WSU Cougars

Four fumbles go in Cougs' direction

Washington State yielded 626 total yards Saturday in a 38-20 loss to Hawaii, yet the Cougars managed to record some noteworthy achievements on defense.

The four recovered fumbles were the most for the Cougars since they had four against UCLA in 2003. WSU tied for last in the nation a year ago with just three fumble recoveries all season.

Senior linebacker Jason Stripling, senior safety Xavier Hicks, junior safety-cornerback Chima Nwachukwu and junior defensive tackle Toby Turpin all recorded their first fumble recoveries. Hicks also had his first two forced fumbles.

Washington State ties

The Warriors are celebrating the 100th anniversary of football at Hawaii, but the school did not play an all-collegiate schedule until 1966. Hawaii posted a 4-6 record that year under Phil Sarboe, who coached WSU from 1945 to 1949.

Prior to 1966, Hawaii played a mix of college, military and town teams. Washington State was one of the first college teams to play Hawaii, losing to the Warriors, 20-11, on Jan. 1, 1926.

Air travel by college teams was still a few years away, so the Cougars ventured to Honolulu on an ocean liner. WSU sports historian Dick Fry said 19 of the 22 players became seasick when waves estimated at 50 feet or higher rocked the ship.

Saturday’s win gave Hawaii a 3-2 lead in the all-time series with the Cougars. The previous four games were played in Honolulu.

WSU originally scheduled Ohio State for Saturday, but the Buckeyes paid the Cougars $450,000 to get out of the game so they could play USC.

The Cougars paid Hawaii $300,000 to come to Seattle, and Washington State will fork out another $300,000 to the Warriors as the buyout fee to get out of a 2011 game scheduled at Honolulu. WSU wants more scheduling options that year.

Road warriors

Saturday’s game kicked off Hawaii’s first stretch of three consecutive road games since 1964. The Warriors, who are spending the week in Las Vegas before next Saturday’s game with UNLV, will go 36 days between home games.

After WSU plays Southern Methodist next Saturday in Pullman, the Cougars play one home game in 56 days. Arizona State comes to town for homecoming Oct. 10, and the home schedule concludes with UCLA on Nov. 14 and Oregon State on Nov. 21.

The Cougars are opening the season with three home games for the first time since 1978.

Costly gaffe

Hawaii coach Greg McMackin voluntarily gave up 7 percent of his $1.1 million salary this year – roughly $169,000 -- after he made a slur usually targeted at gay people when he was speaking at the preseason media event of the Western Athletic Conference.

McMackin has apologized repeatedly for the remark, which referred to a chant Notre Dame players delivered at a banquet prior to last year’s Sheraton Hawaii Bowl victory over the Warriors.

Evenly divided

Hawaii’s roster is divided almost equally between Hawaiians and mainlanders.

About half the Cougars hail from Washington. The Cougars have two Hawaiians: Reed Lesuma, a reserve offensive lineman, and defensive end Jordan Pu’u Robinson, who is redshirting.

Numbers game

The Cougars slipped to 5-3 in home games played at Qwest Field. WSU has played one game at Qwest every since 2002.

The Cougars have lost two straight at Qwest for the first time.

WSU had been 19-4 against unranked nonconference opponents since 2001.

Hawaii improved to 15-34 all-time against Pacific-10 Conference teams.