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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA to face winless Cougs

    UA running back Nic Grigsby reaches for a pass during the Wildcats 48-20 win over Washington State last season at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats could become bowl eligible with a win Saturday in Pullman, Wash., against one of the worst teams statistically in college football.
    UA running back Nic Grigsby reaches for a pass during the Wildcats’ 48-20 win over Washington State last season at Arizona Stadium. The Wildcats could become bowl eligible with a win Saturday in Pullman, Wash., against one of the worst teams statistically in college football.

    Arizona at Washington State

    Mike Stoops knows a thing or two about what Washington State head coach Paul Wulff is going through.

    After all, he lived it at Arizona,, going 6-16 in his first two years at the helm of the program.

    While it may not have been as extreme in Tucson as it currently is for Wulff in Pullman, Wash. – the Cougars have yet to beat a Division I opponent, and they lose on average by almost 37 points per game – Stoops can sympathize with the first-year head coach’s situation.

    “”I think a new system (in place will) obviously take time to get used to this conference,”” Stoops said of Washington State. “”Things snowball, and the season has snowballed on them. It’s hard to stop it, but they are very capable.””

    Even so, make no mistakes about it: Stoops and the Wildcats are hoping to continue the snowball effect when Arizona (5-3, 3-2 Pacific 10 Conference) visits Pullman to take on Washington State (1-8, 0-6) Saturday.

    With five wins under its belt, Arizona needs one more win to gain bowl eligibility. With four games remaining, the Wildcats would like to get earn the tag of “”bowl eligible”” before heading into the final portion of the regular season.

    “”We want to take one game at a time and not overlook anyone on the schedule, and (Washington State) has had some problems, but who doesn’t?”” said wide receiver Terrell Turner. “”We are going to go into this game and treat it like it is any other game.””

    Whether Arizona would like to admit it or not, the results posted from Washington State’s previous games this season are cause for some excitement.

    The Cougars have given up a Pac-10 record number of points (350) through just six conference games and have only scored 33 points in conference play, which is the second fewest number of points in the nation. They’ve lost every Division I game they’ve played by at least 25 points, with the closest game being a 28-3 loss to UCLA.

    Washington State has been outscored 127-0 in its last two games, which consisted of a 69-0 blowout by No. 7 USC and a 58-0 embarrassment at Stanford.

    Arizona will surely stand by the “”never overlook an opponent”” theory, but the Wildcats understand gaining bowl eligibility for its first possible postseason berth since 1998 may never be easier than this season.

    “”We’re licking our chops,”” said running back Nic Grigsby. “”Anything can happen in the Pac-10. They are going to do whatever they can to knock us off, but we are excited to play.””

    Some will say Washington State is the worst team in the conference’s history, but the Wildcats have paid the price on multiple occasions this season for being over-confident before games.

    Take losses to New Mexico and Stanford, for instance.

    The common theme on Mondays following a loss to a team that the Wildcats clearly should have beaten, came from a mindset that lacks respect for the team standing on the other sideline.

    Numbers aside, Arizona vows not to make the same mistake come Saturday.

    “”They have had troubles in a lot of different areas, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of putting something together, and that’s not something that we can afford to overlook in any way,”” Stoops said.

    With Arizona’s offense sporting the capability to put up 40 points at any given time, most have called for a blowout against the Cougars. Some have even made it a priority for Arizona to win by a certain margin to stay up to par with some of Washington State’s past opponents.

    All of that is irrelevant.

    “”We don’t need to make a statement,”” Grigsby said. “”We just need to win this game and become bowl eligible.””

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