By Jim Moore
Last week I wrote about a drunken experience at the 1975 Washington State-Idaho game when 151 rum made it hard for me to believe that we beat the Vandals 84-27.
This week we’re playing Stanford at CenturyLink Field, so I thought I’d pass along a quick little Stanford story, too.
That Idaho game in 1975 makes my top 50 list of the best WSU games in 40 years of watching Cougar football. The Stanford game in 1984 makes the top 20, maybe even the top 10.
I went to that 1984 game in Palo Alto, Calif. with Robert Landick, one of my friends who carried me out of Martin Stadium after the 1975 Idaho game. I also went with Jack Carlson, my roommate at Gannon Hall.
Washington State’s defense has been dominant this season, shutting out Idaho last week and not allowing more than 10 points in a game since the opener. (AP)
My wife and their girlfriends went with us, too. And on this day, when I look back, I have a better understanding why my then-wife is now my ex-wife. She wasn’t into booze and the Cougs, and I was. Bad combination. Years later, I apologized for my buffoonery – she put up with a lot.
We sat in one of the corners of a sparsely populated Stanford Stadium. The Cougs trailed 42-14 with 5:38 to go in the third quarter. We were on our way to yet another crushing defeat. Teams don’t rally from 28 points down with 20 minutes to go, but we did thanks to Rueben Mayes. He was one of our best running backs ever. That day he showed why. The Cougs somehow scored the next 35 points to win 49-42. We had five touchdowns in a little over 15 minutes and twice held Stanford in the final minutes to win the game.
Mayes scored on runs of 53, 39 and 5 yards before racing in from 22 yards out with the game-winning touchdown. He also scored on a 53-yard screen pass that was a beautifully called play by coach Jim Walden.
Mayes ran for 216 yards that day and followed it up the next week with an NCAA-record 357-yard rampage against Oregon in a 50-41 win over the Ducks in Eugene.
We were happy Cougs when we left Stanford Stadium. Maybe a little too happy. We were thrown out of a Palo Alto restaurant that night.
Saturday night’s game could be equally memorable. Stanford is the fifth-ranked team in the country. Dave Wyman is a Stanford alum, but even he thinks that the Cardinal might be a little overrated.
The Cougs are 3-1. I can’t remember the last time we won three in a row. We’ve already won as many games as we won all of last season.
Our defense has been unbelievable. We’ve allowed two touchdowns in the last three and a half games. We have the 10th-ranked defense in the nation, and our offense is clicking better than it was last year. We beat Idaho 42-0 last Saturday, but it could have been 63-0, maybe even 70-0 were it not for second-half turnovers.
Last year we almost beat Stanford in Palo Alto. Jeff Tuel led the Cougs downfield on a late drive, and I forget what happened, but it wasn’t good, I do remember that. Stanford escaped with a seven-point win.
We’re nine-point underdogs this year. Are we good enough to beat a nationally ranked team?
I like to think we are. We beat USC on the road with the offense doing next to nothing. It appears to have improved since then, but maybe that has more to do with the inferior competition than a true turnaround.
We’re about to find out. As much as I love Connor Halliday, the kid’s bound to throw an interception or two that will make us shake our heads again. Those mistakes will prove costly.
Prediction: Stanford 27, Washington State 24.
Season record against the spread: 3-1.
Arizona at Washington
I’ve had it up to here with the Huskies. All this hoopla, all this excitement, nationally ranked, undefeated, new stadium, on and on it goes.
Hopefully it stops soon. But I can’t see it happening this week. The Dawgs are 10-point favorites and sure look like they’re equipped to beat the spread again.
Prediction: Washington 38, Arizona 21.
The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website jimmoorethego2guy.com and kitsapsun.com. You can reach Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.