The Cougars will look to put last weekend’s dramatic win behind them as they continue their three-game trip away from Martin Stadium this weekend under the lights of the Rose Bowl.
The Cougars (3-1, 1-0) will face the UCLA Bruins (2-3, 1-1) this Saturday in their second conference match-up.
Redshirt senior Marshall Lobbestael said the Cougs are using the good and the bad from last weekend’s game against Colorado to improve for their upcoming foe.
“We just got to build from it and take the good things that we did last Saturday and try to build off them, but there are a lot of things we need to correct,” Lobbestael said. “We just need to take the good and the bad and then move on and focus on Saturday.”
In the all-time series between the two schools, UCLA has seemingly owned the Coug, posting a 38-18-1 record. Nonetheless, WSU has won three of its last five games at the Rose Bowl since the 2001 season.
In the Cougs’ last game with UCLA, WSU had a 28-20 advantage with 7:16 left to play, but the Cougars would not score again in the game and eventually fell 42-28.
UCLA carved up the Cougar defense for 565 total yards, including 437 yards rushing. UCLA’s duo of talented running backs proved too much for the Cougs as junior Johnathan Franklin finished with 216 yards and senior Derrick Coleman finished with 185 yards and three scores.
Redshirt senior Alex Hoffman-Ellis said the Cougs have been focusing on stopping the run during practice.
“Obviously they’re a big running team, they average over 200 yards a game on the ground,” Hoffman-Ellis said. “Big focus this week on stopping the run and being physical and being tougher than they are.”
Hoffman-Ellis was named Pac-12 defensive player of the week following WSU win against Colorado. In the game, Hoffman-Ellis racked up 14 tackles, 12 of them solo, and had two sacks.
Hoffman-Ellis said it was great to be recognized, but at the same time, it’s not all he was looking for this season.
“It’s a huge honor; I didn’t expect it,” Hoffman-Ellis said. “It’s a really good feeling to be recognized for something positive like that, but at the same time, it hasn’t made the season for me.”
The Cougs, sitting at 3-1, is a new feeling for many of the players and those involved with the team. Hoffman-Ellis said the team is happy, but they are not finished yet.
“I mean we’re happier, but we can’t just pat ourselves on the back just yet. We’re not at our goal,” Hoffman-Ellis said. “Our goal is a bowl game, a bowl game win, so we’re not there yet. So we still got work to do.”
Lobbestael echoed his comments saying this WSU team has more potential, but they aren’t there quite yet.
“I definitely think we have more potential and we’re aware of that, but at the same time, we’re doing an okay job of staying humble and we haven’t proven anything yet,” Lobbestael said. “I feel like as a team, we know we can get a lot better and we have a lot of potential.”
Game time is set for 7:30 p.m. and will be televised on ROOT.