November 5, 2007

The Big Cat Speaks - A Clear Cut

The year of 1997 has a lot of significance for most Cougar fans and well-wishers. It was the magical Rose Bowl year for the Wazzu football team - erasing 67 years of angst in one, Ryan Leaf-led season. But on this week when the 2007 version of the Cougar football team plays Stanford on dad's Day at Martin Stadium in Pullman, it is notable for another reason. In addition to being the source year for most pleasant recent football memories, 1997 is also the last time a WSU football team has beaten Stanford in Pullman.

Famously - or perhaps, infamously - it was the 38-28 victory over the Cardinal where a donor had to purchase a large block of seats to ensure a sellout for the final home game of the year before going over to Seattle and clinching the last of the non-BCS tainted Rose Bowl berths with an Apple Cup win over the Huskies. Little did the people know in their celebratory euphoria on the Husky Stadium turf that day, that their magical season had also seen the last home win over Stanford.

The Cardinal have only been to Pullman three times since then, but in each and every game, the Cougars were favored to win and in each and every game, it was the Cardinal who won instead. In 2000 and 2004, the Cougars were only slight favorites but in 2005, Wazzu was a two-touchdown favorite and watched almost helplessly as Trent Edwards scrambled into every nook and cranny of Martin Stadium to squeeze out a 24-21 win for Stanford. But as daunting as history might be - nearly identical to UCLA's history with WSU - Washington State University head football coach Bill Doba remains undaunted.

"If you go by history, there's no sense in playing the game," says Doba.

Another interesting quirk to this week's game will be the blood lines of Stanford's possible starting quarterback, Tavita Pritchard.

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