What They're Saying: Cougs hit rock bottom

A DEJECTING LOSS, and a new low for the season. That's what Cougar fans everywhere experienced Saturday. Washington State traveled to Salt Lake City only to have any bowl hopes for the 2012 season go up in smoke. Put it how you will, but critics agree this loss seems to be the cherry on top of a smorgasbord of terrible football.

When the Mike Leach era finally blossoms in Pullman (and "when" seems a bit presumptuous today), perhaps we'll all remember a sunny Saturday at the base of the Wasatch Mountains as the day it hit bottom. -- Bud Withers, Seattle Times

But the receivers arguably are the least of WSU's offensive problems, which again were on display at Utah. Most offensive lines at least perform decently in either run or pass blocking. The Cougars are overmatched in both areas, though. Their problems in the latter accentuate the worst attributes of Tuel, who has a tendency to hold onto the ball too long, while the constant pressure highlights the downside of Halliday's eagerness to make a big play. -- Chris Chancellor, Cougfan.com

So much for picking the Utes in a close game. That the Utes beat the Washington State Cougars Saturday wasn't much of a surprise, that they were able to do so decisively with several key players injured was impressive. -- Lya Wodraska, The Salt Lake Tribune

You're sitting in a class of, say, 15 or 20 people, one of those face-to-face settings where the teacher knows everyone's name. They're asking about last night's reading assignment, or something just discussed in class. They're calling on kids to answer questions. But you don't know the answer. So you do everything you can to avoid eye contact and pray you don't get called on. That's what Saturday's postgame interview session felt like, as coach Mike Leach made his offensive and defensive lines, as individual units, sit on a podium and answer questions from reporters. It's not that any of them were trying to duck responsibility or avoid questions, necessarily. They answered each question that was asked, which couldn't have been easy. But it had a very juvenile feel to it, as if the players had been caught doing something they shouldn't have. -- Christian Caple, Spokesman Review

It struck like a thunderclap on a sunny day. Ute kick returner Reggie Dunn fielded the ball four yards into the end zone and started up the field. One cut and he was in open space. -- Brad Rock, Deseret News

First, the Utah Utes punished Washington State on the football field. Then, Washington State coach Mike Leach punished the Cougars off the field. Leach ripped into his players unmercifully after a 49-6 blowout Saturday extended WSU's losing streak to six games. The coach ordered all of WSU's starting offensive and defensive linemen to follow him into the interview room to try to explain their performance. -- Howie Stalwick, The Columbian

Washington State and Leach's vaunted Air Raid offense again struggled. The Cougars were held to 255 total yards by a stingy Utah defense, which forced a pair of turnovers, including an interception by Reggie Topps, and six sacks. -- Kevin Gemmell, ESPN.com

Utah senior Reggie Dunn recently had a lightning-bolt Mohawk shaved into his head as a rally cap of sorts. It's working, as Dunn returned a kickoff 100 yards for the third time in two weeks Saturday and the Utes scored 49 points in their second straight blowout win — this one a 49-6 rout of Washington State. -- Lynn DeBruin, The San Francisco Chronicle

Two weeks ago, the Utah offense was left for dead on a side road in Salt Lake City. The Utes (4-5, 2-4) were 0-4 in the Pac-12 and only averaging 14 points per game in conference play. However, that's all changed now. For the second week in a row, Utah put up 49 points as the Utes routed Washington State (2-7, 0-6). -- John Breech, CBSSports.com

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