PULLMAN – One by one, Washington State players stepped to the lecturn, stared into a sea of television cameras and tape recorders and tried to explain what it feels like to blow a 17-point lead in the final quarter.
“They weren’t physically beating us, we were actually beating ourselves. That’s how I feel,” cornerback Daniel Simmons said after lowly Colorado rallied in the fourth quarter to shock WSU, 35-34, on Saturday afternoon at Martin Stadium.
“It hurts to even talk about it,” Simmons said. “It’s just unacceptable, because we are so much better than we’ve shown.”
The Cougars played poorly in a season-opening loss at Brigham Young, then survived late touchdowns and last-play scoring threats to win two consecutive games before Saturday.
“Once again, we didn’t finish,” center Elliott Bosch said. “I think we left a lot of points out there.”
“Our focus didn’t seem like it was there when we came back out (for the second half),” wide receiver Marquess Wilson said.
Bosch said he thinks the Cougars “get complacent” when they get ahead. Quarterback Connor Halliday disagreed.
“I don’t think it’s so much complacency,” he said. “I just think it’s stupid plays. Dropping the football, stupid penalties, not running to the right hole, me not making the right checks. It’s all mental.”
“I feel once we get ahead, we feel like we won the game right away,” running back Teondray Caldwell said. “We just need to finish the game.”
Colorado won with 9 seconds remaining when Will Oliver kicked the extra point after Jordan Webb ran through a huge gap on a quarterback draw to score from 4 yards out.
“From my standpoint, it looked like a great call,” Simmons said. “I was thinking possibly pass because we had stuffed them with a run (on the previous two plays).”
“They had five (receivers) spread, no one in the backfield,” linebacker Travis Long said. “A draw is always an option in that situation. We just weren’t prepared for it.”
“That was just devastating to watch,” Simmons said. “I don’t know how he was so free.”
Webb said he came out of a timeout with the option to pass or run.
“We saw that the box was kind of thin, so we checked it to the run,” Webb said.
Starting offensive tackle Wade Jacobson missed most of the game with an undisclosed injury. ... Simmons, a senior, had his first interception. ... WSU defensive lineman Xavier Cooper, a redshirt freshman from Wilson High, saw his first extensive action and recorded seven tackles (three for losses). ... Marquess Wilson passed Jason Hill to take over second in career receiving yards with 2,711. Rogers High grad Brandon Gibson holds the record at 2,756. Wilson tied Hugh Campbell for second in WSU history with 22 touchdown catches. Hill had 32.