Duck ground attack spoils WSU homecoming

SOME EARLY MISCUES and a potent Oregon running attack proved too much for Washington State, today. The Ducks 63-14 pounding of the Cougs in front of a homecoming crowd was practically over before it started, as turnovers on WSU's initial two possessions led to Oregon touchdowns.

Addressing the Cougars' four turnovers, Washington State head coach Paul Wulff said that they won't win again this season if that trend continues.

"We're not good enough of a team to overcome those kinds of mistakes, it puts too much pressure on our defense, and we're just not that good," Wulff said. "When things start going bad, it becomes more of a landslide for us now. We just don't have enough in the tank to overcome those types of things right now."

Wulff praised the play of quarterback Marshall Loebbestael, making his first collegiate start, despite his mistakes.

"I thought he did some really good things," he said. "We just wanted to be careful that we didn't throw him to the wolves. We didn't want to start throwing the ball all the time."

The redshirt freshman connected with nine different receivers on a 22-41, 192 yard passing performance. He threw two interceptions, but hooked up with receivers Jeshua Anderson and Michael Willis on touchdown passes. All-American candidate Brandon Gibson was Lobbestael's favorite target, catching 10 throws for 103 yards.

Oregon recorded 507 total offensive yards, 346 of those came on the ground. Cougar co-defensive coordinator Chris Ball called it a coach's nightmare.

"The number one thing was to stop the run, the second thing was to stop the run, and the third thing was to stop the run, and we didn't," Ball commented. "Fundamentally, coming in we know we needed to tackle, and we didn't tackle. We had people in the right spot, it was a tackling issue."

Senior defensive back Alfonso Jackson said it was his worst game playing organized football, and called question to the heart, intensity, and leadership of this Cougar team, himself included.

"I had the worst game I possibly, since I've been playing ball," he said. "We got in that hole, instead of trying to fight our way out, we were hanging our heads. Something is missing from keeping the bridge from being built."

Lobbestael, whose fumble on the Cougars' first possession led to Oregon's first score, took responsibility for the loss.

"Three turnovers is too much, doesn't matter if it is my first start or my tenth start, especially that first fumble, you can't give them that good of field position," he said. "We started on the wrong foot definitely. We gave them momentum."

The Cougars went back to a huddle offense, something Lobbestael said helped.

"The other 10 guys on offense were helping me, making me feel a lot more comfortable, giving me a lot of good encouragement and support."

Wulff said the focus has got to be on improvement, not necessarily the scoreboard.

"Right now, we're taking any kind of victories, and they're gonna be small ones," he said. "The outcome of the score is what it is. I'm not going to get caught up in it. We lose a ball game, we lose it, we win a ball game, we win it, and the score is not our issue right now. We can't look at that. We have to look at the things we need to continue to improve to close that gap."

The Ducks became the second Pac-10 team to score 60-plus points on Washington State this season; California tallied 66 against the Cougs in week 2. WSU fell to 1-4 overall and remain winless in Pac-10 play. They face UCLA—losers today to Fresno State—next weekend in Los Angeles.

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