If you thought 2013 was fun, you should have seen 2003.
You can tell things are getting better for the Washington State football program because the Cougars are starting to do things that haven't been done since the halcyon days of 2003, when Marcus Trufant was young, Oregon and Stanford were gimmes and the streets of Pullman were paved with Cougar Gold.
That year was the last time the team went to a bowl game until last season's trip to the New Mexico Bowl. It was also the last time the Cougars shut out an opponent, opening the season with a 25-0 victory over sometimes rival Idaho.
Well, if Cougars fans started to get a sense of déjà vu while watching the Cougars last season the nostalgia likely began in the team's fourth game, when WSU sent those same Vandals home with nary a point to show for their pillaging.
Flash back to WSU's 48-0 beat down of Idaho, after the jump.
How it happened: Pitifully, that's how it happened. The once and future rival Vandals seemed content to show up, collect a check and then watch the Cougars put together some clips for the end of season highlights. Gabe Marks had 146 receiving yards and a pair of touchdowns, Jeremiah Laufasa added two more on the ground.
The bad news was that Connor Halliday threw two more interceptions, but obviously neither of them were consequential. He also tossed touchdowns to Dom Williams and emerging receiver Vince Mayle, along with the two to Marks. Overall, Halliday completed 31 of 43 passes and took another step toward becoming a good Air Raid quarterback.
What made this game unusual was its memorable ending. Typically, only the first couple touchdowns in these types of blowouts stick in your memory and then the rest of the game's big plays start to run together. Often the fourth quarter is too sloppy to be palatable, as the lesser team's backups struggle to prove they can hang with the favorite's fourth-stringers.
But this matchup's were as memorable as a field goal win, and the only time the game resembled anything close to a rivalry. With the ball on the WSU 7-yard line, Idaho rushed four times and passed three times and could not punch the ball in the end zone (the Vandals received a pair of first downs due to penalties) and the game ended when Darryl Monroe stopped James Baker from one yard out.
Monroe was one of a few starters that coach Mike Leach subbed back in the game for the final plays, presumably to help preserve the shutout. This drew the ire of UI coach Paul Petrino, who had some heated words with Leach after the game.
The WSU coach has defended from both sides a team's right to do whatever it needs to do to improve in a blowout, even if that doesn't appear kind to the losing team. After his team lost badly at Utah in his first season at WSU he defended Utah's right to run up the score late in the game.
What it meant:
It was expected that the Cougars would score in Mike Leach's Air Raid offense, but where did this defense come from? Washington State had allowed just one offensive touchdowns in its last three games, including a win at USC. One third of the way through the season the team was 3-1 and undefeated in Pac-12 play.