The Cougars Disappoint, Again
So far this year, the Cougars’ football season has been like peeling an onion. You continue to tear off layer after layer, until you’re left weeping over the sink.
There has been a minimal amount of highs to go with the seemingly infinite amount of lows for the Cougar football program, and this past Saturday was no different.
The Cougars traveled to Phoenix to take on the Sun Devils in match up of two struggling teams. The Cougars took the cake in the struggling department, losing badly in a 46-7 beating.
The Cougars have been defeated emotionally and physically all year, and after a surprising comeback that fell short against UCLA, they may not have any fight left in the tank.
First Half Blunders
For the third straight week, the Cougars were down by a deficit of at least 30 points going into the half.
They started the game off with a bang, fumbling the punt on their opening drive to set up a 21-yard field goal for Arizona State.
The Sun Devils were on a 4-game losing streak, in which their quarterback Taylor Kelly threw 7 interceptions.
The Cougars must have felt bad for Kelly – considering they allowed him to throw for 246 and 4 touchdowns. They also surrendered a total of 561 yards to the Sun Devils, and got little help from their offense to battle back.
The running game was once again a major success, gaining a total of 1 yard on 19 carries.
The rushing production has yet to exist all season, and this game was no different.
Unfortunately, with the dismissal of Marquess Wilson, the Pac-12’s top passing offense was held to 240 yards – 137 below its season average.
Tuel had his worst game of the season, throwing for 67 yards on 8 of 16 passing attempts with an interception.
Halliday did little to counter Tuel, adding 173 yards on 13 of 33 passing attempts with an interception and a late touchdown pass in garbage time.
Signs of a Defeated Team
The week prior to the Arizona State trip, the Cougars had a heartbreaking loss to the UCLA Bruins.
The game was thought to be another blowout, trailing big at half time. But the Cougars showed an immense amount of heart, battling back against the top-ranked Bruins and brought it to a one-possession game. Unfortunately, their efforts fell short and UCLA came out on top 44-36.
That seemed to be the final breath from the Cougars’ lungs.
After the impressive battle, there was a hint of optimism for the Cougar faithful with a possible momentum ride heading into Saturday.
That hint was immediately washed away when the Cougars took the field.
The opening drive leading to a punt – which was fumbled – just put a dagger in the hearts of any remaining fans with a hope for another victory this season.
The Cougars are bad, and they seem to be getting worse.
This is by far not what any fans had predicted or hoped for, and is going to leave Mike Leach with several questions to answer this coming off-season.
Potential Silver Lining
Despite the tumultuous season, every Cougar fan has the same feeling in their heart. If they Cougars come out victorious in the Apple Cup, it will be a desperately needed silver lining for the 2012 campaign.
Prior to the season the Apple Cup was expected to be a shootout between two competitive programs on the rise.
Now, with the game just ahead, it seems to be an expected blowout between one team that is picking up speed and another that has lost their keys.
The Huskies are coming into Pullman as the nation’s 25th ranked team.
They have won 4-straight, and look to add a fifth to the streak before the season’s end.
The home-field advantage goes to the Cougars – yet because of terrible scheduling – the game is falling on the Friday afternoon after Thanksgiving.
Considering the majority of WSU students don’t actually hail from Pullman, there is a good possibility the turnout won’t be as strong as it should be.
Nevertheless, the Cougars have had their backs against the wall all season and have yet to respond.
I will be in the stands this Friday, hoping for some sort of silver lining in this painful season.
LET’S GO COUGS!