No. 17 Arizona looking to rebound

No. 17 Arizona needs a road win in Pullman on Saturday to get

back into the Pac-10 race. Washington State just needs a win over a

major college team to prove it is improving.

Arizona (4-1, 1-1 Pac-10) suffered its first loss of the season

against Oregon State last weekend, costing the Wildcats their first

Top 10 ranking in a decade. They will be playing on the road for

the first time since blowing out Toledo in their Sept. 3 season

opener.

”It’s no disgrace to be 4-1 with the teams we played,” said

coach Mike Stoops, pointing to home wins over The Citadel, Iowa and

California.

Washington State (1-5, 0-3) has not beaten a Pac-10 team since

2008 or an FBS team since last season. The Cougars are three

touchdown underdogs.

Arizona put up 541 yards of offense in losing at home 29-27 to

Oregon State. The Wildcats may reach such heights again against a

Washington State defense that is last in the nation, allowing more

than 500 yards per game.

Arizona quarterback Nick Foles, who leads the league’s top

passing attack at 328 yards per game, took no satisfaction in

throwing for a career-high 440 yards against Oregon State.

”We didn’t score enough points on offense,” Foles said.

”That’s what it comes down to. It’s not about yardage or

statistics.”

The conference loss dropped Arizona behind Oregon, Oregon State

and Stanford in the Pac-10, but receiver David Douglas said there

is plenty of season left to achieve the Wildcats’ goal of winning a

league title.

”We all know that everything we have set out in front of us is

still within reach,” Douglas said. ”We are still playing for

everything.”

Foles downplayed any suggestion that WSU, which is 1-18 in

Pac-10 play the past three seasons, is one of the league’s easier

road opponents.

”Washington State has definitely improved as a team,” Foles

said. ”They have been putting up points on people and keeping it

close with some of them. We have to expect their best game.”

Arizona will likely try to re-establish its running game, which

totaled only 14 carries against Oregon State. Nic Grigsby, Keola

Antolin and Greg Nwoko have been able to move the ball, despite

limited opportunities.

”We try to run, but we’ve been more productive throwing the

football with the opponents we’ve played this season,” Stoops

said.

Washington State has been able to move the ball in its last two

games, losses to UCLA and No. 2 Oregon. Coach Paul Wulff can see

the confidence growing on his team.

”We have so many guys playing their first season, they are

growing week to week,” Wulff said.

Second half letdowns are hurting the Cougars.

”We still have to finish a four-quarter ballgame,” Wulff

said.

The Cougars remain weak on defense, which will be a big problem

against Foles and receiver Juron Criner, who caught 12 passes for

179 yards last week. Criner leads the Pac-10 in receiving yards

with 531.

”We have to make sure we don’t give him (Foles) a lot of easy

throws,” Wulff said.

Washington State has its own potent passing attack, with

quarterback Jeff Tuel completing 58 percent of his passes for 1,478

yards. Receiver Marquess Wilson leads all freshmen in the nation

with averages of nearly five catches and 85 yards per game.

Receiver Jared Karstetter is averaging 88 yards per game in Pac-10

play.

But Arizona gives up an average of just 14 points per game, best

in the Pac-10.

”They have one of the best pass rushes in the conference,”

Wulff said.