Last updated 10/25/2018 at Noon
I would have to say that if you were to order up a day to host ESPN Game Day you couldn’t have asked for anything better than what arrived Saturday morning in Pullman. As they say it was a Chamber of Commerce kind of day with no wind, rain, snow and lots of sun.
The Coug faithful were excited but respectful during segments so that the announcers could be heard by the viewing audience. In the segment about Tyler Trent, the young Purdue fan battling cancer, the folks showed some emotion of understanding and hope.
The ESPN announcers were impressed with the amount of fans and WSU flags that were flying high and constantly in motion. The people that were waving the flags should be applauded for their tenacity and strength. I doubt that I could have done that for fifteen minutes let alone three hours.
Drew Bledsoe was a great choice as the ‘Wheels Up’ game predictor with ties to the Game Day host school. Bledsoe was the first overall draft pick of the New England Patriots in 1993. His record on Saturday was 11-3 picking WSU to defeat Oregon, which was the obvious choice by the local kid. But he also chose Purdue to defeat Ohio State and was the only one on the panel to do so. Bledsoe was deeply moved by the Tyler Trent story telling the ESPN folks that he was moved to tears listening to the story. Because of that story Bledsoe believed that Purdue would win and they won big in a huge upset.
For anyone that watches ESPN Game Day, waiting for Lee Corso to make his prediction by donning the mascot head is worth watching. Since this was the first time that Game Day came to Pullman or at a game where WSU was an opponent I couldn’t imagine that Corso would don the Duck head as he has a bunch of times before and the crowd went nuts when he put on the Cougar head and was joined by Butch the Cougar who put a WSU flag over Corso’s shoulders. You could not have scripted a better morning in Pullman, Washington.
Kirk Herbstreit was the only member of the panel that picked Oregon after complimenting WSU nation for being such a great host for the show. He was also booed when he picked UW over Colorado and USC over Utah. It wasn’t ugly booing but all in good fun and Herbstreit chuckled upon hearing it from the crowd.
With all the excitement of ESPN coming to Pullman and a great crowd on hand to show their Cougar Pride the game was still 7 ½ hours away. But the game was merely the icing on a very big celebration cake that put the Cougars in the driver’s seat in the Pac 12 North tied with the UW Huskies.
Once again Gardner Minshew was once the leader of the band and orchestrated an amazing first half of play where the Cougars led 27-0. The only flaw may have been a missed extra point.
The defense was impressive. Late in the first half before the Ducks had the ball on the last series, UO only had one yard of total offense and about 5 minutes of possession time.
Everyone knew that it would be difficult to keep Duck QB Justin Herbert in check for another half. Herbert led the Ducks on a rally to bring the score to 27-20 but Minshew found his touch again and led the Cougars to their only touchdown of the second half but with time running out it was huge. Final score WSU 34 UO 20.
It is very difficult to have the types of excitement and emotions to last as long as they did on Saturday. The fans were a huge part of the victory as they cheered for 60 minutes and celebrated into the night. This was a victory for the Cougar faithful, no doubt!
Years ago there was an ad for WSU Football. The ad said “Football is great at Washington State!” With all of the hoopla and flag waving it certainly was on Saturday!