The UCLA Bruins bring their Pac-12 South-leading 7-2 record (4-2 Pac-12) into Martin Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. game.
PULLMAN — As cold-weather games go, tonight will be nothing for Washington State linebackers coach Jeff Choate.
The St. Maries, Idaho, native played college football at Western Montana, where temperatures near or below the zero-degree mark for November games weren’t all that unusual.
So Choate laughs as he describes his worst such encounter, one that involved a road grader clearing the field before orange paint lines were drawn for yardage markers.
“If you’ve ever seen those graders, the plow is tilted,” Choate said. “So the whole field was tilted.”
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That won’t be necessary this weekend. But WSU (2-7, 0-6 Pac-12) hopes that’s what it might feel like for UCLA tonight, when the Bruins bring their Pac-12 South-leading 7-2 record (4-2 Pac-12) into Martin Stadium for a 7:30 p.m. game.
According to Weather.com, temperatures are forecast in the 20s with a possibility of morning show showers, though the white stuff should taper off by the time the game starts.
Still, it’s an environment the Cougars will be slightly more accustomed to. WSU’s Thursday practice was held in 30-degree temperatures with light snowfall becoming heavier the last hour or so, leaving Martin Stadium coated in a thin layer.
Los Angeles recorded a high of 64 degrees Thursday.
“I think the one advantage that you have is that you do get the opportunity to practice in these elements,” Choate said. “And it’s very difficult to simulate snow and cold weather in Southern California.”
Not that Bruins coach Jim Mora would even try. According to a story this week in the Orange County Register, Mora has instructed his players not to even mention the word “cold,” much the way he refused to acknowledge the altitude in Colorado as a potential factor when UCLA played there earlier this season.
Mora said he hasn’t been to Pullman since the Apple Cup in 1982, when he was a backup defensive back for Washington.
The Cougars won that game after Huskies kicker Chuck Nelson famously missed a potential go-ahead field goal in the fourth quarter. Mora hasn’t forgotten what happened next.
“They tore down the goal posts and they threw it in the river,” Mora recalled this week with a chuckle.
“I haven’t been back to Pullman since.”