Football footnotes 10/07

Some footnotes, sidenotes, ramblings, and afterthoughts to the Cougars' glorious victory over Oregon State:


A perfect 5-0 record and still the Cougar climb up the polls feels a lot like driving over Snoqualmie Pass during a blizzard: one slow inch at a time. The ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll has Wazzu creepin' up to number 28, while the AP poll shows them at 27. Even more bothersome, our Cougs actually dropped a spot to 24 on the poll, this despite the fact that our beloved Executive Editor is a card-carrying voter. Although he refuses to reveal his voting to us and is a fair and objective man, we doubt he wrote more than a one-digit number next to WSU.


David Minnich's 195 rushing yards is the ninth highest single game total ever by a Coug. Three former fleet footed pumas previously held that spot with 194 yards: Larry Eilmes (1965), Ron Cheatham (1974), and Shaumbe Wright-Fair (1992). Rueben Mayes holds the WSU record, having rushed for a then-NCAA record 357 yards against Oregon in 1984.


When Oregon State blocked that fourth-quarter Alan Cox punt it was no fluke. Indeed, it was the brainchild of Beaver special teams coach Jim Michalczik, who spotted a weakness in WSU blocking schemes while reviewing film last week. Big Jim, as Cougar faithful remember, was an outstanding guard on the 1988 Cougar Aloha Bowl squad.


Speaking of the Aloha Bowl, the Martin Stadium "big screen" replayed the final minute of the Dennis Erickson coached Cougars' glorious 1988 victory over UCLA prior to the game. Moments later, Erickson joined former WSU coaches Jim Sweeney and Jim Walden, along with current top-cat Mike Price at midfield for a photo op, resulting in a collective case of multiple déjà vu for those already in their seats.


Despite the Spokesman-Review reporting "much of the Washington State sellout crowd left at halftime," from our vantage point it appeared that nary a seat was empty well into the fourth quarter. Even the orange-clad ticket-holders—many who were screaming "NO MAS," by halftime—seemed to stay put until the clock zeroed out. Perhaps the Spokesman forgot that halftime is a popular time for visits to the concession stands and restrooms.


Sure, the WSU ticket department got some mighty bad press last week, but we're here to tell a different story. Granted, our "story" isn't glamorous enough to make any paper's front sports page, but John Nelson, Director of Ticket Operations, went above and beyond the call of duty to insure my octogenarian parents would not have to climb a single stadium step on Saturday. What can we say, but "thanks, John!"


With the victory over Oregon State, the 2001 Cougs became just the seventh team in school history to start the season with five wins. The last five teams to do so (1915, 1930, 1981, 1992, 1997) earned bowl berths. The 1906 squad was the first to start so promising. Coached by Johnny "Chief" Bender, the Warriors—led by "Bad Bill" Miller, "Big" Thayer, "Bunch" Halm, "Shorty" Stewart, "Prexy" Bryan, and Jerry "the Dane" Nissen—were not scored upon the entire season.

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