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WSU football excited to experience full capacity crowd this weekend

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After nearly 2 full years, Cougar fans and players alike are excited fill Gesa Field this weekend.

Stanford v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

On November 23, 2019, Washington State played host to Oregon State in Pullman. With just seconds on the clock, WSU running back Max Borghi punched in a game winning touchdown run to clinch a 54-53 victory and seal another bowl berth for the Cougs. It was a great moment for fans inside Martin Stadium... Unfortunately, it was the last in-game moment WSU fans would experience at home for quite some time.

Of course, you know the story by now. The 2020 season was canceled, and then it was uncanceled, and then COVID-19 issues caused the Cougs to miss three games and finish the shortened slate just 1-4. The Cougars ended up playing just one home game over that stretch, but fans were not allowed to be in the seats.

But change is on the way. This weekend, for the first time in more than 650 days, the Cougar faithful will find their way back home to see the Cougs in person as they take on Utah State.

“We’re ready to go,” Travell Harris told the media last week. “We’re ready to showcase what we’ve been working on (in front of fans) and we’re ready to get out there and get it done.”

The veterans like Harris and Max Borghi, who tweeted about how excited he was over the Summer, know what the gameday atmosphere will be like in (the newly re-named) GESA Field at Martin Stadium. The younger players and the coaches, however, haven’t had the chance to experience a Cougar Football Saturday.

“We’ve been here for a year and a half and I haven’t gotten a chance to see the stadium full yet,” said offensive coordinator Brian Smith. “I’ve heard a lot about it and what the gameday experience is here and what it’s like, but I’m looking forward to experiencing it.”

“I’m eager for our guys to get some fans to watch them play,” added head coach Nick Rolovich. “I think they’ve sacrificed a lot and grown strong together. They know that the fans are part of the experience. There’s an element of wanting the alums and out season season ticket holders proud. I think it’s definitely bringing some excitement to Saturday.”

The team seems excited for a return to normalcy and the chance to play in front of fans this weekend... Most of the team at least.

“It’s exciting, but they don’t cheer for us anyway on the o-line,” Abraham Lucas told the media yesterday. “I mean, I know all the noise will be great, but it won’t be directed at us so it won’t be that much of a distraction, if that makes sense.”

Spoken like a true veteran.

As for the fans, they’ve also had to wait 22 months to return to Martin Stadium. On Saturday, they’ll have to wait a little longer for an 8 p.m. kickoff, the latest in the country during week one. The good news is that fans in Pullman will be a little extra ‘ready’ for gameday. The bad news is that fans on the east coast might have to invest in a D.V.R.

Links

Washington State needs to hold several Utah State newcomers in check | The Spokesman-Review
PULLMAN – In preparing for their Week 1 opponent, the Washington State Cougars know they can’t rely much on last season’s game film.

Cougar Chalk Talk: Meet WSU's first opponent, the Utah State Aggies - KXLY
We’ve heard a lot the past month about the Washington State Cougars– during training camp and fall practice we’ve practically heard from half the team.

Former Seahawks, WSU standout Dan Doornink ‘beating the odds’ in critical battle with COVID-19 | The Spokesman-Review
Dan Doornink, a standout running back at Washington State in the 1970s and a fan favorite with the Seahawks in the ’80s, has turned a corner in his critical fight against COVID-19 at a Yakima hospital.

Wildfire smoke, not COVID, is chief threat to Pac-12 football in 2021
If the Air Quality Index exceeds 200, football games will be postponed, canceled or perhaps relocated, if the conference has enough notice to change venues.

Saints reduce roster to 53 players - ProFootballTalk
Former WSU star Easop Winston is among those looking for a new home in the NFL.