When the Pride of Woodland left Pullman he was ranked in the career top 10 for most tackles in a season (133) and most tackles in one game (25). Five of those career tackles, by the way, came in the Cougars' nail biting win over Houston in the 1988 Aloha Bowl.
DAN GRAYSON, 1989
After having his 2012 campaign limited to six starts because of injury, this year has been special. In 13 starts, he has reshaped the CSU record book by throwing for a single-season record 3,327 yards. He's completed 62.1 percent of his passes while throwing for 21 TDs and 10 INTs.
He also broke the school record for single-game total offense, tallying 445 against Boise State on Nov. 2. That broke the mark held by Brad Van Pelt, who witnessed the feat in person as he was being inducted into the CSU Athletics Hall of Fame that weekend.
Grayson had even more prolific numbers as a prepster at Heritage High in Vancouver, where he broke state 4A records yet received little recruiting love from WSU, UW or the neighbors across the Columbia, Oregon and Oregon State. The final Scout.com recruiting information on him in 2009 lists offers from just two schools, Miami of Ohio and Colorado State.
In case you're wondering, the guy the Cougars took at QB in that recruiting cycle, Jeff Tuel, now plays for the Buffalo Bills.
GRAYSON ISN'T THE ONLY member of the Rams with Evergreen State roots. Redshirting freshman receiver Sammie Long is from Lakes High in Lakewood, and head coach Jim McElwain played his college ball at Eastern Washington and got his coaching start at EWU. The Missoula, Mont., native is in his second season at the helm of CSU, having come to Fort Collins after four seasons and two national titles as the offensive coordinator at Alabama. The CSU job is his first as a head coach. His other coaching stops over the years have included Montana State, Michigan State, Fresno State and the Oakland Raiders.
THE COUGARS AND RAMS did not play any common foe this season. But they do share common ground in the manner in which they earned their bowl berths. Both schools won late. CSU took three of its last four games, while the Cougars won two of their final three. CSU is 7-6, WSU is 6-6.
Here's how the Rams' season unfolded:
Loss, 41-27 to Colorado in Denver
Loss, 30-27 at Tulsa
Win, 34-17 vs. Cal Poly
Loss, 31-6, at Alabama
Win, 59-42, vs. UTEP
Loss, 34-27, vs. San Jose St.
Win, 52-22 at Wyoming
Win, 35-28 at Hawaii
Loss, 42-30 vs. Boise State
Win, 38-17 vs. Nevada
Win, 66-42 at New Mexico
Loss, 13-0 at Utah State
Win, 58-13 vs. Air Force