BY SPNW Staff 07:00AM 10/27/2012

Cougars Rapidly Running Out Of Bowl Chances

Washington State (2-5) will be picked to lose by substantial margins in at least three of their remaining five games. The Cougars are 24.5-point underdogs at Stanford Saturday.

Washington State, at Stanford Stadium Saturday, lost four consecutive times and six of the past eight to the Cardinal. / Wiki Commons

GAME: Washington State (2-5 overall, 0-4 Pac-12) at Stanford (5-2 overall, 3-1 Pac-12 ) WHEN: Saturday, 3:15 p.m.. PT, Stanford Stadium, Palo Alto, CA. MEETING: 63rd (Stanford leads 36-25-1). COACHES: Mike Leach, WSU; David Shaw, Stanford. RANKINGS: Stanford 17 BCS, 19 AP, 19 USA Today; WSU not ranked. LINE: Stanford by 24 1/2. TV: Pac-12 Networks. RADIO: ESPN 710 and IMG College Sports Network.

Senior Jeff Tuel figures to receive his third start of the season at quarterback Saturday when Washington State, still winless in the Pac-12, travels to Stanford. Tuel is listed atop the WSU depth chart ahead of Connor Halliday, yanked out of WSU’s 31-17 loss to California two weeks ago after throwing two quick interceptions.

Tuel took the majority of snaps with WSU’s first team offense this week and says he is finally getting more comfortable checking in and out of plays at the line of scrimmage.

“Throughout the season, I’ve learned that he (head coach Mike Leach) is giving me the keys to the car,” Tuel said. “You’ve got to check out of things and get us into a better play. Just because (Leach calls it) doesn’t mean we should run it. If I see something that I like better that’s going to work for us, then check out of it. That’s what I’ve started to do. I did it against Oregon State and I did it a bunch against Cal and it worked out for us.”

Not much else has worked out for the Cougars. The Twitter-averse Leach hasn’t had a win since Sept. 14 at UNLV and is still seeking his first Pac-12 victory.

The Cougars need four more wins to become bowl eligible, but will be picked to lose at least three games remaining on their schedule — Stanford, UCLA and Arizona State. WSU plays the Cardinal and Sun Devils on the road.

Washington State’s most glaring weakness is its inability to run the ball. The Cougars rank last in the conference at 40.6 yards per game. The failure compromises their passing attack.

“It’s real important,” Tuel said this week. “We’ve got to have a running game. In this league, it’s tough to throw it every single down and be as successful as you want, because guys will start to figure you out.”

After seven games, including five defeats and another likely Saturday at Stanford (at least according to the oddsmakers), some might argue that the Cougars have already been solved.

If, as expected, Washington State loses, the Cougars will have to win out against Utah, UCLA, Arizona State and Washington to finish 6-6 and become bowl eligible.

SERIES: Dates to Sept. 3, 1936, when Washington State won 14-13. The series has been dominated by Stanford, which leads 36-25-1 overall.  Stanford has won the past four meetings and six of the past eight, and is 19-15 when hosting the Cougars.

WSU HEAD COACH: Mike Leach (87-46 overall, 2-5 WSU): Hired Nov. 30, 2011 to replace Paul Wulff, who went 9-40 in four seasons, Leach in 10 seasons at Texas Tech (2000-09) earned 10 bowl bids. The Susanville, CA., native, who was raised in Cody, WY., recorded a school-record 84 victories. Leach’s offenses led the nation in passing six times and three times accumulated the most total yards. In 2009, the Red Raiders finished second in passing offense and fourth in total offense, both marks tops among BCS conference schools. Prior to Texas Tech, Leach spent one season as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma (1999). That year, the Sooners set six Big 12 and 17 school records.

WSU STATS / NOTES

  • SEASON SUMMARY: Record: 2-5. Home: 1-3. Road: 1-2. Neutral: 0-1. Vs. Pac-12: 0-4. Vs. Pac-12 North: 1-1. Vs. Pac-12 South: 0-1. Vs. Non-Conference: 2-1.
  • Points For: 148 (21.1). Rushing Yards Per Game: 40.6. Passing Yards Per Game: 322.3. Total Offense Per Game: 362.9.
  • Points Against: 213 (30.4). Opp. Rushing Yards Per Game: 175.1. Opp. Passing Yards Per Game: 287.4. Total Defense Per Game: 462.6.
  • PAC-12 Ranks: Scoring Offense — 9th (21.1); Scoring Defense — T10 (30.4); Total Offense — 9th (362.9); Total Defense — 10th (462.6); Rushing Offense — 12th (40.6); Rushing Defense 11th (175.1); Pass Offense — 2nd (322.3); Pass Defense — 10th (287.4); Pass Efficiency — 10th (118.0).
  • Junior wide receiver Marquess Wilson is the Pac-12 Conference’s active career leader in receiving yards with 3,034, No. 13 all-time in conference history and second among the country’s active receivers.
  • WSU defense is seventh in the Pac-12 and 21st in the country with 19 sacks. Following a year in which the Cougars recorded 17 for the season, the switch to a 3-4 defense has linebackers with 16 sacks. The Cougars also racked up 54 tackles-for-loss, tied for 11th nationally.
  • Junior safety Deone Bucannon made his ninth career interception against Oregon State and this season is tied for second in the Pac-12 with four. Bucannon picked off two against Oregon to post the first multiple-interception game by a Cougar since Xavier Hicks at Oregon State in 2008. Bucannon notched two picks as a freshman in 2010 before making three interceptions last season.
  • Senior quarterback Jeff Tuel is seventh on WSU’s career top-10 for completions with 413 and in career passing yards (4,753). The Fresno, CA. native’s two TD passes against California pushed him past Mark Rypien into sole possession of seventh for career touchdown passes (30). His career completion percentage also sits at .610 (413/677), the best by any quarterback in WSU history.
  • The Cougars’ Nov. 3 game at Utah will start at 12 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks.

COUGARS OFFENSIVE LEADERS

Rushing

Player G Att. Yards TDs Long Y/G
Teo. Caldwell 7 40 187 0 23 26.7
Carl Winston 7 51 183 2 27 26.1
Leon Brooks 7 12 78 1 40 11.1
Andrew Furney 7 1 0 0 0 0.0
Team Total 7 142 284 3 40 40.6

Passing

Player G Att. Cmp. Yards TDs/INT Effic.
Connor Halliday 6 206 109 1348 9/11 111.62
Jeff Tuel 5 145 95 908 5/3 125.36
Team Total 7 351 204 2256 14/14 117.29

Receiving

Player G Rec. Yards TD Long Y/G
Marq. Wilson 7 38 640 5 81 91.4
Isiah Myers 7 37 380 4 36 54.3
B. Bartolone 7 33 267 3 26 38.1
Gabe Marks 7 28 404 2 52 57.7
Gino Simone 5 14 175 0 49 35.0
Carl Winston 7 10 57 0 17 8.1
Team Total 7 204 2256 14 81 322.3

COUGARS DEFENSIVE LEADERS

Category Skinny
Tackles Bucannon 60, Monroe 46, Long 38
Sacks Long 7.5, Monroe 3.0, Mayes 2.5, Hoffart, 2.0
Interceptions Bucannon 4, Coen 2, 3 tied with 1
Passes Defensed Simmons 4, Bucanno, Long, Coen, Wash., 3
Forced Fumbles Monroe 2, six players with 1
Fumbles Recovered Monroe, Locker 1

Pac-12 Standings / North

Schools Overall Conf. Next
Oregon 7-0 4-0 Saturday vs. Colorado, 12 p.m., Pac-12
Oregon St. 6-0 4-0 Saturday at UW, 7:15 p.m., Pac-12
Stanford 5-2 3-1 Saturday vs. WSU, 3:15 p.m., Pac-12
California 3-5 2-3 Saturday at Utah, 6:45 p.m., Pac-12
Washington 3-4 1-1 Saturday vs. OSU, 7:15 p.m., Pac-12
WSU 2-5 0-4 Saturday at Stanford, 3:15 p.m., Pac-12

Pac-12 Standings / South

Schools Overall Conf. Next
USC 6-1 4-1 Saturday at ASU, 12:30 p.m., ABC
ASU 5-2 3-1 Saturday vs. UCLA, 12 p.m., FX
UCLA 5-2 2-2 Saturday at ASU, 12 p.m., FX
Arizona 4-3 1-3 Saturday vs. USC, 12:30 p.m., ABC
Colorado 1-6 1-3 Saturday at Oregon, 12 p.m., Pac-12
Utah 2-5 0-4 Saturday vs. Cal, 6:45 p.m., Pac-12

STANFORD NOTES: Stanford has wins over San Jose State (20-17), Duke (50-13), USC (21-14), Arizona (54-48) and Cal (21-3), and losses to Washington (17-13) and Notre Dame (20-13) . . . Stanford ranks 6th in Pac-12  scoring offense (27.4), 4th in scoring defense (18.3), 8th in total offense (381.7), 4th in total defense (347.7), 6th in rushing offense (167.6), 1st in rushing defense (77.0), 9th in pass offense (214.1), 8th in pass defense (270.7) and 9th in pass efficiency (119.6) . . . RB Stepfan Taylor averages 120.9 rushing yards per game, No.3 in the Pac-12. He has six touchdowns . . . Josh Nunes averages 212.0 passing yards per game, 7th in the conference . . . The Stanford roster includes five players with ties to the state of Washington: OG Joshua Garnett (Puyallup High), DE Charlie Hopkins (Gonzaga Prep), FB Geoff Meinken (Lynnwood High), WR Michael Rector (Bellarmine Prep) and LB Sam Shober (Archbishop Murphy).

STANFORD HEAD COACH: After serving as Stanford’s offensive coordinator from 2007-10, David Shaw was hired Jan. 13, 2011, becoming the 34th head coach in Stanford history. A 1994 Stanford graduate, he is the fifth alum to hold the position, joining Charles Fickert (1901), Carl Clemans (1902), Chuck Taylor (1951-57) and Paul Wiggin (1980-83). In Shaw’s first season in 2011, the Cardinal was 11-2 and made its second consecutive BCS Bowl appearance, falling to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl. Stanford won its first nine games of the season to extend its winning streak to 17 before falling to No. 6 Oregon. Prior to Stanford, Shaw coached with the Baltimore Ravens and Oakland Raiders in the NFL. He began his coaching career at Western Washington (1996-97).

COMING UP: The Cougars travel to Utah Nov. 3 f0r a game with the Utes and will return to Martin Stadium Nov. 10 to host UCLA.

Washington State 2012 Schedule/Results

Date Opponent WSU Rnk Opp Rnk W/L Score Rec.
8/30/12 at BYU L 30-6 0-1
9/8/12 vs. E. Wash W 24-20 1-1
9/14/12 at UNLV W 35-27 2-1
9/22/12 vs. Colorado L 35-34 2-2
9/29/12 vs. Oregon 2 L 51-26 2-3
10/6/12 at OSU 14 L 19-6 2-4
10/13/12 vs. California L 31-17 2-5
10/27/12 at Stanford 18
11/3/12 at Utah
11/10/12 vs. UCLA 25
11/17/12 at ASU
11/23/12 vs. Wash

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