The Washington State Cougars lost their seventh consecutive game on Saturday, losing to UCLA in Pullman 44-36. It was the just the latest disappointment in what has been a nightmare season for the Cougars, as the big name hire of Mike Leach has not lived up to expectations in a season marred by player regression, blowout losses, and accusations of abuse.
UCLA led by as 30 points at halftime of this one, and it appeared to be just another blowout loss in the Cougars' forgettable campaign. However, Washington State was able to battle back from that deficit to make it a one score game. It sent the message that the Cougars haven't given up on their season and, for CougCenter, that means a lot:
It says they still give a damn and still have pride in themselves, the name on the front of their jerseys and the men standing to their left and right. I don't know if they were playing for Leach or not, but something about what he's been saying seems to have taken hold. After preaching effort, imploring his team to keep their head up and asking for some fight, Leach seemed to get it on Saturday night.
There are no moral victories and nobody is happy with this season. But I'm proud of the players that laid it on the line tonight. I'm tired of the drama and crap, and this week has been draining for everyone, but seeing signs of life, of pride and of effort, is a good feeling.
The goals that Washington State set out to accomplish have long been out the window. But with two games to go against middling Pac-12 squads in Arizona St. and Washington, there is still hope that an engaged WSU team can avoid another winless conference season.