Cougars Head South to Face Arizona State
Oct. 25, 2010
PULLMAN, Wash. -
Arizona State Sun Devils (3-4, 1-3)
October 30, 2010 Sun Devil Stadium 4 p.m.
SATURDAY'S GAME: The Washington State University football team (1-7, 0-5) looks for its first conference win of the season as it travels to Arizona State (3-4, 1-3) at Sun Devil Stadium, Saturday (Oct. 30). Kickoff between the Cougars and Sun Devils is scheduled for 4 p.m., and there will be no live television.
WASHINGTON STATE vs. ARIZONA STATE - THE SERIES: Arizona State leads the all-time series by a 22-12-2 margin, including a 13-5-2 advantage when playing in Tempe. The Cougars have dropped the last six meetings in the series after winning the previous three. Last year the Sun Devils' survived six turnovers to come away with a 27-14 victory. WSU's last win in the series came in 2003, a 34-19 victory in Pullman.
WILSON AMONG FRESHMEN ELITE: Wide receiver Marquess Wilson continues to be one of the top freshmen in the nation. Wilson, who leads the Cougars in receiving yards (99.5 ypg) and is second in receptions (5.1 rpg), leads all freshmen nationally in both categories. Wilson ranks seventh among all FBS receivers in yards per game and is 56th in receptions. Additionally, he leads the Pac-10 in receiving yards per game and ranks sixth in receptions per game.
BUCANNON LEADING DEFENSE: True freshman safety Deone Bucannon had the best game of his young career against the No. 17 Arizona Wildcats two weeks ago, registering a game-high 16 tackles, 14 solo. The 14 solo tackles are tied for the fifth-most in school history and the most by a Cougar freshman. Backing up that performance Bucannon led the Cougars with 15 tackles (11 solo) at Stanford, including 10 in the first half. The freshman added a tackle-for-loss and two pass break-ups. It marked the first back-to-back double-digit tackle game since Xavier Hicks had three straight double-digit tackle games last season.
COUGARS ON MID-SEASON ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS: Four members of the Washington State University football team were included on Phil Steele's Midseason All-Pacific-10 Conference list. Sophomore defensive end Travis Long and freshman wide receiver Marquess Wilson were named to the second team while junior wide receiver Jared Karstetter and redshirt junior linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis were each named to the third team.
COUGAR DEFENSE TAKES STAND: The Cougar defense allowed 24 points and 352 yards of total offense against the No. 17 Arizona Wildcats, both lows against a Pac-10 opponent since WSU allowed 13 points and 323 yards against Washington in 2008. The 352 yards are the fewest by a Cougar opponent in the previous 18 games and almost 100 yards below the Wildcats season average. The WSU defense also recorded 12 tackles-for-loss, the most since matching that total against Oregon State (11/17/07).
COUGAR DEFENSE-PART II: The Cougars have concluded their toughest stretch of the schedule, playing their last three games against teams all ranked in the Top 17. In doing so, WSU held each opponent, No. 3 Oregon, No. 17 Arizona and No. 12 Stanford below their season averages for both points and total offense.
TUEL PLAYING AT HIGH LEVEL: Quarterback Jeff Tuel continues to mature as the Cougar signal caller. The sophomore has thrown for more than 200 yards and at least one touchdown in each game this season. He currently ranks fourth in the conference in passing average (254.1) and is fifth in total offense (259.9). Last week against Stanford he threw for 298 yards and a career-best four touchdowns.
KARSTETTER PICKS UP PACE IN CONFERENCE: Junior wide receiver Jared Karstetter has been the prime target for quarterback Jeff Tuel since Pac-10 play began five games ago. In that span Karstetter is averaging 6.8 catches and 76.8 yards per game, with four touchdowns. Three weeks ago against Oregon he registered 10 catches for 106 yards, both career highs and last week at Stanford he had nine catches for 101 yards and two scores. For the season he is averaging 5.4 catches and 59.9 yards per game.
STRENGTH OF SCHEDULE: Through the first eight games this season the Cougars have faced the second-toughest schedule in the nation, according to Jeff Sagarin's NCAA Football Ratings. In fact, the five most difficult schedules all belong to Pac-10 schools, in order: 1. Oregon State, 2. WSU, 3. UCLA, 4. Washington and 5. Arizona State.
PASSING GAME SHOWING SIGNS: The Cougar passing attack has thrown for more than 200 yards in each of its first eight games and currently ranks 5th in the Pac-10 in passing offense at 258.4 yards per game. Over the past two years the offense had thrown for more than 200 yards a combined seven times.
FRESHMAN PHENOM: Wide receiver Marquess Wilson registered his fifth game of more than 100 receiving yards last week at Stanford with six catches for 150 yards and a touchdown. The 150 yards is a freshman record. He is the second freshman wide receiver in school history to post multiple 100-yard games in a single season as Phillip Bobo did it three times in 1990. Wilson is proving that he can get down field as he already has eight receptions of 40-plus yards through the first eight games of the season, more than any Cougar had in all of 2009.
OFFENSE SHOWS IMPROVEMENT: Through five Pac-10 games this season the Cougar offense has taken giant strides in relation to last season. In games against USC, UCLA, Oregon, Arizona and Stanford, compared to games against those same opponents in 2009, WSU is vastly improved. Its scoring has improved from 7.8 to 20.4 ppg, while it has reduced the scoring different by 15.0 ppg. Additionally, WSU has had three conference games this season that ended within a two possession difference. Last season against those same five opponents, only one game was within three possessions.
TOUGH STRETCH OF SCHEDULE: The Cougars just concluded the toughest three-game stretch they have faced in more than 35 years. In successive weeks WSU has faced No. 3 Oregon, No. 17 Arizona and No. 12 Stanford. The last time the Cougars faced three Top 20 opponents dates back to 1974, when they played No. 16 Illinois, No. 1 Ohio State and No. 7 USC, falling against all three opponents. The last time WSU played three successive ranked teams came in 2005, when it lost in overtime to No. 12 UCLA, fell by four points at No. 25 California then lost at No. 1 USC.
Official Website of Washington State University Athletics | Bohler Athletic Complex | PO Box 641602 Pullman, WA 99164-1602 | 1.800.GO.COUGS