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Arizona 48, Washington St. 7

High point

After nine games, sophomore receiver Jared Karstetter has six touchdown catches for a team that has found the end zone just 14 times. But none might have been better than his fourth-quarter 64-yarder that was the result of an audible between him and backup quarterback Marshall Lobbestael. Though each gave the other credit for deciding to go for a big gain, it was Karstetter who made the play work. He snagged Lobbestael’s pass with one hand despite Mike Turner’s best efforts, tucked the ball away and sprinted for the score.

Low point

It didn’t take long to get to this point. Thirteen seconds, in fact. The opening kickoff came down to Travis Cobb at the Arizona 5-yard line. He cut to the right, up the middle, where the Wildcats’ return team had opened an Escalade-wide hole in the Cougar coverage. Cobb raced through, made kicker Patrick Rooney miss and outran Terrance Hayward’s best effort.

Pat on the back

As he tried to drag his 22-year-old body up the locker room steps after the game Saturday, senior linebacker Andy Mattingly grimaced. “When did you turn 50?” he was asked. Mattingly smiled. “Today,” he answered. Playing more than 60 plays in 80-degree heat against a physical Arizona team aged Mattingly perceptibly. Despite a sore right knee that limited his speed, he ended up with 11 tackles, second only to safety Xavier Hicks’ 12.

Needs fixing

There is no easy way to say this. Until the Cougars receive competent – not outstanding, not great, just competent – left-tackle play, their passing attack won’t work. Tyson Pencer tried first Saturday, whiffed a couple times and finally left with a sprained ankle. Freshman Alex Reitnouer, 6-foot-5 and 253 pounds, was up next and he got overpowered, being stood up and driven back into quarterback Jeff Tuel on one play. Steven Ayers took the final turn and seemed to be most productive , especially sealing off the outside on running plays.

Three unanswered questions

• How long will Jeff Tuel be out? Coach Paul Wulff said Sunday night it’s not known how long Tuel’s knee injury will keep him from the field.

The good news for Tuel was the swelling was light, indicating the damage may have been light as well. The bad news? Until there is no swelling and Tuel can perform certain exercises without pain, he will probably have to sit.

• Is there a chance to win this Saturday? Last week things looked brighter. But that was before UCLA held off Washington, Tuel went down, there was another rash of injuries at safety and kicker Nico Grasu came up lame.

• How will WSU fill its safety gap? Though Anthony Carpenter could probably help the Cougars this week, there is no way his redshirt will be burned for just three games. So the Cougars will have to hope Chima Nwachukwu’s ankle heals enough for the junior to play.

Vince Grippi