Cougar Talk: Tough lessons learned

PULLMAN -- The atmosphere in the conference room following the Cougs' 27-17 defeat to Arizona was decidedly more dour than in recent weeks; as the high-riding Cougs' fell to the Wildcats in a game that many in the Cougar Nation thought was a lock. Players and coaches alike iterated that a loss won't be the only thing the team takes away from this rain-soaked Dad's weekend in Pullman.

The proverbial hard lesson-learned for the Cougs Saturday was, in a lot of ways, one of humble pie. Washington State came into the game heavy favorites in virtually everybody's minds.

"You know a lot of people have been patting us on the back" quarterback Alex Brink said, following the contest. "But we have to work hard and stick to what we know."

Echoing that sentiment was senior defensive end Mkristo Bruce, straightforward in his opinion of which team played with the most desire Saturday.

"Defensively, offensively and special teams we didn't really come through," Bruce said. "It's frustrating because we thought it was a game that was ours to lose and they came through and they wanted it more."

Even though frustration was apparent, many players pointed that the act of moving on is key after a setback such as the one that occurred in Martin Stadium Saturday, and that the season is far from over.

"We have to take it one game at a time, leave this one here, come out tomorrow, work out, and get ready for Arizona State," kicker Romeen Abdollmohammadi said. "We have two games left in the regular season, and we have to win those games. We are (bowl) eligible right now, but that's all, we want to be sure."

Bruce also pointed out that two weeks from now, things could be decidedly different.

"It hurt, but it's kind of one of those things that you have to put behind you, because the Pac-10, there's an opponent that can come up really fast, and any team can be beaten any day in the Pac-10," Bruce said. "It kind of taught us a lesson that we need to come out fired up this week."

Wide receiver Brandon Gibson was more succinct than his teammates, but offered virtually the same theme, saying of the loss "It happens. We have to fight through it."

Coach Bill Doba, meanwhile, expressed confidence in the players' ability to bounce back this week and next.

"They had a good meeting in the locker room, afterwards, and I think they'll come ready to play."

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