Cougars have created their own adversity

PULLMAN — Responding to adversity is an issue for the Washington State football team.

The losses to Stanford and Oregon State were made worse by the manner in which both games got out of hand so quickly.

“You’ve got to play a game 60 minutes, and there’s going to be adversity in games,” said Cougars head coach Mike Leach.

The Cougars have shown the ability to step up and punch an opponent, but the counterpunches have been of the knockout variety.

Down 17-3 early in the third quarter against the Cardinal, the WSU defense forced a stop and looked poised to make a game of it. But in the span of four minutes, Stanford returned two interceptions for touchdowns and scored on a 45-yard pass, casting the Cougars aside in less time than it took WSU to complete its first scoring drive.

A similar tale played out against the Beavers last week. Tied entering the fourth quarter, the game was a 45-24 rout before five minutes had passed off the clock. Turnovers by the offense gave OSU prime field position and the defense was unable to flip the script.

“We feed off each other to where if one side struggles, the other side collapses,” Leach said. “We’ve got to quit waiting for somebody else to make a play … In both of those cases we’ve created our own adversity.”

Sandwiched between those two lopsided losses was a counterpoint game. After surging to an early lead against Cal on the road, the Cougars gave up a pair of touchdowns.

The Cougars offense followed its first two scores with a punt, a safety taken, an interception, a punt, and a missed field goal. Rather than wilt, the Cougars pushed back. They took control of the game and walked out of Berkeley with a 44-22 win.

“We decided that game to actually come together, just settle down and forget everything that happened and make a play,” linebacker Darryl Monroe said. “Once we started doing that, when things got out of control and didn’t go our way we started to turn the table and get turnovers, force three-and-outs and whatnot.”

As the OSU debacle illustrated, responding to adversity against an outmatched opponent pales to the challenge of doing it against a peer. The Cougars are done with their easy games. The second half of WSU’s schedule is its toughest, and WSU won’t be able to win any more games by merely overpowering opponents.

“I just think we have to keep playing, it’s as simple as that,” Leach said. “There’s no magic formula.”

More in Sports

Wesco and Cascade Conference athletes honored

Check out the 2017 all-conference teams.

Trump: NFL should suspend Oakland Raiders’ Marshawn Lynch

He sat during most of the U.S. anthem and stood for the Mexican anthem before a game in Mexico City.

Sounders have their eyes set on Houston

Seattle will continue their MLS title defense in conference finals in Houston.

BLOG: Carter Hart wins Goaltender of the Week

Everett Silvertips goalie Carter Hart was named the Western Hockey League Goaltender… Continue reading

3 local basketball coaches will be inducted in Hall of Fame

The Washington Interscholastic Basketball Coaches Association will honor the coaches in July.

Seahawks vs. Falcons inactives: Brown plays, Rawls scratched

Seattle will have its starting left tackle Duane Brown (ankle), but running back Thomas Rawls sits.

Prep athletes of the week for 11/13-11/18

Football Dillon Halpin, Archbishop Murphy Halpin, a junior, returned a fumble 80… Continue reading

Regina’s Tyler Brown stops a shot with Everett’s Matt Fonteyne looking on Sunday afternoon at Xfintiy Arena in Everett on November 19, 2017. Everett lost 2-1.(Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Regina narrowly escapes with a 2-1 win over Silvertips

A shot by Everett’s Matt Fonteyne’s bounces off the post in the final seconds

Falcons set to test Seattle’s ‘Legion of Backups’

Playing without Richard Sherman and Kam Chancellor is “new territory” for the Seahawks.

Most Read