WSU makes an appearance in the national rankings for the first time this season

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CORVALLIS, Ore. — Despite a disastrous first half, Washington State did just enough Saturday night to sneak out of Reser Stadium with a 35-31 win over Oregon State.

The Cougars, apparently, have also done just enough to sneak back into the national rankings.

Fresh off its sixth-straight win, with a sparkling 5-0 Pac-12 record, WSU (6-2) is ranked No. 25 in the latest Coaches Poll and Associated Press Poll that were both released Sunday morning. It marks the first time this season the Cougars have made an appearance in the national top 25 rankings.

The Washington Huskies (8-0, 5-0) remained No. 4 in the AP top 25 after beating Utah on Saturday.

WSU was last ranked last November, when it went into the Apple Cup game against the Huskies at No. 20 in the AP Poll.

This marks the first time since the 2003 season that the Cougars have managed to put together a six-game win streak.

“All of them are special,” quarterback Luke Falk said of the team’s six wins. “It’s tough to win in the Pac-12 and tough to win on the road and I’m really proud of our guys tonight.”

The wins haven’t all been pretty tough. After blowing out their first two Pac-12 opponents — Oregon and then-No. 15 Stanford — the Cougars have had to eke out some close calls, and the margin of victory keeps dwindling.

WSU beat UCLA at home by six points on Oct. 15 (27-21), then edged Arizona State by five points (37-32) in the desert last week. On Saturday night, WSU escaped Corvallis with a four-point win over Oregon State after going into half time trailing 24-6.

“I’m just really proud of these guys,” Falk said. “The first half didn’t go our way and we didn’t quit. We went out swinging. It shows the type of team we’ve got.”

WSU will next take on Arizona (2-5 overall, 0-5 Pac-12) back at Martin Stadium on Dad’s Weekend next Saturday. The game is already sold out.

The Cougars are favored by 16 points, but they’ll be facing an Arizona team that’s fighting to remain in the bowl picture. One more loss and the Wildcats will find themselves sitting at home in December.

Until then, here’s some highlights from the Cougs’ latest escape act in Corvallis: