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Sun Bowl Champion links!

That still feels really cool to write.

Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Cougar fans. What a glorious morning it has been, reading all about WSU's victory over Miami in the Sun Bowl. If you're stuck in El Paso for longer than you'd planned, hopefully you'll be able to make it out sooner than later. If not, we have plenty of stories for you to read while you wait. There is no shortage of material this morning, as I could read story after story regarding WSU's ninth victory in 13 tries.

While all wins are pretty in the end, this one had its share of blemishes along the way, particularly in the second half. As light rain gave way to snow, the Cougar offense went the way of the Sun Bowl logo at midfield. That is to say it mostly disappeared. It is a team game, however, and where the offense faltered, the defense came up big at key moments. What should have been a comfortable victory instead became a white-knuckler, but all's well that ends well. With that, let's get to some likes and dislikes.

Dislikes:

  • CBS - They broadcast one bowl per year, and it's clear that they value it about as much as a Division III field hockey game. Is it too much to ask that they wipe the camera lens off? How about getting the players' names right? That Mark Richt interview would have been cool, if it were done at halftime. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, this made the production of the WSU-Colorado game look Emmy-worthy.
  • I love Luke Falk, but this was one of his worst games. Partially understandable given the injury and time off, but he had accuracy issues all day.
  • Darrien Molton is gonna be a great player, but he's had better days.
  • Excuse me, coach? 3rd-and-goal from the 19 is a far better scenario than 4th-and-goal from the four. I'm still mystified at Leach's decision there.
  • Speaking of that, why on earth is Taylor Taliulu playing 10 yards off his man on 4th-and-goal from the four?
  • The lack of production on third down and in the red zone.

Likes:

  • Injured stars returning - Was River Cracraft sorely missed or what?
  • The efficiency of that opening drive
  • The tenacity of the defensive line - WSU was getting home with three and four rushers, which is vital when facing a good quarterback.
  • Jamal Morrow - #25 came to play.
  • Caleb Fossum's snap-catching skills
  • Charleston White's coverage and Peyton Pelluer's reflexes combining for a huge interception
  • Luke Falk option keeper!
  • All those Miami penalties
  • At least two more years of Hercules Mata'afa
  • The seniors who started with nine losses in a season, then finished with nine wins in a season.
  • This:

Go Cougs.

Football

Defense shines as Cougars weather snow, Hurricanes for first bowl win since 2003 - Spokesman.com - Dec. 26, 2015
The game, played in front of an announced attendance of 41,180, was the program’s first bowl win since the 2003 Holiday Bowl. WSU (9-4) also has its first winning season since the same year.

Washington State seniors take final bow after ideal outcome - Spokesman.com - Dec. 26, 2015
"This is the perfect way to go out, to get my first bowl victory in my last game," said Dahl, who appreciated the moment even more because it almost didn’t happen.

Sun Bowl notebook: Weather was frightful, win delightful - Spokesman.com - Dec. 26, 2015
As the sun yielded to the clouds, the sublime gave way to some ridiculous sights at Saturday’s wacky, snowy Sun Bowl.

Washington State uses Miami's mistakes to win Sun Bowl
What the win means for Washington State: A bowl win creating offseason momentum can sometimes be overstated, but not when the win comes for a program that hasn’t won a bowl game since 2003.

Shalom Luani’s late interception lifts WSU Cougars to snowy Sun Bowl victory over Miami | The Seattle Times
"It feels great to start to get a name for ourselves," senior defensive lineman Darryl Paulo said, referring to the WSU defense. "The offense has always had the reputation for carrying the team, but we came through today. The offense scored 20 points, and that’s all we needed to win."

Washington State defense fends off Miami
Washington State’s defense did it again Saturday as they stopped the Hurricanes when it mattered the most - just like they've done all year.

Snow Flakes Give Sun Bowl Surreal Setting
It was a football game, a head-knocking affair. While all the pre-game talk centered around Washington State's air attack, this game funneled down to a pair of defenses, a lot of pride and some luck.

Washington State quarterback Falk is MVP
The Jimmy Rogers Jr. most valuable lineman was Cougar freshman Hercules Mata'afa, who had a sack, and the John Folmer special teams award went to Cougar kicker Erik Powell, who had field goals of 30 and 25 yards.

Washington State Cougars hold off error-prone Miami Hurricanes to win snowy Sun Bowl | Miami Herald
Aided by Miami’s porous offensive line, undisciplined play and overall sloppiness, Washington State scored 13 second-quarter points Saturday to break open a first-quarter tie and survive with an eventual 20-14 victory in the Sun Bowl.

Washington State 20, Miami 14, Hyundai Sun Bowl Recap | College Football News
Game Rating: B+. The weather conditions made it even more dramatic. Miami fought through it and had a chance late, but Washington State was able to hang on because of its defense. The Cougar O might have faltered, but it did what it needed to do early on to get the bowl win. Wazzu came a long way from the opener against Portland State.

The Spokesman-Review
Photos from WSU's Sun Bowl victory.

Beer

AB InBev's Brito Says Deal Would Boost U.S. Beer Competition - Bloomberg Business
Anheuser-Busch InBev NV Chief Executive Officer Carlos Brito, attempting to allay concerns of U.S. lawmakers and craft brewers about the company’s proposed $110 billion acquisition of SABMiller Plc, said the deal would increase domestic beer competition, not weaken it.

Non-Sports

The Agency - The New York Times
From a nondescript office building in St. Petersburg, Russia, an army of well-paid "trolls" has tried to wreak havoc all around the Internet — and in real-life American communities.