FROM TEMPE — Another Saturday, another tough loss for Washington State, this one 46-7 to Arizona State. As usual, we look at the game in capsule form. Read on.
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME — Taylor Kelly completed his final 18 passes and 20 of 23 overall, leading an Arizona State passing attack that was much more impressive than in previous weeks. Kelly threw for 246 yards and four touchdowns without turning the ball over, and also used his elusiveness to kept plays alive that resulted in big gains or touchdowns.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE GAME — ASU's offensive success meant a lot of players running in open space in the secondary, which led to Deone Bucannon's 17 tackles, which matched a career high. Cyrus Coen also had a strong game with four tackles-for-loss and a sack. ASU's Davon Coleman had two sacks and three tackles for loss.
STAT OF THE GAME — Take your pick, but WSU's 1-of-16 conversion rate on third-down jumps out. So, too, does Arizona State's average of six yards per play, compared to 3.5 for the Cougars.
QUOTABLE — ““I don't think you could write a movie for the way the season’s gone. Our best player leaving the team. Everything that's transpired. All the drama, all the outside hoopla, all the plays I haven't even seen in a junior high, YMCA GridKid kind of game. I don’t think a Hollywood writer would write something like this.” — WSU quarterback Connor Halliday
WHAT WE LEARNED — Did we learn anything? The Cougars proved two weeks ago in Utah that they're capable of performances such as this one, though everyone who spoke on WSU's behalf afterward insisted that the effort was there. Mike Leach did, too. But is that really a good thing after a score that lopsided? Maybe that's the worst news of all — that WSU really was playing its hardest, and still wasn't able to even keep this one close. WSU players also vowed to give everything they have against Washington in the Apple Cup on Friday. But as today's loss showed, it's about more than trying hard. The Cougars' execution was as bad as it's been. Can they fix that in five days?
UP NEXT — As mentioned, the Apple Cup is on Friday at 12:30 p.m. at Martin Stadium, and will be televised on FX. Washington (7-4, 5-3 Pac-12) beat Colorado 38-3 on Saturday.