November 12, 2007

The Big Cat Speaks - Bowl Game Bound?

The Cougar football team has won their last two home games and they have one more left in the season - this Saturday's match-up with Oregon State. The game is important for two reasons - a win would keep Wazzu's slim bowl hopes alive and it is the final home game for several productive seniors on the team such as quarterback Alex Brink and receiver Michael Bumpus.

"It will be a sad day and an emotional day," says head coach Bill Doba. "I think it's huge for them to leave Martin Stadium with a win."


That is straightforward enough but the other reason the game is important is more complicated. Wazzu will need to win this weekend and next weekend in the Apple Cup at Seattle to be bowl-eligible and a chance to be considered for post-season play. Even if it is only a slim chance, last week's 33-17 win over Stanford has given them that chance.

"It was a big win for us," says Doba, who specifically targeted the play of the defense overall and in holding the Cardinal to a field goal after Charles Dillon muffed a potentially damaging kickoff return. "I thought our defense played well That was a big stop, that was a momentum-changer for us."

The defense has been rejuvenated ever since the mid-season switch to a 3-4 alignment in the Arizona State game. Since then, the Cougars' play has improved while the schedule has helped exponentially - after losing to the conference's upper tier teams in ASU, Oregon and California, Wazzu has been able to defeat the Pac-10's lower-tier teams such as Stanford and UCLA [who has lost three straight and is still currently in the upper tier but seemingly headed for the lower tier].

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