Andy Mattingly on torrid pace

PULLMAN -- Statistics, other than the one signifying the final score, sometimes don't mean a thing. Still, it's hard not to notice Cougar linebacker Andy Mattingly's line. The Spokane native, who has started the last two games for Washington State, has 7 sacks, (5 solo) on the year, good for No. 17 in the nation. Monday at practice, the 6-4, 235 pounder was again front and center.

Cougars (2-5) vs Bruins (5-2)
AT A GLANCE
KICKOFF:
3:30 pm Pacific Time

WHERE:
Martin Stadium (35,117)

TELEVISION:
FSN

RADIO:
The Cougar Sports Radio Network covers much of the West. Click here for listings.

THE LINE:
UCLA by 6.5

LAST MEETING:
2006 WSU Won 37-15

THE SERIES:
UCLA leads 35-17-1

It's not really accurate to call him a backup, Mattingly has played early and often this year. But it would also be incorrect to say he's been an every down starter.

What can be said is that Mattingly, in addition to a penchant for sacks, has made good use of his time on the field. He's racked up 26 tackles in the last two games, both of them coming as starts.

He is also the Cougs' second leading tackler this season, with 48 tackles (22 solo and 9 for loss) with a pair of forced fumbles.

Mattingly has either six or seven sacks depending on which official stats you read, Washington State's or the NCAA's. WSU counts an assist as half a sack, the NCAA counts an assist as a full sack.

Regardless of all the figures, there's much that goes into the making of a good linebacker that can't be quantified on a stat sheet and Mattingly has certainly opened some eyes this year in that regard.

Monday, Mattingly ran with the first team defense during practice and after the session, Bill Doba indicated the sophomore will definitely get a good amount of playing time Saturday.

Not unexpectedly, Doba stopped short of naming Mattingly a starter against UCLA, the defensive coordinator preferring to keep his cards close to the vest, similar to how he kept mum on the Cougs' defensive plan against Oregon during that practice week.

"This is Monday, and we've got a long way to go before we play the ballgame," Doba said.

ONE STARTER WHO will return to action on Saturday after missing the Oregon game is Brandon Gibson (heel). The Cougar receiver participated in full contact drills on Monday, and was the recipient of an Alex Brink bomb.

Backup receiver Keith Rosenberg, who just recently returned after missing about a month due to a knee injury, went down hard on the turf and was helped off by trainers.

Sitting out practice on Monday were Micah Hannam, Christopher Ivory, Nick Cantlon, Alfonso Jackson and Mike Graise. Hannam did run and was lifting during practice, and hasn't been ruled out. If the starting right tackle can't go, it's likely guard Bobby Byrd will move outside with true freshman Andrew Roxas coming in at guard.

WASHINGTON STATE at 2-5 is in dire need of win and a breakout game on offense would go a long ways towards achieving that objective. Washington State has frustrated UCLA of late, winning five of the last six games. In 2006, Alex Brink went 28-38 for 405 yards and 3 TDs in the Cougs' 37-15 win in Los Angeles.

That might, however, be a tall order this season against a stout UCLA defense. The Bruins are also surrendering but 79.6 rushing yards a game. Doba said he expects Saturday a more physical defense that the Cougs have yet gone up against.

"Defensively, they're much better and more aggressive then they've been in the past," said Doba.

Co-captain and free safety Husain Abdullah said everyone in the locker room is on the same page.

"We've got to finish strong," Abdullah said. "We just gotta go 1-0 this week. That's all that matters."

NOTABLE NOTES:
  • Brink, who holds three of the four major passing records in WSU history, will be taking aim at the last against UCLA -- the career touchdown passes mark, which he trails Jason Gesser (70) by two. Earlier this season Brink moved to the top of the attempts and completions lists, and passing yards. Brink has thrown 18 touchdowns in his first seven games.

  • Michael Bumpus, with 166 career catches, needs 11 more to pass legendary Hugh Campbell for the all-time mark at Washington State. Bumpus is averaging six catches a game this year, and moved into the Top 10 in career receiving yards with 1,711 against Oregon.

    J.V. Holland contributed to this report.

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