Washington State: Facts and Factors

Terminally struggling Washington State comes to the Rose Bowl Saturday. They are young, inexperienced, injured and going through the worst era in their football history in the last 40 years...

-- UCLA hosts Washington State Saturday at 12:30 PST in the Rose Bowl, with the game being televised by FSN. Bill Macdonald and James Washington will be in the booth and Rebecca Haarlow on the sideline.

-- Washington State is 1-3 on the season, with its three losses coming against Oklahoma State (65-17), SMU (35-21) and last week USC (50-16). The Cougars did beat FCS (Division 1-AA) Montana State, 23-22.

-- The Cougars were, in fact, down by 15 points to start the fourth quarter against Montana State.

-- UCLA is 2-2, coming off the biggest win of the Rick Neuheisel era when it defeated then #7-ranked Texas in Austin, 34-13.

-- UCLA owns a 37-18-1 record in the series with the Cougars. While UCLA won last year's meeting in Pullman, 43-7, WSU has won three of the last four contests (2006, 2004 2002) played in the Rose Bowl. The last time the two teams met in Pasadena, in 2008, UCLA won 28-3.

-- In last year's win, Kevin Prince threw for 314 yards while completing 29 of 45. Akeem Ayers had two interceptions while Rahim Moore registered one.

-- Washington State is going through perhaps its worst era of football in 40 years. Its record in the last 2½ seasons is 4-25, and you have to go back to the late 1970s to find a time in their history that competes with that degree of failure. And among the four Cougar wins in the last 2½ years, two of them have been over Division 1-AA teams, and one was over Washington in 2008, a Husky team that went 0-12 that season. WSU's only legitimate win in this recent time span was last season against SMU, a team that went 8-5 in 2009.

-- During this period, WSU has been coached by Paul Wulff, the former Cougar who was previously the head coach at Eastern Washington. Even with the wins against the Division 1-AA teams, Wulff still has the lowest winning percentage (.148) of all Washington State head football coaches who have coached at least three games. He is, obviously, struggling to turn around a Wazzu program after, first, the departure of Mike Price at the end of the 2002 season, and then Bill Doba, who was fired in 2007. Price was at WSU for 14 years, and did the unimaginable job of making Washington State a very good football program, culminating in a 10-3 record, a Pac-10 championship and a trip to the Rose Bowl for the 2002 season. Price left for Alabama (and we all know how that ended), and WSU moved on to Price's defensive coordinator, Doba. Doba put in a good effort to keep the Price momentum going, in 2003 leading WSU to a 10-3 record. But Doba ran the program aground pretty quickly, and Wulff was given the unenviable task of re-building the Washington State program in 2008.

-- Washington State is a young, inexperienced football team, with 25 players making their college football debuts so far this season, which is about 40% of the WSU players who have seen time. That includes eight true freshmen and nine redshirt freshmen.

-- To make matters particularly worse for the Cougars, they lost a total of five players to injury who would have either started or been in their two-deep prior to or after the first game of the season. They also had to kick off one projected starter from the program last spring.

-- In 2009, Washington State, in national rankings, was: 119th in scoring, 118th in rushing, 110th in passing, and 119th in total offense. Defensively, they were 118th in scoring, 117th in rushing, 115th in passing, and dead last (120th) in total defense.

-- In 2009, WSU was out-scored by an average of 38.5-12.

-- UCLA has won 24 of its last 34 games at the Rose Bowl.

-- UCLA's 27 yards passing against Texas last week was the fewest in a game for the Bruins since it played Oregon State in 1978, when it had zero yards.

-- UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel is 2-0 against Paul Wulff, and 7-0 all-time as a head coach against Washington State.

-- In its entire history, UCLA has produced 34 consensus All-Americans (which gets it ranked 15th all-time in college football and second in the Pac-10). Comparatively, Washington State has only had five in its entire 117-year history of football. In just the last 10 seasons, which wasn't exactly a hey-day for UCLA football, the UCLA program has produced eight consensus All-Americans.

-- Former UCLA star receiver J.J. Stokes will serve as the honorary captain against Washington State Saturday.

While it's been blazing in Pasadena for the last several days (topping out at 110 degrees Monday), it's supposed to cool off some by Saturday, with the forecast calling for a high of 89 degrees.

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