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Great (and not so great) moments in WSU vs. Stanford history

Stanford v Washington State Photo by William Mancebo/Getty Images

The Washington State Cougars and Stanford Cardinal meet for the 68th time Saturday. Stanford holds a 40-26 record against WSU, with one tie thrown in.

Notable games between the two in the past show up here and there, including a game that helped WSU get to the Rose Bowl and a surprisingly high number of notable games played in the rain.

As always, feel free to point out any games not on this list.


Nov. 15, 1997: WSU 38 Stanford 28

This Saturday, the Cougs have a chance to go undefeated at home for the first time since 2003. They also went undefeated at home in 1997, and this game was the clincher.

It was senior day, and a record 40,306 fans packed Martin Stadium. That record won't be broken until Martin Stadium is expanded again (if that ever happens). How'd they fit 40,000 people in the old Martin Stadium? Well, the west end zone used to have many more seats, and they also wheeled in bleachers in the east end zone.

The Cougar defense picked off four Todd Husak passes. Husak was only playing because starer Chad Hutchinson got hurt on the second play of the game.

Stanford actually had a 28-27 lead early in the fourth quarter but Michael Black ran for a TD and Rien Lindell added a field goal.

Ryan Leaf struck a Heisman pose as the students rushed the turf.

Oct. 20, 1984: WSU 49 Stanford 42

We took a look back at this game in our rundown of fantastic comebacks. It makes another appearance here.

As you may already know, the Cougs came back from 28 points in the fourth quarter for the win in Palo Alto. Running back Rueben Mayes ran for 216 yards, which looked pedestrian a week later, when he ran for 357 yards at Oregon.

Oct. 8, 2016: WSU 42 Stanford 16

This one's fresh in our memories. The Cougs were 2-2 and coming off a (mostly) dominating win against Oregon.

Stanford, meanwhile, was ranked 15th and at home, which isn't really an advantage for them, now that I think about it:

Thanks to two DOINKS! by the Stanford kicker and a poor Stanford offense that lost Christian McCaffrey in the second quarter, WSU took control of the game in front of a sparse crowd and Tiger Woods:

NCAA Football: Washington State at Stanford Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Luke Falk threw for 357 yards and four touchdowns, including a nice one to Tavares Martin Jr. on fourth down, in which Martin Jr. did much of the heavy lifting to get to the end zone.

This seemed like the win last year that gave Coug fans relief after that 0-2 start to the season.

Not so great :(

Oct. 31, 2015: Stanford 30 WSU 28

This one still eats at me.

The upstart Cougs, spurned by College GameDay, outplayed the No. 8 Cardinal in the rain, but an Erik Powell field goal attempt went wide right as time expired. Powell had already hit five field goals in the game.

The Cougs had a 28-27 lead when Stanford's Quenton Meeks picked off a Luke Falk pass with 3:27 to go. Stanford kicked a field goal to take the lead.

Parker Henry looked like he had a pick-six but the refs overturned it. It also looked like the Cougs had recovered a fumble near their own sideline, but that didn't go WSU's way, either.

It was a tough loss, one in which WSU clearly outplayed the Cardinal.

Nov. 1, 2008: Stanford 58 WSU 0

Two weeks prior to this game was the 69-0 embarrassment to USC. After a bye week, the Cougs figured to regroup as they traveled to Palo Alto. They'd get back on track, right?


This was the team's second consecutive shutout loss, after going 280 straight games without being shutout. Life comes as you fast.

The Cougs turned the ball over four times in the first half and Stanford's Toby Gerhart ran in for four touchdowns on this rainy day.

Things were so bad, the Cougs brought in J.T. Levenseller at quarterback. Levenseller was supposed to redshirt but injuries and poor QB play forced him into the game. He promptly bungled a handoff on his fist snap and Stanford recovered the fumble.

Here's a cool tidbit, though: Levenseller completed a pass to Tony Thompson in this game. A long, long time ago, it was Thompson's dad—Jack—completing passes to Levenseller's dad—Mike. It's the circle of life.

This game doesn't get the attention the 69-0 loss to USC gets. That might be because at least the Cougs attempted 32 passes in this one, instead of the nine they attempted against USC. Also, I don't recall Stanford taking a knee inside the ten-yard line, either.

Games like this make me appreciate the kind of football we get to see nowadays.

Oct. 27, 2012: Stanford 24 WSU 17

Stanford would finish 12-2 in 2012, winning the Pac-12 Championship game and the Rose Bowl.

But the Cougs—who were bad in 2012—came within a touchdown of sending the game into overtime in the rain sunshine.

Down 14, Jeff Tuel found Kristoff Williams for a touchdown with 6:29 to play. The Cougs then forced Stanford to punt, setting up a potentially game-tying or game-winning drive. On fourth and 21, Tuel found Bobby Ratliff at the Cardinal eight-yard line.

But here's where things go south.

Tuel, pressured by the Cardinal defense, was called for intentional grounding, sending the Cougs 15 yards back. They had one more play and instead of throwing to the end zone, Tuel was sacked for the tenth time that day as time expired.

Sept. 28, 2013: Stanford 55 WSU 17

Here you go.

I haven't been to many places around the world but I've never seen more rain than I did during the day leading up to this game in Seattle.

It poured all day and into the game, leading much of the crowd to pack it in or watch the game from the concourse (I was guilty of the latter).

It was the penultimate game in Seattle for WSU, and nothing went right. Connor Halliday even had to leave due to an injury.

But at least we got Popcorn Guy!