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WSU-Idaho matchup evokes fond (and hazy) memories

By Jim Moore

I have fond memories of Moscow, Idaho and the Idaho Vandals. I bring them up because the Battle of the Palouse rivalry resumes Saturday night at Martin Stadium.

It's been awhile since we've played the Vandals, and I'm glad the game is back on the schedule. The Cougs should play them every year.

Most everyone knows that the schools are only eight miles apart. When I was in school from 1974-78, we went to Moscow all the time because the drinking age was 19 in Idaho.

I can't tell you how many nights we spent at the Billiard Den playing losers-chug foosball at the corner table and dropping quarters in the jukebox so we could hear "Tush" from ZZ Top over and over again. Sometimes we'd end the night at Rathskeller's. Other nights, we'd stop at Taco John's for an Apple Grande on the way back to Pullman.

As far as football goes, we've dominated the rivalry, but I remember some games that Idaho won. Our biggest win over Idaho happened on Nov. 15, 1975. Because it was 38 years ago, I think the statute of limitations on stupidity has been lifted, which is why I'll tell you a quick little story about that day.

I was a sophomore and as I recall it was a nice afternoon. I went to the game with Robert Landick, a buddy of mine. We smuggled some 151 rum into Martin Stadium, ordered some Cokes and did what college kids do at football games.

The Cougs led 56-13 at halftime. Quarterback John Hopkins directed one scoring drive after another. I only know this because I read it this morning in a Spokesman-Review story that I found online. In the second half, we scored four more touchdowns to put 84 points on the board. When I was at the game, I didn't realize what was happening. The only thing I can remember is students shouting for us to score 100 points. The 151 rum pretty much owned me at that point.

"A hundred points?" I said to Robert.

"Yeah, Mo, look at the scoreboard," he replied.

I looked at the scoreboard, but with my blurred vision I couldn't read the numbers. I was in disbelief – there's no way we could have scored that many points. We ended up winning 84-27, and to this day it's the highest point total in modern Cougar football history. I'm assuming that to be the case, anyway – I didn't look it up.

On our biggest scoring day, I saw every touchdown but missed every touchdown, not remembering much of anything about that day aside from what happened after the game. Robert and someone else carried me out of Martin Stadium and nearly dropped me while climbing the long set of stairs by the CUB. The next thing I knew, I was in my bed at Gannon Hall, room 227, sleeping off the 151 rum.

Thirty-eight years later, I think I've grown up a little bit. I'll be thinking about that day when I'm watching the game Saturday night. Doing stupid stuff like that was part of the fun of being a Coug.

In this year's game, we're favored by 31 points. How is that possible? Well, it appears that we're pretty damn good – by our recent standards, anyway.

And the Vandals? Hmmm. They've got a new coach, Paul Petrino, who's best known as Bobby's brother. Bobby Petrino's the former Arkansas coach who had the girl on the back of his motorcycle a couple of years ago, causing a big fuss.

Idaho left the WAC last year and is playing as an independent team this season before joining the Sun Belt Conference in 2014. The Vandals are 0-3, allowing an average of 42 points in losses to North Texas, Wyoming and Northern Illinois. They only lost 45-35 to Northern Illinois, a team that beat Iowa in its opener.

I'm thinking that 31 points is too much to give to a team that should be more fired up than Washington State. The Cougs will win but won't cover the spread.

Prediction: Washington State 48, Idaho 20.
Season record against the spread: 3-0.

Idaho State at Washington

The Huskies are averaging more than 600 yards a game. They're hell on wheels. They're ranked in the top 20. All of which makes me sick.

For good reason, the Dawgs are favored by 49 points this week. It pains me to say this, but if I were in Vegas and forced to bet one way or the other, I'd have to take the Huskies and lay the points. Lord, please let me be wrong.

Prediction: Washington 70, Idaho State 13.

The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website, jimmoorethego2guy.com, and kitsapsun.com. You can reach Jim at jimmoorethego2guy@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.

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