PULLMAN - A third consecutive loss and a few more injuries left Paul Wulff frustrated Saturday, but he seemed most concerned afterwards about the latest concussion of offensive guard Brian Danaher.
A junior, Danaher missed the Oregon game Oct. 10 after suffering a concussion the week before at USC. Wulff cited Danaher’s “history” of concussions as a reason for limiting his playing time and not returning him to the starting lineup Saturday against Arizona State.
Danaher, a former walk-on who has been a part-time starter the past two seasons, grew up a diehard Cougar fan while living near Pullman in the small town of Colfax.
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Wulff says Washington State players and coaches have been collecting “chips” – as in chips on their shoulders – with regard to disrespect they believe some opponents have shown them during Wulff’s two very trying and very losing seasons in charge of the Cougars.
Wulff was upset after Oregon coach Chip Kelly asked officials to review WSU’s lone touchdown, when Marshall Lobbestael scored on a quarterback sneak late in the third quarter. Oregon was leading 45-0 at the time.
Kelly had a one-word response when asked if he was concerned about Wulff’s opinion: “No.”
A sagging economy, continued struggles on the field and a lack of popular opponents on the home schedule this year led to a steep decline in season ticket sales at WSU.
The Cougars sold 11,419 season tickets, but that ranks fifth in school history. The fourth-best total of 13,232 came in 2008, when Washington, Oregon and USC – all missing from this year’s home schedule – came to Pullman.
Sales of student all-sports passes have reached 10,500, and more will be sold by basketball season.
The Cougars sold a record 11,346 passes last year.
Injured Cougar Cory Mackay, using hand devices to operate the car his parents recently purchased for him, drove to Pullman to watch Saturday’s homecoming game.
Mackay remains paralyzed below the waist following a spring highway accident.
He’s taking on-line courses this semester and plans to return to campus in January for spring semester.
ESPN gave the Cougars a little bit of love and a little bit of grief in recent days.
The weekly tradition of having fans wave the WSU flag in the background during ESPN’s “College GameDay” football program inspired a humorous television commercial.
ESPN Radio’s Ryen Russillo and Scott Van Pelt briefly discussed the Cougars on Friday.
“Washington State’s a mess,” Russillo said.
“I feel so bad for those kids, I’m not even going to make fun of them,” Van Pelt said.
“No, you can’t,” Russillo said. “But let’s not forget, last year they had a tryout of the student body at quarterback.”
Russillo was referring to the open tryout the injury-riddled Cougars held at midseason for a scout team quarterback. Freshman Peter Roberts, a former Woodinville High School standout, won the tryout and helped out the Cougars the remainder of the season.
Ex-Cougars Wale Dada and Derrell Hutsona played in the inaugural game of the United Football League on Thursday in Las Vegas.
Dada started at cornerback for the Las Vegas Locomotives, who defeated the California Redwoods, 30-17. No individual defensive statistics were provided, but Hutsona gained 7 yards on five carries as a reserve running back for the San Francisco-based Redwoods.
Three former Cougars were cut in training camp by UFL teams. Florida let go of defensive linemen Rien Long and Mkristo Bruce, and offensive lineman Patrick Afif failed to stick with New York.
The UFL, billed as a minor league designed to groom players for the NFL, drew approximately 5,000 fans to 40,000-seat Sam Boyd Stadium for the first game. Attendance was announced at 14,209. The four league teams each play six regular-season games.