COUGAR FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK

PULLMAN – Jeff Tuel, one of the more elusive quarterbacks in college football, can be pretty elusive off the field, too. Asked Monday night if he expects to play again this season, Tuel said, "I don't want to say, because I don't want to get my hopes up, then be let down."

Jeff Tuel said his left collar bone and right calf remain "sore." Tuel said he expects to sit out a second straight week of practice, then hopes to resume practicing next week.

"That's the goal," he said.

Tuel, an honorable mention all-league pick in the Pacific-10 Conference last season, has played just one full game and parts of two others this season. The junior is regarded as a fierce competitor, so he would love to return to the field of battle.

"We'll see," he said. "That's for the Lord to decide."

And Jeff Tuel?

"And Jeff Tuel if I'm healed," he said with a laugh.

Are the Cougars the sixth-best team in the Pac-12? With a win Saturday, WSU might be ranked that high by CollegeFootballNews.com.

CFN.com ranks all 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams every week. The Cougars are currently 59th, ahead of only No. 94 Colorado in the Pac-12. However, five Pac-12 teams are ranked just ahead of the Cougars: No. 54 Arizona, No. 55 UCLA, No. 56 California, No. 57 Utah and No. 58 Oregon State.

The Cougars (3-5, 1-4 Pac-12) are 9 1/2-point underdogs Saturday in San Francisco against California (4-4, 1-4). The teams are tied for last in the North Division, but still have bowl aspirations.

"Four games left," WSU linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis said with a steely glare after practice Monday. "The next one coming up, we want to go 1-0. It's the only one that matters right now."

The Bears have lost four of their last five games, but they've won six straight against WSU.

WSU sophomore wide receiver Marquess Wilson, who caught a career-high 11 passes for 126 yards at Oregon last week, has topped the 100-yard mark in nine of his 20 collegiate games. Wilson ranks third in the Pac-12 and 10th in the nation with 111.1 receiving yards per game. Cal's Keenan Allen, at 123.6, is second in the league (behind USC's Robert Woods) and sixth nationally despite the inconsistent play of quarterback Zach Maynard.

Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson recently said Wilson "might be one of the best (college receivers) I've seen in a long time."

Washington State, in playing two of the nation's best, has yielded more than 40 points and 450 yards each of the past three games.

Interestingly, the Cougars were in all three games at halftime. They trailed then-No. 7 Stanford 10-7, unranked Oregon State 24-14 and then-No. 7 Oregon 15-10.

The Cougars have given up 40 or more points in four games this season after doing so five times last year, six times in 2009 and seven times in 2008, Paul Wulff's first year as coach. The '07 Cougars yielded 40 or more five times under Bill Doba.

WSU scored 64 and 59 in the first two games this season. Since then, the Cougars' highest point total has been 31. Nevertheless, the Cougars rank No. 33 nationally in scoring offense.


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