Jake Dickert has built a strong Washington State team in Pullman, but he has had to sit and watch over the last 18 months as TV networks and media revenue picked apart the Pac-12 conference and left his Cougs without a home.

On Saturday night, Washington State beat a ranked Wisconsin team for the second season in a row, this time 31-22. It was a game Washington State led for all but 10 minutes. It was a statement victory for Washington State.

After the game, Dickert delivered another statement at midfield for his postgame ESPN interview.

“This moment, it’s everything. We belong in the Power Five,” he said. “These kids have worked their ass off. I’m so damn proud of them, to double down in the moment. We’re all we got, we’re all we need.”

This isn’t new for Dickert. He has not shied away from fighting for Wazzu. Dickert was outspoken about realignment all offseason, saying in fall camp that TV money has destroyed college football.

Saturday night in Pullman, his Cougars hosted a team from the Big Ten — the league that initiated the breakup of the Pac-12.

The crowd inside Martin Stadium supplied Wazzu with emotion all night. At one point in the first half, Brennan Jackson scooped up a fumble and fell into the endzone to give Wazzu a 24-6 lead.

Wisconsin owned the third quarter, but Washington State stiffened in the fourth and held off any comeback charge. Wisconsin averaged just 3.4 yards a play in the fourth while the Cougs salted the game away with the ground game.

Wisconsin outgained Washington State on the day. But the Cougs won the turnover battle 3-0 and held up in the slugfest.

“There’s a lot of things I would really love to say, but at the end of the day, our team belongs at the highest level,” Dickert said after the game. “Our program does. I believe that. That’s in my heart. I say that with a meaning. And for all this stuff to go on, I think it’s just another way for our guys to go out there and prove who we are.”