"Kind of like a bad car wreck where you don't remember a lot of the details," center Elliott Bosch said Monday of the loss to Utah last season.
Marcus Mason respectfully disagreed with Bosch. Mason said painful memories from last year's loss provide inspiration for the Cougars as they prepare to play the Utes on Saturday (12:30 p.m., Pac-12 Networks) at Martin Stadium.
"There's a little chip on our shoulders because of last year," Mason said. "They're going to come up here and find out what we have waiting for them."
Coach Mike Leach openly questioned the character of some of his players after the Utah game last November. Bosch said the game "was a weird deal, a struggle for the entire team.
"The biggest deal (now) is, we're trying not to focus on that. We're such a different team, and we've come so far."
Far enough, Bosch might add, to be one win away from bowl eligibility.
"It gives you a little extra energy," Bosch said.
The Cougars learned Monday that Utah starting quarterback Travis Wilson is out for the year with an unidentified health issue that Utes coach Kyle Whittingham said "could be career-ending." Washington quarterback Keith Price has an ailing throwing shoulder that might limit or sideline him in WSU's final regular-season game Nov. 29 in Seattle (12:30 p.m., FOX).
Saturday's home finale is Senior Day.
Senior safety Deone Bucannon, one of the all-time leaders at WSU in tackles and interceptions, is bracing for an emotional afternoon.
"It seems like yesterday that I was a freshman and I was playing my first game against USC in Martin Stadium," Bucannon said. "The fact that my last one's coming up is kind of crazy.
It's going to be a lot of emotions. It's something that's hard to swallow."
Bosch said he wants his senior class to be remembered for its role in reviving Cougars football.
"I think it's gotten progressively better since I've been here each year," he said. "I hope that we're remembered as the ones who got it all started and got this thing back on track."
The Cougars said Monday afternoon that 6,500 tickets remain for the game. Student attendance may be down, since no classes are held next week during Thanksgiving week, a WSU tradition.
Players had interesting responses when asked about the morning announcement that the rollover option in Leach's contract has been made official. The plan to do so was first reported last Monday by Cougfan.com.
"I think he's done a good job," Bosch said. "He's a good fit for here. Honestly, I think he'll be here a long time."
"I barely know him," senior linebacker Justin Sagote said. "I've been here for two years. But since I've been here, he's been nothing but a good coach. He's a strict coach, but a very good strict coach. I think we just kind of needed some discipline."
Leach, who signed a five-year contract prior to the 2012 season, now has a perpetual five-year deal. He continues to receive $2.25 million a year, with potential bonuses.
As a respected senior leader on the Cougars, Bosch was asked to name the team's best and worst dressers.
"Kristoff Williams is always dressed well," Bosch said.
And the worst dresser?
"I might have to sell out John Fullington," Bosch said with a smile, "because he'll wear, like, team-issue practice shorts and a flannel (shirt). Or he'll have his shorts on and a big, fluffy winter coat. He's always wearing sweats or shorts."
WSU NOTES: Mason is primed for the Utes
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