Wazzu can’t overcome Huskies, lose Apple Cup 38-21
Wedged against a concrete wall, Paul Wulff faced a mass of
cameras and notepads, all wondering if he would be back for a fifth
season at Washington State.
Wulff might just have the same question himself.
”I love our coaches. I want them back. We’ll see what happens.
I don’t know,” Washington State defensive end Travis Long said.
”I just try to not focus on it. It’s obviously in the back of your
head. You want to play harder for them since we know their job is
on the line. We’ll just see what happens on Monday.”
Marshall Lobbestael threw for 344 yards and three touchdowns,
but Washington State couldn’t overcome two turnovers and a blocked
punt for a touchdown, as the Cougars lost the 104th edition of the
Apple Cup 38-21 to rival Washington on Saturday night.
The Cougars (4-8, 2-7 Pac-12) rallied from a 14-0 deficit to
pull even and cut the Huskies (7-5, 5-4) lead to 28-21 in the third
quarter when Marquess Wilson took a screen pass 38 yards for a
touchdown. But that was as close as Washington State would get.
And now comes the wait for when a decision is made on Wulff. An
answer for Wulff, Long and the rest of the crimson and gray
faithful could be coming sooner than later, with Wulff and athletic
director Bill Moos scheduled to meet as early as Sunday morning.
Wulff is 9-40 in his four seasons in charge, but inherited an empty
program and doubled the Cougars win total during a more competitive
The Seattle Times reported on its website late Saturday night
that Wulff would be out as Washington State coach barring a
last-minute change, citing unnamed sources. A school spokesman
would only say that Wulff and Moos are expected to meet.
”Our program has come a long way. I’m very proud of where we’re
at. We’re right on the cusp of being really, really good,” Wulff
said. ”Not a lot of teams can start three different quarterbacks
in a season and still be in a position to be bowl eligible going
into the end of the season. Looking around I’m very proud of what
this team did under the circumstances with our quarterback
situation, which is such a key role for a football team.”
Lobbestael was starting in place of redshirt freshman Connor
Halliday after Halliday suffered a lacerated liver during last
week’s 30-27 overtime loss to Utah that ended the Cougars hopes of
becoming bowl eligible. Halliday’s injury only added to the
peculiar list of injuries sustained by Washington State players
during Wulff’s tenure, another factor adding to the debate about
Lobbestael completed 29 of 42 passes, but was battered and
sacked seven times by Washington’s defense that ranked ninth in the
Pac-12 in that department. Wilson finished with seven catches for
108 yards and two TDs, but had to watch as a double pass in the
fourth quarter eluded his hands and after being batted by
Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant land in the hands of safety
Sean Parker, ending the Cougars final scoring threat.
”It comes down to execution and we didn’t execute at the
beginning of the game,” Lobbestael said. ”Part of that was just
me over-thinking stuff, but then when I settled down the offense
kind of settled down and we started moving the ball. We’ve just got
to take advantage of situations that our defense gives us to take
advantage of the scoreboard and be on top of the momentum.”
With no bowl berth at stake, the Cougars came out flat and
uninspired, rife with mistakes from the start. Washington State
committed five penalties, gave up a pair of sacks, fumbled and had
Dan Wagner’s punt blocked by Thomas Tutogi for a touchdown in the
first 15 minutes. .
They recovered to pull even late in the first half on touchdown
throws of 16 yards to Jared Karstetter and 16 yards to Wilson five
minutes apart in the second quarter. The momentum from that rally
was snatched away when Washington’s Kasen Williams added to his
first-half showcase by catching a crossing route wide open and
leaping over Washington State cornerback Nolan Washington on his
way to an 18-yard gain. On the next play, Williams got free on a
broken play and Keith Price found him for a 21-yard touchdown that
gave the Huskies a 21-14 lead at halftime.
”I was a little quiet that second half, but as far as the first
half goes, I think I was complete, you know, as far the team
goes,” Williams said. ”We won and I feel like I did enough to get
Price became Washington’s single-season record holder in
touchdown passes after throwing three more against the Cougars.
Price has 29 on the season and completed 21 of 29 passes for 291
yards as the Huskies snapped a three-game losing streak. Two of the
touchdown throws went to Williams, while Chris Polk caught a
22-yard TD pass in the third quarter to put the Huskies up 28-14.
Polk later added a 1-yard TD run and finished with 22 carries for
The Huskies now wait for their postseason assignment, likely
either the Holiday or Alamo bowls, while the Cougars wait for an
answer to a tenuous debate.
”We’re going out there and expect to win and that’s a
difference from when these coaches first got here,” Lobbestael
said. ”It’s a huge difference to me and I think it’s going to keep
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