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Saturday, October 24, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Both Colorado and WSU ratcheting up excitement for final stretch

WSU fans cheer for their team with Mascot Butch during the second half of a college football game on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, at Martin Stadium in Pullman. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)
WSU fans cheer for their team with Mascot Butch during the second half of a college football game on Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016, at Martin Stadium in Pullman. (Tyler Tjomsland / The Spokesman-Review)

PULLMAN – Mike Leach enjoys pointing out that if a team loses its September games than its November ones will not mean much. His own team, though, betrays his point, being in the thick of the Pac-12 title chase despite having gone 1-2 during the season’s first month.

Because the Cougars have not lost since, every game the Cougars play is more important than the last, and Leach admits that his team has “elevated our excitement to play” each week.

“I think that’s been an important element,” Leach said. “If you can do that, it gets contagious among everybody. It’s not just the physical mentality, but the mental mentality where it’s just fun to be a part of all the energy.”

It seems only fitting considering how the 2016 season has unfolded for the Cougars that end with the two most highly ranked, nationally prominent opponents WSU will see all year. That stretch finishes with No. 7 Washington in what will be one of the most anticipated Apple Cups ever.

It begins this weekend against No. 12 Colorado in what could be a preview of the Pac-12 championship game. What’s cool is that, just like the Cougars, the Buffaloes are ascending into a two-game stretch against ranked opponents that culminates in a rivalry game with their respective division at stake.

And like the Cougars, the Buffaloes are ratcheting up their intensity accordingly.

“Our intensity has picked up,” CU running back Phillip Lindsay told reporters. “It’s picked up because we’ve got two more games to define who we want to be. We’re so close, so we have to stay focused and we’ve got to stay intense.”

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