WSU NOTEBOOK: Defense, Tuel and Neuheisel

PASADENA -- Defense again killed the Cougs' hopes for victory on Saturday. This time they couldn't stop the run, as UCLA's Johnathan Franklin and Derek Coleman piled up yardage almost at-will. Also, Jeff Tuel weighs in, as does UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel.

Franklin finished with 216 yards rushing and a touchdown on 30 carries and Coleman rushed for 185 yards and 3 TDs on 15 carries.

Overall, UCLA ran for 437 yards on the ground and 128 more in the air from quarterback Richard Brehaut, who started for the injured Kevin Prince. That's 565 yards overall compared to 384 yards for the Cougs, who managed just 73 yards rushing.

WSU did stop UCLA on occasion, but only after they were in the red zone.

"The defense tackled better, but not well enough," said linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis, who tied for a team-high 11 tackles Chima Nwachukwu. "We took a step (forward), but it wasn't big enough.

"This game was ours to lose and that's what we did. We didn't stop them as a defense. Bottom line is that was our game and we just gave it away."

Despite defense, Tuel plays well
As devastating a loss as the Cougars suffered against UCLA, there were positives. The play of quarterback Jeff Tuel was one of them.

Tuel passed for a season-high 311 yards and 2 touchdowns, completing 20 of his 37 attempts. He had no interceptions.

A disappointed Tuel in the locker room afterwards said he's standing with his line, no matter what.

"Every game I build confidence," Tuel said. "We're starting to put points on the board and move the ball more consistently, so that's a positive. I'll continue to talk my line up because they do great things and it's a good group of guys. I wouldn't trade them for anyone. I love those guys."

UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel had plenty of praise for the Cougs.

"I really want to congratulate Washington State," Neuheisel said. "I just want to congratulate Paul (Wulff) and his staff because I know how hard it is when you are on the mat and trying to get back up. I just think it was a great effort by them and I'm not saying that just because we won, but I'm saying it because I admire that kind of competition.

"For them to come fight like they did and play like they did…I just thought it was a great, great effort by them."

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