WSU players felt ‘disrespected’ by UCLA in pre-game warmups, used it to fuel their 31-27 win | The Seattle Times
ashington State’s 31-27 win over No. 18 UCLA felt just that much sweeter to the Cougars because of a little incident in warmups before the game.

After giving up late lead, Washington State comes back to shock UCLA - Pac-12 Blog - ESPN
Washington State fans had seen this scenario before, after falling behind in the final minutes of losses to Portland State, Stanford and Cal earlier this season.But Saturday did not end in a loss.

Luke Falk leads Washington State to a 31-27 upset over UCLA - LA Times
This wasn't the Washington State that UCLA remembered. The Cougars defeated the Bruins, 31-27, in front of a sparse late-night crowd on Saturday at the Rose Bowl.

UCLA's last-minute loss to Washington State defines Jim Mora's era - LA Times
The UCLA sideline was decorated in dancing black uniforms. The Rose Bowl stands were filled with a booming eight-clap. A chill was lifted. A game was saved. UCLA still controls fate in Pac-12 South race after loss to Washington State, 31-27 Then, it wasn’t.

UCLA loses to Washington State, but keeps control of destiny
Washington State quarterback Luke Falk, who finished 38 of 53 passing for 331 yards with an interception and two touchdowns, wasn’t fazed by the three-point deficit with a little more than a minute to play. The redshirt sophomore on pace to break the Pac-12 single-season records for passing yards and touchdowns calmly led his team 75 yards in seven plays, taking one final shot at the end zone before what would have been a field goal attempt to send the game to overtime.

UCLA loses to Washington State, but keeps control of destiny
Washington State quarterback Luke Falk, who finished 38 of 53 passing for 331 yards with an interception and two touchdowns, wasn’t fazed by the three-point deficit with a little more than a minute to play. The redshirt sophomore on pace to break the Pac-12 single-season records for passing yards and touchdowns calmly led his team 75 yards in seven plays, taking one final shot at the end zone before what would have been a field goal attempt to send the game to overtime.

UCLA ends up on wrong end of thrilling finish in 31-27 loss to Washington State - The Orange County Register
UCLA fell to Washington State, 31-27, its seventh loss to an unranked team in Coach Jim Mora’s four seasons, with four of those losses coming in the past two seasons.

Soccer

A quick word about the WSU soccer team. They suffered yet another heart-breaking tournament loss Saturday night, going down 1-0 in the second overtime. It's just a shame that it keeps ending this way. They deserve better after all that's happened in the past few seasons. I have no doubt that they'll be back in the picture once again next season.

WSU women’s soccer falls to Northwestern in OT - Spokesman.com - Nov. 14, 2015
For the third year in a row, it was déjà vu all over again for the Washington State University women's soccer team.