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November 17, 2012

New week, same story as Cougs fall to ASU, 46-7

TEMPE, Ariz. -- What has amounted to be a disastrous week for the Washington State football program got worse on Saturday as the Cougars were absolutely manhandled in Tempe en route to a 46-7 loss to Arizona State.  Inconsistencies have been a severe obstacle for this young Cougars football team and against the Sun Devils (6-5, 4-4 Pac-12) the results were no different.

For the third consecutive week, the Cougars (2-9, 0-8 Pac-12) found themselves trailing by at least 30 points at halftime behind a stagnant offense and a defense that continues to get beat by the big play.

Senior quarterback Jeff Tuel got the start, but another week of quarterback musical chairs saw Connor Halliday thrust into the fire.  Both quarterbacks were severely inconsistent, combining for two interceptions and a meager 134 yards through the air in the first half.

Plagued by dropped passes, quarterback sacks, another non-existent day on the ground, and a horrific 1-of-16 on third down, the Cougars couldn't get anything going on offense.  Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly seamlessly marched his offense down for scores, finishing his day early with on an impressive 20-of-23 passes for 246 yards and four touchdowns.

The special teams woes continued on WSU's first drive of the game as a low snap to Michael Bowlin forced the junior punter to fall on the football at his own 6-yard line, setting up a 21-yard field goal to give the Sun Devils a 3-0 lead with 11:46 left in the first quarter.

The rest of the game was history, as the Sun Devils cruised to an easy victory.

ASU amassed 200 net yards in the first quarter alone and rolled to a 32-0 lead into halftime.  Tuel finished the day just 8-of-16 for 67 yards and an interception before being pulled early for Halliday, who didn't do much better.  The redshirt sophomore was off the mark all day completing just 13-of-33 passes for 173 yards, one touchdown and an interception, while being sacked six times.

As previously alluded to, the receivers continually dropped catchable balls stalling drives and forcing three-and-outs.  A 55-yard touchdown pass from Halliday to Kristoff Williams erased the shutout with 57 seconds left in the game, but ultimately the score had no impact on the game.

Arizona State outgained the Cougars 561 to 341 and added 260 yards on the ground in an absolutely dominating performance in all facets.  The WSU defense simply could not get off the field as the Sun Devils held the ball for over 36 minutes.

Saturday eerily replicated the 49-6 loss to Utah two weeks ago, derailing any type of momentum that could have possibly been gained heading into the Apple Cup next Friday.  There will most likely be some interesting fallout following another dreadful performance by the Cougars who have now gone 0-8 in conference play.

We'll have more coverage later, but for now, it's another gloomy episode in WSU's 2012 football season.



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