Not pretty, but 5-1 nonetheless

PULLMAN -- The temperature hovered at 80, the packed house Homecoming crowd was full of energy, and the Cougar defense was its usual stellar self. Except for the wet blanket otherwise known as the Cougar offense, it was a beautiful day for football.

But when all is said and done, how you get there isn't important. A win's a win, and No. 14 Washington State is now a Pac-10 leading 5-1 on the season after downing hapless Arizona 30-7.

The Cougars have a bye next weekend before resuming their quest for a third-straight 10-win season -- and second straight Pac-10 title -- at Stanford.

The Cougars could have put this one away early, but again had red zone woes on offense, settling for a field goal on one trip inside the 10 and Matt Kegel tossing an interception on another.

Two second half Cougar excurisions deep into Arizona territory ended up in Wildcat fumble recoveries.

WSU led 13-0 at halftime, but Arizona put together a 68-yard drive early in the third quarter to narrow things to 13-7. A Drew Dunning field goal )his third of the day) then put the Cougars up by nine.

And then the Cougar defense, which held Arizona to less than 200 yards of offense on the day, took over and put the game away. Jason David intercepted Kris Heavner and took the ball 34 yards to paydirt. Then, two plays after the Cougars kicked off, Heavner fumbled and the Cougars' Erik Coleman recovered at the UA 20. Three plays later Kegel passed to Jonathan Smith and before you could say done deal the Cougars were up 30-7.

David's interception was the second one this season he's returned for a TD, and his third career sprint to paydirt -- a WSU record. With four INTs on the season, he now has 14 career thefts, tying him with Rick Reed for second place on the Cougars' career list. Lamont Thompson is No. 1 with 24 career picks.

The play of the game belonged to receiver Devard Darling who made a spectacular over-the-shoulder grab of a Kegel pass in the first quarter and then scampered the final 55 hashes of an 84-yard scoring play.

NOTABLE NOTES:
How dominating was the Cougar defense? So much so that Arizona crossed midfield only once the entire day, and went 0-13 in third-down conversions.

Surprisingly, the Cougar D, which leads the Pac-10 in sacks, failed to record one on the 'Cats -- the first time in 22 games they've failed to do so.

Middle linebacker Don Jackson led WSU's hit parade with eight total stops. Will Derting and Virgil Williams had six each, Jason David and Erik Coleman five each.

Jonathan Smith racked up 152 all-purpose yards -- 83 on the ground and 69 in receptions.

The Cougar offense totaled an impressive 513 yards.

With two top 10 teams -- Michigan and Tennessee -- losing on Saturday, look for the Cougars to climb up No. 12 or 13 in this week's national rankings.

INJURIES:Kegel tweaked his shoulder twice during the game but says he should be ready for Stanford in two weeks. RB Jermaine Green left the game with a bruised rib and is expected to be lost for two-to-four weeks.

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