Cougs take a thresher to The Farm

THEY CALL Stanford The Farm. The Farm Club is more like it. Stanford is home to a proud program where football greats John Brodie, Jim Plunkett and Pop Warner chiseled out their legends. The Stanford bunch that lost by 26 to the Cougs Saturday did not look like a Pop Warner team. Wait a minute. This just in. Stanford did look like a Pop Warner team Saturday.

You probably know that Pop Warner football is a league for 10-year-olds with linemen who trip their quarterbacks in the end zone. Parents laugh at the cuteness. Chances are, none of the Stanford loyalists thought it cute Saturday when their quarterback, Trent Edwards, went sprawling in the end zone after clipping hooves with one of his linemen.


When Edwards went down in no man's land, he gave the Cougars a safety, the only two points of the first quarter, and, this is the best part -- a lead Washington State would never relinquish, try as they might. The Cougars had their Pop Warner moments, too.

A center snap intended for WSU QB Alex Brink, standing back in shotgun formation, actually sailed higher than one of Loren Langley's extra-point kick. It was either the first or the second boot, I didn't see or hear the description of either one -- when the Cougs line up for kicks I clamp my eyes shut and drown out Bob and Jim on the radio with entreaties to the football gods. Be kind, oh lords, this kid has suffered enough!

At the same time, there must be some college-age kid in this state who can kick an extra point, someone Doba would have sent out on fourth and five from the Stanford 21-yard line in the first quarter. Saturday, he went for it.

And to be fair, Langley did boot three of six kickoffs for touchbacks.

I'm also still not convinced Rogers isn't the best gamer on the team but, like a pair of red zone fumbles, it didn't matter down on The Farm. And Brink won.

I hear Rogers was sick, missed a practice and was pretty much ruled out this week anyway. USC comes to town this week. If Brink wins Saturday, I promise I'll shut up about the quarterbacks.

Besides, writing about quarterbacks on a day ruled by the Cougar defense and special teams is a sure case of misplaced priority.

Defensive end Mkristo Bruce set a WSU single-game record for nailing the quarterback. Fortunately he was knocking over the opposing quarterback. He dumped the Stanford QB five times. Consider that for a moment. Keith Millard played in the NFL for a dozen years and never had a better day as a Cougar. Neither did Tennesee millionaire Rien Long or DeWayne Patterson or Mark Fields, who would be a perennial NFL Pro Bowl linebacker if not for his ongoing battle with cancer.

Bruce has forever joined their ranks with his named now etched on the top line for all-time WSU single-game QB sacks. I'll cut Stanford this much slack -- there aren't many offensive tackles who could have handled the riled-up Bruce on this day.

WSU coach Bill Doba struck the proper chord by low-keying a rare WSU Pac-10 rout following the game. Stanford is young. Banged up. Hang Dog. Football can't be a lot of fun at Stanford right now. But the school made a huge mistake. It fired its band.

That may be a first in college football history. You probably heard. The famous Stanford band trashed the band room, or some venue they used, and was suspended. Now, no playing at football games for the infamous Stanford band. What's a Stanford game without its rowdy music makers?

If it's any consolation to the tuba section, I'll say this. Guys, you aren't missing much.

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