Happy Saturday, Coug fans. The calendar tells me 2019 is nearing its end, and a new decade is upon us. Since so many other dopey websites are doing a decade-in-review, I figured I’d do one too. Replicate and duplicate is the new R&D.
Before we look ahead to the roaring 20’s, let’s look back at the decade we’re about to depart. This post will be all about Washington State Cougars football of the last decade, so strap in.
The post-aught decade began a lot differently than it will end. Mike Leach has taken what was one of the worst programs in the nation and given us the greatest stretch of Cougar football we’ve ever seen. Looking back, it’s actually quite an amazing feat. Still, the Cougs won’t finish. 500 this decade, despite the recent success. WSU football is 61-64 from 2010 to today, with one game to go.
Let’s go year by year and reminisce about the best and worst football wins of the past decade. I found as many YouTube clips as I could, so bookmark those to watch when you’re tired of hanging our with your family.
Honorable Mention: Um, the only other win on the schedule? A 23-22 come-from-behind win over FCS Montana State. Can you believe WSU was down 22-7 at one point?
Worst Loss: Too many to choose from, but the season opener was a 65-17 drubbing at the hands of Oklahoma State. Things went south from the get-go. James Montgomery fumbled on the first play, and Ricky Galvin, then a true freshman, broke his arm in the first quarter, ending his season.
Best Win: Connor Halliday’s coming out party, an icy 37-27 win over the Arizona State Sun Devils. Halliday chirping at Vontaze Burfict after the game was fun to watch but something tells me Halliday was lucky to escape alive.
Honorable Mention: The 30-27 win at Colorado. Marshall Lobbestael hit a wide open Marquess Wilson late to get the win. WSU was 3-1. We were going to the Rose Bowl!
Worst Loss: Still a lot to choose from. There was the three-point loss at UCLA where a win would have made us 4-1. The drubbing against Oregon State in Seattle that sealed Paul Wulff’s fate also comes to mind. But we’re going with the snowy 30-27 loss to the Utah Utes in Pullman. Marquess Wilson scored to win, but Pac-12 refs and all.
Best Win: Easy: 31-28 over the Washington Huskies in the Apple Cup. The Cougs erased an 18-point deficit to force overtime and Andrew Furney had the game-winning field goal. I’m glad I haven’t forgotten what an Apple Cup victory feels like, but I’m not getting any younger.
Honorable Mention: None. The other wins were against Eastern Washington and UNLV. Please.
Worst Loss: Went back and forth on this one. The Colorado circus nearly had me, but I’m going with the 49-6 loss at Utah and the post-game press conference torture chamber.
Best Win: When we finally reached bowl eligibility with a 49-37 win over Utah. Two pick-sixes and some Halliday bombs sealed the win. That was a great feeling.
Honorable Mention: There was the 10-7 win over USC in Los Angeles. There was also the 42-0 shutout of Idaho that nearly brought Mike Leach and Paul Petrino to blows. You pick.
Worst Loss: Three words: New. Mexico. Bowl.
Best Win: The theft we committed in Salt Lake City. Down 21-0 after one quarter, Connor Halliday has a middle-finger-to-the-haters performance and leads WSU to a 28-27 win in the rain and wind.
Honorable Mention: Luke Falk’s coming out party, a 39-32 win over Oregon State on the road. Falk threw for five touchdowns in his first career start, a sign of things to come the next three seasons.
Worst Loss: 60-59
Best Win: Really difficult to pick one. The win over the UCLA Bruins comes real close. Beating the Miami Hurricanes for our first bowl win since 2003 obviously has to be considered. But we’re going with the two-overtime win over the Oregon Ducks. WSU already showed it could come back from the dead when it beat Rutgers, but this win showed it could do the same against a more formidable foe. The win started a four-year winning streak over the Ducks.
Honorable Mention: I’ll go with the UCLA game. Another example of the team being down but not out. That win might be the most satisfying, for me at least.
Worst Loss: Portland State, with the Stanford game sniffing the podium here.
Best Win: Nothing really stands out above the rest, but I’m going with the 42-16 win over the Stanford Cardinal in Palo Alto. WSU pretty much overwhelmed the Cardinal and held Christian McCaffrey to just 35 yards rushing.
Honorable Mention: The 35-31 win over the Oregon State Beavers on the road. WSU found itself down 24-6 at halftime but a huge second half, particularly the third quarter, got the win over the poor Beavs.
Worst Loss: The 45-17 loss in the Apple Cup. You could feel the intensity inside Martin Stadium as the game kicked off with the North title on the line. Sigh.
Best Win: It’s a tie between the triple overtime win over the Boise State Broncos and the Friday night 30-27 win over the USC Trojans. The Boise State game was a wild affair with Tyler Hilinksi taking over for Luke Falk and leading the Cougs to the dramatic win. The USC game had a national audience and Falk and the Cougs shined when the lights were on them.
Honorable Mention: The 24-21 win on Senior Day over the Stanford Cardinal. The Cougs needed a perfect scoring drive in the fourth quarter and got it, thanks largely to a key third-and-long conversion on their own side of the field.
Worst Loss: 37-3 in the smoke at Cal. Yuck.
Best Win: Um, all of them? There are a ton to choose from, but I’m going with a September win over the Utah Utes. The Cougs really needed this one after getting jobbed the week before at USC. The Utes aren’t an easy out, and a Gardner Minshew II to Easop Winston Jr. catch-and-run in the fourth quarter brought Martin Stadium alive. Utah didn’t have enough left to win. The victory started a seven-game winning streak.
Honorable Mention: All the rest? The win at Stanford is probably the closest, and of course the fourth straight win over the Oregon Ducks with ESPN’s College GameDay in town is memorable. Oh yeah, and we also won the Alamo Bowl to win a program record 11th game. See? Any of them could fit here.
Worst Loss: Snow, and I factored in the drive home for this one.
Best Win: The 49-22 win over the Stanford Cardinal was probably the team’s most complete game against decent competition, but the 54-53 win over the Oregon State Beavers takes the cake. So. Much. Drama. Max Borghi delivered when needed and secured a bowl game.
Honorable Mention: Yeah the Stanford game. Not a ton to choose from, obviously. And we still have the Cheez-It Bowl, which could sneak in here somewhere.
Worst Loss: 67-63
OK, now pick your favorites from the decade. See you next year!
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