Stop Your Belly-Achin'

PULLMAN – Lament all you want Cougfans. But facts are facts: Washington State is 7-0. It doesn't matter that they started slowly against Montana State on Thursday night.

Sure they looked like they were walking through molasses at times. Yes, the sack-happiest crimson squad this side of the Palouse Posse failed to register one against their Big Sky foe. And remarlably, the lack of focus even extended to the kicking game, where two PATs were blocked and a field goal attempt missed.

But look at what they did do:

* Score 53 points and rack up 653 total yards of offense.

* Find a solid back-up for Dave Minnich in the form of John Tippins, who came six yards short of being the first player in WSU history with 100 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving in the same game.

* Resurrect the name of one of the all-time great Crimson Soldiers -- Sweeney-era QB Ty Paine. That's right. Jason Gesser, in passing for 374 yards against the Bobcats, surpassed ol' No. 14 for the seventh spot on WSU's career passing list with 4,270 air yards.

This game isn't anything that the crimson faithful ought to be wringing its collective hands over.

The Cougars were over confident. It was Thursday night in the cold. And mighty Oregon is coming to town on the 27th.

Simple as that.

They new they could beat MSU just by showing up. It didn't matter what Mike Price said to get them focused – this was an undersized opponent with fewer athletes. This was not going to be a repeat of last year's Oregon State-Eastern Washington tussle, which the Screamin' Eagles by all rights should have won.

Price, upset after the game that his club, for the first time this season, wasn't prepared for the game, admitted that overconfidence can often rear its head when dealing with youngsters.

"As much as we fought against (being overconfident), it's human nature to underestimate things, especially when you're dealing with 19-year-old kids, but hopefully they'll learn from this game and be better in the future," Price said.

"It was just a real team lack of focus, but you look up and we're 7-0 and we still scored 53 points," Price said. "I think this game got the players' attention and they're not happy about the way they played tonight."

PAC FACTS:

* Never before has the Pac-10 had three undefeated teams this late in the season. The conference is also continuing the domination of non-conference foe that began last year. This season the Pac is 20-4 vs. non-league clubs.

* Oregon State, traveling to Tempe this weekend, hasn't won at Arizona State since the Great Pumpkin, Dee Andros, was patrolling the sidelines in 1969.

* Former WSU LB Curtis Holden was activated this week from the practice squad by the New Orleans Saints.

* How tough is UCLA's defensive line? Bob "Don't Call Me Paranoid" Toledo says the pressure his trench warriors are putting on opposing QBs accounts for this remarkable stat: The Bruins' last three opponents combind -- Ohio State, Oregon State and Washington -- converted a mere six of 47 third downs.

* The Cougar-Duck game will be televised by ABC, with kickoff set for 4 pm.


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