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What They're Saying: Hercules is one bad Mata'afa

THE FIGHT AND fury of Washington State’s surging Cougar football team was captured succinctly by offensive lineman Cole Madison in the third quarter of Saturday’s rout of No. 15-ranked Stanford.

“Finish the game! Finish!” Madison hollered -- in the quote of the night -- to teammates as he was carted off the field with a leg ding. A handful of plays later, Luke Falk hit Gabe Marks to put the Cougars ahead 28-10.

Finish the Cougars did, defeating the Card for the first time since 2007, 42-16.

Beyond improving to 2-0 in Pac-12 play and 3-2 overall, the victory put a charge into what the pundits are saying about a team whose early stumbles in the season are clearly in the rear view mirror.

Here's a sampling:

"WSU (owned the line of scrimmage). The Cougars, known for their Air Raid attack, outrushed Stanford 101-61... They might have scored 50 if not for several uncharacteristically wayward passes by quarterback Luke Falk."

Jon Wilner, San Jose Mercury News

“As the final seconds ran off the clock and the Washington State fans in the southwest corner of Stanford Stadium rejoiced, the magnitude of what the Cougars had just done began to sink in.”

Stefanie Loh, The Seattle Times

“WSU’s balance-of-power-shifting 42-16 win in Stanford’s stadium on Saturday night was a toughness-measuring contest all night, and when the Cougars rose to the occasion Stanford wilted.”

Jacob Thorpe, The Spokesman-Review

“Hercules flexed. River flowed. And the Washington State Cougars again blended strength and finesse to vanquish a Pac-12 power.”

Lewiston Tribune

"...the Cardinal were thoroughly outplayed before an announced crowd of 50,424. Aside from the Cougars fans in the northeast corner of Stanford Stadium, most of the crowd sat in stunned silence."

Tom FitzGerald, San Francisco Chronicle

“After opening the season with losses to lower-division Eastern Washington and Boise State, Washington State has staged a dramatic turnaround and is now overwhelming the Pac-12's recent powerhouses.” 

Josh Dubow, Associated Press

“All of a sudden, the Apple Cup looks like it could be the game of the season in the Pac-12 as Washington’s two schools are the only remaining unbeaten in conference play.”

Kyle Bonagura, ESPN

"Hercules is one bad Mata'afa"

Sign in the stands at Stanford

"It was loud and it sounded good. I thought they played good music, too. I mean, some of the music I could do without, but I thought Stanford has great taste in music. Who would have thunk it?" 

Mike Leach

“The difference in the game is the Cougar defense dominating the Stanford offensive line.”

—Rod Gilmore, ESPN, at halftime

"Stanford has been the class of the conference for a while now," Marks said. "Since I've been here, they've been a powerhouse. For us, these past two weeks have really been important to finally see the work pay off and realize our potential and becoming what we thought we would be.”

— Gabe Marks

“The tables have turned, and oh how great it feels to Cougar fans to be on this end of a lopsided scoreboard and very different looking Pac-12 standings.”

Skyler Cracraft,


WSU players running into the locker room following the win


I’m OK with skipping straight to the Apple Cup. Seems like the logical thing to do.


So happy I’m witnessing my cougs ball out tonight. Let’s go @WSUCougars


This just in: The Cougar D is one big bad bowl of nasty


Get out your ax and roll up your sleeves, it's time to chop down the trees! 


Thanks to @espn all of America now knows why we always go for it on the fourth


WSU worked harder. WSU played harder. WSU won. Those should be the headlines.


Too early to call the Apple Cup the de-facto Pac-12 title game?


The Continent, Cody O'Connell, imposing his will in the Cougar run game



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