The Cougars haven't been to the East Coast in a while, and they're 4-18-1 all-time in games played in the Eastern time zone. WSU left for New Jersey on Thursday morning.

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You have to go all the way back to the 2003 football schedule to find the last time Washington State played a game on the East Coast. And even then, the Cougars’ 29-26 OT defeat to Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. was technically played in the Midwest.

WSU also lost 25-7 to Ohio State in Columbus in 2002. The last time WSU truly played a game in the Northeast came in 1996, when it beat Temple on the road, 38-34.

By my calculations — read: poring through the media guide several times over — the Cougars are 4-18-1 all-time in games played in the Eastern time zone.

Their four wins came as follows:

  • At Temple (Philadelphia, Pa. 1996): WSU 38, Temple 34
  • At Tennessee (Knoxville, Tenn., 1988): WSU 52, Tennessee 24
  • At Michigan State (East Lansing, Mich., 1977): WSU 23, Michigan State 21
  • At Villanova (Villanova, Pa., 1930): WSU 13, Villanova 0

(In case you’re wondering, the lone tie came in a 21-21 game in West Point, N.Y. against Army in 1978.)

On Thursday, the Cougars practiced at 7 a.m. so they could leave for Pullman before lunch time for their trip to Piscataway, N.J., where Rutgers awaits in what might be a season-defining game. WSU is attempting to win only its fifth game in school history in the Eastern time zone. If the Cougars can pull off the win, it’ll be quite the feat, especially when you consider that WSU has been playing football since 1894.

The players seem undaunted by the prospect of traveling 3,000 miles for a game. If anything, it’s a novelty of sorts.

“New Jersey is far away. Some guys don’t like flying, but we’ll figure it out and I’m sure we’ll enjoy the East Coast. It’s my first time going and I think it’ll be really cool,”safety Taylor Taliuliu said.

Now, some links:

— WSU DC Alex Grinch said the way his defense played against Portland State was “inexcusable” and he hopes to right the ship vs. Rutgers this week.

— Jacob Thorpe of the Spokesman-Review wrote about special teams coach and New Jersey native son Eric Mele today. Mele will have a throng of family and friends at the game this weekend. 

— Former WSU coach Mike Price will be inducted into the Inland Northwest Sports Hall of Fame

— Here’s a look at the Rutgers depth chart for this weekend.

— Dismissed Rutgers football players had their court appearances on Wednesday

— Rutgers QB Chris Laviano will make his first career start vs. WSU

Update: A previous version of this post said that the last time WSU played in the Eastern time zone was the 2002 game against Ohio State.