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Let’s rehash some storylines from the 2019 Cougar football season

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Remember Gage Gubrud?

NCAA Football: Cheez-It Bowl-Air Force vs Washington State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we’ve had a day to stew, how are we feeling? Our Washington State Cougars just concluded a 6-7 season with a loss in the Cheez-It Bowl. That’s five bowl games in as many seasons, but a sub-.500 record is a disappointment. This is the new “down year” for WSU football. Like Mike Leach said after the game, there were definitely some wins left on the table (UCLA, Arizona State, Oregon). Such is life.

Now that the season is over, I thought it’d be....fun? interesting?....to look back at some storylines this season—some well-known, others forgotten.

Let’s go.

Gage Gubrud threw just 13 passes

NCAA Football: Northern Colorado at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Remember when Gubrud was going to be the starting quarterback? The graduate transfer from Eastern Washington was penciled in as the starter seemingly the moment he announced his transfer, at least by those not with the team. But an injury forced Gubrud out for almost the entire spring, allowing Anthony Gordon and Trey Tinsley to take the majority of the quarterback reps. We know the rest of the story, as Gubrud appeared in just two games and went 10-of-13 for 89 yards and a touchdown.

Question: Is Gubrud the first quarterback to throw a touchdown pass in Martin Stadium for both the home and road teams in this career?

The Anthony Gordon story is legendary

NCAA Football: Cheez-It Bowl-Air Force vs Washington State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

We touched on this when Gordon was named the starter, but let’s refresh: Gordon, a JC transfer who watched his coach bring in two graduate transfers ahead of him, beat out the second graduate transfer for the starting nod during his senior season. The former MLB draft pick of the New York Mets, Gordon was pretty much an unknown. He impressed in the spring, and then proceeded to throw for 5,579 yards and 48 touchdowns. Those numbers were tops in the nation, as were his completions (493) and his attempts (689). He threw for 400+ yards nine times and tossed at least five touchdowns four times, including a school-record nine touchdown passes against UCLA. These numbers are bonkers. What a story.

WSU continues its stellar play at home

NCAA Football: Stanford at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Despite the disappointing season, the Cougs lost just one game at home—the one that shall not be named. Since 2015, the Cougs are 27-6 at Martin Stadium. Those who are able to make it to home games have been treated nicely the past five seasons. A lot of this is schedule luck, and WSU’s opponents on the road were especially formidable this season.

Brandon Arconado should have a statue outside Martin Stadium

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 27 Cheez-It Bowl - Air Force v Washington State Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A little hyperbole never hurt.

Here’s what I wrote about Arconado in the season preview:

Arconado—the redshirt senior and one-time walk-on—is always lauded in practice reports and by coaches but has only seen spot duty in games. He’s been in the top eight with Calvin sidelined and will have a lot of fans rooting for him if he cracks the lineup on a regular basis. Calvin still hasn’t practiced, so it’s probably safe to assume Arconado will get plenty of playing time.

Arconado performed way above expectations. Get this: Arconado came into 2019 with just 73 career receiving yards—all coming two seasons ago in 2017. He had zero yards in 2018 and then went off for 1,109 yards this season, and that’s including the two games he missed with an injury. Leach described Arconado as the perfect example of what can happen when you are coachable and simply do your job. Arconado isn’t the fastest guy—in fact, he might be one of the slowest—but he’s certainly the most reliable. Who knows, maybe we beat Arizona State if he plays.

For the first time since 2016, the Cougar defense failed to put up a donut

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 29 Washington State at Washington Photo by Christopher Mast/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Big surprise, right? I bring this up because after the season-opening 58-7 win over New Mexico State, Will Rogers III said—somewhat playfully—that the defense wants a shutout this season. The New Mexico State game was the closest it came, with the 41-10 victory over the Colorado Buffaloes the next closest. The defense was among the worst in the nation, of course, so this quote obviously doesn’t look good in retrospect, but I did find it interesting that WSU had three shutouts in the previous two seasons. Maybe next year!

Remember that officiating snafu against Cal?

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Conference Championship-Oregon vs Utah Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Funny how that is almost forgotten, given the way the season went and the Pac-12’s rep when it comes to officiating.

And finally, this sums up the 2019 season: WSU lost a game when scoring 63 points, and won a game when giving up 53 points.

Are you not entertained?!?!?!


Links

Football

Washington State rewind: Mike Leach doubles down on fourth-down gambles in Cheez-It Bowl loss to Air Force | The Spokesman-Review
In the final rewind of the season, we recap the Cougars’ inability to convert two key fourth downs, two critical injuries suffered on defense and Mike Leach’s abysmal track record in the final two games of the year. The eighth-year coach fell to 3-11 in Apple Cups and bowl games Friday night.

Brandon Arconado becomes first Washington State receiver to reach 1,000 yards since 2015 | The Spokesman-Review
The redshirt senior and former walk-on once again became Anthony Gordon’s primary target early on Friday night and Arconado, on his third reception in the game, reached 1,000 receiving yards on the season to become the first Washington State player to hit the milestone since Gabe Marks did it in 2015.

Washington State’s Misiona Aiolupotea-Pei accepts invitation to Hula Bowl | The Spokesman-Review
Misiona Aiolupotea-Pei, the Washington State nose tackle who came to the United States from New Zealand to chase a dream of playing college football, will have an opportunity to keep playing once tonight’s Cheez-It Bowl is over.

Washington State punter, kicker mingle with celebrity specialist Pat McAfee prior to Cheez-It Bowl | The Spokesman-Review
Pat McAfee lists a Twiter following of more than 1.7 million, so when the popular football/wrestling analyst and podcast host took a lap around Chase Field Friday night wearing a red Cheez-It Bowl-branded cutoff hoodie, a small fraction of his fanbase trailed behind him, hoping to pose for a photo or mingle with the American media celebrity.

Basketball

Cougs Open Pac-12 Play on Sunday in Beasley against the Huskies - Washington State University Athletics
PULLMAN, Wash – The Washington State University women's basketball team is set to open Pac-12 Conference play this Sunday, Dec. 29, against in-state rival Washington.

Men's Hoops in Search of a Perfect December - Washington State University Athletics
The Cougs close out non-conference play against Arkansas Pine-Bluff Sunday at Beasley.