I needed some time to recuperate from my trip to Colorado for the WSU football game this past weekend. I expected the Cougs to be competitive, but I didn't think I would see a come-from-behind, breath-stealing victory. (It wasn't the altitude.)
I attended the game with two of my friends, including former Herald employee Jonalynn McFadden, who hoped the Cougs could give her a win on her 30th birthday. We had seats in the visitor's section, but we realized we could camp out right along the end zone, so we stood there all game. It turned out we not only had a front-row view of Ralphie the buffalo's gallop around Folsom Field, but Carl Winston's touchdown run to start the scoring and Marquess Wilson's 63-yard, game-winning TD catch from Marshall Lobbestael.
It was a slow-motion moment as the ball sailed through the air toward Wilson. "Is he going to catch it? Is he going to catch it?" I wondered as I watched the trajectory of the ball. When the ball landed in Wilson's arms and the receiver sped into the end zone, the WSU fans began jumping up and down, hugging, high-fiving — even crying. I didn't cry, but I was quite proud of the crimson and gray's ability to rally from what would have been an insurmountable deficit a year ago.
It was pretty special to be in the crowd singing the WSU fight song with the players and coaches. Paul Wulff, who minutes earlier fumed over a pass-interference call against cornerback Daniel Simmons, was beaming for good reason — his Cougs had been able to overcome earlier mistakes and pull out a road victory against a team hungry to prove itself in a new conference.
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Though Lobbestael and the offense came through in the end, the defense helped keep the Cougars in the game. If Damante Horton had not forced Paul Richardson's fumble in the final minute and Alex Hoffman-Ellis had not been involved on seemingly every great defensive play, the result very well could have gone the other way.
Saturday's performance went a long way toward making up for the Halloween Eve Massacre I witnessed last year in Tempe, Ariz., a 42-0 slaughter at the hands of the Arizona State Sun Devils. I hope to see some great action during the Oct. 15 homecoming game against Stanford. Not expecting another miracle, but the Coug faithful can dream. If you can't get to Pullman, the game will be shown at 4:30 p.m. on Versus.
Check out the video below to relive the Cougs' victory. You can catch a glimpse of me screaming my head off in disbelief and joy at 14:40. I'm off to the far right.