It is difficult to measure just how much Marshall Lobbestael has meant to the Cougar football program during his time in Pullman.
The redshirt senior has won games and lost games for the Cougars, but his legacy may be highlighted by what he has done off the gridiron for WSU.
Head Coach Paul Wulff said Lobbestael has worked hard throughout his time at WSU to improve not only himself, but the program as well.
“When I think of Marshall, I think (of) a lot more than this year,” Wulff said. “He’s battled and battled and he’s persevered. He’s grown as a better young man, which has been very impressive to see."
Lobbestael came to Pullman as a two-star recruit, according to Scout.com, from Oak Harbor. After redshirting his freshman year, he was thrust into the starting role after starting quarterback Gary Rogers got injured.
After starting three games, Lobbestael had his season cut short when he suffered a season-ending ACL and MCL injury against Oregon State.
He returned in his redshirt sophomore campaign and played most of the season, including three starts, despite lingering knee issues. He set career highs in touchdowns (two) and yards (239) during that season in WSU’s thrilling overtime victory against Southern Methodist University.
Lobbestael took a back seat to Jeff Tuel during his redshirt junior campaign, but he was always finding ways to get better.
This year, Lobbestael, known to some as “The Lobster,” has been nothing short of spectacular.
Following an injury to Tuel in the Cougars' season opener against Idaho State, Lobbestael was once again thrust into the spotlight. The Lobster responded by completing 14 of 19 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns in the 64-21 win.
Lobbestael said there is still room for improvement in his game.
“Personally, I look at it as there’s things I did good but there’s thing I need to continue to improve on,” Lobbestael said."I think that’s a good attitude to have midseason.”
Lobbestael prides himself on being a team-first guy, but this year, through his stellar play, he has become the star of the team.
Wulff said he was pleased to see a player like Lobbestael have the kind of success he has had this year.
“He’s playing and operating at a high level, I couldn’t be happier for a guy on this football team,” Wulff said. “For what he's gone through and what he’s helped this team and program do the last few years, I couldn’t be happier to see someone come in and play so well.”
Through six games this season, five of them starts, Lobbestael has put up some gaudy numbers. He has thrown for 1,634 yards, 15 touchdowns to only four interceptions, with a 65.4 completion percentage. His passer rating of 159 currently sits at 14th in the nation.
Lobbestael takes more pride in his team-first mentality than his eye-popping statistics.
“Being a part of the Coug family has made it so easy for me to put the team first,” Lobbestael said. “I just attribute it to the family atmosphere we got going on with the whole entire Cougar Nation, it’s been easy for me to put the team first.”
Wulff also said Lobbestael has meant a great deal to WSU as they try and turn the program around.
“His commitment and his ability to continue to work to help turn our program around,” Wulff said. “He’s been so instrumental in his leadership off the field and then his on-field leadership — everything he’s done has had such a big impact on this program.”
Lobbestael has led the Cougars to three victories already this year, including a thrilling 31-27 victory at Colorado where the senior quarterback hooked up with receiver Marquess Wilson with 1:10 left in the game for a 63-yard touchdown pass, which sealed the victory.
Following the game, Lobbestael was recognized for his outstanding play when he won the Manning Award Player of the Week, which is voted on by fans.
Lobbestael said the award was better for fans, since it showed the unity of Cougar Nation.
“I think it was better for Cougar Nation than it was for me because it was fan-voted,” Lobbestael said. “So it just shows Cougs pulling it out, it was really on them, it was their vote.”
Wulff said Lobbestael is very important to the other players on the team because he sets such a good example.
“It just sets great examples for the young players and the other players on the team,"he said."It’s creating a great culture within the program and it’s going to only help us moving forward.”
The redshirt senior will leave after this year and Cougar Nation should remember the Lobster as someone who helped WSU get back to what it once was.
“I want them just to remember that I was one of the guys that helped turn the program around,"Lobbestael said."Just that — nothing more, nothing less. Just that I was a part of putting WSU football back on the map.”