The nine players nominated were receiver/return specialist Sammy Moore, back Jonathan Smith, guard Josh Parrish, linebackers Don Jackson and Will Derting, defensive end D.D. Acholonu, punter Kyle Basler, safety Erik Coleman, and center Mike Shelford.
The five 2003 Holiday Bowl Cougs selected to the team are Moore, Smith, Acholonu, Basler, and Coleman.
Moore replaces Victor Wood (1988 Aloha Bowl) as punt-returner. Wood was a bowl renaissance man, catching two passes for 48 yards--scoring on one—returning five kickoffs for 123 yards, scoring again on a fumble, and returning three punts for 52 yards (a 14 yard average).
At one running back spot, Smith replaces Steve Broussard (1988 Aloha Bowl; rushed for 139 yards against Houston and caught 1 pass for 11 yards).
Acholonu replaces Dorian Boose, who recorded six tackles, including three TFLs, against Michigan in '98.
Holiday Bowl defensive MVP Basler replaces Rob Myers, whose six punts covered 276 yards for a 46.0 average in the 1988 Aloha Bowl.
Coleman bumps Torey Hunter, who thanks to his blanket coverage, including a pic, helped keep Baylor from having any luck in the air during the '94 Alamo Bowl.
As with any "all-time" team, selecting this squad was an inexact science. Obviously, a good deal has changed in the sport of football since 1916 when Washington State fielded their first bowl team, most notably the departure of the two-way player and the evolution of the forward pass. Consider that Bull Durham from that '16 Rose Bowl team was considered one to the best quarterbacks on the west coast due to his skills as a blocker.
Other obstacles encountered when choosing the "best" are the sparse amount of game statistics from the Golden Age of the sport, especially those from the defensive side of the ball, and the fading memories the passage of time creates.
Of course, these teams are also as notable for the players not on the list as those that are. Examples would be Holiday Bowl QB Ricky Turner who almost brought the Cougs back from a 26-point deficit against BYU, rushing for 92 yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns. Benton "Biff" Bangs played a huge role in the 1916 Rose Cougs powerful ground attack, rushing for 98 yards. '98 Rose Bowler Steve Gleason was all over the Pasadena field with nine solo tackles. And how could we possibly have just one defensive representative from the Alamo Bowl Cougs, the famed Palouse Posse?
Many of the players on this team played in multiple bowl games. However, induction into the All-Time Bowl team is based on single game performances. The bowl game for which they were selected to this team is listed next to their names. Other bowl games they appeared in our listed in parenthesis.
QB: Drew Bledsoe, 1992 Copper Bowl
The future #1 NFL draft pick carved up the Utah secondary with 30 completions in 46 attempts for - - gulp - - 476 yards, still a Cougar record!
RB: Jonathan Smith, 2003 Holiday Bowl (2003 Rose Bowl)
"J. Smooth" rushed for 110 on 21 carries (5.2 avg.), including a 12-yard TD run. Also caught five Matt Kegel passes for another 51 yards. (Caught five passes for 38 yards and returned three kick-offs for 24 more in the 2003 Rose Bowl.)
RB: Shaumbe Wright-Fair, 1992 Copper Bowl
The back with the "strength of a lion," picked up 123 ground yards, scored twice, and caught 6 of Bledsoe's passes for another 21 yards.
RB: Carl "Red" Dietz, 1916 Rose Bowl
The toughs-as-nails fullback fought through a field of thick mud, rushing for 105 yards, scoring the decisive TD, outshining Brown All-American Fritz Pollard, and being named the game's MVP.
C: Mel Hein, 1931 Rose Bowl
My Dad, the foremost authority on 1930's Cougar football, said it best: "Mel Hein played every play of every game like an all-star, the Rose Bowl was no exception."
G: Hack Applequist, 1916 Rose Bowl
The Cougs pounded out 313 yards against the Bruins, due largely in part to the finesse and fierceness of Hack. Those rushing yards stood as a Rose Bowl record for many years.
G: Mike Utley, 1988 Aloha Bowl
When the All-American wasn't pancaking Houston defenders he was insuring no one laid a glove on Timm Rosenbach.
T: Turk Edwards, 1931 Rose Bowl
The Tide used the new-fangled forward pass to defeat the Cougs, but the marquee battle in the trenches between ‘Bama All-American Fred Sington and WSC All-American Edwards was won by the Turk.
T: Ace Clark, 1916 Rose Bowl
The team Captain joined Applequist and company in opening holes and wearing down the Brown defense. The Los Angeles Times reported afterward the Crimson Soldiers "tore the Brown line to shreds."
TE: Pat Beach, 1981 Holiday Bowl
The All-American and Pullman native caught two passes for 57 yards - - more impressive when you take into account WSU completed just eight passes for 106 yards against Brigham Young. He also pulled in a two-point conversion from Clete Casper.
WR: Tim Stallworth, 1988 Aloha Bowl
The third-team All-American was Rosenbach's favorite target, catching eight of his tosses for 120 yards.
WR: Jerome Riley, 2003 Rose Bowl (2001 Sun Bowl)
Riley was at top-form, catching nine (8th best in Rose history) Jason Gesser passes for 139 yards and a touchdown. Two more catches for crucial first downs were negated due to silly penalties. (He also caught 6 balls for 65 yards at El Paso in '01.)
WR: Phillip Bobo, 1992 Copper Bowl
Talk about big games, Bobo scored twice on Bledsoe passes that covered 87 and 48 yards. He finished with seven grabs for 212 yard and even ran the ball twice, gaining another 16 yards on two carries.
K: Drew Dunning, 2001 Sun Bowl (2003 Rose Bowl, 2003 Holiday Bowl)
The All-Pac 10 kicker was a perfect 4 for 4 on field goals - - including a 47 yarder - - and an equally perfect 3 for 3 on point-afters against Purdue. Fittingly, he was named the Sun's special team MVP. (Kicked two point-afters in Pasadena and two in San Diego.)
KR: Don LaBomme, 1981 Holiday Bowl
The Bomb was another bowl renaissance man, rushing for 79 yards on 14 carries and booming 2 punts for 101 yards, but it is his 106 yards on 4 kickoff returns - - a 26-5 average - - that earned him a spot on the All-Time Bowl roster.
Coach: Lone Star Dietz, 1916 Rose Bowl
He won the Big One over a heavily favored Brown and he won it convincingly. Oh, and he did it wearing a silk hat, yellow gloves, and striped pants. ‘Nuff said.
DE: D.D. Acholonu, 2003 Holdiay Bowl (2003 Rose Bowl, 2001 Sun Bowl)
Harassed Texas QBs all night, recording four tackles—three of them sacks. One of the sacks caused a fumble that was recovered by Cougar Will Derting in the fourth quarter as the Longhorns drove for the tying score. His final sack ended the game. (Also had four tackles in the Sun Bowl.)
DE: Clarence Zimmerman, 1916 Rose Bowl
Zim was said to have been the team's best athlete and played a huge role is slowing down the All-American Pollard.
DT: Tony Savage, 1988 Aloha Bowl
Savage helped render the Houston running game non-existent, notching seven tackles as WSU held the Texan Cougars to just 68 rushing yards. He also enjoyed a timely sack of their QB.
DT: Mark Ledbetter, 1988 Aloha Bowl
The Leaded One was just as hungry as teammate Savage, partaking in eight stops and recording a sack of his own.
LB: Brandon Moore, 1998 Rose Bowl
Moore was almost more than Michigan could handle, tallying 9 tackles (8 solo), including one sack and four tackles for a loss.
LB: Raonall Smith, 2001 Sun Bowl
Smith punished Purdue all afternoon, leading Wazzu with 11 defensive stops, including a QB sack. And, in his final play as a Coug, he batted down a last chance pass by Purdue, thus sealing the victory for WSU.
LB: Anthony McClanahan, 1992 Copper Bowl
"Zeus" was indeed god-like against the Utes, recording 12 tackles, seven of those solos.
LB: Ron Childs, 1994 Alamo Bowl (1992 Copper Bowl)
Ron gave the term "child's pay" new meaning. Against Baylor, he posted 10 tackles – eight solo – and two tackles for a loss. (He was in on nine Ute stops, eight of which were solo, in the Copper.)
DB: Lamont Thompson, 2001 Sun Bowl (1998 Rose Bowl)
Named the Sun Bowl MVP, Lamont made two crucial second half interceptions against Purdue and took part in 10 tackles. (Against Michigan, he intercepted a Brian Griese pass and tallied six tackles, five solos.)
DB: Jason David, 2001 Sun Bowl (2003 Rose Bowl, 2003 Holiday Bowl)
The sophomore seemed to read Purdue QB Kyle Orton's mind, intercepting him twice – returning the first 45 yards to start the scoring – and swatting down several more pass attempts. (Made four tackles and broke-up two passes against Oklahoma in '03; made three stops and returned a fumble for a touchdown in '03 Holiday Bowl.)
DB: Joe Taylor, 1981 Holiday Bowl
One of the most unsung DBs in WSU history, Taylor was all over Jack Murphy Stadium, playing a part in 11 tackles, including one for an 8-yard loss, and setting up WSU's first score with a blocked punt deep in BYU territory.
DB: Erik Coleman, 2003 Holiday Bowl (2003 Rose Bowl, 2001 Sun Bowl)
The Spokane native was a thorn to the ‘Horns, blocking a punt, breaking up four passes, blocking another, making eight stops (seven solo), one sack, and forcing the aforementioned fumble that David returned for a TD. (Had three and 10 tackles in the Sun and Rose Bowl, respectively. Returned five punts for 29 yards and two kickoffs for 48 yards against Purdue.)
P: Kyle Basler, 2003 Holiday Bowl (2003 Rose Bowl)
How good was Basler? So good that he was named the game's defensive MVP and Texas coach Mack Brown declared his performance the difference maker. Four of his seven punts were downed inside the five-yard line. (Also averaged 46 yards on six punts in the '03 Rose Bowl.)
PR: Sammy Moore, 2003 Holiday Bowl (2003 Rose Bowl). Yet another "Coug of all trades," Moore was named offensive MVP of the Holiday Bowl. He caught just two passes, but both were touchdowns. He also returned five kickoffs for 59 yards. But it was his key 51-yard punt return in the third quarter that earned him a spot on the All-Time WSU Bowl team.
Following are the results of each Cougar bowl game with the number of players represented on the All-Time team in parenthesis:
1916 Rose Bowl (5): WSC 14 Brown 0
1931 Rose Bowl (2): Alabama 24 WSC 0
1981 Holiday Bowl (3): BYU 38 WSU 36
1988 Aloha Bowl (4): WSU 24 Houston 22
1992 Copper Bowl (4): WSU 31 Utah 28
1994 Alamo Bowl (1): WSU 10 Baylor 3
1998 Rose Bowl (1): Michigan 21 WSU 16
2001 Sun Bowl (4): WSU 33 Purdue 27
2003 Rose Bowl (1): Oklahoma 34 WSU 142003 Holiday Bowl (5) WSU 28 Texas 20