Lobbestael to start, but Halliday could play

THERE IS NO quarterback controversy at Washington State. Paul Wulff said Sunday night that senior Marshall Lobbestael, who completed 15 of 37 passes for 155 yards during Saturday's 30-7 loss at Cal, will start at 7:30 p.m. Saturday when the Cougars host Arizona State (TV: Versus). But Wulff also gave an update on the status of two other signal-callers, Jeff Tuel and Connor Halliday.

Wulff said redshirt freshman Connor Halliday, who has not played since Sept. 10 against Nevada, Las Vegas, could see playing time against the Sun Devils (6-3 overall, 4-2 Pac-12). Halliday has completed 11 of 19 passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns in two games this season.

Wulff said junior quarterback Jeff Tuel will not play Saturday. He had left open the possibility that Tuel, who has been sidelined since suffering multiple injuries Oct. 22 against Oregon State, could play during Saturday's postgame interview, but Wulff said "he didn't feel as well today as we were hoping."

He said Tuel's calf "is doing really good. I don't think that's the issue." But Tuel also suffered a broken left clavicle Sept. 3 against Idaho State and aggravated the injury versus OSU. Wulff said that area remains "tender."

"It's all medical based on what the doctor feels," he said. "Right now he's really sore."

Tuel's prospects for a return could hinge on two factors, according to Wulff. He said Tuel must be cleared -- possibly by the end of the week -- to get enough practice time to play the final two weeks. If the Cougars (3-6, 1-5) were to lose Saturday and become ineligible for a bowl, Wulff said he would be reticent to play Tuel again this season.

The Cougars head into this week's tilt having lost seven consecutive games against ASU since their 34-19 win in 2003. The Sun Devils, who were upset 29-28 Saturday by UCLA and fell out of the Associated Press and USA Today polls, are 29th in total offense and 65th in total defense among 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams.

Wulff said some keys to beating ASU include improved tackling and creating turnovers. He said an offense that was held to fewest points in a game this season Saturday also must be more productive.

"I go back and look at the game and our guys played hard," he said. "I though Cal played one helluva ballgame. I thought they got after us really well and our offense couldn't get any consistency."

As far as any talk concerning the Cougars winning their final three games to reach their first bowl since 2003 is concerned, Wulff said he is looking ahead no further than Saturday.

"My idea really is we've just got this game and that's all that matters right now," he said.

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