WSU makes a statement with blowout win

After a 69-7 win against the University of Arizona, WSU football seems to have turned the season around completely.

The Cougs (7-2, 6-0), who are undefeated in conference play, became a different team from the beginning of the season, when they started off 0-2.

“The sky’s the limit for us,” redshirt junior offensive lineman Cole Madison said. “We can win out or we can lose out, but we are going to win out. That’s our plan.”

The WSU football team acquired a newfound confidence among the media and fans who criticized the Cougars’ early performances.

At the beginning of the season, fans came in with high expectations as the Bleacher Report ranked the Cougs No. 25 in its preseason rankings. Those expectations quickly diminished as the team struggled early on.

After consecutive losses at the start the season, fans believed the 2015 season was a fluke, and they lost hope.

“I’d say this is rock bottom, but let’s be honest: losing by three to a top-20 FCS team is better than losing by a touchdown to an FCS bottom feeder. Progress! On second thought, just fire everyone,” wrote Cougfan’s Jeff Nusser after the 45-42 loss to Eastern Washington.

With years of struggling teams during the Paul Wulff era, who won only four conference games between 2008 and 2011, The expectation of a loss shackled the program. There always seemed to be an overwhelming feeling that somehow, some way, the Cougs would find a way to lose.

Redshirt senior wide receiver Gabe Marks explained in a news conference Monday that, while the media may have doubted the team after the first two games, the team still believed there was something left in the season.

After those two losses, the Cougars have not lost a game. They have won seven straight games and control their own destiny in the Pac-12. They are ranked No.23 in both the Associated Press and Coaches’ Polls, and in their last game the Cougars scored the most points in a conference game in program history.

Despite all the wins, all the points and all the yards, the team is strikingly focused. Coming off a 62-point win, redshirt freshman outside linebacker Nnamdi Oguayo said he looks ahead for the Cougars best football.

“I wouldn’t say best, but we can only go up from here,” Oguayo said. “We need to go up from here.”

With three games left in the season and a Pac-12 title still in play, the Cougars may be able to work their way to a Pac-12 North Division crown and more.

The team will kick off its next game at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Martin Stadium against the University of California, Berkeley.