“Holiday Bowl-Hell of a Beating”
It was not what I expected, surely not what the Holiday Bowl execs had hoped for.
More than 47,000-showed up at the Stadium for the 40th Anniversary game, as Michigan State mashed Washington State.
Lots of thoughts about this one.
BIG 10-BIG BOY FOOTBALL…The Spartans slug people on offense, smash people on defense. They pummeled the Cougars, with QB-Brian Lewerke combining for (286-APY). He broke the WSU spirit by making scrambling plays all night long. When not him, RB-LJ Scott powered for (110Y) rushing. And on defense, they took away the run game and made the Cougars throw short and underneath most of the night.
THE FUTURE…It’s bright in East Lansing. The QB, the running back, two wide receivers, 3-OL and 5-defensive lineman all come back next season, and the D-line stood out as freshmen and sophomores. A total of 12-keyu starters were underclassmen. Some coaching job by Mark D’Antonio taking a (3-9) team and flipping it to (10-3) and doing real damage in the Big 10. Look out next year.
PALOUISE POOR…Very disappointing showing by the Cougars. Without record setting QB-Luke Falk, recovering from a wrist operation right after the Apple Cup, young QB-Tyler Hilinski threw a lot, hit some plays, but his youth showed a lot. Add in the loss of the WSU top two receivers, one suspended, one who quit, and it resulted in the loss of 130-receptions because of the discipline issues on Mike Leach’s team. He was also without LB-Hercules Mata’afa, who sat out the first half after a targeting supsension.
THE FUTURE…Leach just signed a contract extension, that after the top two athletic administrators quit to take jobs elsewhere. The free spirited coach won’t be leaving, but don’t look for the Holiday Bowl to invite them back after a second lousy showing in a row year here.
BETTER DAYS COMING…As sullen as Holiday Bowl officials were with the outcome, they cracked a smile when they talked about a game they will put on next October, Navy-vs-Notre Dame. They’ve already sold 37,000 tickets for that game at the Stadium.
THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX….I posed the question, but was told it could not be done, too rich for the blood of the San Diego Bowl Association. Was it possible to stage an Army-Navy game here in the future, in a strong military town. The inherent costs, including traveling all the Cadets and Midshipmen, too steep for the budget.
BEST PART OF ALL…THE halftime light display-marching band-fireworks display might have been the best ever the Holiday Bowl has put on. That and the pre-game tailgate parties everywhere around the parking lot, brought back flashback memories of Chargers home games from years gone. Lots of green (Michigan State) and tons of maroon-gray (Washington State). It was a good party if not a good game.