PULLMAN — Last year’s game against Arizona State is becoming a distant memory for Washington State.
And who can blame the players for forgetting? From the drama surrounding the sudden departure of star wide receiver Marquess Wilson to the 46-7 score, it was a pretty forgettable week for the Cougars.
“I remember that that’s last year’s game so we’re focused on this year’s game,” coach Mike Leach said. “This year’s game — we’ve had good practices this week.”
The Sun Devils’ experience has manifested itself into a disciplined team that ranks fifth nationally with just 3.6 penalties per game.
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“(They’re) predominantly seniors and they’ve gotten better all the time,” Leach said. “They’re a group of guys that have been playing together a long time and they’re playing good this year. Besides their talent, how long they’ve played together has helped them.”
ASU quarterback Taylor Kelly torched the Cougars last year on 20-of-23 passing with four touchdowns. While Kelly may not get the accolades of peers such as Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and UCLA’s Brett Hundley, Kelly has been just as critical to his team’s success.
“We’re playing these teams better; we have a better understanding of this defense,” linebackers coach Ken Wilson said. “We’ve played really well against Auburn’s quarterback, some really good quarterbacks. We played really well for a long time against Oregon; the breakdowns were just too big.”