WSU vs. STANFORD

WSU vs. STANFORD

The Daily Evergreen

Luvu prepares for final game at Martin Stadium

JACKSON GARDNER | Evergreen reporter

Cougar seniors will play their last game at Martin Stadium on Saturday, and senior linebacker Franki Luvu’s family will be there to witness all his hard work paying off. Over half his family has yet to watch him play a college game live.

Luvu hails from Tafuna, American Samoa, so getting his entire family to travel more than 5,000 miles over the Pacific Ocean is not something that happens overnight.

Their family reunion has been in the works before the 2017 season kicked off, Luvu said. This is all before he posted career highs in sacks and tackles for a loss with three regular season games to go.

“I am beyond excited to see the baby of my family play,” Luvu’s sister Lusiana Luvu-Thompson said. “Not only me, our whole family, especially our dad. It’s been a rollercoaster ride getting our dad to be able to travel to the U.S.”

For the first time, Frankie’s father Veresa Luvu will step off “the rock,” as Luvu describes American Samoa, and travel to the U.S. Luvu’s dad has overcome multiple health issues to be fit to make the trip.

Among other complications, Luvu’s dad is not a citizen of the U.S. and getting his visa was a process that lasted several months. When Luvu was asked about the complexity of the process, he could only shake his head with a smile because it was done.

The timing of the reunion couldn’t have been planned better. Luvu will get an opportunity to spend a Dad’s Weekend, with his own father.

ABBY LINNENKOHL | The Daily Evergreen
Senior lineman Frankie Luvu talks after practice Tuesday night about his preparations for Saturday’s game against Stanford.

One of the people to match Luvu’s excitement for the reunion is Ella Dederick, WSU soccer junior goalkeeper and Luvu’s girlfriend.

While Luvu has met Dederick’s family, Dederick has not had the chance to meet the Luvus. It is an opportunity she will cherish. But Dederick has obligations in Seattle on Friday when WSU soccer plays University of Washington.

The soccer team’s plane is scheduled to land back in Pullman a couple hours before kickoff Saturday. Dederick plans to exit the plane and head directly to Martin Stadium to formally meet the Luvu’s on the sideline.

Most Cougar fans know the soft-spoken, physically intimidating Luvu on the field, but few know the inner workings of Luvu like Dederick.

“I really think over the past year, he has changed into such a great person, and really matured,” Dederick said. “He is ready for anything that comes his way.”

The respectful and family-oriented demeanor of Luvu has earned him a spot in the hearts of Dederick and her family, as well as many of her teammates and their families, she said. His love for family goes beyond his own kin, Dederick said.

If Luvu isn’t playing football, it’s possible he is on the soccer field with Dederick. Luvu, who formally represented the American Samoa U-17 national team as a midfielder, still keeps some of his old form.

He enjoys passing the ball around with Dederick, but when the competitive edge spurs in them, Luvu will take a few shots on goal against her.

“It’s too fast for her, she can’t handle it,” Luvu said with a sarcastic smile.

Upon realizing the implications this statement could have, Luvu was quick to say he was joking and gave credit to his girlfriend for her goalkeeping skills.

Even Dederick said Luvu’s shot has a surprising amount of velocity. It may not be as frightening as Luvu is on defense to opposing teams, but it is enough to give her a scare she said.

Cougar football looks to rebound after loss to Arizona

SAM HEIKELL | Evergreen reporter

No. 25 WSU football (7-2, 4-2) will look to bounce back from its second road loss of the season when the team takes the field against No. 18 Stanford (6-2, 5-1) on Saturday.

The Cardinal are coming off a 15-14 win over Oregon State University on Oct. 26. The Cougars beat Stanford 42-16 in last year’s matchup. In the game, redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk threw for 357 yards and four touchdowns, and the defense held former Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey to 35 rushing yards.

One of Stanford’s most notable strengths on offense this season has been junior running back Bryce Love. He’s rushed for 1,387 yards and 11 touchdowns so far. Love didn’t play in the team’s win against the Beavers, however, and will be a game-time decision Saturday, according to Stanford Head Coach David Shaw.

WSU senior linebacker Frankie Luvu said the team isn’t concerned about the status of Love for Saturday’s game and is focused on getting in the backfield and disrupting the Cardinal running game.

“I say downhill every play, penetration is key. Especially for a team like this that likes to run the ball,” Luvu said. “I think [Love] is a good running back, but like I said, penetration will kill that just being in the backfield.”

In the Cougars’ 58-37 loss to University of Arizona last week, the defense gave up 585 total yards, and the offense turned the ball over four times.

“We played hard, as far as running hard, as far as running into stuff,” Head Coach Mike Leach said after the game. “But we just played dumb, we just played outright dumb.”

Along with the loss came some controversy. Redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk was benched in the second quarter after completing 13 of 23 passes for 93 yards. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Tyler Hilinski came in and racked up four total touchdowns and connecting on 45 of his 61 passing attempts for 509 yards. Hilinski also threw four interceptions on the night, including one that was returned for a touchdown.

But Leach confirmed at his weekly news conference Monday that Falk will start this week against Stanford.

“I think when [Falk] plays his best, he just goes out and plays, and I think sometimes he plays slow,” Leach said about his starting quarterback.

He didn’t put all the blame on Falk, though.

“It wasn’t just him, it was our offense as well,” Leach said.

The Cardinal have won five straight games after starting the season 1-2, and sit in a tie atop the Pac-12 North standings with University of Washington. WSU is in the third spot in the North standings and will most likely need to beat Stanford and UW to have a chance at making it to the Pac-12 title game in California.

WSU will finish the season with two road games against the University of Utah on Nov. 11 and the Huskies on Nov. 25.

Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. Saturday at Martin Stadium. The game will also be broadcasted live on FOX.

ZZU CRU motivates student-athletes from stands

JACKSON GARDNER | Evergreen reporter

Whenever Cougar Athletics is looking for fan support, they are there. Whenever there are Twitter trolls attempting to use the Cougars’ name in vain, they are there. And wherever Andy Grammer’s song “Back Home” plays, they are there.

The ZZU CRU serves as the hype builders for university athletics across the WSU Pullman campus.

The student-run ZZU CRU is more than just a student section. Their affiliation with the athletic department is designed to help market WSU Athletics. ZZU CRU President Madison Hedding has been a part of the leadership for all three years that the organization has been student-led.

“[WSU Athletics] brought us on board to have a student perspective and for students to plan ZZU CRU,” Hedding said. “Our main goal is to increase our student section. Not just the awareness, but how successful our events are and getting our brand out.”

The funding for ZZU CRU is directly correlated to how many sports passes WSU is able to sell. Despite the spike in prices for sports passes this year, sales for sports passes have increased from last year, Hedding said.

Courtesy ZZU CRU

Hedding doesn’t want ZZU CRU to take the credit for the increase in sports passes, but she has seen increases in turnout for their events like “Weekend at Ernie’s” and “ZZU MANIA.”

“I remember when I started I would tell people to come out for ZZU CRU and they would say, ‘What’s ZZU CRU?’ ”she said. “Now, if I say I work for ZZU CRU, people are like, ‘Oh you work for ZZU CRU? That is so cool.’ ”

A large reason ZZU CRU has seen such a jolt in turnout is its effort to create brand awareness via social media. Social Media Manager Steven Strobis is the puppet master behind all of ZZU CRU’s social media activity.

“I have tried to give ZZU CRU a personality, if that makes sense,” Strobis said. “It’s not a 40-year-old administrator in the athletic department trying to relate to the students. It’s 20-year-old me, who is a junior, relating to the students.”

The position of social media director is always on standby. Strobis is always on the lookout for a backhanded comment from a University of Washington fan, and it is a guarantee he will promptly fire back.

The ZZU CRU has over 8,000 followers on Twitter, more than 6,000 likes on its Facebook page and more than 4,000 followers on Instagram.

In spirit of the WSU vs. UW rivalry that ZZU CRU passionately embraces, it is important to note that the ZZU CRU has more than 2,000 more followers on Twitter than its rival, The Dawg Pack.

“ZZU CRU is getting more popular as people are starting to come to more events,” Hedding said. “We’re all a bunch of college kids who sleep at the same place, eat at the same place and are all Cougs. When you get that culture going, more people want to be a part of it.”

A brief pause for uncertainties of WSU football

BRADEN JOHNSON | Evergreen columnist

The jovial nature of players, coaches and members of the Athletic Department this week made No. 25 WSU, not 23rd-ranked Arizona, resemble the team coming off a three-score win.

Head Coach Mike Leach, donning a red Cougars sweatshirt and Nike dri-fit sweatpants, cracked jokes with the small crowd in attendance for the ceremonial naming of the Gray W Jack Thompson Legends Lounge inside the Cougar Football Complex on Monday.

Thompson, the former WSU quarterback receiving the honor, along with WSU President Kirk Schulz and Interim Athletic Director John Johnson, stood next to the coach and laughed.

A trio of donors, with a $500,000 donation to the Athletic Department, named the fourth-floor lounge in honor of Thompson. Yet the “Throwin’ Samoan” was just as eager to build up the trajectory of the WSU football program as he was to talk about the honor.

“It’s been a blast,” he said when asked if he’s enjoyed the season. “We’re 7-2. I get that people are upset that we lost to Arizona in grand fashion, but we’ve got a great coaching staff in place and talent on the board.”

The mood around the program is odd. Eccentric, even.

A host of sullen faces from players and a public evisceration of the team from Leach followed a 37-3 loss to California on Oct. 13. But since Saturday’s loss to the Wildcats, Leach has been calm and players upbeat.

What gives? This is a program without an athletic director, skeptical on whether Leach will be in Pullman when spring football rolls around, and with issues to sort out at quarterback and in the secondary.

“We’re gonna get the right AD,” Thompson said. “It’s not a matter of ‘if,’ it’s a matter of ‘when,’ and it’s going to be soon.”

Maybe the shift in attitudes following a loss that saw 58 points surrendered and a quarterback change midway through the game is Leach and company acknowledging they simply got beat by a red-hot Arizona offense.

“Their quarterback is pretty good,” Leach said of Wildcats’ starter Khalil Tate.

Maybe Leach’s unexpected demeanor is his attempt to keep morale high for a program facing a brutal three-game stretch to close the regular season.

Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle asked Leach during his weekly press conference on Monday if his usual bluntness following a loss has ever worked against him.

“Typically, I’m most blunt on myself and on our coaching ability,” Leach said. “I suspect it has. I know being too positive has.”

Despite back-to-back road losses, WSU still controls its own destiny for a Pac-12 North division title.­

Maybe, despite Leach refusing to dramatize the festivities of Senior Day, Saturday’s matinee matchup with No. 21 Stanford has prompted the program to look at where this group of fourth and fifth-year seniors has taken it.

“They’re definitely responsible for turning this whole program around,” junior wide receiver Kyle Sweet said. “From their work ethic, to just coming out every day and doing what they have to do, and being great role models.”

Recall that the group arrived when three-to-six-win seasons were the norm and there were plenty of questions surrounding Leach and his coaching staff.

Maybe Leach and players are working to prevent redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk, whom Leach tabbed as Saturday’s starter, from putting any additional pressure on himself after his first-half benching Saturday.

“He’s firing guys up and talking to them, and you would never know that [being benched] had happened to him,” Sweet said of Falk. “He’s in great spirits the whole time and never pouty at all.”

Leach added that Falk is the type of player who handles everything football-related “pretty well.”

“You’re talking about a guy who had kind of a longer path than nearly everybody and he’s taken it further than nearly everybody,” he said.

Or maybe, despite the long list of uncertainties surrounding WSU football, Monday’s naming rights ceremony, combined with what the Cougars still have left to play for and their long-term potential, caused everyone to pause and reflect on how far the program has come in a few short years.

Juxtaposed with Saturday’s thrashing at the hands of Arizona were the commitments of a pair of four-star wide receivers. Johnson said there has been more than $1 million dollars donated to the Athletic Department since Moos’ left Pullman.

If the Cougars win the rest of their games, they are headed to a New Year’s Six bowl game. A lot of work to be done, but, for better or worse, the Pac-12 is squarely up for grabs.

“I don’t believe in looking in my rearview mirror,” Thompson said, “I believe in looking at what’s possible.”

Assuming he returns from an ankle injury, Stanford junior running back Bryce Love and his nation-best 198.1 yards per game could have a field day in the forecasted snow against WSU’s run defense. Rice-Eccles and Husky Stadium are two of the toughest venues in the Pac-12, and are where the Cougars finish the regular season.

It’s no secret that this could turn ugly three weeks from now, despite all of the opportunity at play.

Talking to the Cougars, though, you wouldn’t know it.

Leach balances football with being a dad

DYLAN GREENE | Evergreen asst. sports editor 

EZEKIEL NELSON | The Daily Evergreen
Head Coach Mike Leach talks about the impact coaching has on his family life.

Mike Leach’s life isn’t all about football; he’s a dad, too.

Leach has three daughters and one son: Kim, Kiersten, Janeen and Cody. He said it’s harder during the football season to squeeze in time to perform his other job of being a father.

“Honestly, you don’t carve out near as much quality time as you would like,” he said. “I mean, it’s nearly impossible.”

The sixth-year WSU head coach has been balancing the two jobs for about 30 years. Janeen Clark, Leach’s oldest daughter, said her dad did a pretty good job of making time for family when she was growing up.

“I remember he worked a lot, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t super involved in everything I was doing,” she said.

Clark was an All-District softball pitcher for four straight years in high school, and she said her dad helped her every step of the way. Every day, Leach would come home from coaching and spend an hour and a half practicing softball with Clark to help her hone her skills.

After each practice session, Leach would provide his daughter with constructive criticism. He would tell her what she was doing well and what she needed to improve on.

It became routine — a routine Clark tried to break by pretending to sleep when her dad came home from coaching. But Leach didn’t fall for the act, and would wake her up to go practice.

Clark said her father instilled discipline and hard work by making her practice softball every day since she was six-years-old.

“The way he is now with the players, I’ve experienced that,” she said. “He treated me a lot like his players, but he was probably easier on me, even though it didn’t feel like it.”

She said her dad was always there for support and never missed any of her or her siblings’ games unless something unavoidable came up.

Clark, a family physician, remembers watching her dad struggle to work his way up through the coaching ranks when she was a child. She said her dad sent letters to every school you could think of just to find a coaching job.

Clark said the perseverance and drive Leach had to pursue a career that he loved is something he’s carried with him throughout his entire life.

“He is motivated and ambitious. If he wants something, he’s going to figure out how to get it,” she said.

And once Leach did break through, success followed him wherever he went, she said. From Texas Tech to his current stop in Pullman, Leach has been able to utilize the resources given to him to bring football programs back to relevancy, Clark said.

“He’s getting the most out of players,” she said. “He gets a lot of talent out of players that a lot of people just overlooked.”

The mother-of-three said Leach did the same thing with her by teaching a 5-foot-5-inch, 115-pound child with no natural talent how to play softball.

As a child and an adult, Clark said her dad’s coaching responsibilities made it difficult to find a time when he wasn’t busy. But when they did, they took vacations as a family to make up for lost time.

“We’d spend in-depth family time together, where you just couldn’t get away from one another,” she said.

Leach said his children try to come visit when the Cougars are playing, but that can be tough.

“Everybody wants to come during the football season so they can see a game,” Leach said, “and that’s a lot of fun for everybody, except I have to coach a game.”

But Leach is able to find time in his hectic schedule. Leach said his favorite part of being a dad is watching his children develop into adults.

“The opportunity to see them grow up and change is really exciting because they get into their careers and have kids,” he said.

Clark said her dad doesn’t act any different from the one we see on the sidelines on Saturday’s.

“Who he is in front of the media, that’s who he is with us,” she said. “You guys are just as lucky as we are … I mean, you get it all just like we do.”

Leach, who Clark said is an avid “Real Housewives of Orange County” follower, offered some advice to dads who are trying to balance work with fatherhood.

“Be as persistent as you can and be around as much as you can because you can’t get that time back,” he said.

Alexys Swedlund ready for spotlight this season

TYLER SHUEY | Evergreen reporter

Alexys Swedlund has tried to excel in pretty much every aspect of her life, due in large part to her determination in whatever she pursues.

“Make each day your masterpiece,” the junior guard said in reference to former University of California, Los Angeles, basketball Head Coach John Wooden.

Swedlund enters this upcoming season as one of the more experienced players on the WSU women’s basketball team. As a sophomore last year, she set the program record for most three-pointers in a single season with 75. Opposing teams now know what to expect from the athlete.

Growing up in the plains of South Dakota, Swedlund said she learned how to make her own fun with her younger sister Natasha by exploring the outdoors. She also credits her parents for instilling core values that will never leave her.

“They’re my role models, they built me to be the person I am today,” Swedlund said. “They’ve always had my back to this day.”

South Dakota is an underrated area for basketball, Swedlund said. She first picked up a basketball about first grade. During her high school days, Swedlund’s accolades at St. Thomas More High School were too numerous to count.

She was a three-sport athlete in basketball, track and field and cross country, lettering multiple times in each sport. Other accomplishments included a 116-8 record as a member of the basketball team and being nominated for the McDonald’s All-American award.

Achievements on the court in high school weren’t as important to Swedlund, though. She maintained a 3.78 GPA, was a three-year member of the National Honor Society, was the student body vice president and made honor roll every year.

“I’m a big believer in excelling on the court and off the court,” she said. “It’s a huge reflection of who you are as a person. I want to be involved as much as I can.”

In seventh or eighth grade, Swedlund said the future started to become more transparent for her, who began working out with college athletes and coaches.

“They told me I had a gift and I had to work at it,” she said.

Upon choosing her destination for college basketball, Swedlund said the most important factor was playing in the Pac-12. As a freshman, she played in all 30 games, which gave her plenty of experience for the breakout she had during her sophomore season.

Toward the end of last season, Swedlund stepped up her play, helping lead the Cougars to the Women’s National Invitational Tournament semifinals. She had 20 or more points in each of WSU’s final three games, and was named to the 2017 WNIT All-Tournament team.

“We made history and had a lot of fun doing it,” Swedlund said. “Having experience opened my eyes to what I can do.”

WSU returns all but one player this season. The expectations are even higher with the return of core players like redshirt junior forward Nike McClure, redshirt junior forward Louise Brown, and senior guards Caila Hailey and Pinelopi Pavlopoulou. Swedlund noted that they all need to be leaders for the underclassmen.

“The determination and motivation is definitely there,” she said. “We want to play our hearts out each and every game.”

Swedlund plans to return for her senior season at WSU and would love to play professionally if given the opportunity. As far as personal goals for the season, Swedlund is looking for consistency from herself.

“I played my best ball in the second-half of the season and I want to play like that for the rest of my college career.”

Pippins wants to bring back Apple cup

JACOB MOORE | Evergreen sports editor

LUKE HOLLISTER | The Daily Evergreen
Pippins talks about why he chose to sign with WSU instead of University of Utah.

Of all the Cougar football games senior cornerback Marcellus Pippins has played in, one sticks out more than others — the 2014 Apple Cup. It was the first Apple Cup he played in, and his third collegiate game overall.

University of Washington beat WSU in the 2014 rivalry game, then again in 2015 and 2016. But it wasn’t the outcome that gave Pippins chills on the field during that frigid November day. It was the fact that he was a freshman playing in one of the most anticipated games of the year, in front of a sold-out crowd at Martin Stadium.

Pippins started the game, recorded five tackles and one for a loss. Fast forward three years and he is now in his senior season for the Cougs. He doesn’t just want to play in the Apple Cup this year, though — he wants to finish on top for the first time in his college career.

“Man, it’s my last season,” he said. “I want to bring that Apple Cup back to Pullman.”

He said Cougar football can do it, and he wants to be a part of it.

Pippins, senior defensive back Robert Taylor, sophomore safety Jalen Thompson and junior cornerback Darrien Molton make up a defensive quartet at WSU, self-branded as the “Hot Boy$.”

Football defenses have long been known to brand themselves. For example, the “Legion of Boom” lives with the Seattle Seahawks, the “Steel Curtain” helped the Pittsburgh Steelers win four Super Bowls and the Dallas Cowboys dynasty was associated with the “Doomsday Defense.”

Before the season began, Pippins said it’s not his words he likes to show, but his actions. On the field, he and the Hot Boy$ have combined to record 113 total tackles in seven games for the Cougars.

That has surely helped the team, as they currently stand near the pinnacle of the Pac-12. The cornerback said he learned some of his position skills from former Cougar defensive back Lamont Thompson.

Before his time at WSU, Pippins competed under Thompson at El Cerrito High School. He said the mixture of playing on offense and having Thompson guide him on defense was helpful when taking up a full-time position at cornerback for WSU.

“Having him as a coach was crazy,” Pippins said. “[Thompson] always pushed me to be a better player.”

His high-energy competition comes in the form of tackling and breaking up pass plays. From the stands, fans identify Pippins by his jersey No. 21. That has not changed in his transition from high school to college.

However, Pippins almost wore No. 21 for a different conference team. He de-committed from Utah and committed to WSU after visiting Pullman in 2013.

“When I took my trip, I really felt that it was the right place to be,” Pippins said, according to the Mercury News. “I talked with my mom and dad about it and they said it would be a better fit for me.”

Although Pippins was attracted to WSU’s football program already, Thompson, who once sported a WSU uniform, had somewhat of an influence on the cornerback’s decision to  move to Pullman.

Whether it’s a highlight video from high school or a college game, it’s not uncommon to see Pippins dancing, jumping or raising his arms to signify a big play. He forced a fumble at the goal line in the triple overtime victory against Boise State. In the following game, he forced another fumble, resulting in a 40-yard touchdown return.

The three-star athlete coming out of high school did not shy away from showing his excitement on either play.

As Pippins prepares for the final five regular season games (including his last Apple Cup), he looks forward to seeing where his team, which is already bowl eligible, will end up.

“I’m not sure how far we’re going to go,” Pippins admitted, “but we want to go as far as we can.”

Cougars look to avoid second loss of season

DYLAN GREENE | Evergreen reporter

WSU football (6-1, 3-1) will look to bounce back from its first loss of the season when they step on the field against University of Colorado, Boulder (4-3, 1-3) on Saturday.

University of California, Berkeley (4-3, 1-3) beat the Cougars 37-3 last Friday night. WSU sophomore rush linebacker Derek Moore said the team overlooked the Golden Bears.

“I just feel like we got too big-headed,” Moore said. “We just walked into the game thinking less of Cal and we shouldn’t have done that.”

The Cougar offense struggled, coughing up ball seven times. Redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk accounted for six of the turnovers, throwing five interceptions and fumbling the ball once.

Head Coach Mike Leach said his team lost focus last week and payed attention to the outside noise.

“I thought our mentality was soft, and we got to play better,” Leach said. “We got to go out there and worry about ourselves … not listen to all that garbage in the media.”

WSU redshirt freshmen wide receiver Renard Bell said the team’s performance and effort Friday was disappointing.

“I’ve never gotten beaten that bad in my life,” Bell said. “I think mid third quarter we kind of just stopped playing. We were just trying to get over with the game and get on the plane back to Pullman, we should never play like that.”

In the second game of the season, the Cougars faced adversity similar to the Cal game and responded. The team trailed Boise State 31-10 with less than 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. WSU stormed back to tie the game and ended up winning in triple overtime.

Against Cal, the Cougs trailed 17-3 at halftime and were unable to mount a comeback, failing to put any points up on the board in the second half. Bell said the team’s attitude on the sideline was more upbeat against Boise State which allowed them to complete the comeback.

“Against Boise State everybody was positive, everybody had that mindset that we’re coming back,” Bell said. “This game … a lot of us were negative about it, and it was a total different atmosphere on the sideline.”

Bell said the team has put that loss behind them and is focused on their next opponent.

“I feel pretty good about how we’re heading into this week,” Bell said. “We’re all moving on from it, but we’re not forgetting the feeling of it.”

WSU’s opponent this Saturday notched its first conference win of the season with a 36-33 victory over Oregon State University last week.

Colorado relies heavily on senior tailback Phillip Lindsay in the ground game on offense. He has 995 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns on the season.

WSU redshirt freshmen linebacker Justus Rogers said the defense needs to put themselves in the right spots to stop the fast, shifty back.

“[Lindsay is] a real good running back, we just got to make sure we prepare to put ourselves in the right positions defensively and make sure we really do get him to the ground,” Rogers said.

Rogers made his first career start at linebacker for WSU against Cal. Redshirt senior linebackers Isaac Dotson and Nate DeRider failed to make the trip to Berkeley with unspecified injuries. Rogers had nine total tackles.

The Bellevue, Washington, native will need to be ready to start for the second straight week with Dotson and DeRider’s status for Saturday’s game up in the air.

Another player the Cougars defense will need to pay attention to is Colorado sophomore quarterback Steven Montez. He has passed for 1,691 yards, 12 touchdowns and rushed for 221 yards.

Moore said the defense has faced several different types of quarterbacks this season and is prepared for Montez’s dual threat ability.

“We’ve played a lot of shifty quarterbacks, it’s nothing new,” Moore said.

WSU will also be without junior wide receiver Tavares Martin Jr. on Saturday. The wide receiver was suspended for the Colorado game for violation of team rules, according to Associate Director of Athletics Bill Stevens.

Martin leads all Cougar receivers with 502 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Redshirt senior wide receiver C.J. Dimry and freshman Davontavean Martin will likely see increased playing time with Martin out.

Despite all the injuries and off the field distractions, Bell said he expects the team to get back on track with a victory over Colorado.

“The way we’re practicing right now, we should pull out the W,” Bell said. “We just got to play our game. If we play our game, we can beat anybody.”

Kickoff is set for 7:45 p.m. Saturday at Martin Stadium. The game will also be broadcasted live on ESPN.

Swim hosts first cougar alumni exhibition

RYAN MOSHER | Evergreen reporter

WSU swimming (2-1, 0-1) is back at Gibb Pool this weekend as alumni return to celebrate the 40th season of Cougar swimming.

Many alumni will compete with and against current team members. This exhibition meet follows a highly competitive match against No. 24 Arizona last weekend. WSU lost, though the team did grab victories in five races.

WSU’s newcomers impressed in the Arizona match up, as freshman backstroke swimmer Emily Cook won the 100 back against the Wildcats. Junior breaststroke swimmer Clothilde Peseux, a transfer from University of Idaho, won the 200 Breast.

“We’re so excited, we have 50 to 70 alumni coming back this weekend,” Head Coach Tom Jager said. “To me, that makes me proud of what we’ve done together as a unit … they brought me in as a head coach to try to change some identity, but it’s my athletes who actually have the identity. It’s the athletes that they come to watch.”

Alumni will combine with current Cougar swimmers to form two teams that will compete against each other.  Races will be short — mostly 50 to 100 yards for all strokes — senior freestyle Hannah Bruggman said.

Bruggman, who won two races against Arizona last weekend, spoke about what she was excited for in the upcoming Cougar meet.

“My sister and my mom are both coming back,” she said. “They’re both alumni so that will be a really cool experience, having them both on deck.”

Junior Jasmine Margetts, who competes in backstroke and butterfly, will not be at the Alumni meet. She has been selected, along with other Pac-12 swimmers, to compete against the USA Swimming National Team in the USA College Challenge.

“She is a great choice,” Jager said, “and will represent Washington State well, and we’re very proud of her.”

The USA College Challenge will start at 6 p.m. Saturday and conclude at 11 a.m. Sunday in Uytengsu Aquatics Center in Los Angeles. It will be televised on Pac-12 Networks.

After the match against Arizona last Saturday, Jager encouraged fans to return to Gibb Pool for the Alumni Exhibition.

“If you want to see some more swimming, and maybe some old people swim, come on back,” he said.

The first-ever Cougar Alumni Exhibition meet is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Saturday in Gibb Pool. This meet will be the last chance to see Cougar swim at home until Jan. 13 when WSU faces Arizona State.

Ultimate disc requires grit, integrity from players

ANNA YOUNG | Evergreen columnist

After a long, snowy drive over the mountain passes into Montana, it was finally time to throw down … or up field. Saturday marked the first day of competition; players stretched across the turf, practiced throws, cheered for teammates and made calls on the plays. WSU’s team rolled up with one goal in mind: victory.

The location? The Fort Missoula Regional Park play fields. And the game? Ultimate Disc.

When I first suggested covering this event for the newspaper, people laughed. But, give me a moment to rev up some hype for the game. It’s not just a mess of people hurling a glorified lid around without rhyme or reason. That kind of anti-disc propaganda is what keeps the women’s team too small to compete.

First off, there are defined positions one can play: handlers, cutters and wings. There are strategic offensive plays and defensive lineups that the team can employ to be most effective. The game requires integrity as well, as fouls are called by the players themselves.

But back to the games. Missoula, Montana’s Big Sky Gun Show tournament started at 9 a.m. WSU’s team Suspicious Package was split into two different groups, X and Y. Over the course of the weekend, Suspicious Package X saw their one victory against Moscow’s Red Scare, with a close loss to Boise State.

Suspicious Package Y had a better run, winning four out of seven games. Sunday’s game against Western Washington proved to be an intense one, with a couple of close plays that had spectators on edge. None were more on edge, however, than Suspicious Package Coach Cory Foss.

“They’re using my own heckles against me!” he yelled with a strained voice from two full days of nonstop coaching. Foss then ran to all the players, and WSU spectators on the sidelines to stoke the team with double high-fives (as any good coach should).

After an eventual loss, Foss refused to let disappointment reign.

“We played some great defense. We had a couple miscues, that’s alright. Give yourself a pat on the back, high-five your teammates, because you guys played hard out there,” Foss said. “They came here and they just wanted to stomp us, but they had to work for it. This was our best game.”

At the end of the tournament, Suspicious Package Y ran — yes, ran to join X for a team photo. Afterward, it was time to head to Popeye’s for post-tourney chow, then back over the frozen mountains to Pullman.

I asked Foss before leaving the restaurant if he had anything he wanted to share for the newspaper. His few, but wise, words: “Just send it.”

Cougar crew prepares for head of snake

JACKSON GARDNER | Evergreen reporter

It has been an all-hands-on-deck start to the season for Cougar Crew in 2017.

The WSU oarsmen were required to familiarize themselves with Head Coach Peter Brevick just 10 weeks before they would be racing.

This season is the first time some of the Cougar rowers have ever been in a shell, let alone compete against a varsity team like Gonzaga.

At first glance, it might seem as if Cougar Crew has entered dangerous waters, but Brevick along with the team’s leadership, have been able to keep the stress down in the first 10 weeks.

The Cougs have been able to take their progression one day at a time. Brevick related the fall racing season to spring football by saying, “there’s a lot of work, and not a lot of flash.”

WSU was required to label one boat the “first varsity eight,” and the other the “second varsity eight,” in the Head of the Spokane. But Brevick opted to spread his talent out across both boats.

“The beating for the Head of the Spokane was mostly based off of team qualities that we want to exhibit,” he said. “The boating for the Head of the Snake and Head of the Lake will be more based on performance so we will have a more traditional one [varsity] and two [varsity].”

The only home race for WSU in the fall racing season is scheduled for Friday. But ultimately, the fate of the race comes down to whether the elements will permit it.

Friday’s forecast predicts light showers in the morning with wind speeds as high as 23 mph, according to KHQ Weather. The Cougars will be forced out of racing if the weather conditions are too strong.

Brevick is still optimistic the race will go forward, though. Typically, if the water starts to white cap, a race will be canceled, but the Snake River is a little different, he said with a chuckle.

Both Brevick and junior oarsman Devon McCornack agreed that the Snake River is a unique venue for a race.

“The Snake is kind of unlike any other place for rowing, it is flat glass one minute and white caps another minute,” McCornack said. “Throughout this week, our practices have been in pretty rough water, and it’s projected to be rough on Friday. I like to think it’s an advantage for us.”

With Friday’s race still up in the air, the 15th annual Head of the Lake start time is still to be determined.

Annual tournament brings awareness to tennis team

Luke Hollister | Daily Evergreen File
Then sophomore Donika Bashota preps a serve during a tournament on Oct. 3 2015

JACOB MOORE | Evergreen sports editor

With WSU tennis Head Coach Lisa Hart as tournament director, the Palouse Tennis Club will host its sixth annual championship next week.

The one-day tournament will be held on WSU’s campus, and has historically attracted players from all around the Pacific Northwest, member of the club Dean Funabiki said.

“The Palouse Tennis Club has been very fortunate to have Lisa Hart as the tournament director,” Funabiki said. “Coach Hart, who leads the WSU collegiate program, is also dedicated to helping community-based events such as this tournament.”

Hart was a part of the previous five Palouse Tennis Championships.

Funabiki said the mission of this tournament is to bring awareness of the tennis opportunities to players in the region.

“Compared to other areas of Washington and the Pacific Northwest,” he said, “there are relatively few tournaments available.”

That’s why the club set out to provide increased opportunities in places like Pullman, Moscow and Lewiston in 2010, Fumabiki said. Not long after, the first Palouse Tennis Championship was held.

Typically the tournament spans two days, but this year, the club is trying one day. College and high school students who want to participate are offered a discount and do not have to purchase a membership — another new feature from previous years.

Funabiki said students wanted to play last year, but could not justify the cost of a United States Tennis Association membership fee. While players are required to pay $25 per person, the cost for students is $20.

“A unique aspect of our tournament is definitely the draw of players from all ages, from high school players through their 60s and beyond,” Funabiki said. “This year we have put a stronger emphasis on high school and college players from the region.”

Although the club is reaching out to students, it typically sees many older players, he said. The Palouse Tennis Club teams compete in various age group competitions, some 18 years of age and older, some 55 and older.

Members often travel around the region, as the 18-and-older men’s team will in February when it competes in the Tri-Cities.

As for this local tournament, Funabiki said tennis players have historically traveled from the Pacific Northwest and even from parts of the West Coast, including California.

“We anticipate having 50 players or more, most of them competing in more than one event,” he said. “It should be a full day of fun competition.”

Wicks aspires to turn dreams into reality

JACOB MOORE | Evergreen sports editor

Redshirt senior running back Gerard Wicks hopes to eventually play for a franchise in the NFL, not unheard of from athletes in college football.  But air-raid offensive schemes can undoubtedly hinder the production of backs like Wicks who hope to be drafted.

Despite the Cougs’ consistently low ground numbers, Wicks understands that rushing attempts are statistically becoming more of a commodity in the conference.

LUKE HOLLISTER | The Daily Evergreen
Wicks describes the exhilarating feeling he gets when he breaks through the defense to score a touchdown.

“When [Leach] recruited me, it was a lot different,” he said. “The league is changing.”

His former football coach, Raul Lara, praised Wicks for his leadership and talent.

“Wicks was special,” Lara said in a phone interview. “When he ran around the corner, he looked like a stallion. Of course I remember Gerard Wicks.”

Boise State, as well as Pac-12 football programs at the University of Southern California and rival Washington, craved Wicks when he was in high school.

The “stallion” decided against those institutions and others, committing to a Cougar team that finished with an underwhelming 3-9 record in 2012 — a decision many players wouldn’t even consider.

Lara resigned from Long Beach Polytechnic High School and moved on to coach at Warren High School. Although he is from California, Lara is flying to Pullman to watch some of his former players — Wicks included — battle it out.

“People think I’m a USC fan because I live in Southern California,” he said. “I got a couple guys at [USC] and a couple [at WSU]. I just root for my guys.”

Teams with patterns of winning often experience less trouble trying to persuade players to join their school. However, Wicks had little interest in joining an already-stable in-state program. He said he wanted to be a part of something bigger.

“I could come here and change the program — my class [could],” Wicks said, according to the Coug Fan website. “We’ll be known as the team who changed the program around, who changed the culture at Wazzu.”

As a three-time letter winner in high school track and field, speed has helped the running back and his class shift the program upright.

Wicks carried the ball 62 times in 2014 — his first year playing in a WSU uniform. One season later, he came close to doubling his total rushing attempts with 107.

“Yes, football is my passion. I live it, breathe it, eat it,” he said without hesitation. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to make it to the NFL.”

No. 23 describes the feeling of breaking through opposing defenders, knowing he can dance his way to the end zone in front of thousands of fans, as “a natural high.” One of his goals is to experience that raw emotion at the next level.

“[The NFL is] not only looking for these guys from back in the day,” Wicks said, according to ESPN. “They want backs who can spread out, catch the ball out of the backfield, who can go to a slot and be like a one-on-one with a linebacker.”

He has received the ball in the air, rather than via hand-off, 91 times in his college career, making him a consequential double-threat to the defense. Wicks’ hands are what give him versatility as a predominant running back.

“What you’re telling me is nothing new,” Lara said of Wicks wanting to play in the NFL. “That’s pretty much every kid’s aspiration. I think Gerard has a very good possibility if someone would give him a chance.”

Cougar football hoping to rattle Trojans

DYLAN GREENE | Evergreen reporter

Two undefeated Pac-12 teams will take the field Friday night when No. 5 University of Southern California Trojans (4-0, 2-0) travel to Pullman to take on WSU (4-0, 1-0).

The Trojans are coming off a 30-20 victory over Cal (3-1, 0-1) on Saturday. USC Head Coach Clay Helton said traveling to the Palouse on a short week to play No. 16 WSU, makes preparing for the game more difficult.

“It’s a challenge,” Helton said. “I credit our coaches, there’s been some late nights and a lot of people sleeping on the couches right now just to prepare for this game.”

WSU Head Coach Mike Leach shared a similar feeling on the short week and said the most difficult part will be “getting it all in.”

The Trojans are riding a 13-game winning streak heading into the matchup with the Cougars. Helton said his team will need to be at its best to take down an undefeated WSU team.

“Coach Leach is always gonna put up yards and points,” Helton said, “but what I have been so impressed with is they are playing so well as a team right now, and that’s the reason they are 4-0 and ranked as high as they are.”

Helton pointed to one player in particular on the WSU defense that has caught his eye, redshirt junior defensive lineman Hercules Mata’afa.

“You got Hercules, who’s a tackle-for-loss nightmare,” he said. “You better know where he’s at all the time.” Mata’afa is tied for fourth in the nation with eight tackles for a loss, and tied for seventh in the nation with 4.5 total sacks.

As a unit, WSU’s defense has allowed the fewest yards per game in the Pac-12 and forced 10 turnovers. The Cougs will look to continue their dominance against the USC offense, led by redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold.

If he decides to declare, Darnold is a projected first round pick in the 2018 NFL draft. He has thrown for 1,225 yards and nine touchdowns so far this season.

Despite Darnold’s ability, WSU redshirt senior linebacker Isaac Dotson said the defense isn’t altering any of its schemes.

“Nothing changes for us, we just play our defense,” Dotson said. “It’s tailored for any team, any quarterback and any player, so we don’t nitpick and tailor anything to a specific guy, we just do our thing.”

WSU’s offense will be looking to build on last week’s blowout against Nevada, in which they had 560 total yards.

Redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk threw for five touchdowns in the game and passed former USC quarterback Matt Leinart for third on the Pac-12’s all-time passing touchdown list.

However, the offense didn’t finish the Nevada game the way Leach would have liked. Redshirt sophomore quarterback Tyler Hilinski entered the game at the nine-minute mark of the fourth quarter and the offense seemed to sputter.

Leach became frustrated when the team was unable to get a first down on a fourth-and-one opportunity. When the offensive players on the field got to the sideline, Leach made them do up-downs.

“If you can’t move the ball one foot on fourth-and-a-foot, yeah, offensive lineman and running backs will probably do up-downs again,” Leach said.

The offensive line has also struggled to protect the quarterback, giving up a total of 14 sacks through the first four games. But, Leach said the blame doesn’t fall only on the offensive lineman.

“I think as a team, the o-line, quarterbacks and backs all have a role in it. And some cases, the receivers do if there is no separation —  if there is nobody open,” Leach said.

WSU is looking to finish its five-game home stand with a victory over the Trojans. A lot of hype and anticipation is surrounding the nationally televised game, and Leach said the team needs to block it out if they want to be 5-0.

“If we listen to any noise it will damage us, if we don’t it will help us,” Leach said. “I mean it’s about as simple as that.”

The game will air live on ESPN at 7:30 p.m. tonight from Martin Stadium.

WSU football faces challenge, opportunity against USC

BRADEN JOHNSON | Evergreen columnist

Players and personnel can downplay it or revert to coach speak, but there’s no denying the significance of Friday night’s football game.

You could hear it in redshirt senior running back Jamal Morrow’s voice at Monday’s news conference.

“When you grow up, you live to play games like this,” he said. “Now to be a part of a situation like this, last time was probably the Apple Cup, and that didn’t work out. We’re really excited to have another opportunity to make this happen.”

No. 5 USC (4-0, 2-0) visits Pullman to take on the highest-ranked WSU (4-0, 1-0) football team in 14 years. Both teams enter undefeated and the Cougars are worlds ahead of where they were the last time these squads met.

As a refresher, a 44-17 blowout in favor of the Trojans on Nov. 1, 2014, sent WSU spiraling toward a 3-9 finish.

Earning a bowl bid then was the ultimate program-wide goal. Now, it’s a baseline expectation.

Since his insertion into the starting quarterback role, redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk has guided the Cougars to 21 wins. It all started with Connor Halliday’s career-ending leg injury on that cold and rainy loss to the Trojans.

“It happened very suddenly, and then as he settled in, I thought he played real well,” Head Coach Mike Leach said of Falk’s debut. “Of course, he went on to play more and more from there. That was kind of his starting point, really.”

One can argue that game — yet another blowout loss in the first three years of Leach’s tenure — was the starting point in the Cougars’ climb back to relevancy. Morrow himself said the entirety of the program has become stronger from that experience.

A national audience is tuning into a game held in a town with an estimated population of 33,282 people Friday. Knock off a top-five team and traditional powerhouse in front of a sold-out crowd, and WSU might spawn the birth of a long-term culture shift for the program.

More than 40 Californians dot the Cougar depth chart, many of whom were disregarded out of high school by their hometown team in red and yellow.

“It’s exciting for them, because they’re from that area and that’s the team they grew up watching,” said redshirt senior linebacker Isaac Dotson. “A lot of the guys on this team were overlooked and play with a chip on their shoulder in that sense.”

WSU enters the contest as a betting underdog, but it’s not as though David is taking on Goliath, here.

USC’s redshirt sophomore quarterback Sam Darnold, a potential top-10 NFL draft pick, has been erratic through four games. He’s tossed seven interceptions against nine touchdowns. The Trojans also have to make a pilgrimage to the Palouse on the heels of a tougher-than-expected road game against California six days prior.

A host of storylines are at play, and WSU has even more to potentially gain. You wouldn’t know it judging from the mood around the program, however.

“The thing is, we go out there and there’s nothing being held back,” Leach said of playing in a game of this magnitude. “It’s not like there’s some holdback or we have some special package or we’re digging deeper in the closet. If you’re ever going to improve, you better be on full steam all the time.”

But it almost appears as a facade, in a sense. Players and coaches are preaching the “one game at a time” mantra, though everyone knows what’s on the line.

There’s no harm in acknowledging the high stakes of this week-five showdown. Tuning out the outside noise, as players are harnessing the emotions of playing in a game of this hype while understanding the importance.

“We’re doing a real good job this year of focusing on ourselves and cutting out the outside noise,” said redshirt senior offensive lineman Cole Madison.

That remains to be seen. Madison is one of countless seniors on the WSU roster who got his first taste of what it takes to knock off a program at the caliber of USC three years ago. If both he and the entirety of the team are following Leach’s message, there is no doubt Friday’s game will be competitive.

Leach said it’s hard to say how well players are doing at managing their emotions, and that no one around the program is thinking about last season’s 45-17 loss to No. 5 University of Washington at Martin Stadium.

No better chance for his team to take another crack at knocking off a top-five team than now.

Student organizing demonstration for USC game

RYAN BLAKE | Evergreen reporter

Senior sport management major Eduardo Chavez is organizing a demonstration during the football game Friday. He estimates approximately 10 – 20 people will join him.

A student-led demonstration will take place in the stands during the Cougars’ home football game against University of Southern California on Friday.

The demonstration, called “Uniting for Change”, encourages students, staff and the Pullman community to bring signs and flags representing where they are from, according to a news release Wednesday.

Additionally, the release indicates demonstrators will link arms during the national anthem in a sign of unity.

The event is not affiliated with any registered student organization on campus, but instead, is created by Eduardo Chavez, a senior sport management major at WSU.

Chavez said he thought it would be a nice idea, and got encouragement from classmates and professors to go through with the demonstration.

The release by Chavez responds to a statement by WSU President Kirk Schulz, which called the upcoming football game “a tremendous opportunity to boost awareness of the University.”

“The ‘Uniting for Change’ demonstration is about seizing that opportunity,” Chavez said in the release. “We want to show those in attendance as well as a national TV audience that WSU welcomes and respects people of all ethnicities and nationalities, and to inspire the WSU community to work toward constructing a safe and more just society.”

Friday’s game will be broadcast live on ESPN and feature two undefeated, nationally ranked teams — a detail that did not go unnoticed by Chavez.

“We definitely want to show that we at WSU here in Pullman, can make an impact around the world,” Chavez said.

The demonstration comes on the heels of comments made by President Donald Trump that sparked nationwide debate and prompted players across the NFL to kneel during the national anthem. In a series of tweets on Friday, Trump suggested players demonstrating during the anthem should be fired.

WSU Head Coach Mike Leach, who spoke in favor of Trump during his 2016 campaign for president, said he had not addressed the NFL protests with his players, before expressing his confusion with the situation.

“To me it’s not real clear what’s being protested,” Leach said. “Me personally, I’m proud of this country and would stand for the anthem and respect the flag. But with that said, I don’t know what exactly they’re objecting to.”

Leach noted his team will remain in the locker room during the anthem, as always.

Former WSU receiver Gabe Marks tweeted at his former coach in response to Leach’s comments. The two exchanged several tweets about the issue without reaching an agreement.

Cougs look to erase ‘big game’ stigma

TYLER SHUEY | Evergreen asst. sports editor

In terms of ranking, the matchup this weekend is as good as it gets. The stakes are immense, as the Cougars can potentially catapult themselves into the top-10 of the Associated Press rankings with a victory over the No. 5 team in the country.

It is easy for any passionate Coug fan to let their mind wander to the best of outcomes; I have done that myself plenty of times already this week. With that being said, I always try to look at matchups realistically, and I don’t see many areas where WSU is legitimately better than Southern California is.

Yes, USC has struggled this year in some games, but look at the competition the team played compared to who WSU has played. Three of USC’s four wins this season have been against Power 5 teams, compared to the one the Cougs have played, such as Oregon State. WSU Head Coach Mike Leach predictably downplayed the difference in the team’s schedules so far.

“I’ve actually tried to think about that both directions and in a variety of ways over the years,” Leach said. “Then about 10 years ago I didn’t get anywhere so I stopped doing that.”

The Trojans’ opponents this year have been better than those the Cougs have played. The fact that they just beat a solid Cal team last weekend on the road could make it easier for them to adjust to another hostile Pac-12 environment. On the flip side, our tune-up game was against the 0-4 Nevada Wolf Pack. We are in for a drastic shift of talent for this one.

This doesn’t mean we won’t win; the most talented team doesn’t always win. My point is, the majority of the time, a team wins based on the position matchups they win. In terms of recruiting, WSU can’t compete with the glory of USC football and a location that is ideal for many student athletes.

One area of concern for WSU is how they match up with USC’s interior on both sides of the ball. The trenches are usually where games are won and lost.
“They got some big athletic guys on the interior but we got some guys who can fight,” redshirt senior offensive lineman Cole Madison said. “B.J. [Salmonson] might be undersized, but I wouldn’t want to cross that guy outside of football.”

For as much as the football program has been revised by Leach over the years, I feel as if “the big game” has eluded the team the past few years. Yes, there were some thrilling wins against UCLA and Oregon two years ago, but it always seems the Cougs come up short in pivotal games. Maybe that’s just my pessimistic attitude and my eye for perfection.

Just look at how last season ended. WSU had a long winning streak in the middle of the year after a horrendous start, but lost pivotal games to end the season against Colorado and Washington when the Pac-12 North crown was on the line. We then saw the offense absolutely fold in a blunder of a bowl game down in San Diego, a game in which I traveled to.

It’s time for redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk and Leach to build upon all those big-game experiences with one win against the mighty Trojans. There’s no reason it shouldn’t happen; we have the experience and pieces in place to do it.

Preparation has been compounded this week, naturally for a Friday night game. It’s ironic that WSU’s one short week of the year comes against a team of the highest caliber.

“[Inside receivers Coach Dave] Nichol was saying short weeks are the best weeks because the game comes faster,” redshirt senior running back Jamal Morrow said. “Instead of sitting there Friday night, you’re not watching the game, you’re actually playing in it.”

With a win, WSU would be the second-highest ranked team in the Pac-12, behind UW, if the Huskies don’t slip up against lowly Oregon State.
“We’ve been playing pretty good ball on the offensive side and the defense has been playing lights out the whole season,” Morrow said. “I feel like both sides are clicking and we’re just ready to go out there and do our thing.”

As we inch closer to kickoff, the hype is intensifying. I have been dreaming of the day the Cougs crack the top-10 and become a team talked about on a national scale. Sixty minutes of top-tier play, focus and physicality is what’s going to give WSU a chance. Maybe that won’t even be enough to top the highest-ranked team in the Pac-12.

Volleyball in Southern California for weekend

SAM HEIKELL | Evergreen reporter

WSU volleyball (12-2) is preparing to compete against No. 20 University of Southern California (10-3) on Saturday. This will be the second game of the Cougars’ three-game road trip.

WSU recently earned a 3-1 win against Arizona, in which junior outside hitter Taylor Mims statistically played one of her best games this season. She tallied 16 kills, eight digs and three aces on the night.

“I’m definitely happy with the win, but again, I don’t think we are as consistent as we need to be,” Head Coach Jen Greeny said. “There are a lot of streaks that seem to be happening and are either good for us or not so good for us. We need to clean that up if we expect to win more matches in the Pac-12.”

Trojan volleyball is looking for its fourth win in row, coming off a 3-1 victory against Oregon State. They had three players reach double digits in kills, headed by sophomore outside hitter Khalia Lanier. She totaled 20 kills by herself.

Junior libero Victoria Garrick and senior opposite hitter Brittany Abercrombie won Pac-12 defensive and offensive players of the week honors. Abercrombie featured four kills per set and 37 points on the week, while Garrick averaged 4.73 digs per set on the defensive end.

“Any team in the Pac-12 is going to have a lot of weapons and we have to be more consistent,” Greeny said. “I think we can be a lot more disciplined and a lot better with our block defensively.”

The Cougs prevailed in last year’s matchup against USC, winning 3-2. Junior outside hitter McKenna Woodford finished with 14 kills and four blocks.

The 1 p.m. Saturday match will be held at the Galen Center in Los Angeles.

Baseball to hold exhibition game against CWU

RYAN BLAKE | Evergreen reporter

The WSU baseball team will scrimmage Central Washington University on Saturday at Bailey-Brayton Field. The game is part of Cougar baseball’s Alumni Weekend.

The two-day event begins Friday with team batting practice at 2:30 p.m. WSU will play an intrasquad scrimmage following practice an hour later.

“I think it is important for our players to embrace the tradition and passion that you, the Cougar baseball alumni, have created,” Head Coach Marty Lees said in a news release. “The tradition and passion will help build the future of Cougar Baseball.”

A tailgate dinner and team social will take place at the field following the scrimmage at 5 p.m. Food will be provided by Fork in the Road.

The scrimmage against CWU will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday.

All Cougar baseball alumni and their families, as well as current players and their families, are invited to participate in the weekend’s events.

The scrimmage is the first game WSU baseball will play since the conclusion of the 2017 season, which featured 18 new faces and 17 returners, after the coaching staff overhauled the team. Lees rostered just one senior in 2017, and four freshmen became key parts of the Cougar lineup.

WSU finished the season with a 24-29 record and 10-20 conference record in a year full of highs and lows.

A six-game winning streak in March marked the best stretch for Cougar baseball since 2010. Less than a month later, WSU dropped seven of eight games.

The Cougs looked as if they got their season back on track in early May after winning four straight series’ against Pac-12 opponents, including taking two of three from both No. 30 Washington and No. 28 UCLA.

But, the Cougars lost their last seven games, swept by No. 1 Oregon State and No. 8 Stanford.

At first glance, the 2017 Cougars look comparable to the 2016 team, which finished with a 17-29 overall record. The 2017 squad was a vastly improved side on offense, though.

The Cougars improved their team on-base percentage from .308 in 2016 to .357 in 2017. Seven players posted an on-base percentage of .350 or higher, up from two players the season prior.

After finishing dead last in the Pac-12 in nearly every category in 2016, the 2017 WSU baseball team finished fifth in on-base percentage and fourth in doubles (105). In fact, the Cougars were one of the top offenses in the conference through March, before faltering during their second-half slump.

However, the 2017 team gave up 327 total runs throughout the season, identical to the 327 runs given up by the 2016 side. WSU finished ninth in the conference with a 5.50 ERA last season.

The Cougars return eight of their nine offensive starters in 2018, after losing third baseman Shane Matheny to the MLB draft. Relievers Damon Jones and Colby Nealy were also drafted and will not return to Pullman.

There are currently 17 newcomers on the fall roster 10 freshmen and seven JUCO transfers. Not on the roster is Isaiah Smith, a WSU commit who signed with the Royals after being taken in the 21st round. Smith was ranked as the 75th best high school prospect by Baseball America.

Following Saturday’s scrimmage with Central Washington, the Cougars will travel to Gonzaga on Oct. 14.

Cougars blast Nevada, stay undefeated

JACKSON GARDNER | Evergreen reporter

In its last non-conference competition, WSU football (4-0, 1-0) trounced the University of Nevada Wolf Pack (0-4) with a final tally of 45-7 Saturday afternoon.

Last week, the Cougar faithful saw their team boast its first 3-0 start to the season since 2005.

With another win under their belt, the Cougs reached a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 2001 — a 4-0 record moving into week five.

WSU amplified their play on both sides of the ball from last week in preparation for their primetime matchup against No. 5 University of Southern California (USC), which is just six days away.

Cougar defense outclassed Nevada’s offense from the first blow of the whistle to the last. WSU held their opponent to 151 total yards; marking the second time they have been able to limit their opponent to less than 200 total yards this season.

Redshirt junior defensive line Hercules Mata’afa targeted the opposing quarterback early and often in the competition. He recorded 2.5 sacks in just the first five minutes of play.

“My job is to produce, but I just go out and play football,” Mata’afa said. “It’s fun for me to go out there and get all of those sacks, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the guy to the left of me and the guy to the right of me.”

EZEKIEL NELSON | The Daily Evergreen

The absence of redshirt senior linebacker Peyton Pelluer gave redshirt freshman linebacker Jahad Woods and redshirt senior linebacker Nate DeRider an opportunity to control the Mike position by committee.

Both Woods and Derider totaled four tackles, which tied them among others for the team lead Saturday.

Woods complimented redshirt senior linebacker Isaac Dotson for his managerial presence on the field.

“[Dotson’s] literally a coach on the field,” Woods said. “He helps me with everything, he helps the whole team with everything. He could call the plays if he could.”

Nevada’s quarterback woes proved beneficial to the Cougars’ defensive efforts.

The Wolf Pack’s starter, freshman quarterback Kaymen Cureton, only completed one of his five attempted passes, four of which resulted in sacks, before being relieved by junior quarterback David Cornwell.

Although the transfer from the University of Alabama moved the Nevada offense at a more efficient rate, Cornwell did turn the ball over three times via interceptions.

For the Cougars offense, it seemed to be just another day at the office.

Redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk has been disecting the opponents defense recently. In his last two performances, Falk has thrown for 11 touchdowns and 847 yards, while completing just over 76 percent of his passes.

Falk found himself yet another reliable target to add to his arsenal in redshirt freshman wide receiver Renard Bell. He racked up over 100 receiving yards for the second time in only four career games.

“[Bell] never gets in his own way, he is also like one of the most upbeat guys,” Head Coach Mike Leach said. “Long story short, I need to hang out with Renard Bell all the time.”

The Cougars now turn their attention to a sold-out matchup against USC (4-0, 2-0). Trojan football visits Pullman for the first Friday matchup at Martin Stadium this season.

Thompson tackling opponents one game at a time

JACOB MOORE | Evergreen sports editor

LUKE HOLLISTER | Daily Evergreen File

He is not the biggest athlete on the football team and he certainly isn’t the tallest, but sophomore safety Jalen Thompson knows how to tackle. In fact, he is on track to record nearly 100 total tackles in 2017 as he currently leads the Cougs with 24 in just three games.

Defensive Coordinator Alex Grinch has played an influential role in bringing out Thompson’s ability, the safety said.

“I don’t know where I’d be without him,” Thompson said. “Coach Grinch has helped me a lot.”

Thompson comes from Downey, California, where he grew up with his older brothers Jamari and Javon. The Downey High School graduate won a California Interscholastic Federation Championship and has a thorough list of individual honors to accompany that feat.

While his brothers remained in-state to play football at Cerritos College, Thompson brought his three-star prospect rating by ESPN to the Palouse. He turned down offers from Navy, Army, New Mexico State and San Diego State in his decision to wear No. 34 for the Cougars.

Ranked the No. 56 cornerback in the nation coming out of high school, he immediately saw playing time in the defensive backfield.

Almost always smiling, Thompson broke up a team-best seven passes last year and was a vital part of the Cougs’ eight-game winning streak.

Participating in track implies that speed is an obvious asset for the young athlete, but it is Thompson’s constant desire for improvement that separates him from his opponents.

“If you don’t hear [Thompson’s] name as often as you did early in his freshman season, it’s because he did an exemplary job of forgetting that costly error in angle judgement … he’s not making similar mistakes,” according to an article published by the Lewiston Tribune last month.

Instead, he’s taking his failures and transforming them into success.

“I kind of picked up how they were moving in that game, and the next game, I tried to fix it,” Thompson said of his debut errors. “I learned from my mistakes.”

The safety has bolstered up since he committed to WSU, putting on nearly 30 pounds — most of which is muscle. As a result, his statistics have already shot up from where they were one year ago.

As Grinch likes to say and as Thompson likes to repeat, the players ought to take it “one game at a time.”

Thompson led all Cougar defenders with seven tackles in week one. He then finished with eight in week two and added nine more in week three — again, leading the team.

The drive to improve is what keeps the safety motivated, Thompson said. He’s done that from game-to-game as well as season-to-season.

“Last year, I wasn’t as confident as I am this year,” Thompson said in a post-practice interview. “I got the plays down this year. I’m trying to be the fastest player on the field.”

Cougs eye first 4-0 start since 2001 against Wolf Pack

DYLAN GREENE | Evergreen reporter

WSU football looks to improve to 4-0 for the first time since 2001 when they take the field against University of Nevada on Saturday.

Coming off a 30-28 loss to Idaho State (2-1) last week, the Wolf Pack is still searching for its first victory of the season.

Freshman quarterback Kaymen Cureton will lead Nevada with hopes of an upset victory over the Cougars (3-0). Cureton made his first career start last week, completing 19 of 33 passes for 205 yards and three touchdowns.

First-year Nevada Head Coach Jay Norvell has implemented the same pass-heavy offense for which WSU is known. Despite running similar offenses, both head coaches agree their scoring game varies from one another.

“[WSU Head Coach Mike Leach] is gonna write 25 plays on a napkin and he’s gonna call them all up about four times,” Norvell said. “That’s the way he has always done it, but everybody has their own little twist.”

WSU has other connections to Nevada. Several members of the Cougar coaching staff spent time with the Wolf Pack during their careers, and former WSU walk-on wide receiver Kaleb Fossum comes to Pullman as a member of the Nevada football program.

Fossum transferred schools over the summer when the Wolf Pack offered him a scholarship. However, the junior is listed as questionable for this weekend’s game against his former team.

Robert Taylor, a senior defensive back, said he has stayed in touch with Fossum since he left the team and hopes the former WSU wideout will make it on the field Saturday.

“I reached out to him after I seen that he got a little nicked up, but other than that I’ve been talking to him,” Taylor said. “It’s great to see he is doing good, but on Saturday, I won’t know who he is until after the game.”
Leach admitted that the Cougs have many ties to their opponent this week.

“We’re pretty inbred with Nevada,” Leach said. “You can’t throw a dead cat without hitting someone from Nevada around here.”

WSU is coming off a 52-23 victory over Oregon State (1-3), in which the offense finally clicked. Redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk threw for 396 yards and six touchdowns, placing him one behind Matt Leinart for the third-most career touchdown passes in Pac-12 history.

Despite his performance, Falk thinks his team’s offense can improve.

“I still don’t think we have reached our ceiling yet,” he said. “But it was good to put that many points up.”
Leach wasn’t overly impressed with the performance against the Beavers either. He said the team needs to play with more consistency.

“I think we’ve been pretty resilient, but we haven’t been as consistent as I would have liked,” Leach said. “We did some good things, but I think we’re still battling consistency on all three sides of the ball.”

Leach was pleased with the emergence of his outside receivers. Junior wide receiver Tavares Martin Jr. and sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Johnson-Mack combined for five touchdowns and 273 receiving yards.

“I figured it would happen eventually,” Leach said. “Now we’ve got to consistently keep it happening. I guess my thought is that it’s about time.”

Leach pointed to a chemistry that is still developing between the quarterback and receivers to explain the lack of passing production in the first few games.

“I think the quarterback unjustifiably didn’t throw it to them because he didn’t trust them,” Leach said. “It’s a lot like the field of dreams thing. If you build the field, they will come. I mean, if you throw the ball, they will probably catch it.”

When the Cougars take the field Saturday, they will be without redshirt senior linebacker Peyton Pelluer. He broke a bone in his foot during the Oregon State game and was in a walking boot at Tuesday’s practice. WSU will look to redshirt senior linebackers Nate DeRider and Isaac Dotson to help fill the void left by Pelluer.

Redshirt freshman linebackers Jahad Woods and Justus Rogers may also see increased playing time, inside linebacker’s coach Ken Wilson said. Either way the Cougars will have to move on without one of their defensive leaders.

Falk admitted the team struggled with getting off to a fast start in the first few games, but the team is focused on improving its offensive efficiency.

“We just gotta go out there and just start fast in terms of just putting the ball in play and doing what we are asked,” Falk said. “You know, if we can get in that rhythm in the second quarter, why can’t we get in that rhythm in the first quarter?”

Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. Saturday at Martin Stadium.

Media heeds attention to Pelluer, Leach does not

BRADEN JOHNSON | Evergreen columnist

WSU plays a winless team that is coming off a loss to an Football Championship Subdivision school Saturday, and the game is sandwiched between its Pac-12 opener and a Friday night showdown with No. 5 USC next week.

In that sense, I understand why media and fan attention is drifting away from the doldrums of a football game, and instead shifting focus toward off-the-field topics related to the team.

However, that does not absolve reporters and media outlets from badgering Head Coach Mike Leach with repeated questions about redshirt senior linebacker Peyton Pelluer’s reported broken foot when the WSU football program’s policy is not to discuss or disclose injuries.

On the contrary, I also do not think there is any harm in Leach affirming a truth everyone in and around Pullman has acknowledged. Pelluer was riding around campus this week in a knee scooter, unable to bear much weight on his left foot.

If you’re wondering where this observation came from, I have class with Pelluer on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

“I’ll boot every one of you out of here if you keep talking about injuries,” Leach told the seven of us in attendance at his weekly news conference on Monday. “You know, I think I’ve been very patient today; I gave you about five questions, I didn’t kick any of you out. Now, you ask me another one, I’ll kick you all out.”

In full disclosure, I am partially at fault here, as I asked Leach about how fellow redshirt senior inside linebackers Nate DeRider and redshirt freshman Jahad Woods have fared in practice to date.

“I’d say Jahad, especially as a freshman, is definitely ahead of schedule,” he said.

My question came on the heels of four in a row related to Pelluer and team morale. It came as no surprise that the coach was curt with his response.

The short answer on this double-faced issue is to grit your teeth, respect the team’s policy and try not to rile Leach during his only scheduled news conference for the week. Don’t ask about injuries if you already know it won’t elicit a response, or a 100-percent honest one at that.

Maybe write about how Nevada, under first-year Head Coach Jay Norvell, is implementing certain air-raid principles and saw a number of former assistant coaches bolt for WSU following former Head Coach Chris Ault’s retirement.

Norvell turned to true freshman quarterback Kaymen Cureton over junior quarterback Ty Gangi last week. Despite the Wolf Pack’s 30-28 loss to Idaho State, Cureton will make his second career start Saturday.

I asked Leach if he has ever started a true freshman at the position in his coaching career and if he sees any advantages in pulling the trigger this early in the season.

“I don’t think a true freshman [has done this],” Leach said. “We’ve had some redshirt freshmen get some reps for sure, but I don’t think a true freshman.”

Leach added, in the context of Norvell going with Cureton, that you start the best player at each position regardless of his year in school.

What I’m saying is, Pelluer’s injury, while unquestionably a hit to both the defense’s playmaking ability and leadership, does not need to clutter a week’s worth of game coverage. But I also wanted to see Leach at least say something about a player who has been with him since his second year at the helm.

Pelluer played in 34 consecutive games and garnered Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week honors following his 14-tackle performance in the Cougars’ comeback win over Boise State.

Leach confirmed former quarterback Connor Halliday suffered a broken tibia and fibula in a loss to USC on Nov. 1, 2014, in a postgame news conference, largely because of the influence Halliday had on the program and fans.

I put Pelluer, a third-generation Cougar football player and three-year starter on defense, in that category.
“I love all our [linebackers],” senior defensive back Robert Taylor said. “They fly to the ball, they’re all experienced, Jahad [Woods] is going to come in and do a great job.”

It is too bad that both players and the media seemed to be handcuffed on speaking about Pelluer’s season-ending injury.

I respect Leach and his policy on not discussing injuries, when its obvious intent is to protect the privacy of student-athletes and avoid giving the opposition any leads on who’s going to suit up Saturday.

That said, it was comical to see Pelluer’s name among the defensive starters on this week’s depth chart. No coaching staff that has done its prep work and watched film is naive enough to believe that.

Neither the press nor Leach are at fault here. Rather, both sides have acted well within their rights.
The media has a clear-cut obligation to inform the public and hold newsmakers — Leach, in this case — accountable. Leach has the right not to discuss certain matters and to comment on them as he sees fit.

It’s unfortunate that this gut-punch of an injury and the critical discussion it has received are clouding the Cougars’ bid to start 4-0 for the first time in 16 years, as well as a homecoming game of sorts for former WSU walk-on wide receiver Kaleb Fossum.

There are matters just as relevant on the table, here. But who knows? Leach said his team is 100 percent healthy when pressed, so we might just see Pelluer hop off his knee scooter, suit up into full pads and anchor the WSU front seven on defense.

WSU Athletics offering football tickets in response to shooting

WSU Athletics is offering free football tickets to the people impacted by last week’s shooting at Freeman High School near Spokane, according to a news release.

Director of Athletics Bill Moos announced the plan to offer tickets for the upcoming game against the University of Nevada on Saturday.

“The events that occurred at Freeman High School last week hit very close to home for many in our area and Washington State Athletics would like to have those affected as our guests,” Moos said. “We know that many hearts are still heavy, so we would like to provide some relief by offering an opportunity to enjoy Cougar football this weekend.”

The free tickets are available to families, friends and staff at the school. They can be claimed by showing a Freeman school ID card or Rockford/Valley Ford driver’s license at the ticketing office Saturday.

Reporting by Jacob Moore

Taylor Mims’ unhindered passion

JACOB MOORE | Evergreen sports editor

Junior outside hitter Taylor Mims began her collegiate experience with the idea of becoming a veterinary technician because she used to own horses and chickens. A lot has changed since her freshman year.

“I didn’t realize how hard it was going to be,” Mims said. “I was like ‘I can’t do all these labs.’ ”

Of course, when you’re a student-athlete like Mims is, becoming a vet­erinary technician can interfere with her sport. Half of her time spent at WSU is geared toward playing vol­leyball, she said.

While a lot has changed, Mims’ passion for volleyball remains.

The defensive standout is now a part of the sport management depart­ment. Mims doesn’t have her future mapped out completely, but the ath­lete hinted at wanting to play profes­sional volleyball.

She is also interested in what Director of Athletics Bill Moos does.

JESSICA HARJA | The Daily Evergreen

“His job and what he does every day is really cool,” Mims said. “That’s my higher-set goal.”

Growing up participating in vol­leyball, basketball and track, Mims earned 10 combined varsity letters in high school. Her volleyball Head Coach Jeff Carroll, who has since retired, nudged her into competing at the collegiate level.

Mims traveled nearly 600 miles from Billings, Montana, to Pullman with Carroll’s suggestion of taking that next step.

“A lot of people already assume that because I’m from Montana,” she said, “that I’m going to be so country.”

That’s not the case.

Her music playlist consists of the “digital underground” and artists like Future, Lil Uzi Vert and Gucci Mane.

“Our coaches aren’t really fond of our stuff,” Mims said with a laugh.

Junior middle blocker Claire Martin and Mims will usually listen to their choice of music in the locker room to get amped up before a game — but first, they need a Dutch Bros. coffee.

“Before a game, since my fresh­men year, [Martin and I] would speed over to Dutch Bros., get a coffee, come here and play music in the locker room,” Mims said. “That’s our main ritual. Get your Dutch Bros. coffee, get to the gym, get hyped up.”

Currently, WSU volleyball holds an 11-2 record — tied for the second-most wins in the Pac-12 with rival No. 7 University of Washington. The Cougs lost to the Huskies to open Pac- 12 play Wednesday, but there’s still plenty of time to make up ground.

“I know that we’re a defensive team — our block is huge,” Mims said. “To maintain that, we have to have a championship mindset. We have to just go out at it every single game, don’t hold anything back and act like [we] don’t have anything to lose.”

Mims added that acting like there’s nothing to lose in one of the most competitive volleyball conferences is difficult, but it can be done. To avoid getting too comfortable, the Cougs take on every opponent with the same approach, she said.

If there’s one thing the team needs to work on, though, it is bringing all the individuals together, Mims said.

“On the court, we all have different jobs to do, but I think we want to do a better job of coming together and get­ting on the same page,” she said. “We all have a great mindset, I just think we need to do a better job of starting over and resetting after every point.”

As the Cougs continue to fight for the top spot in the Pac-12, Mims continues to fight for her sport, team and coaches.

“[Head Coach Jen Greeny] is some­one I can just go talk to like a par­ent,” Mims said. “Her and Burdette [Greeny] and Shannon [Hunt] are people I can go to anytime and feel comfortable with. Those three have set a big example of what I want to be when I grow up.”

She may have changed locations, majors and career paths, but Mims’ love for volleyball, her “favorite sport,” remains.

Volleyball continues Pac-12 play with Arizona

RYAN MOSHER | Evergreen reporter

WSU volleyball (11-2) travels to Arizona on Saturday to face off against the Wildcats. This will be the second match of conference play for both teams, as they only meet once this year.

WSU won both its matches against Arizona last season, sweeping the Wildcats 3-0 in their first meeting.

The American Volleyball Coaches Association top-25 poll includes seven Pac-12 teams. Neither the Cougars nor the Wildcats are included in that poll.

WSU just had its eight-game winning streak snapped Wednesday night after losing to University of Washington (11-1). The Cougars fell to the Huskies 3-1, by scores of 19-25, 18-25, 25-21 and 22-25. The match had 13 lead changes, and 28 tie scores.

Entering the game, the Cougs ranked second in the NCAA in blocking, with the Huskies right behind them in third. UW finished the match with 14 blocks, while WSU had 12. The two teams will meet again for the Cougars’ final game of the season.

Head Coach Jen Greeny stayed optimistic despite her team’s loss.

“I thought we came out of the game break really well,” Greeny said. “We started serving much better in the third and fourth sets, and I think that’s what we were really missing in the first two sets.”

Junior outside hitter Taylor Mims racked up 20 kills in the match, leading all players. She tied her career-high while junior middle blocker Ella Lajos led the match with seven blocks.

UW Head Coach Keegan Cook applauded the Cougars’ efforts after the game.

“Coming out of the break, WSU played with great effort and intensity,” Cook said. “It was a gritty battle from then on out.”

Despite the loss, WSU is still near the top of the Pac-12 standings with only two losses on the year. Last season, the team finished 22-12 and won a match in the initial round of the NCAA tournament for the first time in 14 years.

Before the Cougars can get back to the NCAA tournament, they will have to perform well in a competitive conference. The Arizona matchup is the second of 20 Pac-12 matches.

The game is set to begin at 6 p.m. Saturday in the McKale Center. Cougar volleyball supporters in Pullman can listen to all of the road matches on KQQQ-1150 AM.

Haro anchors Cougs, balances soccer and school

RYAN BLAKE | Evergreen reporter

Utah Valley (3-3) took a 2-1 lead on an improbable 30-yard strike with seven minutes left to play. Desperate for an equalizer with time running out, senior defender Jordan Branch served a long ball into the box, hoping to find someone at the end.

The ball found Maddy Haro — or, more accurately, Maddy Haro found the ball.

Haro fought her way from the top of the 18-yard box to get on the end of it, deflecting a header past the keeper into the bottom right corner from six yards away. Thirty-two seconds remained on the clock when she netted her second goal of the game.

It was the one that kept the Cougars alive long enough to defeat Utah Valley in double overtime.

Haro is a part of a defensive group that has allowed the fewest goals in the Pac-12 this season. She began playing left back on her club team in high school, where Head Coach Todd Shulenberger first saw her compete.
But she did not start on defense.

Haro played forward in high school before moving to an attacking midfield role her freshman year with the Cougars.The position requires her to be defensive-minded first, but allows her to get forward on the wings and contribute offensively — something Haro is naturally comfortable with from her days as an attacker, she said.

The Southern California native admitted she is not the quickest player on the team, but said she has gotten a lot stronger thanks to a new training program. Her strength was on full display as she held off a defender during her goal-scoring run against the Wolverines.

Haro is known for her powerful left foot, an asset the Cougars utilize on set pieces. Her first goal of the season came on a penalty kick at St. Mary’s. Her first assist came on a free kick against Santa Clara.

“She’s got a great left foot,” Shulenberger said of Haro. “Defensively, she does her job, but offensively, she gets involved, and we want our outside backs to get forward, and she’s absolutely supplying that for us.”

Haro leads the Cougars with three assists and is second on the team with three goals.During the Cougar Classic, she was a key factor in shutting out No. 14 Nebraska, helping hold the Cornhuskers to just seven shots. Two days later, she helped lead WSU to another shutout, adding two assists in a 5-0 route of Georgia Southern.

Her performance over the weekend did not go unnoticed, as she was named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week.

A double major in multimedia journalism and public relations, Haro said balancing soccer and school is especially difficult with all the time her team spends on the road.

“I have to make sure that I’m constantly caught up,” Haro said. “I have to teach myself certain things, and that goes for everybody.”

She said flights do not get in until after midnight if they are lucky. Often, the team flies into Spokane after a Sunday game, before making the hour-plus drive back to Pullman.

Late nights turn into early mornings for the team. Haro said she often wakes up at 5:30 a.m. to get to practice during the week.

“You don’t get to sleep in a lot,” Haro said. “It’s exhausting, but we make it work.”

All that hard work could pay off in a big way for the Cougars this year. With a 5-1-2 record heading into conference play, Haro said her team is exuding confidence.

“Right now, we’re feeling really good as a team,” she said. “I think our big goal is to focus on the positives, focus on getting better. I think we’re in a better spot than we were last year.”

As a stalwart on a defense that has shutout its opponents in six of eight games, Haro, along with her teammates, will need to continue stifling opponents to stay relevant in a conference that has four schools represented in the top-25.

But Haro said she looks forward to facing the best team the country has to offer.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” she said, “but I’m really excited to play against the best competition, and I’m sure all the other girls are too.”

Cougs move to 3-0 for first time since 2005

JACKSON GARDNER | Evergreen reporter

Cougar football (3-0) unleashed the firepower of its air raid offense upon the Oregon State University Beavers (1-3) in a 52-23 beat down this afternoon.

WSU chalked up its first conference win as redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk was back from his brief stint on the sideline last week. Falk, who has historically played well against OSU, stayed true to his past performances.

On the Cougars’ second offensive drive, Falk connected with junior wide receiver Tavares Martin Jr. for a 21-yard touchdown pass. Despite that drive, WSU only managed to collect 62 total yards in the first quarter.

The Cougs dramatically elevated their play in the second quarter, nearly tripling their production from the first. From there, the momentum never let down.

One thing will remain consistent about Head Coach Mike Leach: If his offense stops moving, he wants to go deep. Half of Falk’s first-half touchdown passes came by way of vertical routes.

Falk completed 37 of 49 attempted passes with 396 passing yards and six touchdowns.

“When we were playing well, we were firing on all cylinders,” Falk said. “I still don’t think we have reached our ceiling yet, but it was good to put that many points up.”

The Cougars have traditionally been blessed by a productive relationship between their quarterback and leading receiver. One of the major question marks for WSU this season was if Martin Jr. would be ready to take on the production of the program’s all-time leading receiver Gabe Marks.

Martin Jr. made Martin Stadium his own world this afternoon. His 10 receptions for 194 yards and three touchdowns led all receivers in each category today.

As a whole, WSU’s receiving core had a day to remember against the ailing OSU defense.

“I think that’s the fun part about it, he [Sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Johnson-Mack] is getting his share of the wealth, and I’m getting mine,” Martin Jr. said. “And then, throughout the game, we spread the wealth to the young guys.”

The Beavers received help from junior running back Ryan Nall, who found the end zone twice while averaging 7.9 yards per carry in the game. However, the lack of a consistent passing game proved to be the difference in the matchup.

A storyline to follow for OSU will be the health of junior quarterback Jake Luton. He

was carted off the field after collapsing from a head injury early in the fourth quarter.

The Cougars made a humbling gesture of solidarity by wearing bone decals on the back of their helmets for those affected by the shooting at Freeman High School in Rockford, Washington.

After the final whistle, Leach addressed the gesture in a postgame interview.

“They are right here, locally. This is one of the ultimate local places,” He said. “We just want everyone to know — and them in particular — that they are in our thoughts and prayers.”

Madison takes football seriously

JACOB MOORE | Evergreen sports editor

Luke Hollister | The Daily Evergreen

At six feet five inches and 314 pounds, redshirt senior offensive lineman Cole Madison has the potential to be intimidating to more than just his opponents. However, the easy-going, conversational student-athlete is anything but frightening.

Taking life seriously — but not too seriously — helps the Burien native stay facetious.

“Oh, not only do I like the man bun,” Madison said while grabbing his dark-blonde, curly hair, “I started the man bun.”

As a straight-shooter, Madison was comfortable talking about some of his favorite hobbies. The photogenic lineman kicked his legs up on a desk, leaned back in a chair and made himself at home in the Cougar Football Complex.

Teammates of Madison, like redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk, have told stories of the lineman’s obsession with movies.

“[Madison] likes films that were made in Japan that nobody’s ever heard of,” Falk said. “He’s a nut. I sat through a thirty-minute movie with him and I’m like ‘I’m outta here, this sucks.’ ”

The film-loving criminal justice major did not dispute this. He acknowledged his respect for a “well-done” movie hidden in the depths of the film industry.

Madison enjoys a good burger occasionally, too. If money wasn’t an issue, Madison said, he would eat out at Fatburger. You’d have to drive about an hour-and-a-half from Pullman to find the nearest one.

Most of all, football is far more important to the decorated player than man buns and burgers. It was his father who got him involved in the sport, Madison said.

Mark Madison played basketball at Central Washington University just as his son played basketball at Kennedy High School, where he received a letter all four years.

Cole’s athleticism was not limited to one sport. Before joining the Cougars, Madison was also a four-year letter winner with his high school football team. Joining WSU allowed Madison to focus on football, and he has embraced his position on the offensive line.

Since redshirting his freshman year, Madison has won the “Bone Award” multiple times, meaning he came away as the lineman of the week against various Pac-12 teams, like Arizona, UCLA and California.

Ryan Pugh | Daily Evergreen file

Although it’s nice to be decorated and recognized for his individual efforts on the field, Madison said, receiving his awards were “more of a team thing.”

He may joke about bringing the man bun into style, and he certainly enjoys discussing hobbies and interests. But when it comes to football, his team and teammates are most important.

For example, former Cougar offensive lineman Riley Sorenson played alongside Madison. After Sorenson’s first bout of testicular cancer brought fear into everyone’s lives, Madison and others felt relieved to hear his cancer would not require chemotherapy, according to The Spokesman-Review.

“I found out, I think two days before camp,” Madison told The Spokesman-Revision. “Me and River [Cracraft] were at dinner with Nick Begg, and River texted Riley and Riley said, ‘The Wizard’s back. No chemo!’ … We were all damn near in tears.”

Cougar teammates are a huge part of Madison’s life, as he often hangs out with defensive athletes like redshirt senior linebacker Peyton Pelluer, recent Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Week.

As he prepares for the third game of his final Cougar season, Madison looks forward to fighting for his team, his teammates and his passion.

“Oh, we’re gonna go,” Madison said of his goal for WSU football this year, “and we’re gonna keep going.”

Oregon State stands in the way of WSU

SAM HEIKELL | Evergreen reporter

After WSU’s (2-0) triple overtime comeback win last week, they will look to get their third straight win of the season against Oregon State (1-2) this Saturday.

The Beavers have struggled early, coming off a 48-14 defeat at home against Minnesota and lost to Colorado State in their season opener. In between those games, they were barely able to squeak by Portland State 35-32 for their only win so far this season.

Led by Head Coach Gary Andersen, the Beavers will be without their two starting cornerbacks, sophomore Xavier Crawford and junior Dwayne Williams. Crawford injured his shoulder last week against Minnesota, while Williams tore his ACL, which will keep him out for the remainder of the season.

The Cougars got their second win of the season against Boise State last Saturday, with a final score of 47-44 in triple overtime. WSU fell behind 21 points in the fourth quarter, but battled back to send the game into overtime.

Redshirt senior running back Jamal Morrow finished the game after carrying a 22-yard pass into a corner of the end zone.

“I think we finished the game and found a way to win, which I don’t think hardly any other teams in the country would have done,” Leach said. “But I don’t think we played well on offense and I think we’ve got to play better.”

Despite the win, Leach was not pleased with his offense for the better half of the game, as they didn’t score an offensive touchdown until the fourth quarter.

Leach felt his receivers, offensive line and running backs bared the brunt of the trouble.

In the third quarter, Leach took his redshirt senior quarterback, Luke Falk out of the game and put in redshirt sophomore quarterback Tyler Hilinski for one drive. Hilinski completed his first four passes before taking a 20-yard sack and then throwing an interception on the ensuing play.

“I just wanted Luke to see how easy it was out there,” Leach said. “And it was — until Tyler tried to do too much and threw an interception.”

Later in the fourth quarter, Falk went down and hit his head hard on the turf. He was out for the rest of the game for precautionary reasons. However, he will be ready to go Saturday against Oregon State.

“Luke is an elite quarterback,” Andersen said, “and he’s proven that for a long time.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Martin Stadium.

Culture, toughness on the line for WSU

BRADEN JOHNSON | Evergreen columnist

Mike Leach may have a future as an odds maker handicapping fights as soon as he calls it quits as a football coach.

His public lambasting of WSU’s offensive line on Monday indicated he’s brutally honest and able to let go of personal biases when setting the odds.

“Pick out whoever happens to be your favorite of our offensive lineman, whoever you think is the toughest,” Leach said, hypothesizing a “fight to the death” in the Cougars’ team room. “And now, whoever is the softest on that Boise State [defensive line], you bring him in here.

“All that’s going to be left of our offensive lineman is a grease spot in the end. Okay? That Boise State D-lineman will smoke our offensive lineman so bad. If you don’t believe me, just turn on that game the other night and you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.”

I guess now might be a good time for the Cougars’ offense, which took 53 minutes to register its first offensive touchdown in last week’s triple overtime win over Boise State, to take on an Oregon State team ranked 115th out of 129 teams in total defense, according to FBS Football Stats. In three games played, the Beavers’ defense (1-2) surrendered 1,451 total yards of offense and is allowing 6.31 yards per play.

Don’t tell that to Leach, though. Despite Oregon State allowing 253 rushing yards in a 48-14 loss to Minnesota last week, the sixth-year head coach wasn’t ready to commit to a run-first approach on Saturday.

“I mean, we’re going to try and run it some,” he said. “If our offensive linemen get pounded again, we’ll probably run it a whole lot less. So we’ll see if they’re as tough as the Oregon State D-line.”

Tuck away any ideas of WSU having a quarterback controversy. As loose as redshirt sophomore Tyler Hilinski played in relief of third-year starter Luke Falk, it is not the most relevant issue surrounding Cougar football in week three — especially since Falk, who Leach said is starting Saturday, has torched the Beavers for 1,293 yards and 16 touchdowns in three starts.

Let’s focus more on where the culture and toughness of this program is at. As porous as OSU has looked on defense through three games, it’s going to come up Saturday. Leach sure did not seem to think it’s where it needs to be, and sensed similar themes at this time last year after the Cougars’ 0-2 start, in his comparison of the team’s atmosphere to that of a “junior college softball game.”

Coming off an improbable win, the Cougars are favored by three touchdowns over the Beavers. Many pundits have the Cougars pegged to win by a larger margin. But remember how WSU, riding a five-game winning streak entering last season’s matchup in Corvallis, was beaten to a pulp on the ground by OSU junior running back Ryan Nall en route to a 24-6 halftime deficit?

Not saying it’s going to happen again, considering Nall was held to 31 yards on the ground last week as teams have forced OSU’s first-year starting quarterback Jake Luton to beat them through the air. Still, last year’s game dramatizes WSU’s struggles in consistently playing as a tough-minded team.

“To get punked by that team and to play like that, that’s not how we wanted to finish that game,” WSU junior receiver Kyle Sweet said of last year’s contest. “So we just made a decision as a team to step up and do our jobs.”

The entirety of the WSU football team needs to have that mentality, and for more than just two quarters of play. Leach was complimentary of OSU and third-year head coach Gary Andersen, saying that the Beavers “are an emerging team and are lucky to have [Anderson],” but this is probably the most winnable Pac-12 game on the Cougars’ schedule.

One of Leach’s favorite slogans, “Respect everyone, fear no one,” is displayed all throughout the Cougar Football Complex. From the weight room to the locker room, it largely defines the identity the coaching staff desires this program to adopt. In the 2017 season, that starts with a complete performance against a Beavers’ team it matches up with better in all three phases.

“Oregon State is a little easier on the eyes in terms of shifts and motions and all that,” said redshirt senior linebacker Peyton Pelluer. “That’s going to be a little relieving, but they’ve got big backs and they’re a Pac-12 team. So we’ve got to treat the game as such.”

For the Cougars, Saturday’s game is about reaffirming its standing toward the top of the Pac-12 and meeting the expectations they have set for themselves as conference play begins. Specifically, that starts with “tackling low,” as Pelluer said, and leaving no doubt on the scoreboard for 60 minutes of play.

Could WSU get away with another performance like it had for the first three-and-a-half quarters of play against Boise State and still come out on top against OSU? Probably.

But that’s not the measuring stick being used in this game. Leach steadily acknowledged throughout practice that the play of his offensive line improved, as did the collective performance of other position groups.

We’ll see if this improvement correlates with toughness on Saturday, and if Leach and the odds makers are indeed correct in their assessments.

Experienced chef completely focused on WSU athletes

DYLAN GREENE | Evergreen reporter

Fuel. Train. Dominate. A three-word mantra that overlooks WSU athletes as they are served food inside the Gray W Legends Lounge.

Raul Vera, senior executive chef of WSU Athletics, runs the kitchen inside the lounge. He and his staff provide the student-athletes with the fuel they need to compete.

“We just want to make sure they are fueled and ready to dominate,” Vera said.

Vera and his staff serve lunch and dinner to the athletes Monday through Thursday each week. The rest of his time is spent either preparing pregame meals for the athletes or hosting and serving food to WSU alumni and donors on Cougar football gamedays.

Despite the time commitment, Vera, 57, said he enjoys interacting with the players every day.

“This is what fuels my fire, you know the young people,” Vera said. “They are very appreciative, and it’s good to see what our next generation is going to be like.”

Vera first started cooking when he was nine years old. His mother taught him how to cook, and Vera credits her for the cooking style he uses now.

At that young age, he told his mother that someday, he would own a restaurant. Sure enough in 1990, Vera and his wife opened a Mexican restaurant in La Grande, Oregon.

Senior Executive Chef Raul Vera preparing a tray of salmon for Thursday’s lunch in the Gary W. Legends Lounge.
KEISHA BROKAW | The Daily Evergreen

The restaurant served healthy, authentic Mexican food with fresh ingredients from farms in the area, he said.

“We were the first ones to come out with a healthy concept,” he said.

After eight years, the chef and his wife moved the restaurant to Bellingham. They then decided to sell the business so they could spend more time with their three boys.

In Bellingham, Vera got hired as a lead dinner cook at Western Washington University. Within a year, he worked his way up to Executive Chef.

Oregon State University noticed and hired Vera as their own Executive Chef in 2005. He was eventually promoted to Culinary Director of the Athletic Program at OSU.

Vera worked in the Beavers’ program for 10 years before his contract ended. He essentially became a free agent in the Pac-12 market.

Not wanting to leave what he was doing, Vera accepted a job at WSU to continue working with student-athletes. He had job offers from other universities, but Pullman was at the top of his list.

“It wasn’t in desperation I came here, it wasn’t a second choice, this was my first choice,” he said. “I had other opportunities that I could have taken, but this is where God brought me.”

Now, Vera serves the athletes at WSU, making sure they are properly fueled for gameday.

A pregame meal for the athletes usually consists of prime rib, shrimp, lasagna, chicken breast, mashed potatoes, vegetables and dinner rolls, Vera said.

Dessert is also served during pregame meals, but Vera said this is the only time that the athletes get to enjoy a slice of red velvet cake or cheesecake.

“The rest of the time we try to not influence them with any kind of sugar in their bodies because it dehydrates them pretty quickly,” he said.

Special dietary meals, such as vegan and vegetarian options, for athletes are prepared, Vera said.

Vera makes sure each meal fits the diets of athletes and takes responsibility for knowing what they are looking for in the food they eat.

“I took to heart what they needed because it’s a lifestyle that they want to do — to eat that way,” he said.

Sometimes, Vera even works with the nutritionist and team strength coaches to prepare specific meals that can help an athlete lose, gain or maintain weight.

“We have to get them to their ‘playing’ weight — that’s where they excel at their best,” Vera said. “That’s going to protect them from injury. They are going to be able to get through the competition without getting tired, dehydrated or anything like that.”

Perusing this career path was based on Vera’s love for sports growing up. He and his wife have talked about opening another restaurant sometime in the future, but for now, Vera’s focus is on WSU athletes.

“I was born to do this,” he said. “This is something I would never give up. As long as I can keep doing it, this is what I want to do.”

Gleason receives Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award

JACOB MOORE | Evergreen sports editor 

Cougar alumnus and former American football player Steve Gleason was presented with the Regents’ Distinguished Alumnus Award last month.

Once Gleason was given the chance to speak, the crowd welcomed him with an extensive applause. He immediately had those in attendance laughing.

“I’ll have to admit, until just a few weeks ago, I thought regents was a cafeteria,” he said through his technology on Aug. 10.

Keeping his speech short, Gleason ended by thanking family and friends, like former Cougar football head coach Mike Price. He specifically remembered one thing, from when he played for Price, which sums up what he believes being a Cougar is all about.

“I’m interested in what you can do for other people that can’t do anything for you in return,” Gleason said.

Gleason was a four-year letter winner for the WSU baseball and football teams.

More famously, Gleason is known for his documented battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), informally known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. He started the Team Gleason foundation with the help of his friends and family, which has benefited many by raising public awareness and money for treatments.

Students in WSU’s sport management program often create a fundraiser or silent auction in their event management class to generate funds for Team Gleason each year.

One speaker said that while most people dream about doing something, Gleason just does it. He reiterated the point that Gleason is a game-changer on and off the field.

Top-of-the-line technology has helped Gleason communicate his message that there will be, “no white flags.” In this, Gleason’s determination has been an inspiration to many.

Due to the viral Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, Team Gleason raised nearly $1 million, according to its website. In over a year since the start of the challenge, Team Gleason donated over $1.8 million worth of technology and equipment. However, the foundation ultimately hopes a cure will be found.

The regents award one alumnus or alumna each year for distinguished work that touches the world. They must examine a lengthy list of candidates and make the tough decision of choosing one. Some past recipients include astronaut John Fabian and broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow.

By the end of the award ceremony, the entire crowd was standing and cheering the WSU fight song in honor of Gleason.

Defense leads volleyball to 8-1 start

JACKSON GARDNER | Evergreen Reporter

The WSU volleyball team’s form has aided their 8-1 record in nonconference play. This weekend, they look to keep it rolling at the Dr. Mary Jo Wynn Invitational in Springfield, Missouri.

It is no secret that September has treated the Cougars well so far. WSU swept all of their opponents this month, and now share a spot at the top of the Pac-12 standings.

Head Coach Jen Greeny and her coaching staff have developed their team into quite the defensive-savvy club. They lead the NCAA in blocks per set and have the lowest opponent hitting percentage in the Pac-12.

The play of redshirt sophomore middle blocker Jocelyn Urias has turned heads early in the season. She emerged as the Pac-12’s blocks-per-set leader with 1.77 — good for the third best average in the NCAA.

Even Urias is slightly surprised by her form so far this season. After spending last summer playing with the Mexican national team, she felt her fitness was not on par with her teammates’ physique.

“All of my teammates were working out really hard while I was just playing, and not working on my cardio,” Urias said. “I was not expecting to play this well. But hey, I’ll take it.”

With a successful start to the 2017 season and a 2016 NCAA championship tournament appearance to their name, the Cougars have begun to make national noise.

WSU opened the season four spots out of the AVCA top-25 coaches’ poll and the program is still hovering around the same mark. In the Sept. 11 AVCA coaches poll, the Cougars tallied 25 votes, tying them with the University of Illinois at 29th overall.

The Wynn Invitational begins at 8:05 a.m. PST on Friday with the Cougs squaring up against Tennessee State University (4-6). Later in the day, the Cougars will take on the host team, Missouri State University (6-3), who will be the Cougars’ biggest competition, Greeny said.

Greeny, along with junior outside hitter McKenna Woodford and senior opposite Casey Schoenlein, will be reunited with their fellow collegiate U.S. national team selection Lily Johnson, MSU’s senior outside hitter.

All three played under Greeny for the Collegiate U.S. National Team Europe Tour last summer in Italy and Croatia.

WSU will wrap up the tournament at 9:30 a.m. PST on Saturday with a match against University of Tennessee, Chattanooga (7-4). All of the matches will be broadcasted locally on KQQQ-1150 AM radio. The radio broadcast will also be available on the WSU Athletics website.

Mata’afa: Short on words, bold on plays

JACOB MOORE | Evergreen sports editor

Let’s say the Cougs are having trouble. They lose one — maybe two games and the team atmosphere is poor, like it was at the start of last season. Redshirt junior defensive line Hercules Mata’afa isn’t the type of guy to offer an inspirational speech to boost team spirit.

For him, actions speak louder than words.

“I’m not very outspoken when it comes to all that,” Mata’afa said. “When I’m out on the field, I just like to play. So hopefully, my playing will get other people around me to play better.”

One of Mata’afa’s greatest memories happened in the second half of last year’s game against Oregon.

The play clock ticked down with over seven minutes left in the third quarter. Mata’afa fought his way through the offensive line, sacking then-quarterback Dakota Prukop. Cougar fans threw their hands up in glee as the referees did the same to symbolize a safety.

“When I got it, I heard everybody chanting my name, ‘Hercules,’ right after the play was made,” he said. “So, that was probably one of the biggest moments in my career.”

Mata’afa grew up with a lot of kids in the house. When you come from an athletic family with six siblings, it’s not uncommon to see a little roughhousing, he said. And when your first name is Hercules, it’s almost expected.

The self-described goofy and unfiltered athlete graduated from Lahainaluna High School in Lahaina, Hawaii, playing football, as he said, “the way it’s supposed to be played.”

Competing with a WSU jersey is no different for Mata’afa. His technique, his game-day preparations, his dreams — almost none of that has changed.

Before a game, the sociology major likes to sit alone and listen to reggae music. His pre-game playlist includes Bob Marley, J Boog and Fiji.

“I’m from the islands,” he said, “so that’s popular music back where I’m from.”

On his days off from football, the 6-foot-2-inch, 252-pound athlete spends his time simply relaxing.

“Sometimes, our body gets put to work so much,” Mata’afa said. “Getting that time off is just chill. You get to get your rest, let your body rest.”

Fans should not be surprised to see the athlete in the ice cream aisle at Walmart.

“I love that ice cream, man,” he said. “So yeah, a whole gallon. I usually go to Walmart, buy like three Ben and Jerry’s half-pints. Can’t beat that.”

As for his dreams, Mata’afa — like many football players — wants to compete in the NFL. He isn’t picky about which franchise, though. If he gets drafted, he’ll go wherever the opportunity opens up.

Coaching fits somewhere in that aspiration. Regardless of when, Mata’afa wants to eventually become a leader on the sideline like the leader he is on the scrimmage line.

“Then after that, I hope to give back to my community,” he said. “Probably coach back home and tell my story to the younger generation.”

Until then, the player is focusing on the now. The defensive line’s goal is simple — he wants to help WSU finish on top of all Pac-12 teams this season.

“We just need to take it one game at a time,” Mata’afa said. “I want that Pac-12 championship. So, we need to get a ring for that.”

Cougars eyeing first 2-0 start since 2011

SAM HEIKELL | Evergreen reporter

Coming off their first season-opening victory in nearly six years, WSU football looks to get another win, this time against Boise State on Saturday.

The Broncos prevailed in this matchup last season, inching by the Cougars 31-28. In a game where WSU battled to the end, Head Coach Mike Leach questioned the toughness of his team.

“I didn’t think we executed well [last year], I thought we were slow and I thought we were tentative,” Leach said. “But of course, none of that counts for this year so we’re going to worry about this one.”

The Cougars dominated Montana State 31-0, starting their five-game home stand the way they wanted to. Holding the Bobcats to only 143 yards from scrimmage, the defense earned their first shutout since 2013.

“I’m very proud of our defense that they had a shutout,” Leach said. “Shutouts are hard no matter who you play, when or where.”

YULING LIU | The Daily Evergreen
Redshirt sophomore running back James Williams tries to avoid being tackled by three Bobcat defenders. Williams gained 45 yards in the victory.

Along with the win came a milestone for redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk, as he became WSU’s all-time passing touchdown leader with 92.

“I think [the record] is a cool team thing,” Falk said after the game, “because it’s a real team gig and I thought everyone tonight did a great job.”

Falk was on target Saturday, completing his first 20 passing attempts. He tallied 311 yards and three touchdowns on the night.

“I know that Luke has continued to progress,” Boise State Head Coach Bryan Harsin said. “That offense is potent and can move the ball down the field.”

In Boise State’s first game of the season, they beat Troy 24-13 in a game where their defense and special teams carried the load. In the first quarter, redshirt freshman quarterback Avery Williams returned an 81-yard punt return for his first touchdown in college football.

On the offensive side, the Broncos weren’t as sharp as they’d like to be. With a young offensive line and a two-quarterback combo, their offense struggled to move the ball at times.

“We have some inexperience on the O-line,” Harsin said. “We need to be faster and we need to be better. These guys need to take what they learned last game, and apply it to this game, [or else] it’ll be hard and we’ll get hit.”

Saturday’s game will be airing on ESPN, and, like Montana State last week, the Broncos are preparing for a packed house at Martin Stadium.

“We’re going to be in a stadium with a great crowd and there’s going to be an atmosphere that we’re going to have to deal with,” Harsin said. “We are going to go in and play a good football team.”

Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Martin Stadium.

Rypien’s homecoming squarely on his shoulders

BRADEN JOHNSON | Evergreen columnist

One can argue that Boise State junior Brett Rypien is in an unenviable position for a quarterback entering Saturday’s matchup with WSU.

Making his return to Eastern Washington, Rypien, a native of Spokane and the nephew of former WSU and Super Bowl-winning quarterback Mark Rypien, is tasked with piecing together a Broncos’ offense that saw him sacked four times and struggled to put away Troy University on Saturday, scoring just 24 points in the win.

Oh, and there’s the fact that Rypien, a two-year starter, did not play in the fourth quarter of the game, as BSU head coach Bryan Harsin inserted senior transfer and read option threat Montell Cozart to “spark the offense.” Harsin said there is no quarterback controversy and Cozart was expected to play.

“In this game, it was the plan to play [Montell] all along,” he said. “Each week is different. Every single opponent is a little bit different.”

However, there’s a colloquial wisdom that if you have two quarterbacks, you have no quarterback. No matter how you spin it, that’s not good for Rypien’s psyche as he prepares to face an aggressive WSU front seven in a hostile environment that recorded three-and-a-half sacks against Montana State on Saturday.

“It depends what you’re trying to do,” WSU head coach Mike Leach said of playing two quarterbacks. “I probably wouldn’t. I always worry it makes the team disjointed.”

On the flipside, despite Harsin’s sentiment that there are areas Rypien needs to improve on as a quarterback, the Shadle Park High School graduate is still the biggest reason the Broncos, eight-and-a-half-point betting underdogs, can knock off the Cougars for the second time in as many years.

With a cannon for an arm, Rypien threw for 3,646 yards last season and can test a WSU secondary that saw just 12 pass attempts from Montana State quarterback Chris Murray on Saturday.

In the Broncos’ 31-28 win over WSU last season, Rypien threw for 299 yards and connected with then-senior wide receiver Thomas Sperbeck for a 47-yard touchdown pass over the top of the Cougars’ defensive backs in the third quarter to put the Broncos up 24-7 and essentially seal the win.

Regardless of week-one issues with a young offensive line and the fact that Sperbeck and former running back Jeremy McNichols, who gashed the Cougars’ front seven for 126 yards and two scores last year, have since departed for the NFL, Rypien has been in this environment before. Also, with the way WSU bottled up Murray, a similar read option quarterback to Cozart, Boise State’s best chance to score is via the air.

After the loss last season, Leach went on record in criticizing the overall toughness of his program. WSU committed 10 penalties in the game and showed marginal improvement from its week-one loss to Eastern Washington.

Building off last week’s win over Montana State starts with pressuring Rypien in a similar fashion as the front seven did with Murray.

It’s certainly a unique opportunity for Rypien — a chance to reestablish himself as the face of Boise State football, settle whatever quarterback conundrum there may be and spring an upset in front of his uncle, whom Leach “hopes will be wearing crimson.” With that, though, comes perhaps Rypien’s greatest test as a signal caller and leader.

Harsin said he has not yet talked to Rypien about the magnitude of playing in a homecoming game of sorts.

“We just finished our last game,” he said. “We’re correcting a lot of things from that one. There’s a personal side of it to it. The focus is how we get him better and how we’re doing. We had that conversation last year playing against Washington State. Brett’s mature, he’s played in this environment before, and I’m sure we’ll talk about it before the game.”

As Harsin alluded to, the Broncos have a host of issues offensively, ranging from youth and inexperience to molding a new cast of players together. Rypien is the figure who can bring the bunch together.

BSU faces a WSU team that saw redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk rattling off a string of 20 consecutive completed passes in its win over the Bobcats, redshirt sophomore James Williams setting a program record for most single game receiving yards by a running back (138) and a defense that allowed just five completed passes. The tables have certainly turned from where they were a year ago for Boise State.

Yet, one thing remains constant – the rematch will be decided by quarterback play. The Air Raid thrives as Falk does, and with better protection from his offensive line, Rypien has the arm to stretch the WSU secondary deep.

There’s no doubt Rypien will hear it from the WSU faithful when Pullman Mayor and public address announcer Glenn Johnson announces his name. That comes with the territory of returning home alongside somewhat of a rival team.

WSU has all the intangibles in place to spoil Rypien’s homecoming. The nephew of a Cougar legend, however, is the one person who can make this game interesting and save it.

Soccer trending in right direction, prepares for CSUN

RYAN BLAKE | Evergreen reporter

 

WSU’s soccer team (3-1-1) continues their home field advantage Friday as they take on California State University, Northridge (2-0-4).

The Cougars won both of their games in the Cougar Classic last weekend, including a defense-filled 1-0 win over No. 14 Nebraska. The team has yet to allow a goal at home this season, outscoring their opponents 7-0. They’ve also gone undefeated in Pullman.

The Pac-12 named junior defender Maddy Haro the Defensive Player of the Week for her two assists and 180 minutes of shutout soccer during the Cougar Classic Tournament.

After beginning the year with just three goals in four games, WSU exploded for five against Georgia Southern on Sunday. WSU Head Coach Todd Shulenberger was not fazed by the scoring outburst.

“It’s not a position change, it’s not a formation change, it’s a product of us working, continuing to get better and things just starting to show,” Shulenberger said.

The Matadors are undefeated coming into Pullman, though they have only won two games. CSUN has tied twice as many games than they’ve won. Five of their last six games have gone into overtime, including a 1-1 tie in their season opener against No. 24 Long Beach State and a scoreless draw at No. 16 Colorado.

“This Northridge team is for real,” Shulenberger said. “They’re going to bring it, but I know we’ll be ready too, and we’re going to bring it.”

Northridge is the third straight team the Cougars will face at home. The game is scheduled to start 7 p.m. Friday at the Lower Soccer Field.

Volleyball takes second trip to east coast

JACKSON GARDNER | Evergreen reporter

WSU volleyball will travel over 2,000 miles to the East Coast in what will be the team’s second trip across the country this season.

Head Coach Jen Greeny got her team to the second round of the 2016 NCAA Volleyball Championship. To get her team past that mark in 2017, Greeny is taking her team to the talent in the east coast.

“We’ve been playing Willie Nelson’s ‘On the Road Again’ a lot,” Greeny said. “We want to play good RPI teams, and there just aren’t as many on the West Coast.”

WSU will participate in a double-header Friday in Fairfield, Connecticut. The Cougars (5-1) will take on the University of New Hampshire (2-6) at 9 a.m. PST. At 4 p.m., WSU will play Fairfield University (3-3). The Cougars will play Fairfield again at 4 p.m. PST Saturday.

The Cougars will tower over their opponents this weekend. WSU rosters seven athletes who are taller than the tallest woman on UNH or Fairfield’s team. Junior middle-blocker Claire Martin said her team’s height will be helpful.

“It gives us a big advantage blocking-wise because of how much bigger we are,” Martin said. “It’s also intimidating for another team to look at our roster and see how big we are. It can change a team’s game.”

The Cougars’ core of upperclassmen have stepped their game up in non-conference play. Junior outside hitter Taylor Mims has improved her kills per set from last year by almost a full kill per set.

Mims said she thinks moving to the outside hitter position is the reason for her spike in kills.

“Being in the middle, the only time I ever got sets were on perfect passes,” she said. “But being on the outside, I am always the outlet so I have more opportunities.”

Mims’ development has made the departure of Kyra Holt — a former American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) All-America honorable mention — feel seamless.

Holt, who played professionally in Puerto Rico last spring, has not gone far from the program since her four years of eligibility ended. She now helps the team as a student coach while she finishes her last undergraduate semester.

Among other Cougars who have excelled this year, freshman setter Penny Tusa is fighting for playing time in her first season on the Palouse. Tusa has played in 18 of the 22 sets this season. Greeny spoke highly of the freshman’s play.

“She been thrown into the setter position, which is intense, especially at the Pac-12 level,” Greeny said. “For her to be doing good things right away is nice.”

WSU will play six more nonconference matches before they open up conference play hosting the University of Washington in a televised matchup on Sept. 20.

WSU football dismantles Montana State

JACKSON GARDNER | Evergreen reporter

30,254 fans filled the corners of Martin Stadium on Saturday night to watch a WSU football (1-0) beatdown of Montana State (0-1). The Cougar’s offense and defense stepped up to the main stage, combining to win 31-0 in front of a hometown crowd.

In a game that lasted exactly three hours, WSU received a vital mix of contribution from its offensive playmakers. Redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk had a field day against the opposing defense, completing 33 of his 39 attempted passes.

YULING LIU | The Daily Evergreen
Luke Falk broke the WSU record for touchdown passes at 91 during Saturday’s game.

Falk spoke modestly and casually of his record-breaking performance after the game.

“I just give the ball to our playmakers and let them do their thing,” Falk said. “As a result, it’s kind of a methodical, but we are going to continue to take what the defense gives us.”

Three touchdowns and 311 yards later, Falk advanced his career touchdown total to 91. Good enough to pass former quarterback Connor Halliday’s career record of 90 touchdown passes.

The quarterback received help from redshirt sophomore running back James Williams, as he had his way with MSU’s defense as well. Williams’ 13 receptions and 163 reception yards are both WSU records for

running backs.

WSU’s defense brought the same consistent play as its offense, stifling the Bobcats to 143 total yards.

The defensive backfield staunchly held the Bobcat’s passing attack to 28 yards through the air. Sophomore safety Jalen Thompson pulled in his first career interception and led the defense with seven total tackles.

Following the game, Thompson proudly spoke about his first career interception.

“I’ve been working for this for my entire career, and I felt confident out there tonight,” Thompson said. “It feels so good to make Coach Grinch proud.”

Head Coach Mike Leach was all business in his postgame news conference. In light of Leach’s fiery comments after the loss to Boise State in 2016, he said his team’s intensity level was in the right place tonight. For the first time in the Leach-era, the Cougars are 1-0 after week one.

Winning is always important to the head coach, but Leach downplayed the idea that winning the opener was specifically crucial. It was not any more critical than each game won last year, he said.

WSU will be focusing their attention toward the second of five consecutive home games. The same 7:30 p.m. kickoff will take place next Saturday at Martin Stadium. The Boise State Broncos will be visiting Pullman for a rematch of last year’s game in Idaho.

Quarterback prepares for final season


JACOB MOORE | Evergreen sports editor

Redshirt senior quarterback Luke Falk is passionate about a lot of things — but almost nothing meets his eye more than an old-fashioned chocolate chip cookie.

“I can’t be in a room with them,” Falk said. “I consider myself to be a pretty mentally-tough person, but when I see a chocolate-chip cookie, I’m gonna have a bite.”

Much like his love for cookies, the Utah-native holds a soft spot for country music.

“I like country music a little bit,” Falk said before hesitating, “not a little bit, I like it a lot.”

EZEKIEL NELSON | The Daily Evergreen
Falk talks about his preparations for his senior year in an
interview after practice last week.

That’s not all. Falk enjoys a good movie now and then — emphasis on “good.” Redshirt senior offensive lineman and teammate Cole Madison does not understand that emphasis, Falk said.

“[Madison] likes films that were made in Japan that nobody’s ever heard of,” Falk said. “He’s a nut. I sat through a thirty-minute movie with him and I’m like ‘I’m outta here, this sucks.’ ”

Falk does not concern himself with what others think of him. He beats his own drum, lives his own life and obsesses with cookies and country music. What he is concerned with though, is leading WSU football.

As a three-time Pac-12 player of the week and 2015 Sun Bowl MVP, Falk already has a lot to showcase in college. For this reason, some fans questioned whether Falk would return to play for a final year on the Palouse or declare for the NFL draft after last season’s conclusion.

There was no question in Falk’s mind. He released a statement in January reassuring the Cougar nation that together, they “have much more to accomplish.”

Many school records have already been broken while Falk gnaws at the heels of even more. But that’s not why he returned to WSU.

“I’m trying to get win records,” Falk said. “That’s the only stat I care about.”

Getting to the top of the Pac-12 as a team — not as a record-breaking player — is his overarching goal. He wants to make more lifelong memories in a Cougar uniform.

Going to Oregon and beating the Ducks is one of Falk’s greatest memories on the field. Before that 2015 victory, the team morale was low and there was an absence of team identity, Falk said. The Cougars previously lost to California, and it looked as if they were going to drop another in Oregon.

WSU came roaring back from the ten-point deficit to tie the game in just a few minutes. It took until double-overtime, but the Cougs pulled away on top. A defining moment in Falk’s collegiate career.

Head Coach Mike Leach helped bring the starting quarterback to the Palouse four years ago. Falk gives an immense amount of credit to Leach for allowing him a shot at leading the team.

“You never know what story you’re gonna get,” Falk said of Leach with a chuckle. “He’s been a great asset for me, really, I’m just so grateful and appreciative for him … he just lets you play.”

Competing is more than a task, Falk said. He hopes to one day turn his passion into a career.

The rabid Tom Brady fan paints his future five years down the road.

“I want to play in the NFL. I want to be a starter in the league and live in a great town or city,” Falk said, “hopefully married to my girlfriend and living a happy, peaceful life.”

With the first of five straight home games set to begin at 7:30 p.m., Falk and the Cougars will march out of the tunnel tomorrow evening. Montana State stands in the way of Falk’s first game of his final season in Pullman.

Cougar football anxiously awaits opener


DYLAN GREENE | Evergreen reporter

It’s no secret that Cougar football struggles with the first game of the season. WSU is 0-5 in season-openers under Head Coach Mike Leach.

Cougar redshirt senior linebacker Peyton Pelluer addressed the recent opening game stumbles. The team has made adjustments to ensure they won’t stumble this time around, he said.

“We’re doing a lot of different things this year to be more prepared than we were previous years,” Pelluer said, “and the coaches, I think, are doing a great job instilling the right mentality and the right attitude toward this first game.”

WSU looks to end that losing streak tomorrow at Martin Stadium when they face Montana State, a member of the Big Sky Conference.

The team wants to get off to a fast start by beating the Bobcats week one, Pelluer said.

“This first game is for sure going to set the tone for the rest of the season,” he said, “so we’re treating it as such.”

The Cougs’ opponent Saturday will be looking to start the season on a high note as well. MSU finished last year with a 4-7 record and will lean on sophomore starting quarterback Chris Murray to potentially lead them to an upset of WSU.

Murray started the final five games for the Bobcats last season. He was named Big Sky Freshman of the Year and had the third most offensive yards by a freshman in MSU history.

WSU redshirt senior offensive lineman Cody O’Connell stressed the importance of having a sense of urgency and being ready for a Bobcats team that has nothing to lose.

“Whether this is Montana State or USC, we need to take it the same, we need to take it seriously,” O’Connell said. “[MSU] takes it as if it’s like their bowl game or championship and we need to do the exact same each game.”

O’Connell was named to the Associated Press preseason All-America first team Tuesday. Despite the honor, O’Connell said he is just focused on doing his job by helping the team win.

“I mean it’s preseason,” he said. “It will be nice after the season when I get the same stuff, but right now it doesn’t really matter.”

O’Connell is heading into his final season at WSU and he shared what he is looking forward to most this season.

“Honestly, just a chance to get out there and compete,” O’Connell said. “I can’t really describe the feeling of getting out there and playing in front of all those people and playing against top-tier competition. It’s a heck of a feeling and it doesn’t get much better.”

When the Cougars take the field Saturday, they will open the season ranked for the first time since 2002 when they won the Rose Bowl.

Senior quarterback Luke Falk and Leach downplayed the significance of the ranking.

“Everyone’s zero and zero right now,” Falk said. “I mean we got to go out there and earn people’s respect so those things are just for the fans. We got to go out there and prove it.”

Leach insists the team must filter out the preseason hype and chatter and worry about their own jobs.

“The biggest thing is we got to spend more time worrying about ourselves,” Leach said, “because we don’t control any of that stuff.”

Senior cornerback Marcellus Pippins said he didn’t even know WSU was ranked No. 24 in the preseason AP poll.

Pippins, one of 21 seniors on the team, said the Cougs are looking to take the next step this season.

“Our expectations this season is to make it higher than we did last season,” Pippins said. “Which is make it to the Pac-12 Championship and have a chance to play in the Rose Bowl and make it to the playoff.”

Kickoff is 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Martin Stadium. The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1.

Saturday’s game will tell us if the hype is real

 BRADY JOHNSON | Evergreen columnist

A Game of Thrones follower and resident of Texas for nearly a decade, WSU Head Coach Mike Leach was not solely preoccupied with the Cougar’s season-opening game versus Montana State heading into kickoff.

Leach was fairly noncommittal about the HBO season finale on Sunday, describing it as “the same as the last one.” The Cody, Wyoming native instead offered a message to the residents of Houston as it recovers from the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

“I know a ton of people in Houston and it’s a really tragic event,” he said. “We certainly send them all of our prayers as far as them fighting through it and persevering. Houston is one of the nicest cities I’ve ever been in. It’s tough times now, but better times ahead.”

The point is, the sixth-year head coach did not paint the picture of a man fretting over his 0-5 record in season-opening games with WSU. He didn’t worry about how his team is set to handle the heightened expectations that come with earning a preseason ranking in the Associated Press top-25 for the first time in 15 years.

When asked about whether his week one struggles in Pullman are weighing on him, Leach hardly offered a response.

“I’m just worried about preparation,” he said.

It’s an effective summarizer of the pulse around this program right now as it takes a third crack in as many years at knocking off a Big Sky Conference opponent to open the season. There’s a cautious sense of optimism that, as the team transforms from the hunter to the hunted, expectations and reality will align, beginning on Saturday.

As freshman who were more heralded as recruits than their predecessors dot the second and third string roster spots on the team’s week one depth chart, there’s an intriguing mix of experience and raw talent on both sides of the ball.

Mostly positive spring and fall camps channeled themselves into a No. 24 overall preseason ranking. Throw in a redshirt senior quarterback, primed to break through Pac-12 passing records entering his third full season as a starter, in Luke Falk. The excitement is matched by capable personnel.

Still, a 45-point, 606-yard pasting at the hands of Eastern Washington in 2016 prompts acknowledgement of just how little the AP preseason top-25 poll really means.

For as much hope as WSU’s eight-game midseason winning streak instilled in the program, it’s impossible to look past the beat down the team took from No. 5 Washington to close the regular season and how discombobulated the program culture appeared in the Holiday Bowl. The Cougs lost to a Minnesota team that promptly fired its coach one week after its upset win.

The image of then-redshirt senior wide receiver Gabe Marks and Falk not meeting the camera’s eye in the Holiday Bowl postgame news conference are still just as raw as they were in December. Moreover, that sight, coupled with Leach saying there were “a certain number of people pouting on the sideline” in the loss, is just as relevant as WSU’s preseason ranking.

“We have to understand we haven’t really accomplished anything,” Leach said. “We have an opportunity to accomplish something this weekend if we improve and play well.”

Leach may view the team’s troubled past in week one as a non-factor entering Saturday’s tilt with the Bobcats, but it reintroduces all of the uncertainties WSU left us following its Holiday Bowl defeat.

To be fair, the Cougars return eight regular starters from last season on defense. Not to mention a backup quarterback in redshirt sophomore Tyler Hilinski whose spring and fall camp stat lines were pretty much identical to those of Falk and a running back quartet viewed as one of the deepest in the nation.

“I haven’t had that depth [at running back],” Leach said. “There’s pretty good distribution too, as far as classification. I think that’s always helpful. We’ve always had productive running backs. We had the best group of running backs in the league last year, and we’d like to this year.”

Is the preseason hype warranted? One can make a solid case based off the eyeball test. The early-season shortcomings over the past five years make you want to say ‘prove it,’ at the same time.

The intangibles are in place for WSU to make a dark horse run at a Pac-12 North division title and increase its regular season win total from eight games. Remember though, that past experiences and individual performances shape the present outlook.

The Bobcats, 4-7 in 2016, closed last season on a two-game winning streak, bring back returners on both sides and have a second-year head coach in Jeff Choate, whom Leach said is “an enthusiastic guy and is committed to coaching.” Choate also served as the linebackers coach at WSU in 2012 — Leach’s inaugural season.

The underlying variables present in Montana State’s season outlook serve as a reminder that the Cougars’ last two season-openers prove once teams take the field in week one, nine months of preseason hype and chatter are nullified.

With a calm coach leading his most talented team in six years into Saturday’s meeting with Montana State, there is reason to be confident that WSU is ready to vanquish its ghost of the week-one loss.

But let’s wait until Saturday to find out.

Soccer hosts first annual Cougar Classic


RYAN BLAKE | Evergreen reporter

The Washington State soccer team host’s the first annual Cougar Classic this weekend on the Lower Soccer Field.

LUKE HOLLISTER | The Daily Evergreen
Defender Maddy Haro runs the ball down field August 20.

Nebraska, Georgia Southern and Montana will travel to Pullman this weekend, competing in two games each. WSU plays Nebraska on Friday night and Georgia Southern on Sunday afternoon.

The Cougars (1-1-1) dropped their last contest 1-2 Sunday at Santa Clara. Head Coach Todd Shulenberger said he likes what he’s seen from his defense and goalkeepers so far but wants to see improvement on the offensive end over the weekend.

“It’s a work in progress,” Shulenberger said. “We’ve definitely had opportunities, now we’ve just got to finish them.”

The WSU roster is very young, with 13 out of 30 players being true freshmen. Shulenberger said he hopes they will benefit from playing time and exude confidence in front of goal for the start of Pac-12 play.

WSU takes on 14th ranked Nebraska (4-0-0) in their first game of the weekend. The Cornhuskers, coached by John Walker, outscored their opponents 12-1 in August. Their 12 goals are tied for seventh most in the country.

“Nebraska is a very good team,” Shulenberger said. “They’ve got a good attack and they get numbers behind the ball when they defend. They’re organized but we’re up for the challenge and we like where we’re at.”

On Sunday afternoon, the Cougars take on Georgia Southern (2-1-1).

Shulenberger said his team is focusing one game at a time and will look at Georgia Southern following Friday night’s game against Nebraska.

The Eagles traveled nearly 3000 miles across the country from Statesboro, Georgia to compete in the Cougar Classic. This will be the first time in program history the Eagles will compete on the west coast. Shulenberger said he wants his team to grow in certain areas over the weekend.

“[We want to] continue to maintain our defensive side, grow in our possession, become more confident and have more numbers in the final third to get some shots and opportunities to score,” he said.

Montana (3-1-0) will play Georgia Southern on Friday night and Nebraska on Sunday afternoon. WSU does not play the Grizzlies this weekend, but the two will face each other later in September when the Cougars travel to Missoula for their final out-of-conference game.
All this weekend’s games will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 website.