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WSU quarterback Tuel not cleared to play

Cougars cornerback Damante Horton tackles UCLA quarterback Richard Brehaut during the first half. (Associated Press)
Cougars cornerback Damante Horton tackles UCLA quarterback Richard Brehaut during the first half. (Associated Press)

PASADENA, Calif. – When the kickoff finally came Saturday night in the Rose Bowl, Washington State quarterback Jeff Tuel was in uniform, but not cleared to play.

Tuel, the junior starter who fractured his left, non-throwing, clavicle in the opener against Idaho State on Sept. 3, was cleared to practice this week, but he wasn’t cleared for full contact.

Throughout the week Tuel’s status was the focus of intense speculation, with the Cougars hoping he would get medically cleared before the game.

But it didn’t happen and Tuel spent the game sending in plays.

Another Cougar whose status was uncertain during the week was right tackle Wade Jacobson.

The senior’s back acted up early in the week and never healed. He didn’t make the trip.

Junior Dan Spitz took Jacobson’s place in the lineup, making his first career start on offense.

New Rose unfurls

Saturday’s 28-25 loss marked the second consecutive season the Cougars played UCLA in the Rose Bowl, but it wasn’t the same Rose Bowl.

The 88-year-old structure, which has seen players from Notre Dame’s Four Horsemen to O.J. Simpson to Ryan Leaf star on its turf, is in the middle of a three-year, $152-million facelift, courtesy of the City of Pasadena.

The field itself hasn’t been affected – yet. But before the renovations are finished, a hedge around the playing surface, which used to be a feature of the stadium back in the day, will separate the fans from the playing field.

The fans can already see some of the work, including a new video board on the north end and a new, though old-fashioned-looking, scoreboard on the south side. The main work this year is on the west side, where scaffolding surrounds the outside of the stadium.

The press box and booster-seating area on that side are being remodeled, with luxury boxes being inserted, loge suites, club seats and lounge areas.

When it’s all done, the old stadium will have wider tunnels, more room on the concourse, more restrooms and better concessions. The seating capacity, once more than 100,000, will drop from 92,500 to 88,500.

Night shift

WSU’s first night game necessitated changes to its pregame schedule.

They arrived in Southern California on Friday afternoon, as usual, and their first stop was the Rose Bowl, also as usual. But from then on, things were different.

The team was free to visit with family and friends on Friday night and many of them attended the movie “Moneyball.” After team breakfast Saturday morning, everyone piled into buses and traveled from the team hotel in Glendale to the Rose Bowl for a walk-through, something it hasn’t done on game days this season.

The afternoon was dedicated, as usual, to team meetings and a meal before heading down the freeway to the game. WSU leaves the game venues about an hour after the game is over.

The Cougars were expected back in Pullman between 3:30 and 4 a.m.

The postgame meal is catered by In-N-Out, the iconic Southern California hamburger chain. Each player gets two Double-Doubles.

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