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A look back at WSU’s previous Alamo Bowl

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There was a bit of defense

WSU Athletics

Good morning. As you’re all aware, the Washington State Cougars are 12 days away from squaring off with the Iowa State Cyclones in the Alamo Bowl. Nearly all of you are probably also aware that this will not be WSU’s first appearance in the San Antonio bowl game. The Cougs took on another Big 12 (though back then they were in the Southwest Conference) opponent in the Baylor Bears.

The Alamo Bowl was still in its nascent stages back in 1994, as the Cougs and Bears would take part in just the second edition. The bowl sponsor back then was Builders Square, a Home Depot-like place where you could wander around for six hours inside a cavernous warehouse in search of a sprinkler head. At the time, Builders Square was somewhat of a big deal. They eventually had over 150 stores in several states, and sported none other than Home Improvement’s (it was a big deal at the time) Tim Allen as a sponsor.

Builders Square was bankrupt and its assets liquidated before the calendar hit 2000.

Where were we? Oh yeah, a football game. Both WSU and Baylor came in with matching 7-4 records. The Cougs sported the nation’s best scoring defense, allowing a paltry 11.3 points-per-game, while Baylor tied for its conference title...with four other teams. For this game, WSU also sported some truly hideous pants. How did they only win seven games in the regular season? Well, they picked a really bad year to field one of the school’s worst offenses in history. Even an average WSU offense would have put the Cougs in the Rose Bowl.

The game started in uncharacteristic fashion for WSU, as they took their first possession 91 yards on 13 plays, culminating in a Kevin Hicks touchdown and a 7-0 lead. In true 1994 Cougar fashion, that would be the only touchdown of the game. Tony “The Toe” Truant added a 37-yard field goal in the second quarter, and the Cougs led 10-0 at halftime.

The second half was a back-and-forth, tooth-pulling affair. The third quarter featured one score, a 36-yard Jarvis Van Dyke field goal, which cut WSU’s lead to 10-3. The teams would trade empty possessions throughout the fourth quarter, until Baylor nearly broke through in the waning seconds. On fourth down, the Bears hit a 33-yard pass to the WSU 11-yard line and threatened to tie or take the lead in the final minute.

It all came down to the Palouse Posse needing to make one final stand. This was a defense which featured several future NFL players like Mark Fields, Chad Eaton, Don Sasa, Ron Childs, Chris Hayes and Singor Mobley, owner of the world’s biggest set of shoulder pads for a safety. So who made the game-saving play? Why a little-used back-up safety, of course. With 30 seconds remaining, Baylor quarterback Jeff Watson tried to hit tight end Damon Rhynes in the end zone, but Cougar safety Todd Jensen (!!??) intercepted the pass and saved the day.

The victory was WSU’s third straight in bowl games (what’s that like?), and brought a fitting end to a season in which the Cougs were nearly perfect on defense and ghastly on offense. WSU would finish 21st in the final AP Poll. Hopefully Gardner Minshew II and the Cougars put up more than 10 points against the Iowa State Cyclones, but if you told me they’d only score 10 and win, I’d happily take it.

Football

NFL coaching candidates: Mike Leach, Dave Dickenson | SI.com
On a serious note, Leach’s coaching tree is damn impressive, and includes a few names that NFL teams may be looking at this offseason anyway (Lincoln Riley was at Texas Tech from 2003–09).

Cougars Hold On Jensen's Late Interception Preserves Alamo Bowl Victory | The Spokesman-Review
The Cougars’ only touchdown came midway through the opening period, when tailback Kevin Hicks scored on a 1-yard run that capped a 91-yard drive.

Look back at Baylor's 1994 Alamo Bowl appearance | Baylor | wacotrib.com
With Washington State and Baylor featuring two of the top defenses in the nation, it was no shock that it was a low-scoring game.

This Week in Parenting

The 7 year-old came running into our room this morning to report that it had snowed overnight. This is a big deal in the Kendall household, because even though mom and dad grew up with four seasons, the kids are by-and-large Florida boys. As such, they’ve had precious little snow experience. After the requisite snowball fight and snow angels, it was time to make a snowman. But it couldn’t be just any snowman.

Yep, we made ourselves a Minshew snowman.

After this, the boys continued the snow antics while dad and his 42 year-old back took to shoveling the driveway and sidewalk. Kids really do have all the fun.

Beer

Best beer I had this week: The beer Advent Calendar has yielded mixed results so far. Being winter and all, I was hoping to find a better variety, and there have been precious few dark beers. It’s mostly been pale ales and IPAs because, like every other beer company, Mikkeller wants us all to bow to our IPA overlords. That said, one of the selections this week is a pale ale called K:rlek 12 Forår. I’ve had my share of pale ales, and this is the best one I’ve ever tasted.

Full-strength beer in Colorado groceries threat to young lives
It’s time to make our final toast to 3.2 beer, that beautiful, uniquely Colorado oddity. On Jan. 1, grocery and convenience stores can sell full-octane beer, ushering the end of 3.2 brew.

Non-Sports

“I Don’t Want to Shoot You, Brother”
A shocking story of police and lethal force. Just not the one you might expect.