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Sun., Oct. 2, 2011, 6:41 a.m.

WSU’s comeback win, the morning after


Sometimes we wonder if any one is awake when we post these morning blog updates. Today we're not wondering. We know no one is. Heck, we're wondering if Washington State fans have stopped celebrating even now. Read on.


• Washington State: There is little in the way of more to say about last night's 31-27 come-from-behind victory over Pac-12 conference newcomer Colorado. Well, maybe a couple things. ... Though the way WSU won, with the big rally, the late heroics, may pay big dividends as the year wears on, the Cougars probably should have won the game going away. There were so many plays available that were not made on offense throughout the first 55 minutes of the game it was quite possible WSU could have scored 50 points. We're talking about receivers running free and not seen, running backs needed just one more block to break a big run, dropped ball, all the little things that Marshall Lobbestael was referring to when he said postgame the Cougars still had so much work to do. Then there were the mental mistakes that hampered the defense, from Sekope Kaufusi and Toni Pole punished for being late to a team activity to the myriad of penalties – you can argue some shouldn't have been called but that still leaves way too many stupid ones that needed to be flagged – to the missed tackles and assignments. All areas masked by the remarkable comeback against a team that may not win another game all season. Yes, there was a consensus agreement that Colorado had played well until the end – though you would get an argument from Buffs coach Jon Embree – but still, the Cougars could have won this one handily. ... Though the Buffs aren't a Pac-12 football power just yet, the stop in Boulder will be an asset to the conference as the years roll by. The atmosphere Saturday was electric, starting long before the game with the pregame prep by the fans. Though it took a while for Folsom Field to fill up – who can blame the folks, as the sun was so bright on the 82-degree day, it seemed to make sense to wait to the last minute to get into the eastside stands – but once the students filled their sections – it was tough to hear anything on the south side of the field – the stadium turned into a huge home field advantage. This will become a must-see venue for visiting Pac-12 fans, though a late November game might be different. ... We have more than a few links for you, starting with our game story. Checking twitter and the blog comments, I see many of you noticed the mistaken score in the first version of our game story. We really do appreciate you guys calling it to our attention. It was fixed in the editing process. We also have our notebook, the keys to the game, scoring and statistics. ... From Bud Withers of the Times, he has this column, a couple notes, and a two-minute drill. ... Freelancer Howie Stalwick has this game story, sidebar and notebook in the News Tribune. ... Before we get to the quotes, we offer this video highlights package courtesy of the WSU athletic department ...



• OK, on to the postgame comments that didn't make our stories. The Colorado quotes come courtesy of the Buffs' sports information department ...

Coach Paul Wulff on why he was so upset with the late pass interference call: "They throw the ball and it does two things. It stops the clock, and we were trying to save time on, that was good, and it put them in third-and-10. I didn't like the call, based on my view."

On the squib kick to end the first half: "It was a poor decision. We wanted to squib it, we did, but it happened to hit and come right into the up-back's hands. Usually it gets through that group and it didn't. And it didn't turn out good, obviously."

On how Colorado played: "They did some things a little bit different than they had shown. ... Based on the films I've seen of them before, today they played a good football game."

Travis Long on the difference between his play vs. San Diego State and Saturday: "I just worked my ass off all bye week and tried to come out and make as many plays as I could."

On WSU fighting through adversity: "We had a lot of things that didn't go our way. But you can't focus on them, you can't control those things. We can only control how we play. We did that very well. We came back, kept on fighting and came out with a W."

On Wulff's blowup late in the game: "When coach Wulff shows all that energy on the field, that boosts our energy even more. It makes us keep fighting and fighting. ... I saw him on the sidelines getting on the ref."

Freshman Logan Mayes on his first career sack: "I just kept going and going and kept fighting. And eventually I got by the guy and the quarterback was still holding the ball. DBs did a great job in coverage and I just made the sack. It's just a great feeling to come in here in my first game and make a sack."

On WSU fighting through adversity: "It was kind of a Cinderella story, a storybook ending."

Jared Karstetter on moving up the WSU career receiving ladder: "My whole focus this year is to get to a bowl game."

On WSU fighting through adversity: "We just hung around, played, stuck with it, finished them off and it was a great Coug win."

On Wilson's big catch: "He redeemed himself after that earlier (drop). He always makes a play at the end. That's Marquess."

On seeing Wulff arguing: "That was great. We always love to see coach Wulff get fired up. It was a rallying cry for us. He just cares so much. We could tell he was upset."

Wilson on the big play: "We realized what he was doing in the secondary the whole game and the way he was biting on all the in routes. We took advantage of that and ran a little pump fake and it got open."

On his earlier drop: "I flushed it right after I dropped that one pass knowing there is just so much more of the game to go on. Get rid of that play and go make the next one."

On WSU fighting through adversity: "We worked so hard at practice this week and we showed we can play through the fourth quarter."

Offensive lineman John Fullington on what the win means: "It's huge. We know every game is going to be a close game the rest of the year. The biggest thing is the fourth quarter, we always have to finish, finish, finish, be mentally tough there and this huge helping us for sure."

Lobbestael on the defense during the final play: "We thought we could get him to bit again and it worked.

On how many times he's worked on that play and whether he threw the ball too far: "We threw that route in the spring and summer, Jeff threw it for a touchdown in the spring. But Marquess just had great wheels and he ran underneath it."

On the offense before the last drive: "We had really good looks in our eyes. Every single guy on offense was focused, we knew what we had to do. We weren't nervous, we were really relaxed. It paid off."

On Wulff getting fired up: "It's good to have a coach with such passion like that. ... But at the same time he's able to calm us down. I feel like that's a good combination."

On the team aspect: "The defense stepped up when we needed them to. The came up big, especially at the end."

Jon Embree on why Colorado can't finish: "I have no idea. We are up 10 with 3-minutes left and we can’t make a play on either side of the ball. I don’t know what it is. We are practicing situations until we are blue in the face – just for these situations. We failed to execute on either side of the ball. No excuse."

What happened on Wilson's final touchdown: "It was a blown coverage."

Was there premature celebration: "No, because we weren’t acting like it. There was no celebrating going on down there. There was no giddiness going on down there so I don’t think they were acting as if the game was over by any stretch of the imagination."

On secondary issues and injuries catching up with the team: "It is what we got, so we have to play with it and find a way to play it and win. It is who we have, we can’t change that. Injuries are a part of the game so that is what we have so that is what we have to work with."

On how they've tried to fix it: "Blitzing, mixing zone and man – whatever it is you can do to try and help. We had some guys out there who it was obviously their first time and this is not the league to be in to be learning by trial-and-error."

On what he told the team in the locker room: "I asked them ‘When is it going to be enough? When is enough, enough? You put in all of this work, you do all of this stuff that you have done from spring ball to training camp for this? This is what we did the work for? So when is it enough?’ When are they going to get tired of losing? When are they going to get tired of finding a way to lose because you know what, this staff, we’ve been here for five weeks and I’m tired of it. So if you’ve been here for five years, you’ve got to be tired of it myself too."

Did the approach change on the final two WSU drives: "You will have to talk to (defensive coordinator Greg) Brown about all of the calls. I don’t think it changed drastically. I think he was trying to get guys help is certain situations and take away some things. So you will have to talk to him specifically if there is anything drastically different than what we had been doing all game. My initial reaction to that is maybe one call, here or there, but for the most part, I think he had been doing what he had been doing for most of the game. You don’t have too much in just because of what we were dealing with. You can’t ask them to learn too much."

On his patience with the program and the need to win: "All games. I said it Monday. I hate losing and I’m competitive and I expect these guys to win every time we go out there. I know people look at me as if I am crazy and they talk about the things that we don’t have, but what we do have, we have to find a way to win with it. Complaining what you don’t have or talking about all of this other stuff doesn’t matter because we have to play, so let’s go play – we get a chance to play. We have to have urgency when we play; we have to expect to win. We don’t expect win, we obviously don’t. So that is on me, I have to figure out a way to get these guys to believe that they can win. It starts with Jon Embree, no one else."

Cornerback Brian Lockridge, converted from running back this week,onbeing targeted by WSU:  "Being new, I kind of expect that, I’m still learning the position and I expect them to target me, so I must learn (the defense) and pick it up real fast."

On the defensive struggles: "We made a lot of mistakes, mental errors and it cost us. Mental errors is one thing that has been (hurting the team) for a while, and that’s one thing that needs to change."

On Improving Next Week at Corner- “Get (more) hands on, and get in the receivers head.”

Cornerback Jason Espinoza on giving up 31 points: "A lot of the (problem) is we hurt ourselves as a team with penalties, and things like that. Also field position plays a big role, and over the past few games we have given the other team really good field position. When you give teams half the field to work with, it is not too hard to move the ball."

Safety Anthony Perkinson the final play:"(Marquess Wilson) ran a double-move, and we got beat."

On the mood of the defense late: "We were excited (to protect the lead), we were up by ten points, we wanted to make them eat up clock and force them off the field as soon as possible. We were OK giving up some yards as long as it was eating up clock. But my hat is off to their offense; they drove down the field and were able to seal that drive off with a touchdown."

Linebacker Douglas Rippy on the loss: "All the work we put in during off season needs to show. We have to believe that we have to win. This is not the same program; we just have to trust our coaches and do what we have to do. It was a tough loss, just like Cal at home. ... Yes this loss is difficult but at the same time we have to move on. We have to go back, watch film, and look at the things we did wrong. We have to correct them and not linger on the mistakes, because it’s only going to carry over to next week and we need to move on."

On Washington State’s pass protection: "Their front line did a good job of protecting their quarterback, especially their running back, he did as much as he could but we didn’t change the game plan that much. Obviously they made good plays so at the end of the day we just have to go out there and do our job. But you have to give it up for their offensive line."

On Wilson: "We had to stop him. That was our main goal for us; he is just like Paul Richardson. We were just basically trying to stop the passing game and the running game; that was the whole game plan."

On Embree saying, “When is enough, enough?” after the game: "Honestly I had enough after the Hawaii game. I just hope every other guy did too. It takes some guys longer than others to really realize, but at the same time we’ve been losing for the past five years. I came from a high school program that was a losing program too, and I’m tired of it. It gets old. I want to win. When you walk around on campus, people bug you about what happened in the game. I’m just ready to win."

Safety Ray Polk on what Embree said in the locker room: "We have to figure out that it’s ok to win. It’s ok to be great, and we have a great team. It’s just hard; I think this program has been through a lot. It’s a steppingstone to figure out that we are really improving. We just have to perform and play well."

Quarterback Tyler Hansen:"I’m frustrated and disappointed; we constantly find ways to lose the game. We’re up 10, we’re up 14; we had opportunities to take the game. And we can’t make that one play, can’t get that first down. It’s disappointing."

On throwing on late third-down play: "It was a good call. They were in a good defense. It was the high point of the game. I had to throw the ball away, or take the sack. You have to give credit to them for reading the play. We have to make that play. We have to find a way ... It’s tough, as a quarterback you have to switch your mindset to throwing the ball away ... we have to find a way to make that one play. We expect to win. We consistently find a way in critical conditions to not make a play and that’s me included, that’s everyone."


• Around the Pac-12:'s Ted Miller hands out his helmet stickers and Lobbestael gets one. ... Washington: The Huskies dominate Pac-12 newcomer Utah from start to finish and win easily, 31-14. ... Oregon State: Despite fast start, it was an up and down night for the Beavers in their 35-20 loss to ASU, and quarterback Sean Mannion illustrates that. ... Oregon: The Ducks have become the conference's most secretive team. ... California: The Bears' defense is looking forward to the Ducks offense. ... Stanford: The Cardinal use Andrew Luck's arm – and hand – to roll over UCLA, 45-19. ... Colorado: The Buffs learn you have to finish in the Pac-12 to win. ... Rodney Stewart had a field day against WSU's defense. ... After reaching the bottom, how will Colorado respond? ... Utah: So this Pac-12 idea isn't working out too well for the Utes, who lose their quarterback and the game to Washington. ... USC: Matt Barkley and Robert Woods have career days in the Trojans tougher-than-it-should-have-been 48-41 win over Arizona. ... UCLA: Though the Bruins found they can use their tight end, they still were rolled in Stanford. ... Arizona State: It may have been an ugly win, but the bottom line for the Sun Devils was it was a win. ... Arizona: The Wildcats can't seem to stop anyone's passing game.


• That's all for this morning. Hope you were awake and stayed awake through all that. We hit the airport soon for the ride home, then we'll hit Paul Wulff's teleconference. After that, we'll have more for you. Until then ...

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Vince Grippi
Vince Grippi is a freelance local sports blogger for He also contributes to the SportsLink Blog.

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