Washington State's loss to Boise State was one of those games where the Cougars won everywhere except the scoreboard. Wazzu led 26-21 in first downs, converted 50 percent of their third downs to Boise's 30 percent, owned a 100-yard edge in total yardage (though they were out-rushed 121-40), snapped the ball 91 times to 61 for Boise, claimed the turnover battle 3-2 and held on to the ball for 38 minutes to Boise's 22.
Yet Boise State scored 31 points to Washington State' 28.
The Broncos jumped out to a 14-0 advantage and led 31-14 early in the fourth quarter before Wazzu scratched its way back into the game with two touchdown passes from Luke Falk.
The Cougars forced an interception on Boise State's final possession but never seriously threatened on their game-tying or game-winning drive.
Afterward, Mike Leach called out his team's toughness. The Pirate says the club works hard and plays well in practice, but that the Cougars turtle when the opponent lines up on the other side of the line of scrimmage.
"We have to be a tougher football team, and right now we're not," he said. "Right now we've got a bunch of good, nice, jolly guys that will work their ass off, at times, but as soon as anybody hits them or any adversity (hits), we fold."
Mike Leach: The toughness level on our team is pathetic right now pic.twitter.com/0GBV4bf70N
— Lindsay Joy (@SWXLindsayJoy) September 11, 2016
Leach, in his Leach-ian way, is clearly using the cameras to send a message to his team. After a 9-4 season a year ago, Washington State is off to an 0-2 start with both losses coming by a field goal.
If the Cougars are to infuse some toughness into their veins, they'll have to do so quickly. The club hosts Idaho this week before a bye, then gets Oregon and Stanford in back-to-back weeks.