What They're Saying, 9/26

RELIVE THE GLORY of Washington State's 20-19 victory over the Arizona Wildcats on Saturday with these notable quotes from eyewitnesses to the blessed event.

"A team usually doesn't win when it fumbles five times - and loses four of them. A team usually doesn't win when it's trailing 19-14 and the other team has the ball, first-and-10, with a minute-and-a-half to go. The Cougars, now 3-1 overall and 1-0 in conference, did." Darrin Beene, Tacoma News Tribune

"At least give Arizona credit for creativity. The Wildcats found another stunning way to lose a football game Saturday afternoon, fumbling while trying to kill the clock in the final 79 seconds." Charles Durrenberger, Arizona Daily Star

"A lot of things went Arizona's way to keep the Wildcats in the game. Most of it had to do with the Cougars' inability to hold onto the football. After impressively scoring on their second possession of the game on an 80-yard drive, the Cougars' offense went kaput. The next six possessions before the half went like this: Punt, fumble, fumble, punt, turn over on downs and punt." Darrin Beene, Tacoma News Tribune

"It ended up going for naught as Arizona went 80 yards for a score immediately afterward, but one of the game's most impressive plays was Kyle Basler's 87-yard punt, a school record. WSU's junior punter was standing on his own goal line when he caught the snap, and boomed one that ended up skipping into the other end zone." Glenn Kasses, Spokesman-Review

"Leading up to the game, Arizona offensive coordinator Mike Canales had quipped that he had been sleeping like a baby — "I'm up every two hours crying" — because his offense was ranked 103rd out of 117 teams in the nation." Craig Smith, Seattle Times

"From there, it was almost anti-climactic that Josh Swogger pitched a first-down throw to Michael Bumpus with a blitzing Wildcat hanging on him and then found Jason Hill on a fade route for the winning touchdown with 53 seconds left. Such games were once summed up by an eloquent soul who said something to this effect: Winners win and losers lose, and everything else is background noise." Bud Withers, Seattle Times

"On Saturday, Arizona would have waylaid Wazzu had it ordered quarterback Kris Heavner to take a knee, run out the clock and punt with 20 seconds remaining. No way the Cougars overcome a 19-14 deficit under those circumstances. No way the officials' mismanagement of the game clock - stopping it on an in-bounds reception by Biren Ealy in the final two minutes - becomes a deciding factor. But that's how it unfolded. Unreal. Nobody took a knee. A fluky helmet took the ball out of Gilbert Harris' hands. Game over." Greg Hansen, Arizona Daily Star

"Even as WSU plays in fits and starts, it has succeeded against everybody but Colorado. The Cougars are confounding in a lot of ways: They're better on defense than you would have thought after losing nine starters entering 2004, and they mix bursts of brilliance on offense with occasional ineptitude that stretches the imagination." Bud Withers, Seattle Times

"Arizona outplayed and outhit Wazzu, and the best part of that is that, physically, the Wildcats were superior." Greg Hansen, Arizona Daily Star

"With 90 seconds left, it looked even worse than fourth-and-38, more like fourth-and-start-the-buses. All that was left was the vaguest hint of Arizona's fragile psyches, and WSU's abiding belief. You know what? A little belief is a dangerous thing." Bud Withers, Seattle Times

"The likelihood is, the Houdini stuff is less apt to hold up the deeper the Cougars get into their schedule against what should be better, if not daunting, opposition. No one seemed to grasp this better than offensive coordinator Mike Levenseller – who while happy enough to fly home a winner, saw the fine line clearly enough. It is, after all, more than a third of the way into the season, and the Cougs continue to play patty-cake with the football – and were back to their old penalty prone ways." John Blanchette, Spokesman-Review

"The fans started singing 'Na-na-na good-bye' about 1:30 too early. Arizona looked to be sewing up a win over Washington State, when a fumble in the final moments gave the Cougars second life. WSU pulled off the miracle finish with a 20-19 win at Arizona Stadium." Matt Messina, CatTracks.net

"It is not a question of the glass being half empty or half full. What the Washington State Cougars do is fill it with a fire hose, knock over the glass, splash the contents on themselves, then wring a precious few drops from their soggy duds into a crumpled Dixie cup and toast their latest assault on the laws of probability and propriety. WSU 20, Arizona 19. When the going gets weird, Wazzu gets going." John Blanchette, Spokesman-Review

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