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‘You’ve got to stay’: Bill Moos implores students to stay for the Cougar game on Saturday

Freshman+Chandler+Tiegen+races+during+the+Pac-12+Championships+at+the+Colfax+Golf+Course%2C+Oct.+30%2C+2015.
Freshman Chandler Tiegen races during the Pac-12 Championships at the Colfax Golf Course, Oct. 30, 2015.

Freshman Chandler Tiegen races during the Pac-12 Championships at the Colfax Golf Course, Oct. 30, 2015.

Freshman Chandler Tiegen races during the Pac-12 Championships at the Colfax Golf Course, Oct. 30, 2015.

CASIE MOE | Evergreen reporter

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Bill Moos’ weekly radio show opened with a plea Monday directed at the whole Washington State student body: stay and support the Cougar football team this Saturday.

The WSU director of athletics led Cougar Calls with co-host Jason Gesser, the Cougar Athletic Fund’s assistant director of development, to update listeners on the status of the Cougs as fall turns to winter and the athletic seasons follow suit.

Cougar football

“Students, don’t go home before Saturday night,” Moos said. “What’s going to make a difference is the crowd and the noise. Students, you’ve got to stay.”

With a home football game scheduled for Saturday, the first day of Thanksgiving break, the bonus of creating a home field advantage at Martin Stadium relies on WSU students staying in town an extra day.

“Students, wait another day before going home – a whole week at home is too long for a Coug,” Gesser said.

Gesser recounted a time when there was no question about students staying and partying on game day and boosting the morale of the football players. That level of commitment to Cougar football has waned in recent years, but now students have a chance to reinstall a culture of support at home.

The Cougars are hosting a 4-7 Colorado team that won a thriller in its last trip to Pullman in 2012, a 35-34 contest in which Buffalo quarterback Jordan Webb scored the winning touchdown with 9 seconds left in regulation.

WSU redshirt sophomore Luke Falk is leading a team that expects Saturday’s contest to have a much different outcome.

“He is going to pass all of us,” former WSU quarterback Gesser said of Falk. “You want these records to be passed; then you know that your school is going in the right direction. He is the leader, the one difference that I can see.”

The depth and resilience of the team showed through in its win against UCLA Saturday. The Cougars converted on timely third and fourth downs and Falk threw the game-winner to redshirt junior Gabe Marks in the closing seconds to lead his fourth fourth quarter comeback of the season.

The mindset of each player is that “you may get me that one time, but I’m going to get you nine out of 10 times,” Gesser said.

The young but mature Cougar team is focused on the Colorado game beginning at 7:30 p.m. in Martin Stadium Saturday.

Cross-country

Another WSU team making its mark with a youthful roster is the men’s cross-country team, which will also be competing on Saturday.

“There is no reason we can’t be a national contender for men and women,” Director of Track and Field and Cross-Country Wayne Phipps said.

Junior captain John Whelan and sophomore Michael Williams finished second and third, respectively, at the NCAA West Regional Championship Friday. If they race with similar times at the NCAA National Championship, the team will likely place in the top half of the 31 teams competing.

Women’s basketball

“There are no quick fixes. They are looking at the long haul,” Moos said about WSU’s cross-country and women’s basketball teams.

The Washington State women’s basketball team beat UC Santa Barbara 61-44 Friday evening at Beasley Coliseum to open its season. With a mix of veteran players and new faces, the team has good chemistry across the board.

Looking ahead, women’s basketball Head Coach June Daugherty said the game against Hawaii at the Rainbow Wahine Classic Sunday will provide a challenge for the young team to stay focused on what is important.

“In Hawaii, one academic adviser is coming along, and since they are a pretty young team, they will continue to bond and become more of a basketball family, but the priority is on academics and basketball,” Daugherty said.

Men’s basketball

The men’s basketball team has seen its GPA go through the roof since adapting to Head Coach Ernie Kent’s coaching philosophies.

The team’s overall athleticism has also increased because of some high caliber recruits.

The Cougars beat Northern Arizona 80-70 Friday at Beasley Coliseum. Junior Josh Hawkinson scored 15 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and freshman Viont’e Daniels impressed in his debut, converting on all five of his 3-point attempts.

With a young team, Moos pushed to have as many home men’s basketball games as possible in the non-conference schedule. The Cougars have eight scheduled non-conference matchups this season as a result, compared to six last season. They also will play Idaho in Moscow on Dec. 10.

The Cougars will next take to Jack Friel Court at 8 p.m. Friday to host Idaho State. Pac-12 Washington will broadcast the game.

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‘You’ve got to stay’: Bill Moos implores students to stay for the Cougar game on Saturday