Another blowout, but Wulff vows to fight on

GIVEN THAT THE final score was 66-13 in favor of Oregon State, it's amazing how a few small plays by Washington State in the second quarter could have made such a big difference.

In the first half, Oregon State gave and gave and gave and gave with four interceptions. Unfortunately, Washington State refused to receive and faltered every time they had a chance to put pressure on an OSU team that came in favored by 30 points.

The biggest example came at the end of the first half. It started when the Cougars cut the OSU lead to 21-6 and promptly missed the extra point.

Freshman Louis Bland returned an interception for a touchdown to make it 21-13 and suddenly Washington State looked like it finally had that bolt of confidence it has needed all season.

"It was one of those momentum swings we haven't had all season," WSU head coach Paul Wulff said in a radio interview after the game. "We made some plays and you could see the whole team lift up. We had our confidence brewing, but the fumble kind of took a little out of us."

The Cougars then forced Oregon State into a late field goal instead of a touchdown to make it 24-13 at the intermission and appeared to have real momentum going into the second half.

That ended with the second half kickoff. WSU kicked the ball out of bounds and also took a personal foul penalty to give OSU the ball in the WSU 45 without doing a single thing.

The Beavers scored on that drive to make it 31-13 and the rout was on.

"We had some really dumb penalties and as a coach that drives you nuts," Wulff said. "It just makes everything harder. It almost seems like you're playing two teams out there. Frustration is OK if it is channeled in the right way. It's something we have to fix."

Wulff, who made his collegiate coaching debut at Reser Stadium when he took Eastern Washington to Oregon State and lost a close 21-19 decision, will have a different quarterback to work with this week when the Cougars play USC.

Starter Marshall Lobbestael left the game in the fourth quarter with a knee sprain and early estimates are that he will miss three to four weeks.

The Cougars then went to former fifth string quarterback Dan Wagner, a walk on who prepped up the road at Jesuit High in Portland. WSU expects to get former starter Kevin Lopina back from injury on Nov. 1.

Wulff said he considered using true freshman J.T. Levenseller after Lobbestael's injury, but decided against wasting Levenseller's redshirt year because the score was so lopsided.

The loss was the most lopsided in the history of the series between the two schools, not surprising given there were times in the third quarter when WSU had more penalty yards than offensive yards.

Wulff said there was only one thing to do to get ready for USC.

"The only thing you can do is put your boots back on and go to work," Wulff said. "We just have to keep working and working."

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