One last Cougar Football Saturday

Despite being a Friday, final Cougar home game of season has impact on fans



WSU students cheer on the football team during the second half of a college football game on Oct. 23, 2021, at Martin Stadium.

KURIA POUNDS, Evergreen reporter

When I first came to WSU all the way back in 2018, I went to the first home game of the young season. The Cougars were hosting San Jose State at 8 p.m. on a warm Saturday night in Pullman. 

I did not know what I was getting into, but I knew that I was going to fall in love with the idea of going to a home game for WSU.

But that was just a non-conference game; I did not know what it really was. All I knew was that the Cougars are starting to look good; the hype is starting to grow.

Eastern Washington came, and with it came an easy victory for the Cougars. We were 3-0, and then a very controversial USC game made us 3-1.

But then the Utah game was here, and it was homecoming weekend in Pullman. Students are running around campus for the events, spirits on the Palouse are floating in the air, and then I finally learned the meaning of Cougar Football Saturday.

It was the fourth quarter, and Martin Stadium was LOUD. Former WSU quarterback Gardner Minshew dropped back in the pocket and connected with former WSU wide receiver Easop Winston Jr. for an 89-yard touchdown to take the lead with 4:14 left in the game.

I said to myself, “Is this what CFS feels like?” as I heard the crowd roaring in joy.

Fast-forward to the Oregon game. Yeah, that game. You know the one I am talking about. GameDay comes to Pullman.

In my history of being a sports fan, I have never felt so embraced by a town, never felt so excited, and my anticipation for the game grew and grew. 

It was at this moment when I knew what a CFS really is. The week heading into the game, I finally found out how Cougar Football Saturdays will always be in my heart forever.

Obviously, since GameDay came into town that weekend, I had to stay in Pullman even though I was supposed to go home and spend some time with mom, but I had to stay for this historic moment.

So, I made up an excuse to stay for the Oregon game and GameDay.

Sorry, mom.

But staying was the best decision I have ever made. I stayed up all through the night just to get a front-row view for the GameDay set. You heard that right, I pulled an all-nighter.

As soon as Lee Corso put that Coug mascot head on his head and the crowd erupted with excitement, CFS became something I did not just like, but something that I fell in love with. 

Unfortunately, I did not make it to the game. Yeah I know, I am ashamed too. But hear me out, I went to sleep right after GameDay ended and woke up five minutes before kickoff.

But seeing the crowd rush the field after the biggest win of the season for the Cougars made me realize what it means to be a Coug and what it means to experience a CFS.

Through the rest of the season, I knew I would try to go to every single CFS. Even the Snow Bowl of 2018. Yeah, I know. Another Apple Cup lost. I cried too.

The 2018 WSU football season is the season the made me fall in love with the idea of CFS. And 2019 was all about running it back again.

Yeah, the 2019 season was nowhere near as successful as the 2018 season but seeing the number of seats filled after the losses made me appreciate how much I love CFS. 

I have a confession — I only went to one game that season as a fan.

The reason? I was in the press box as the beat reporter for the football team in the fall of 2019 after the New Mexico State game, which was the first game of the season.

I sat in the press box for that unbearable UCLA game, you know the one, with the big lead blown.

I watched the Oregon State game from my home on the westside, with the last-second touchdown to make the Cougars bowl eligible. Even though I was home, I was going crazy, screaming and celebrating. After an up-and-down season, WSU was going bowling.

The 2019 season was all about running it back with CFS, hoping for the best for what’s to come in the 2020 season.

But the 2020 season would be a season with unprecedented turns of events, things we as humans have not seen since 1919. A global pandemic swept Earth, resulting in lives lost, people separated from loved ones and the end of CFS as we knew it.

I did not know it at the time, but during that weird Pac-12 season last year, it was hard for me to really adjust and watch a college football game with completely silent student sections.

No band, no students, no CFS.

I did not realize that I was really missing out on that experience after the Cougars only had one football game at home in 2020, when the Ducks came into town. 

So, 2020 was …  yeah. After that season, all I could really hope for was that I would be able to have the chance to go to a CFS before I graduate in the fall of 2021.

With help from the CDC and high vaccination rates, students were finally able to walk back into Martin Stadium and go to a CFS once again. It felt like it was 2019 all over again.

It felt like everything was back to normal.

I felt like my one dream came true; CFS was back.  

Being in the press box for the first CFS of this season, even though it was a loss to Utah State, seeing all of the seats filled with alumni, students, faculty and everyone else made me realize that I missed something I did not realize I missed. 

Now before the season started, I knew that I wanted to get the CFS experience as a student one more time. Being able to walk through the student entrance, stand in the student section, do every single cheer and obviously sing “Back Home” after the first quarter.

I finally got that experience when USC came into town. 

Now yes, I know the game sucked. I know we lost big time against the Trojans. I saw it firsthand. But I loved every minute of it.

Getting up early to hang with my friends, going to the tailgates to see all the Cougar pride, traveling to the Fieldhouse to watch other games right before kickoff.

I missed this.

I now come upon the last game for the Cougars this season this Friday for senior night. 

Even though senior night is supposed to highlight the seniors that are on the field, it also feels like it is my senior night all over again from high school, with this being my last CFS, even if it is on a Friday.

From San Jose State back in 2018 to Arizona in 2021, I did not know how much CFS would define what it means to be a Coug.

So, this is now my last CFS of my college experience.

From GameDay coming into town against Oregon, the UCLA game of 2019, the last-second win against Oregon State, the snow bowl of 2018, Cougars vs. Cougars, and of course, Homecoming 2018.

I not only learned what CFS stood for, I learned what it means to be a Coug.