Memories of devastating defeats a year ago have stoked the embers of motivation during the Cougars' long off-season.
"Everything that's gone on during this summer is the result of last year," said senior linebacker Matt Bauman. "Guys have been working harder. There's been a deeper fire. We went two straight seasons as undefeated conference champions. I think we got a little bit complacent, which is death. That's what we saw. So I think that really lit a fire underneath us. We've got a great group of guys who love the game and want to play and put in the work. It's a whole mentality that we've got to work. We've worked hard and it's shown."