Bring on da Devils! Upset-minded Cougs eye another

THE PAC-10's reigning offensive players of the week will be featured Saturday when Washington State travels to Arizona State for a nationally televised contest that will have far-reaching implications for each team's post-season plans. <b>Jerome Harrsion</b> leads the Cougs into Tempe after carrying the ball a school-record 42 times against UCLA for 247 yards. ASU will be paced by senior QB <b>Andrew Walter</b>, who threw four TD passes in a 34-31 come-from-behind win over Stanford.

On Monday, the Pac-10 announced that Harrison and Walter would share offensive player of the week honors.

The Cougars, following a 31-29 upset of UCLA, need to continue the mo against the Sun Devils -- and then a week later vs. Washington -- if they're going get the six wins needed to become bowl eligible. The Cougars are 4-5 overall and 2-4 in conference play.

Arizona State enters the game with a 7-2 overall record and is 4-1 in the Pac-10. The Sun Devils are No. 20 nationally. But more important, they're No. 3 in the Pac-10 -- a position, if they hang onto it, that could land them in Pasadena on New Year's Day if USC and Cal both run the table.

Oddsmakers have installed ASU as a 12 ½ point favorite.

The game will be televised by TBS, with kickoff set for 5 pm MT (4 pm Pacific). Announcers will be Ron Thulin, Charles Davis and Craig Sager.

The Cougars have won the last three meetings between the teams. Last season, in Pullman, the Cougars prevailed 34-19, with the defense leading the way. Erik Coleman blocked a punt that set-up one TD and linebacker Pat Bennett scored another after intercepting Walter and racing 39 yards to paydirt.

TILLMAN TO BE HONORED: Arizona State will retire the No. 42 jersey of former Sun Devil Pat Tillman at Saturday's game. The 1997 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year and three-time academic All-American, Tillman played linebacker at ASU from 1994-97. After a successful five-year NFL career with the Arizona Cardinals, he and his brother Kevin enlisted in the Army and became members of the elite Rangers unit. Pat was killed in the line of duty in April in Afghanistan.

CONNECTIONS IN HIGH PLACES: ASU ssistant head coach Tom Osborne is a 1983 graduate of WSU. He played – but did not letter -- for the Cougars in 1979-80. Osborne started his coaching career on the Palouse as well, serving under Jim Walden as a student assistant and then graduate assistant coach.

WSU assistant head coach Robin Pflugrad spent six seasons at Arizona State on former head coach Bruce Snyder's staff. Pflugrad, who is in his fourth year at WSU, was ASU's wide receivers coach and recruiting coordinator from 1995-2000.

The Sun Devils roster includes one player with Palouse ties: Freshman lineman Brent Russum of Lewiston, Idaho.

NOTES:
WSU is -2 in turnovers this season. In 2003 the Cougs finished +8.

WSU's 321 rushing yards at UCLA was 31 more than the Cougars had in their three previous games combined. It was the most rushing yards since chalking up 339 against Idaho in 2003; the most on the road since 373 at Illinois in 1988; and the most in a Pac-10 game since 524 at Oregon in 1984.

Through eight games, WSU is averaging 6.8 penalties and 61.3 yards per game, down from 11.5 penalties per game and 94.6 yards last season.

APPLE CUP TELEVISED LIVE: Start time for WSU's regular-season finale against Washington in Pullman has moved from 5 pm to 4 pm to accommodate a regional telecast by ABC-TV.

Cougfan Top Stories