Cougars’ idea of fun? Winning their bowl game

The Washington State football team will be given the royal treatment in Albuquerque this week, with a host of welcome events scheduled for the players by their host, the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.

Before the Cougars (6-6) take the field against Colorado State (7-6) at 11 a.m. Saturday, there will be welcome receptions, pep rallies, battling bands, team dinners and a visit to a local hospital.

In short, a lot of distractions. The Cougars, though, are looking at it as a business trip.

“We don’t want to go down there just to have fun,” running back Marcus Mason said. “We want to have fun by winning the game.”

Still, WSU’s coaches want their players to enjoy the experience of going to the program’s first bowl game since 2003. The team flew to New Mexico on Tuesday following one final practice at Martin Stadium.

They were scheduled to practice again this morning, then have some time to kill before preparing for the welcome reception and team dinner, the first of a litany of events the bowl has planned for the teams.

“It’s one of the better ones that you can go to,” linebackers coach Ken Wilson said.

Wilson was a coach at Nevada last year when the Wolf Pack lost to Arizona, 49-48.

“They do a great job with the bowl, the functions are good for the kids, not too many of them, you get a lot of preparation and you’re the first (bowl) game out,” Wilson said.

The team will have another dinner Thursday, and then a press conference and luncheon at the Isleta Resort and Casino. Then three athletes and a coach will head to the University of New Mexico Children’s Hospital for a visit.

At 4 p.m., the Cougars will head to the Old Town Plaza for a pep rally and battle of the bands.

In addition to the sightseeing and festivities, the Cougars can look forward to a great deal of swag coming their way. Gifts totaling up to $550 in value will be showered on the players by the bowl directors, and WSU players can look forward to a number of Oakley products as well as some electronic items.

“Guys are like, ‘Dude! You hear we’re going to get this?’” kicker Andrew Furney said. “And this and that. Of course, it’s kind of up in the air. We don’t really know everything we’re going to get, but we heard it’s quite a bit and we’re pretty excited about it. Christmas a little early, I guess.”

Still, the Cougars say the best gift is one only they can give themselves: a victory in their final game of the season.

More in Sports

Monroe football’s historic season ends with loss to Sumner

The Spartans’ big second half hands the Bearcats a 56-14 4A state quarterfinals loss.

Lake Stevens’ Eason is The Herald’s Volleyball Player of the Year

The Seattle University-bound senior setter was a stabilizing presence for the Vikings.

Huskies rally to beat Utah on last-second field goal

No. 16 Washington scores 10 points in the last minute to stun Utah 33-30.

Saturday’s prep postseason results

FOOTBALL 4A State Tournament Nov. 18 Quarterfinals Central Valley 41, Skyline 0… Continue reading

The Herald’s 2017 All-Area High School Volleyball Team

Related: Lake Stevens senior Lilly Eason is The Herald’s 2017 Volleyball Player… Continue reading

King’s girls soccer team wins 1A state championship

The Knights outlasted Cascade (Leavenworth) in a shootout to post a 2-1 (8-7 PK) victory.

Seahawks won’t abandon sickly run game, Carroll says

Seattle has the NFL’s 32nd-ranked rushing offense.

No. 17 Gonzaga beats Utah State 79-66

Killian Tilllie scores 20 points and King’s alum Corey Kispert adds 12 in the victory.

Archbishop Murphy’s Ray Pimentel, right, attempts a stiff arm on North Kitsap’s Kyle Green Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium in Snohomish on November 17, 2017. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Archbishop Murphy fends off North Kitsap in state matchup

Top-ranked Wildcats ride big plays, timely defense to beat Vikings 28-21 in football playoff. (Video)

Most Read