Cougs' focus quickly shifts to Apple Cup

THE BAD NEWS is that the Cougars lost. (Again.) The good news is that instead of wallowing about Saturday's 46-7 thrashing in the desert, the team was barely off the field at Sun Devil Stadium when thoughts turned to the biggest showdown of the season: the Apple Cup.

While some may find the amount of reflection on the latest loss to be lacking, the immediate focus on the Washington game, scheduled for 12:30 p.m. Friday in Pullman, shows that despite their play – or in some cases, lack thereof – this team is not giving up.

Not only is Friday's game the last chance for Washington State to avoid going winless in conference play for the first time since 2009, but it also is an opportunity for them to build upon two weeks of solid effort. If there ever were an opponent that beating would bring a little hope back to Cougar Nation, it's the Huskies.

Just ask the players.

"Anything can happen in the Apple Cup," starting quarterback Jeff Tuel said in a postgame radio interview. "We'll hang our hats on that." Additionally, a win Friday could be extra special for the injury plagued senior.

"This definitely can be the last one," he said in reference to whether it will be his final performance in crimson.

Junior safety Deone Bucannon said that in order to have success against Washington, they will need to get rolling must faster. Utah, UCLA and Arizona State all jumped out to big leads in the first half against the Cougars. On Saturday, the Sun Devils led 32-0 at halftime.

"We need to start faster than we have in these last three games," he said.

Coach Mike Leach's list was a little longer: broken coverage, dropped balls, missed tackles.

"As we unraveled, they stayed consistent rather than going complacent," he said of the Sun Devils, which were coming off a four-game losing streak.

Still, Bucannon said, the best thing the Cougars can do is put Saturday's game in the loss category and focus on this week.

"We need to put this game behind us and give the University of Washington all we can." Junior offensive lineman Elliott Bosch felt similarly.

"With Apple Cup week coming up, it's nice to focus all of our energy on that," he said. "We're a lot closer than people think.

"It would be nice to have some more games from that standpoint."

As for Leach, he's still hopeful that he can get the first Pac-12 win of his tenure with the Cougars.

"As fast as we move out of this locker room, we need to move onto the Apple Cup," he said. "That's a great opportunity for us."

  • Washington State set a school record for single-season pass attempts, with 571, surpassing the mark of 525 set in 2007. The Cougars also set a school record for single-season completions, with 338, surpassing the mark of 309 set in 2007.

  • Bucannon matched a career high 17 tackles against Arizona State. It was his sixth double-digit tackle performance of the season and 11th of his career.

  • Cyrus Coen's four tackles-for-loss tied for the seventh-most in WSU single-game history.

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