Cougars looking for rare win against USC
Two of the last three times WSU beat USC, the Cougars wound up playing in the Rose Bowl. And Rose Bowls are even rarer.
PULLMAN — How rare is a Washington State victory over USC?
Here’s some historical perspective: Two of the last three times WSU beat USC, the Cougars wound up playing in the Rose Bowl. And Rose Bowls are even rarer.
The last such triumph over the Trojans was a 30-27 thriller in 2002, the Cougars winning thanks to Drew Dunning’s 35-yard field goal in overtime. A capacity crowd of 36,861 jammed Martin Stadium for that occasion, and many of them spilled onto the field after Dunning’s kick split the uprights.
Led by quarterback Jason Gesser and a salty defense, the Cougars soared as high as No. 3 in the rankings and lost only once the rest of the season — another overtime classic, that one against Washington — and wound up matched with Oklahoma in the Rose Bowl. The Trojans also finished with just one conference loss but settled for the Orange Bowl due to WSU’s head-to-head victory handing the Cougars the Pac-10 tiebreaker.
Nearly 11 years have passed since that fateful October day in Pullman, where fans might not have believed it would be at least another decade-plus until the Cougars again found a way to knock off the Trojans, as they have only eight times in the history of the series. There have also been four ties, and USC has won the other 58 games. The last three in particular have been bleak: USC steamrolled the Cougars 50-16 in 2010, and preceded a more modest 27-6 victory in 2009 with a 69-0 pummeling in 2008.
But a scheduling quirk has kept these teams from playing each other since the 2010 game.
A confluence of forces has combined to make some believe the Cougars just might have the proper recipe to claim their ninth win over the Trojans. Or at least make things interesting.
First, there was USC’s lackluster 30-13 victory at Hawaii, which was somewhat marred by shaky quarterback play and a few dropped passes.
Then there was WSU’s better-than-expected showing at Auburn, a 31-24 loss which many wearing crimson believed should have been a victory.
The players certainly did. Darryl Monroe led a group of WSU players into Monday’s news conference who sounded more confident than anyone who has worn a Washington State jersey in the past five years.