The Stanford-WSU Series: Part I (Pre-1980)

It's "Cardinal vs. Cougs" once again! Who else but The Bootleg cares enough to supply you with an exhaustive, detailed two-part collection of series highlights? We figure that with the newly announced conference realignment, with LSJU & WSU both slotted for the No. Division, it's time to start wrapping ourselves in our tradition with the Evil Empire of Eastern Washington. Here is Part I (Pre-1980)

A (Not-So) Brief History of the Stanford-WSU Series: Part I (Pre-1980)

All-Time Stanford Record vs. Washington State: 34-25-1

The 60 meetings in the past 74 years of gridiron rivalry between Stanford and Washington State have produced many extraordinary individual performances, shocking upsets and numerous fantastic finishes. Outstanding players and excellent coaches. Heroes and villains. Fortunately we have been treated to a lot of guts and glory, and unfortunately we have witnessed the creation of a few memorable "gridiron goats."

This weekend, it's "Cardinal vs. Cougs" once again! Who else but The Bootleg cares enough to supply you with an exhaustive, detailed two-part collection of highlights of the longstanding series? We figure that with the new conference realignment, and with WSU and Stanford both slotted for the Northern Division, it is time to start wrapping ourselves in our tradition with the Evil Empire of Eastern Washington. 

So get yourself a fresh cup of Cougar-killin' coffee because here is Part I (Pre-1980), in reverse chronological order (Why? Who knows?). By no means are these all of the memories (we haven't tried to cover each and every year), but unless you are one of the several readers who spend considerably more time with their media guides than with their neglected wives, these modest little recaps represent a lot more than you personally can remember! Go Cardinal! No mercy on these Cougs. Harbaugh's Humble-Hearted Heroes™ have to play with focus and "cruelty" and punish these pugnacious Pumas and send them packing back to their beloved Palouse! Hey, we are only #2 in the Sagarin ranking. We need the juice!


Stanford 43, Washington State 27

at Martin Stadium in Pullman, WA

  1. Stanford sophomore sensation Darrin "Junior" Nelson scores on a 23-yard pass from fifth-year senior Steve Dils with 11:49 left in the opening quarter.
  2. Dils finds sophomore flanker Ken Margerum for 29-yard TD pass with 3:17 left in the first quarter.
  3. Nelson scores on a 19-yard run to give Stanford a 27-7 lead with 9:21 left in the first half.
  4. Dils hits split end Andre Tyler with a 33-yard TD strike.
  5. Dils hooks up with tight end Pat Bowe for an 18-yard touchdown reception with 6:06 left in the third quarter.
  6. Dils to Nelson for a 22-yard touchdown with 4:01 left in the third quarter, Dils' fifth TD pass of the game!

Second-year head coach Bill Walsh and his Stanford Cardinal battle first-year head coach Jim Walden and his combative Cougars and come away with their first "Pac-10" win as what would much later be known as the "West Coast Offense" puts up an impressive 338-yards in the opening half. Stanford quarterback Steve Dils out-duels the Cougars' star QB Jack Thompson, "The Throwin' Samoan." Thompson would finish 9th in the 1978 Heisman race. Steve Dils, the 1978 NCAA passing champion, ends up setting Stanford and Pac-10 passing and total offense records with 430 yards passing, 438 total yards, and a conference record-tying five TDs. Darrin Nelson, just a sophomore, breaks the Stanford career rushing mark, just seven games into his second season. Wow.


Stanford 31, Washington State 29

Stanford Stadium

  1. Stanford QB Guy Benjamin hits star senior flanker James Lofton for a 14-yard TD score with 12:14 left in the second quarter, giving Stanford a 14-7 lead.
  2. Benjamin hits senior split end Bill Kellar for a 23-yard TD.
  3. Benjamin to Lofton for another TD, this one from 12 yards out with 10:25 left in the contest.
  4. Lofton, playing defensive back for late-game insurance, intercepts a last-ditch "Hail Mary" pass by WSU QB Jack Thompson to end the game.

Bill Walsh and his short-passing game help Stanford win this shoot-out with Tavita Pritchard's uncle Jack "The Throwin' Samoan" Thompson of WSU. Benjamin, who entered the game as the nation's leading passer throws for 330 yards and three TDs. Future NFL Hall of Fame wide receiver Lofton would later be selected #6 overall in the 1978 NFL draft. Benjamin would be the 1977 consensus All-American quarterback. 

Want to guess who logged 16 tackles for the Stanford defense on this day? You are correct: Stanford all-conference middle linebacker Gordy Ceresino. About an "average" day for the ever-prolific Ceresino.


Stanford 22, Washington State 16

Martin Stadium, Pullman, WA

  1. Sophomore fullback Phil Francis barrels over from one yard out to give the visiting Cardinal a 7-6 lead with 4:41 remaining in the first half.
  2. Stanford junior halfback Gary Lynn snares a 27-yard TD pass from junior quarterback Guy Benjamin with 13:40 left in the fourth quarter to give Stanford a 16-9 lead.
  3. Lynn goes over from one yard out to break a 16-16 tie with 29 seconds left in the game.

The Stanford defense gives up 470 yards, but Stanford's tough-as-nails fullback Francis racks up 135 yards on 28 carries and scores a TD and Gary Lynn's TD in the final minute give the Cardinal a thrilling win in a tight finish in Pullman.


Stanford 54, Washington State 14

Stanford Stadium

  1. Stanford's controversial junior QB Mike Cordova hooks up with junior running back Ron Inge for an 11-yard TD with 6:17 left in the first quarter.
  2. Inge busts loose for a 77-yard TD run to give the Cardinal a 14-0 lead with 7:31 left in the first quarter.
  3. Cordova finds senior Billy Singler for a 25-yard TD pass with 1:55 left in the first half.
  4. Ron Inge again, this time from 5 yards out for his third TD of the game with 8:41 left in the third quarter.
  5. Cordova runs it in himself from 16 yards out for a 35-7 lead with 6:17 left in the third quarter.
  6. Sophomore QB Guy Benjamin comes in and hits future Cowboy Tony Hill for a 29-yard TD pass with 12:25 left in the fourth quarter
  7. Sophomore back-up running back Gary Lynn breaks free on a 53-yard TD run with 7:39 left in the final quarter.
  8. With 3:55 remaining, it is Lynn again from nine yards out to finish the scoring…mercifully.

In front of 35,000, it was "all Stanford, all the time." Running back Ron Inge has a career day, racking up 153 yards on just nine carries and scoring three TDs. Future Dallas Cowyboys star Tony "Thrill" Hill has four big catches for 101 yards and a TD.


Stanford 20, Washington State 18

at Martin Stadium in Pullman, WA

  1. Stanford sophomore QB Mike Cordova (#16) finds senior tight end Brad Williams (#88) on a 3-yard TD toss with 11:17 left in the first quarter to open the scoring.
  2. Junior place-kicker Mike Langford (#19) drills a 47-yard field goal with 1:57 left in the third quarter to make it 13-6 for Stanford, a precursor to his season-ending (and season-making) last-second, game-winning thriller in the Big Game at Cal. 
  3. Cordova again, this time passing to senior quarterback-turned wide receiver Eric Test (#18) for a 12-yard score.

The Cardinal almost fumbles away a 20-6 fourth quarter lead, but hangs on in front of just 22,000 in Pullman.


Stanford 45, Washington State 14

Stanford Stadium

  1. Following his own 25-yard scramble, Card senior All-American QB Mike Boryla (#12) passes five yards to junior running back Scott Laidlaw for the opening score with 12:07 left in the first quarter.
  2. On the next possession, junior wide receiver Eric Test takes a reverse handoff from Laidlaw and hits redshirt sophomore wide receiver Billy Singler for a 47-yard gain to the Cougar eight, Stanford's longest gain of the season to that point. Boryla immediately finds Test behind Cougar corner Robin Sinclair in the right corner of the end zone for an eight-yard TD with 9:33 left in the opening quarter.
  3. After a WSU fumble is recovered by First Team All-Coast inside linebacker Gordy "Right Way" Riegel, Boryla hits Billy Singler (#21) with a 22-yard TD pass with 4:21 left in the first half to give the Cardinal a 21-0 lead.
  4. After an eight-yard run by senior fullback Doug Jena on fourth and two at the Cougar 15, Boryla links up with Test again, this time for seven yards with 11:46 left in the third quarter, giving the Indians a 28-0 lead.
  5. Boryla gets his school record-setting fifth TD pass, throwing 15 yards to senior wide receiver Reggie Ishman (#43) with 5:36 left in the third quarter.
  6. Following a terrific 22-yard punt return from crowd favorite and senior return specialist Craig Zaltosky, aided by a nice Drew Palin block, back-up QB Dave Ottmar (#19) finds Singler for an 11-yard TD and a 42-0 lead. Take that, Sweeny!
  7. Showing Stanford's unhappiness with WSU's sportsmanship in the previous year, Christiansen, with his team already ahead 42-14, has his senior kicker Roderigo "Rod" Garcia line up and drill a 49-yard field goal with seven seconds left in the game. Nice! Harbaugh would love it!

A highly emotional game for second-year head Coach Jack Christiansen. In the Stanford locker room, "Coach Chris" tacks up quotes from WSU coach Jim Sweeny saying "If we played Stanford every week, I'd be coach of the year!" The rout was quickly on as Stanford's Mike Boryla throws a school-record five TD passes against the self-proclaimed "best secondary in college football", thoroughly impressing a strong home crowd of 48,000 with a balanced attach that produces 492 yards of total offense. Running back Laidlaw set the tone carrying most of the load on an opening drive that covered 68 yards in five plays, primarily running the "39 pitch" to counter the WSU blitz. On the day, Laidlaw rushes 18 times for 130 yards and grabs a five-yard TD pass for the game's first touchdown. Laidlaw had 85 yards in the first half alone, representing only three yards fewer than the entire Stanford team had managed in the first three games of the 1973 season! Boryla would be sacked just once after suffering ten sacks in the previous match-up with Washington State.


Washington State 27, Stanford 13

Initial meeting at the brand-new Martin Stadium in Pullman, WA

  1. WSU QB Ty Paine scores on a four-yard run and hits receiver Brock Aynsley with an eight-yard TD toss as the Cougs get on the board early and often.
  2. After WSU opens up a 17-0 lead, Stanford junior QB Mike Boryla brings the Cards roaring back on a 69-yard drive highlighted by a 30-yard sideline pass to senior flanker Eric Cross and a second sideline pattern completion to Cross for another 35 yards. Junior running back John Winesberry then runs around end for Stanford's first score.
  3. Boryla hits senior split end Miles Moore with a 55-yard bomb to bring the score to a respectable 17-13 deficit at the half.
  4. The game is tight in the second half until Wazoo's Steve Hamilton scores with 20 seconds left to ice the game.
  5. Adding insult to injury, Stanford fumbles and WSU kicks a "salt-in-the-wound-rubbing" 39-yard field goal on the final play of the game.

"The Curse of the Palouse" strikes once again as Stanford quarterback Mike Boryla is sacked ten times for 72 yards of losses as Stanford's hopes for a third consecutive Rose Bowl go down in flames. Playing on AstroTurf at a brand new stadium, Jack Christiansen's Stanford squad falls behind for the fourth consecutive week, this time digging a deep 17-0 hole from which it never recovers. Defensively, the Cardinal can't stop the Cougars' punishing ground gain, as WSU piles up 19 rushing first downs to the Cards' five. All this, despite fine effort from stud inside linebacker Gordy Riegel, who logs an impressive 21 total tackles, alongside 20 tackles each from fellow linebackers Jim Merlo and Pat Moore. We need to se what the statistician was drinking that day. Three linebackers on the same team with 20 or more tackels in a single game?


Washington State 24, Stanford 23

Stanford Stadium

  1. Washington State QB Ty Paine hits Ike Nelson on a short slant-in pass, and Nelson breaks several tackles and turns it into a stunning 71-yard TD to shock the home crowd with 10:59 left in the second quarter.
  2. In one of the more exciting responses to a big play from an opponent in the history of Stanford football, junior split end Miles Moore (# 45) takes the ensuing kick-off and returns it nine yards before handing it off to sophomore John Winesberry (#26) on a reverse. Winesberry returns it another 88 yards for a 97-yard touchdown play!
  3. Place-kicker Rod Garcia extends Stanford's lead to 20-14 after a drive featuring a diving catch by Winesberry of a 42-yard pass from quarterback Don Bunce.
  4. Wazoo puts together a back-breaking 14-play 75-yard two-minute drive, culminating in a game-winning 27-yard Don Sweet field goal as the clock struck 0:00.

In a reminder never to look past an underdog opponent, Stanford suffers one of the more shocking upsets in school history. The defending Rose Bowl champion Indians, coming off a huge win against USC, overlooks Washington State and gets bumped off at home in a game that makes the Cougars entire season. Stanford was heavily favored, so much so that the coaching staff unwisely gave the team two days off from practice. Miffed, fired up WSU players dig deep and play "the game of their lives" amassing 459 yards of offense against the defending conference champions. Coug kicker Don Sweet, channeling USC's notorious Ron Ayala, boots a game-winning 27-yard field goal on the game's final play. Ouch!


Stanford 63, Washington State 16 (most points ever scored by one team in series)

Played at Joe Albi Stadium Spokane, WA (since Rogers Field in Pullman had been destroyed in a suspected arson fire)

  1. With 4:50 left in the first quarter, Stanford senior strong safety Jack Schultz (#44) (who in 2010 sits only a couple of seats over from "Emeritus" in section 114) picks off WSU's Ty Paine and returns it 46 yards down the sideline for a TD to give the Indians a 10-0 lead.
  2. Seven seconds into the second quarter, Stanford senior QB and 1970 Heisman Trophy-winner Jim Plunkett (#16) gives his team a 17-0 lead, racing 39 yards on a quarterback option for the longest TD run of his incredible career.
  3. With 12:30 left in the second quarter, Plunkett tosses five yards to FB Hillary Shockley for another TD.
  4. With 10:12 left in the first half, QB Plunkett hits Randy "The Rabbit" Vataha for a 96-yard touchdown, allowing Plunkett to shatter the NCAA's all-time record for career total offense. 30-0 Stanford.
  5. Just twenty seconds into the second half, Stanford junior halfback Jackie Brown breaks through the line and races 66 yards up the middle for a TD
  6. On his only carry of the day, Stanford sophomore Eric Cross tears off a 25-yard run for another TD with 9:56 left in the third quarter to make the score 50-8. Drunken WSU fan Terry Smith runs onto the field to blindside the unsuspecting Cross near the goal line. The referees award a Stanford touchdown and Smith is congratulated... by the Spokane police. WSU cheerleaders pass the hat around in the stands collecting bail money. Indians coach John Ralston calls it "the hardest hit of the day." Nice one, coach!. Bob Murphy asks Cross why he ran over the guy instead of around him. Cross answers: "The guy wanted a thrill and I didn't want to disappoint him!"
  7. Back-up QB Jesse Freitas connects with junior fullback Jim Kehl on a 70-yard pass, followed by a one-yard TD run by sophomore running back Reggie Sanderson. Stanford 56, WSU 16.
  8. Sanderson takes off on a thrilling 51-yard run, and then takes the ball in for a touchdown from three yards out to finish Stanford's scoring for the day at 63.

This would be the last game played up at Washington State on natural grass. WSU coach Jim Sweeney's team played the 1970 season, not in WSU's traditional Crimson and Gray uniforms, but in unbelievably ugly fire engine red uniforms and helmets with white and black trim. No wonder they got smoked!


Stanford 49, Washington State 0 (the third-largest winning margin in series history)

Stanford Stadium

  1. A perfect lead pass from junior Indian quarterback Jim Plunkett hits Jack Lasater in stride for a 37-yard touchdown with 2:56 left in the first quarter.
  2. Stanford senior linebacker Don Parish picks off Cougar QB Gary Bergan and returns it 23 yards for a TD with 2:11 left in the first half, giving the Indians a 21-0 halftime lead.
  3. Senior defensive back Rich Keller intercepts another Bergan pass and takes it to the house for a 44-yard touchdown return with 7:47 left in the third quarter.
  4. Stanford back-up QB Don Bunce takes over for Plunkett in the third quarter and rushes 13 times for a game-high 129 yards, including a 43-yard quarterback keeper down the left sideline for a TD with 13 seconds left in the third quarter.

Stanford's second shutout of the year, the Indian defense held the Cougars to just 108 total yards, including just 18 passing yards. The Cougars struggled to a 1-9 season. Desperate to recover, Cougar Coach Jim Sweeney dipped into the junior college ranks, bringing in 16 transfers to rebuild his program for 1970 and form a recruiting strategy that would continue for decades to follow.


Stanford 21, Washington State 21 (the only tie in LSJU-WSU series history)

October 19, 1968 at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane, WA

1. Stanford QB Jim Plunkett's 11-yard TD strike to WR Gene Washington with 6:18 left in the game salvages a tie.

This one took place during the first year of the renamed Pacific 8 Conference and was the first season for new WSU head coach Jim "The Smilin' Irishman" Sweeney.

On an overcast day in front of just 17,000 fans, heavily-favored, but injured-plagued Stanford showed the effects from an emotionally draining 27-24 loss to USC the week before when future-felon O.J. Simpson had rushed 47 times for 220 yards. Injuries to wide receiver Jack Lasater and tight end Bob Moore cast a dark cloud on an already overcast afternoon in Spokane. Stanford's junior halfback Bubba Brown rushes for 110 yards on 22 carries while WR Gene Washington has 8 catches for 110 yards and the one TD.


Stanford 31, Washington State 10

Stanford Stadium

(LSJU finally snaps an eight-game WSU winning streak in series)

  1. Capping a 76-yard drive, Stanford QB Chuck Williams hits converted quarterback and star receiver Gene Washington at the goal line for a seven-yard TD with 40 seconds left in the first half, tying the game at 10-10.
  2. With 6:02 left in the third quarter, following an interception by Stanford's Pat Preston, senior fullback Jack "Hugga" Root scores from one yard out to give Stanford a 17-10 lead.
  3. Williams hits junior end Bruce "Mama" Cass on a slant pattern for a 10-yard touchdown and a 24-10 lead with 2:02 left in the third quarter.
  4. With just a minute left in the game, Stanford halfback Nate Kirtman returns a punt 39 yards down the right sideline to the WSU 14 and a personal foul moves the ball to the Cougar seven. On the next play, QB Chuck Williams hits halfback Bill Shoemaker for a seven-yard TD in the left corner of the end zone for a 31-10 lead with 40 seconds left in the contest.

After falling behind early 10-0, the Indians rally for 31 unanswered points behind three TD passes from Chuck Williams, representing the finest offensive performance by LSJU during the '67 campaign. The stout Indian defends holds WSU to just 187 yards and eight first downs for the game. WSU coach Bert Clark would be fired at the end of a disappointing 2-8 season.


Washington State 29, Stanford 23

Season-opener at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane, WA

  1. Indians' place-kicker Braden Beck (now a retired resident of Los Altos, Calif.) nails 52-yard field goal in the first quarter
  2. Indian QB Terry DeSylvia takes a keep around the right side for an eight-yard TD to give Stanford a 20-13 lead with 11:43 left in the third quarter.
  3. WSU appears to tie the game at 23 on a Larry Eilmes TD run from the one, but Cougar QB Tom Roth's two-point conversion pass goes incomplete, leaving the Indians with a 23-22 lead.
  4. On 2nd & 12 from the Stanford 45, DeSylvia suffers an amazing fourth quarter interception by WSU's First Team All-American defensive back Clancy Williams (with a Stanford personal foul tacked on) setting up a game-winning one-yard touchdown sneak by Cougar QB Roth, giving WSU's Bert Clark a big win in his Cougar head coaching debut.

A close game all the way, this one is taken by the Cougars on a clutch big-play interception by their defensive star Clancy Williams, one of the last great two-way players at Washington State and the school's Defensive Player of the Decade of the 1960s. Memorial Stadium in Spokane had been renamed Joe Albi Stadium in 1962.


Washington State 32, Stanford 15

Stanford Stadium

  1. On first and goal from the WSU 10, Stanford sophomore QB Don Cook finds sure-handed junior end Bob Howard with a TD pass, capping an 11-play, 88-yard drive.
  2. On first and goal from the Cougar one, junior right halfback Dick Ragsdale plunges over for Stanford's second touchdown of the day. Ragsdale then takes a pitchout for the two-point conversion.

This game was played the Saturday before the Kennedy assassination. The Indians trailed 18-0 at halftime and could not run effectively against a tough Cougar defense. The WSU ground game ran generated 265 yards and the Cougars managed 17 rushing first downs to Stanford's 3.


Washington State 15, Stanford 14

at Memorial Stadium in Spokane, WA

  1. Stanford QB Dick Norman hits fullback Skip Face from 11 yards out for the first score of the game with 4:02 left in the opening quarter.
  2. Stanford punter Gary Craig drops a terrific punt on the Cougar one-yard-line. Backed up on their own two, WSU quick-kicks a punt on 3rd and 9 to the Stanford 47, but Craig returns it 24 yards.
  3. On 4th down from the WSU two, Indian running back Gil Dowd rolls over right guard for a TD and a 14-0 Indian lead at intermission.
  4. Cougar star QB Mel Melin rolls out and hits his wide receiver Schenck for a 17-yard TD twenty seconds into the fourth quarter. Star running back and triple threat Keith "The Moose of the Palouse" Lincoln busts over for the two-point conversion.
  5. On the ensuing series, Stanford QB Dick Norman's third-down pass is intercepted by Cougar linebacker (and future CFL star) Garner Ekstran at the Stanford 40 and Ekstran returns it for what ends up being the game-winning touchdown with 12:53 seconds left in the fourth quarter.
  6. Face's field goal attempt from the WSU 37 is wide. WSU takes over, but can't move the ball and has to punt.
  7. With the game on the line, Stanford drives to the WSU 25, but Norman's pass is picked off by Hoien at the center of the line. Melin keeps it three times running out the clock. Game over. "Cougs win, Cougs win, Cougs win!"

In a winless disaster of a 1960 season, this was the closest Stanford came to getting a "W". The Indians got off to a great start, but could not hold a 14-0 lead at the end of three quarters as the hometown heroes rallied and held on for a startling 15-14 comeback, due principally to two critical fourth-quarter interceptions of Stanford's star QB Dick Norman. A two-point conversion by Keith Lincoln after the second WSU touchdown proved the deciding margin. This was actually a non-conference game since the 43-year-old Pacific Coast Conference had been disbanded right before the 1959 season and would not be reconstituted as the Pacific 8 Conference for another several years. The Cougars' Third Team All-American receiver, sophomore Hugh Campbell, aka "The Phantom of the Palouse", would later star for the Saskatchewan Roughriders of the Canadian Football League and later coach the Edmonton Eskimos to five straight Gray Cup championships.


Washington State 40, Stanford 6

at Rogers Field in Pullman, WA

Not a lot went well this day for the Indians. The lone score came on the recovery of a Cougar fumble by defensive tackle Phil Burkland.

The Cougars' ace quarterback Bob Newman made life tough on the Indians, but the unquestioned highlight was the emotional return of Washington State's do-everything Bill Steiger, a fifth-year senior who had missed the entire 1957 season after breaking his neck in a tragic swimming accident. Steiger, a Second Team All-American during the 1956 season before his accident, was a superb running back and receiver, a ferocious outside linebacker and defensive end, and was even a fine punter. Against the Indians, Steiger scored the Cougars first touchdown of the 1958 season (after a Card fumble on the opening kick-off) on the way to a 40-6 Cougar romp.

New Stanford head coach "Cactus Jack" Curtice endures a rough start to his initial campaign trying to replace Chuck Tayor. Curtice's team would lose its first three games of the 1958 season by a combined total of 98-13, finishing a disappointing 2-8 on the year. At least we threw the ball downfield: Stanford QBs Bob Nicolet and sophomore standout Dick Norman would each finish in the nation's top ten in passing statistics for 1958.


Washington State 21, Stanford 18

Stanford Stadium

  1. In the first quarter, Al Harrington scores to cap a 12-play, 56-yard drive, but the PAT fails.
  2. Still in the first quarter, Harrington scores again to give Stanford a 12-0 lead since the PAT fails once again.
  3. Stanford tackle John Kidd recovers a fumble at the Cougar 27 and after five plays, Chuck Shea scores a seven-yard TD. A two-point attempt fails on a completed pass from QB Jack Douglas to Rick McMillen that ends up just short of the goal line. Still, Stanford enjoys an 18-0 lead at intermission.
  4. WSU opens the third quarter with an 11-play, 81-yard scoring drive.
  5. Still enjoying an 18-7 lead with less than three and a half minutes remaining in the game, Stanford fans are suddenly shocked by an 87-yard pass play for a touchdown as the lead narrows to 18-14.
  6. A fired up Cougar kick coverage team recovers an onside kick at the Stanford 47.
  7. Smelling blood in air, the Cougars score five plays later to take a 21-18 lead with just 44 seconds left in the game. Ouch!

Considered one of the greatest games of the entire decade of the 1950s…by Cougar fans. A truly incredible comeback win - unfortunately, not ours! To Stanford, it was a heart-breaking, demoralizing, inexcusable home loss for Chuck Taylor's Indian squad during an otherwise decent 6-4 1957 season down on the Farm. Three missed extra points represented the losing margin.


Stanford 40, Washington State College 26

Season Opener at Rogers Field in Pullman, WA

  1. Less than five minutes into the first quarter, Lou Valli's 44-yard punt return to the WSC 27 sets up the first Stanford score.

Coach Jim "Suds" Sutherland's boys get soaked at home as WSC fumbles four times. Spurning the "jinx of the Palouse country", Stanford scores on its first four possessions and out-rushes the Cougars 151-77. Three Indians passers, Brodie, Douglas and Taylor, combine for 259 yards in the air and spark the "Big Red Machine" to a 26-0 halftime lead halfway through the second quarter as the bench is cleared. Strong receiving efforts are produced by Stanford's Gordon Young, Gary Van Galder, and Carl Isaacs.


Stanford 48, Washington State College 19

Stanford Stadium

  1. The Indians score on a nine-yard pass from Stanford quarterback Bobby Garrett to towering end John Steinberg, who leaps high in the air to make the grab.
  2. In the third quarter, it is Stanford's Garrett again to Steinberg, this time for a 45-yard TD!
  3. In the final quarter, Jack Gebert tosses a TD pass to Al Napolean
  4. Don Kafka scores on a six-yard bootleg for the Indians final score.

In what was the most lop-sided game in the series to that point, Stanford scores on its first possession and never looks back, scoring almost at will against an undermanned "Wazoo Crew." The Cougars managed three late TDs against Stanford's second- and third-stringers. Bobby Garrett, a first-team All-American in 1953, would be the #1 pick in the 1954 NFL draft. He was the last Stanford player to play all 60 minutes in a game, accomplishing the feat five times in 1953.


Stanford 14, Washington State College 13

at Rogers Field in Pullman, WA

  1. On 4th and 6, Garrett passes to Sam Morley for a TD and the Indians build a 14-0 lead at intermission.

The Indians had not won in Pullman since coach Chuck Taylor was playing guard for Stanford's Wow Boys in the early 1940s! Stanford overcomes eight fumbles, builds a 14-0 halftime lead and manages to squeak by the Cougars on the passing of QB Bobby Garrett to Sam Morely and Ron Cook. WSU comes out of the locker room fired up and scores two TDs in the first eight minutes of the third quarter, but Dick Monteith's block of the Cougars' second PAT attempt is the difference in the closest game of the 1952 season.


Stanford 21, Washington State College 13

Stanford Stadium

With help from QB Gary Kerkorian and Olympic star Bob Mathias, halfback Harry Hugasian scores two touchdowns and All-American end Bill McColl provides the third as the Rose Bowl-minded Indians produce a score in each of the first three quarters of the game and build an insurmountable 21-0 lead. The defense, led by tough guys Dick Horn, Chuck Essegian, Jack Rye, and Dave Castellucci, does not allow a point until the final quarter.


Stanford 28, Washington State College 18

at Rogers Field in Pullman, WA

  1. Stanford QB Gary Kerkorian passes 33 yards to end Bill McColl, who fakes a couple of Cougar defenders, advances eight yards downfield and then deftly laterals to teammate Boyd Benson, who takes it 25 more yards for a Stanford touchdown.

In front of the smallest crowd it would see in the 1950 season, WSC's QB Bob Gambold throws two TD passes in the opening quarter to put a scare into Stanford. Two-way star Gary Kerkorian gets Stanford back on track with a pass interception, and a fumble recovery and engineers two scoring drives. He also kicks the PATs. The Indians rush for 237 yards.


Stanford 27, Washington State College 26

Stanford Stadium

In the first season back in action following WWII, the Indians win a thriller.

  1. The Big Red Machine leads 21-20 going into the fourth quarter after scores from Stanford fullback Don Zappettini and all-Coast fullback and team captain and future Cincinnati Reds star Lloyd Merriman.
  2. In a shocking surprise, Cougar halfback Don Paul shoots around end for what appears to be the game-winning touchdown for WSC.
  3. But no! After a final heroic drive, QB Ainslie Bell's touchdown pass to halfback and record-setting swimmer Bob Anderson with less than two minutes left in the game, Anderson's second TD on the day, closes the door on the Cougars.


Stanford 26, Washington State College 14

Rogers Field, Pullman, WA

  1. On third down from its own 36, WSU completes a forward lateral to move the ball 47 yards to the Stanford 17. A Washington State wingback takes it in from the 16 for the game's initial score.
  2. Following a 60-yard punt by Stanford's Norm Standlee, WSC wingback Felix Fletcher, playing right half, sweeps left and takes a reverse hand-off from Sexton after Sexton fakes to star Billy Sewall and follows pulling left guard Joe Englmann into the end zone for a 16-yard score with just four minutes gone in the first quarter. This puts the Cougars up 7-0, the first time Stanford has trailed in the first four games of the 1940 season.
  3. After Frankie Albert intercepts a pass at the Indians' 38, Stanford takes over and halfback Pete Kmetovic immediately races 52 yards to the Cougar 10 yard line. Norm "The Big Chief" Standlee then sprints around the left end untouched to tie the score at 7-7 with three minutes left in the opening quarter. 2 plays, 62 yards. Nice drive. Kmetovic holds as Albert boots the PAT.
  4. After Milt Vucinich hits Clem Tomerlin with a 27-yard pass play, 5'9" junior lefty quarterback Albert finds 5'7" Eric "Hoot" Armstrong, who had replaced star halfback Hugh Gallarneau, in the corner of the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown pass to take a 14-7 lead into intermission.
  5. In the third quarter and after a Standlee 25-yard gallop to the Washington State 33, unanimous 1940 All-American Albert drops back on first down and hooks up with end Fred Meyer, who makes an outstanding catch at the goal line for an Indian touchdown and a 20-7 lead.
  6. Second Team All-Coast center and rugged defensive end Vic Lindskog sticks WSC halfback Akins, nearly breaking him in two, and recovers an ensuing fumble at the WSC 30. Kmetovic takes a lateral toss from Albert and makes it to the one-foot-line. Albert sneaks it over from the one for a 26-7 lead.
  7. After WSU scores on a 45-yard drive, they mount one final effort to get back in the game, but Stanford's Thor "Pete" Peterson intercepts Sewall's last desperation attempt at the Stanford 32.

A packed homecoming crowd of 24,000 came to see Clark Shaughnessy's unbeaten, untied, and AP #10-ranked "Wow Boys" face off against the undefeated Cougars, which had already tied defending conference champion USC and beaten the Cal Bears. Coached by the legendary Babe Hollingberry, WSC scored first and actually out-gained the Indians in first downs and rushing yardage, but the "White Ghosts", as the Stanford players were referred to in the media, proved too fast for the lonesome Cougars. Stanford had come out in all-white visitors uniforms because the WSU squad was wearing red.

Despite suffering four interceptions at the hands of the swarming Stanford defense, Cougar QB Billy Sewall would actually end up leading the nation in passing statistics in 1940. Albert and his Wow Boys would go on to win the conference and defeat Nebraska in the 1941 Rose Bowl. An amazing nine members of the Wow Boys would make it on to the AP's three-deep All-Coast teams. Shaughnessy would be named Coach of the Year. 

1939 Game

Washington State College 7, Stanford 0 

Rogers Field, Pullman, WA

In another disappointing outing during one of the darkest seasons in Stanford Football history, one in which the Indians would not win a single game in the Pacific Coast Conference, Washington State scored a touchdown in the first quarter, converted successfully and needed nothing else in a 7-0 victory over a listless Stanford squad. "Tiny" Thornhill was informed by Athletic Director Al Masters that he would not be the coach of the 1940 team. The man who Pop Warner had labeled the best line coch in the profession, was through. An earlier embarassing 33-0 loss to arch-rival USC had been the proverbial nail in the coffin.

1938 Game

Stanford 8, Washington State College 0

Stanford Stadium

One of the few highlights in a disappointing 3-6 1938 season as Tiny Thornhill's squad suffered from a rash of injuries. Losses to USC, UCLA, Oregon and Cal were all decided by less than a touchdown. The shutout of the Cougars was nice to get in before the debacle of the 1939 season, as Thornhill's seven-year run as head coach on the Farm would come to an end and Clark Shaughnessy, the "Wizard of the T-Formation", would bring his act out from Chicago and bring gridiron glory to Palo Alto in 1940.


Stanford 23, Washington State College 0

Stanford Stadium

  1. After a fumble recovery by Neil Rasmussen, Stanford junior halfback Pete Fay runs around left end for a 13-yard touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
  2. In the third quarter, Pete Zager blocks a Cougar punt and Card captain Grant Stone, a unanimous All-Coast selection at end, picks it up and carries it five yards into the end zone for a TD.
  3. Late in the game, Stanford halfback Jimmy Coffis (from Commerce High in San Francisco) slips through left tackle and races 67 yards for the final score.

In only the second meeting of the two schools, Stanford head coach Claude "Tiny" Thornhill's 3-2-1 "Big Red Machine" crushes the hapless Cougars the week after the Cardinal's 7-6 road victory over USC. Thornhill starts his entire second team to open the game. The 1937 Stanford team totals just 68 points in its nine games, but holds its opponents to just 53.


Washington State College 14, Stanford 13

Pullman, WA

Stanford's famous "Vow Boys" sparked Stanford to three consecutive Rose Bowls from 1933 to 1935, but by 1936, the Boys had graduated and Tiny Thornhill simply didn't have the same talent. He had lost nine "superstars" including Bobby Grayson, Frank Alustiza, Bob "Horse" Reynolds, James "Monk" Moscrip, Keith Topping, and Robert "Bones" Hamilton. Coming off a season-opening shut-out at the hands of Santa Clara, Stanford dragged itself to newly-rebuilt Rogers Field in Pullman for an October 3, 1936 match-up with the revenge-seeking Cougars. WSC, under legendary Hollister, Calif.-born coach O.E. "Babe" Hollingbery (the MVP award for the Shrine East-West game was named after him) and led by three-time All-American single-wing quarterback Ed "The Escondido Express" Goddard, cruised to a comfortable 14-0 lead at half-time. Stanford captain Earl Hoos rallied his Indians with 13 second-half points, but the come-back fell a point short. Stanford would end the season a disappointing 2-5-2 and the decline of the Thornhill Empire was evident.

Sources: Palo Alto Times, San Francisco Examiner, The Color of Life is Red by Don Liebendorfer, Down On the Farm by Fred Merrick, Wow Boys by Cyclone Covey, The Stanford Wow Boys by Robert T. Dofflemyer, vintage game programs, and various Stanford University press guides and news releases.

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