What They're Saying: Post Oregon Edition

COUGAR QUARTERBACK and Eugene native Alex Brink's homecoming heartbreak was a recurring theme in several tabloid recaps of Washington State's 53-7 loss to the Ducks on Saturday. With quips, quotes and takes on the shellacking, Bill Doba's future, the Cougs' ever-diminishing bowl hopes and more. From Spokane Valley to Williamette Valley, here's what they're saying.

Alex Brink entered his hometown hoping to make a triumphant splash in the only college game of his life in Autzen Stadium. Instead, he wound up being the engineer in a train wreck. Craig Smith, Seattle Times

The Cougars head into their bye week on a four-game skid with more questions than answers. Can they save their season? Can they save Doba's job? At this point, both are in doubt. Todd Milles, The (Tacoma) News Tribune

Fog encased the picturesque Willamette Valley on Saturday morning, eventually giving way to afternoon sunshine. The Washington State Cougars, however, played in a fog all afternoon. Howie Stalwick, Kitsap Sun

Asked if some players were getting too comfortable with the Cougars' losing ways, Bumpus said "If you get used to this, then you don't belong on this team ... it's unacceptable." Nick Daschel, The Columbian

As homecomings go, it wasn't the best. Actually, it may have been the worst Alex Brink could have imagined. In less than 17 minutes of playing time, Washington State's senior quarterback, a Eugene native playing in the University of Oregon's Autzen Stadium for the first time, threw two interceptions, lost a fumble and was sacked in the end zone for a safety. All in the first 17 minutes. Vince Grippi, Spokesman-Review

Brink's postgame statement (he did not take questions) lasted about a minute. And it didn't take much longer than that for the Ducks (5-1, 2-1 Pacific-10 Conference) to put away the Cougars (2-5, 0-4) on Saturday, thanks to Brink's three early turnovers. John Hunt, The Oregonian

Brink ran the gamut of emotions afterward. He was steamed. He was embarrassed. And he abruptly left a throng of media in the postgame area after issuing a minute-long statement. "It's frustrating for me on a personal level because I definitely wanted to come home and play better in Eugene," Brink said. "But ... the most important thing for me is that, as a team, we got a loss and we're even farther away from our chances of going to a bowl game." Right now, WSU would gladly take a conference win. Todd Milles, The (Tacoma) News Tribune

The most lopsided game in the 106th-year history of the Oregon-WSU series may prove the kiss of death to Bill Doba's head coaching career. Howie Stalwick, Daily Olympian

On the next play, Brink was intercepted by UO linebacker Jerome Boyd at the UO 5. Reed said the key to his play was remembering that in that situation, the Cougars like to show a handoff to a running back, but instead have Brink run a bootleg. "That's a play we kind of worked on all week long," Reed said. "When they got down near the end zone, we were thinking boot, so when they showed the run, I was still playing boot. It worked out. I gambled right." Ron Bellamy, The Register-Guard

Brink, who led Eugene's Sheldon High School to an Oregon state football championship, played perhaps the worst half of his WSU career. During the second quarter, he was sacked for a safety, and didn't complete a pass in seven attempts. And yet, that might have been the best of Brink's two first-half quarters. Nick Daschel, The Columbian

The last time Pflugrad had caught a touchdown in front of anyone from Pullman they applauded. That was 2005 when he was a junior at Pullman High School and he caught the game-winning pass from Cougars recruit J.T. Levenseller in a 28-24 victory over Archbishop Murphy for the 2A state title. Levenseller is gray-shirting and will enroll at WSU in January. Pflugrad moved to Eugene for the 2006 season at Sheldon High School because his father, Robin, left the WSU staff to become the receivers coach for the Ducks. Craig Smith, Seattle Times

Brink, a fifth-year senior, who was born and raised in Eugene, grew up a rabid UO fan, led Sheldon High School to the state title during his senior season, and was famously not recruited by the Ducks, had nobody to blame but himself. Curtis Anderson, The Register-Guard

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