Gildan New Mexico Bowl: What the Heck Just Happened?


Dec 21, 2013; Albuquerque, NM, USA; Colorado State Rams running back Kapri Bibbs (5) runs the ball against the Washington State Cougars in the second quarter during the Gildan New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There are many things worse in the world than what happened in the high desert this afternoon, but the sports world rarely witnesses something as gut crushing as the Cougars trip to New Mexico.  As the temperature dropped, something began to go horribly, irreconcilably wrong.  WSU began in a relaxed, reasonably efficient manner, wandering into half time giving up an extra field goal, but up by 11 and feeling confident.  Connor Halliday would soon tie the record for most TD passes in a bowl game.  So hang your hat on that for now, because that is the largest highlight of the game.

Every aspect of the game was working reasonably well to excellent, things just started to work their way into collapse, and it happened fast.

I have been watching twitter tic by baffled alumni and columnists trying to console and pass some blame.  There is plenty of blame to go around.  We have to remember that this was co-operative  insanity.  Little improbabilities added up to become a collapse that would never be scripted due to implausibility.  We, Wazzu, were treated to playing the part of the heel.

The final score of 48-45 can only be understood when remembering the score of 45-30, WSU with less than 3 minutes left.  Fumble, overturned, fumble, fumble.    We were given a reprieve, and failed to learn our lesson.

Ultimately the game was handed in painful fashion to the willing Rams.  The hunger was there in spades, where it often felt that we knew we were better, we probably are.  This might be the one in ten wins if the teams played ten, but the first is what counts.

If you want a detailed account,  those will be available from someone with a more masochistic nature than I do implore, however, remember that this team and its coaching staff were the vehicle that brought us to the New Mexico Bowl. Leach was so disgusted with himself that he could not talk with the media following the game. We looked upon this season with tepid hopes for a bowl, and it was delivered.  This happened, the players know the part they were responsible for, the coaches do as well.  No one needs be the goat, none the sacrificial lamb.  This years’ ride ended this way, and the lessons have been learned.

To attack our players and coaches is just cruel and impertinent, and not what we want to do as Cougs.  So console yourselves in the best way you know how, remember the great play of Halliday and Bucannon, keep positive while contemplating the possibilities of 2014.