Madison, Jamal Morrow and Taylor Taliulu on Monday were naturally asked about the Stanford loss -- but what came across most was how they had already moved on and were firmly focused on Saturday’s opponent Arizona State (12:30 p.m.; FS-1, sold out, WSU favored by 2 ½ points).
“I did not play in the Arizona State game last year, but from watching it they bring a lot of blitz -- I think (it was) 52 blitzes last time,” Madison said. “We’re pretty good at .. someone throwing stuff at us. We’re good at picking it up, so we’ll be ready for it.”
Morrow and Taliulu were asked if the Cougar offense is licking their collective chops after seeing the triple overtime game between ASU and Oregon (the Ducks won 61-55).
“I mean, yeah, just being in this offense, we want to score every time we get the ball,” Morrow said. “…It was a crazy game.”
“That finish was definitely a crazy one and knowing how Arizona State lost that game they’re going to be fired up to come out on Saturday,” he said. “But we’re going to be more fired up than them. It’s going to be a good one.”
Taliulu said the Cougs cannot afford a second half letdown like the Cougs experienced last year against ASU.
“They always come out ready to play,” Taliulu said. “The last time we played them we kind of struggled. Last year, I feel like we did pretty good in the first half and kind of gave the game away.”
MEANWHILE, THE TRIO may have still been frustrated on Monday with the loss to Stanford – but they also said the Cougs were hardly down on themselves. Indeed, what came across most: the anticipation of this Saturday and the opportunity to bounce back. Washington State (5-2, 3-2) would become bowl eligible with a win over ASU.
“Just flush it,” Madison said. “It happened, we should have beat them, we could’ve beat them, we should’ve beat them. But it just didn’t happen. We just gotta move forward and can’t look in the rearview mirror … just gotta keep pushing forward.”
Taliulu echoed those thoughts, saying it was critical not to let the Card beat the Cougs twice.
“Whenever you have a loss, don’t let that loss affect you for the next week,” said the senior safety. “Saturday was a tough one to take, but you have to swallow it and go on to the next one.”
Although the game is in the rearview mirror, it’s important to take an education from it, said Madison.
“We just gotta finish, you know, can’t shoot ourselves in the foot,” said Madison. “Played pretty good in the second half, first quarter is what killed us. We gotta come out strong and the last three games that we’ve played good, we started off great. We just didn’t start off great last game. Moral of the story: Just gotta start off good, start off fast.”
Morrow, along with his head coach and teammates, is not interested in silver linings -- regardless of national or Pac-12 rankings, Morrow said the Cougs expect to win every time out.
“We want to ignore all the outside noise, because you know, there’s no moral victories here,” Morrow said. “A loss is a loss, and you know, we don’t want to take a moral victory…You win or you lose. We happened to lose, we take it and learn from it and get ready for Arizona State.”
“Prior to the Stanford game we already had it in our mind that we can play with everyone,” said Taliulu. “We’ve been progressing, I feel like, each week and I think that Stanford game just kind of showed people what we could do. I feel like we can be a lot better.”
When it comes to confidence, Madison isn’t short of any.
“We believe that we’re the best team in the Pac-12 and we can beat anyone we play against," said Madison. "It all comes down to how we play -- we lost that game just because we shot ourselves in the foot, kept doing it, and just gotta move forward and not make those key mistakes.”
NOTES AND MORE QUOTES:
-Morrow said he came up with the nickname for Cougar running backs Gerard Wicks, Keith Harrington and himself: Earth, Wind and Fire. "You've got Gerard, that’s the Earth… you see how he’s running… that’s he’s a mean man to tackle… Keith, he’s probably like the fire, he brings that fire to the offense... explosiveness. And you've got me... just cool as the wind (laughs)."
-Taliulu on his song, WA-ZZU, that gets played at home games and at some practices: "Honestly, I’m a little tired of that song right now. If it helps our team get fired up then that’s a positive. The first time it happened, it was dope. When I heard it in the stadium, it was a really cool experience and I’m glad people enjoy it."
-“Yeah, there’s excitement (on campus). It’s nice… people starting to believe… that we’re the team, that we can win and that we’ve been trying to fight to be and we are that team now. And we’re getting support…we just gotta finish the game for the fans and for ourselves.” – Madison
-"This team, we knew that we can compete with any team in the country. We know our talents as a team. It’s kind of disappointing that we didn’t finish the game off, but as a team we know how good we can be." – Morrow
-"That was a pretty good environment (for Stanford). I’d say that one is up there with the Apple Cup my freshman year and with Oregon last year... I think the crowd was great, and it was nice seeing them out the whole game and supporting us all the way through, (a) shout out to them." – Taliulu