Takeaways galore, a record, but still an "L"

PULLMAN -- Forcing turnovers has been something co-defensive coordinators Chris Ball and Jody Sears have preached their players to be effective on, and they didn't disappoint on Saturday. Meanwhile, there's more injury news and CF.C turned the mic on Paul Wulff, Johnny Forzani, Jeff Tuel and others after the game.

The Cougar defense had a monstrous game against ASU, forcing six turnovers (3 fumbles, 3 interceptions) and added five tackles for a loss, including a sack from MLB Louis Bland.

"We threw some different looks at them. We played them pretty well last year against the pass and we used some of that stuff this year against them," said Ball. "The kids caught the ball -- when they had a chance to make the play, they made it."

The Cougs kept things interesting, thanks to big time plays from WR Jared Karstetter, and a record breaking catch by WR Johnny Forzani.

The first came late in the third quarter, as Wulff sent his troops back on the field on a fourth-and-two on the ASU 23. On a play action roll out, Jeff Tuel threw a desperation pass that seemed sure to be intercepted, but Jared Karstetter made a diving catch to secure the TD for the Cougs, cutting the lead 19-7.

"Jared's the man," Johnny Forzani said. "..He's a really good player, he's smart… I've got great respect for Jared."

Forzani himself came up big later and got the homecoming fans on their feet. On a go route, he sprinted past the ASU secondary, caught the ball near midfield and sprinted his way into the record books on a 99 yard TD catch.

The Tuel-Forzani connection was the longest play in school history, breaking the previous record of 97 yards when QB Steve Birnbaum hit Nian Taylor against Idaho in 1998.

"I didn't even think about it until they (teammates) came up afterwards, 'You set a record, you set a record!' It's pretty exciting," Forzani said.

MEANWHILE, AS GOOD as the Cougar defense played, ASU did better. And the injury hits just keep on coming, with corner Daniel Simmons going down, and quite possibly for the rest of the season.

In all, the Sun Devils defense recorded 12 sacks on quarterbacks Tuel and Marshall Lobbestael.

"We just couldn't do anything on offense," said Wulff. "We just got completely dominated from their defensive line and our offensive line. It's more of a domination than I've ever seen."

The offensive line has suffered huge amounts of injuries, and their lack of protection for quarterbacks has been consistent in practices and games throughout the Cougars 1-5 season.

"It was a tough day," said RG Micah Hannam." We didn't do our job when we needed to and it was disappointing. But right now it's over, we're going to look at the tape and move on to next week."

The running game for the Cougars was nothing short of anemic, but the Cougars also came into the game with the clear intention to pass first, second and last.

Three Washington State running backs carried the ball only 14 times total. And they found little daylight, with seven tackles for loss. How bad was it on the ground? Reid Forrest was the Cougs' leading rusher, his 15 yards coming on a successful fake punt. The Sun Devils rushed for 220 yards and three scores.

True Frosh Jeff Tuel made his second straight start behind center, and the California native was the first to admit he was disappointed in the way he performed -- 175 yards, two TD's and two interceptions.

Tuel struggled early on, and the continued pressure seemed to rattle the freshman as he tried to make throws while running out of the pocket that were out of character. An toss across body to WR Johnny Forzani deep in ASU territory was underthrown by a mile, and safety Ryan McFoy leaped up and secured the pick.

Tuel made a similar mistake just a few minutes later, when he threw a wobbler into the hands of DE Dexter Davis. Tuel's two interceptions both came in Sun Devil territory in the first half.

"Obviously I have a lot to learn. I think I did ok but I'm not overly pleased with my performance," Tuel said. "Interceptions in the redzone and just not taking care of the football on my part puts us back. It's very frustrating because the defense played such a great game and they did the things necessary for us to win the ball game."

THE INJURIES FOR WSU this season have piled up and the news after the game was that CB Daniel Simmons, who went down in the fourth quarter, has suffered a broken fibula in his right leg.

At press time, it wasn't known as to whether or not it would be a season ending injury, but Simmons is out indefinitely. CB Terrance Hayward came on in relief of Simmons, and Jay Matthews also got some snaps at corner in the game. Hayward looked good late in the fourth quarter with his open field tackling and coverage.

For LG Brian Danaher, it was déjà vu all over again. Coming off a concussion, he suffered another one on Saturday. Danaher missed last week's game against Oregon, and freshman Alex Reitnouer has made consecutive starts in place of Danaher.

The 26,010 at Martin Stadium also held their breath when Rimington list center Kenny Alfred went down. The official diagnosis on Alfred was a laceration to his right knee, and luckily for WSU, the star lineman didn't suffer a major injury.

With Alfred on the sidelines, back-up Chris Prummer played the rest of the fourth quarter. It was, he said, bittersweet.

"Kenny's the leader of our team, you see him go down and you have that concern," Prummer said. "I was pretty nervous but I just came in there and tried to do the best I could."

Prummer made some noise on special teams early in the first half, when on an ASU kickoff, the ball was just rolling on the turf, but the 6-foot-1 280 pounder scooped it up and rumbled his way down for a nine yard gain.

"I have no idea really, it was kind of a blur, but that was pretty fun," Prummer said.

With all the injuries surrounding his team, Wulff is ready for the break.

"We need to get healthy. On our offensive line and defensive line we're going to get a couple guys back and that will help us, no question," said Wulff.

The Cougars will hit the practice field on Tuesday with a 6 a.m. start, which leads into the bye week. They next meet Cal on Oct. 24. Cougar coaches will be out on the road recruiting part of next week as well.

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