PULLMAN – The seniors on the Washington State football team have endured a lot in their less than idyllic college careers. They’ve been through seasons of two, three and four wins, a coaching change and some of the worst losses in school history.
The combined record of WSU’s 20 seniors over their four years is 14-32.
But when they take the field at Martin Stadium for the last time on Senior Day against Utah on Saturday, they’ll have a chance to leave behind a different legacy.
“Our senior class, you know, we’re taking a lot of pride in being hopefully the class that gets this thing rolling and leaving our mark,” senior offensive lineman Elliott Bosch said. “It’s gotten progressively better each year I’ve been here with each senior class leaving and I hope that we’re remembered as the ones that kind of started it all and got this thing back on track.”
It could all come together on Senior Night. The Cougars (5-5, 3-4 Pac-12) sit just one win away from bowl eligibility. This senior class, despite having undergone some of the darkest days at WSU, can still be the group to take the program to the postseason for the first time since 2003, and just the 11th time ever.
Even with a victory, it will be a bittersweet afternoon for the seniors who are nearing the end of their days donning the crimson and gray. While these past four - and in some cases five - years may not have gone as they envisioned when they were freshmen first stepping onto campus, they were still full of lifelong memories and accomplishments.
Safety Deone Bucannon’s playing days won’t be over until long after he leaves Pullman. Bucannon leads the Pac-12 in tackles and is tied for second in interceptions, and esteemed NFL draft analyst Rob Rang wrote after the Arizona game that he expected the Cougar to be among the first 75 players picked in the upcoming NFL draft.
If his premonition holds true it would be the highest a WSU player has been picked in more than a decade. Still, Bucannon says the upcoming end of his career as an amateur is “hard to swallow.”
“I love playing in Martin Stadium; there’s so much history here,” Bucannon added. “It’s just something that’s crazy and surreal. It’s like yesterday that I was a freshman playing my first game against USC in Martin Stadium and the fact that my last one is coming up is kind of crazy.”
Utah QB Wilson out
WSU won’t have to face Utah starting quarterback Travis Wilson, who is out for the season and is possibly done playing football after tests revealed a pre-existing condition that isn’t life-threatening, but could put him at risk if he plays football. The condition was discovered after concussion tests were performed on Wilson.
Wilson started 16 consecutive games for the Utes, going 7-9 in that span. He took over as starter in 2012 for Jordan Wynn, who was forced to retire because of shoulder injuries.
The Cougars will face backup quarterback Adam Schulz. The sophomore made his first start in Wilson’s place against Oregon, going 13 of 30 for 181 yards and a touchdown.
The game will be a chance for redemption for the Cougars, who lost 49-6 on the road against the Utes a year ago.
Leach questioned his players’ effort after that game, and made the unique move of sending out the entire offensive line and then the defensive line to face the media after the game and answer for their performance.
“I don’t feel like it ruined our season but there is a little chip on our shoulder because of last year,” Mason said. “They’re going to come here and find out what we have waiting for them.”