What they’re saying: post-Arizona edition
JASON HILL
JASON HILL

Posted Nov 5, 2006


Media reports of Arizona’s 27-17 upset of the No. 25 Cougars were as dismal as some players’ moods after the loss at Martin Stadium Sunday. Senior Chris Jordan, who had undergone arthroscopic knee surgery after the Sept. 16 Baylor game in Seattle, was praised for his team-high receiving performance. Almost everything else wouldn’t be kept in a crimson scrapbook. Here’s what they’re saying:

Dear Father: Come over to Washington State for Dad's Weekend. I can show you the campus, the library where I spend 16 hours a day, the parties where other students hang out. We can watch Bill Cosby, and the football team play Arizona. Dad could have done without the football game Saturday. - Nick Daschel, The Columbian

Arizona, supposedly the second-worst team in the Pac-10, capitalized on mistakes large and small Saturday and stunned Washington State 27-17 before a drenched capacity crowd at Martin Stadium. The 25th-ranked Cougars seemed to lose their focus once, twice, maybe three times, and by then their fate was perhaps sealed by steady rainfall and the latest 1-2 punch from the injury gods. Jason Hill and Michael Bumpus, WSU's top two receivers, both suffered high ankle sprains in the second quarter that limited the Cougars' comeback resources and may force them to modify their offensive tack in their final two regular-season games. - Dale Grummert, Lewiston Tribune

The visit of Arizona to the Palouse was viewed as a kick-yourself-if-you-lose game, with 25th-ranked Washington State a 16 ½-point favorite. Well, the Cougars should be plenty black and blue today. They came out flat and got flattened 27-17 before a sellout crowd of 35,117. - Craig Smith, Seattle Times

It's been ages since the Cougars lost a conference game when so heavily favored -- partly because they're rarely in that situation. "Arizona has been struggling," [offensive guard Sean] O'Connor said. "If we came out quickly and were able to impose our will on them, I thought because of their struggles this year that they would fold. They didn't. They came out and actually started fast. "I don't know," he said. "It's a disappointing loss." - Dale Grummert, Lewiston Tribune

No Cougar was praised more by teammates after the game than senior wide receiver Chris Jordan, who had undergone arthroscopic knee surgery after the Sept. 16 Baylor game in Seattle. … "He's a warrior," said fellow wide receiver Brandon Gibson, who led the Cougars with five catches for 120 yards and one touchdown. "I'm glad he came back and played today. I love that guy. He's an animal. ... His knee is swollen." - Craig Smith and Bud Withers, Seattle Times

Key statistic: A week after WSU controlled the clock for 36 minutes, 59 seconds against UCLA, the Cougars allowed Arizona to have it for 35:27. - Seattle Times

Outside Brink’s 91-yard strike to Brandon Gibson in the first quarter, the offense looked helpless, netting two first downs in the first half. It did not help that standouts Jason Hill and Michael Bumpus were lost just before halftime to high left-ankle sprains that could keep them out the rest of the regular season. Trailing 20-10, the Cougars showed life to start the second half, even without a pair of regulars. Brink used bootlegs, rollouts and pinpoint accuracy in completing his first six passes. - Todd Milles, The News Tribune

“I don't really want to comment on the officiating crew, but if someone gets hurt out there because of an officiating call, it's just sad," [quarterback Alex] Brink said. "I hope the Pac-10 takes a look at it." … Brink's first-quarter touchdown pass was the 46th of his career. He is tied with Drew Bledsoe for fourth on WSU's career list. - Craig Smith and Bud Withers, Seattle Times

The visitors came in with the 115th-ranked offense in the nation, and the only time they scored this many points in a game this season was in a win against NCAA Division I-AA Stephen F. Austin. Along the way, the Cougars dropped passes, fumbled the ball, rolled it back to the punter, couldn’t rush a lick, missed far more tackles than is customary, failed to defend third downs and blew an early coverage that left a linebacker covering a wide receiver – a tactic that resulted in a simple Arizona touchdown pass. - Dave Boling, The News Tribune

Tuitama was not bashful to stand in the pocket during the drive despite his recent head injuries. On third and 11 from the UA 47, he waited until the last possible second to throw to Syndric Steptoe. The wideout made a one-handed grab for a 21-yard gain. "That was spectacular, and that was probably the turning point of the game," Stoops said. Three Henry runs and a Mike Thomas 16-yard reception gave Arizona the ball at the 6, and Henry did the rest. - John Moredich, Tucson Citizen

Saturday, Arizona's ability to run the ball was pivotal. The Wildcats' defense had earned league-wide respect before reaching Pullman, but the Wildcats had been considered offensively deficient. They entered the game averaging 71.4 yards a game on the ground, but finished with 142 Saturday. Junior Chris Henry rushed a school-record 35 times for 94 yards and scored twice. - Craig Smith, Seattle Times

When Henry wasn't pounding WSU defenders, returning quarterback Willie Tuitama was throwing past them. The sophomore signal caller completed 10 of 17 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown in his first game since Oct. 7, when he suffered his second concussion of the season. Tuitama's biggest pass might have been his first one, when he connected with receiver Anthony Johnson for a 78-yard touchdown pass on the third play of the game. - Ryan Finley, Arizona Daily Star

Although the Wildcats had just 275 total yards, they controlled the ball and the clock most of the game. Arizona had nearly 11 more minutes of possession time, which kept the usually high-scoring Cougars offense on the sidelines. - John Moredich, Tucson Citizen

Few words, if any, were spoken as the Washington State Cougars made their way off the rain-soaked sideline at Martin Stadium. They knew what had been at stake Saturday – a chance to secure a bowl berth by beating the Arizona Wildcats. But No. 25 WSU let its biggest opportunity to date slip out of its grasp, getting outplayed in every way possible in a 27-17, Pacific-10 Conference loss to a Wildcats team that didn’t resemble the vulnerable and weary bunch that had won only three games. - Todd Milles, The News Tribune

The Washington State Cougars were disappointed with their performance Saturday, and rightfully so. However, even a dismal showing by WSU could not overshadow a stellar performance by the Arizona defense. - Howie Stalwick, Kitsap Sun

"It was a dream," Romeen Abdollmohammadi said of the opportunity to start in front of a sold-out stadium. Abdollmohammadi, who had attempted one field goal at Stanwood High School and missed it, made his only field-goal attempt Saturday. It was a 37-yarder in the first quarter that gave the Cougars their only lead, 10-7. He mis-hit the opening kickoff and hit a line drive that was grabbed at the 5-yard line. - Craig Smith and Bud Withers, Seattle Times

It was an October to remember for Washington State. But what happens in November will decide whether the Cougars' 2006 season has a chance for the books. - Nick Daschel, The Columbian

After climbing into the AP Top 25 college football poll for the first time since 2003, the Cougars experienced a letdown. "We came out pretty flat. So many people have been telling us how great we are," Brink said. "It took awhile for us to adjust. They're a great defense. We knew that coming in." WSU coach Bill Doba said he didn't think his team was overconfident, but just didn't play well. "I don't know why, I just think they were not focused," he said. "They had a good meeting in the locker room afterward. I think they will come out ready to play next week." - John K. Wiley, The Associated Press



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