FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) – Colorado State defensive line coach Greg Lupfer has been suspended without pay for two weeks for using a gay slur when yelling at Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday in the New Mexico Bowl last weekend.

Athletic director Jack Graham also ordered Lupfer to undergo anger management and diversity training at his own expense.

Lupfer issued a statement saying he was grateful to keep his job on Jim McElwain's staff and said "I am deeply sorry for my behavior, which does not represent who I am or my values."

Lupfer got into a verbal altercation with the Cougars' QB after his first TD throw. His slur was caught on ESPN cameras and marred the Rams' comeback from a 22-point deficit for a last-second 48-45 win to kick off the bowl season.


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Washington State's first bowl game in 10 years ended with the Cougars fumbling away a sure win. (AP)

By Jim Moore

Wherever you were, you had to be sitting there in disbelief. If you're a Cougars fan, you were equal parts dumbfounded and shocked. If you're a Huskies fan, you were laughing and saying, "They Coug'd it again."

It's the day after, and I thought the passing of a little bit of time might lessen the disappointment, but it hasn't. In fact, it's gotten worse. That 48-45 loss to Colorado State was inexcusable.

One of my 9-year-olds was so upset that he was yelling, "I'm not going to school there" as he deleted the recording of the New Mexico Bowl.

In 40 years of watching Cougar football, the only game that comes close to that one is the 1975 Apple Cup when we blew a 27-14 lead in the final three minutes and lost 28-27. That was worse because it happened against the Dawgs. But this one? We led 45-30 with 3 minutes to go.

Think about all the things that would have to go wrong in the last 3 minutes to blow a 15-point lead and lose the game. The hell of it is, I did just that as I watched the game at Acme Bowl with some buddies.

Colorado State needed a touchdown, a three-and-out by the Cougs, another touchdown followed by a two-point conversion, and then they needed to beat us in overtime. I didn't factor in the possibility of us fumbling twice, nor did I think that Colorado State could win in regulation.

This was absolute buffoonery at its finest, and whether he feels it's his fault or not, coach Mike Leach should have taken the blame for the loss.

We all thought the Cougs would hold on after Rickey Galvin caught a third-and-6 pass for a first down with about 2:20 to go in the game. With that much time left, you can't drain it all with three knees from the victory formation, but you can certainly punt it to the Rams and leave them less than 30 seconds with no timeouts to pull off a miracle finish.

So what do we do? We run a read-option with Connor Halliday on first down. First of all, when have we ever run a read-option with Halliday? I was watching our running back on that play, certain that he got the ball. I was even encouraged to see that he had room to run. But he didn't have the ball because Halliday kept it. Then it was jarred loose, and we had to sweat out a long review to rightfully get the ball back because Halliday was down before the ball came out.

So we all sighed, thinking that would be that. But, of course, that wouldn't be that with the Cougs.

If you were like me, you were screaming at your TV wondering why we snapped the ball for the next play with 22 seconds left on the play clock with the game clock running. Someone, anyone, please, tell me why we did that? Those are precious seconds to the Rams if they get the ball back.

Then I guess it didn't matter because Jeremiah Laufasa took the handoff and fumbled it away. Here's a fair question: That was Laufasa's first carry of the game. Why would you give it to him instead of Marcus Mason?

Jacob Thorpe asked Leach about it, and the coach dismissed the question like it was dumb of the Spokesman-Review reporter to ask it when, in fact, it was a great question. When asked about clock management, Leach basically scoffed and harrumphed, saying that the Cougars needed to attack and make more first downs, I guess so the clock wouldn't have been an issue.

Which is completely ridiculous. The Cougars didn't need to "attack" any more to win the game. Running the clock down was more important than getting a final first down at that point.

I'll bet there were coaches around the country wondering what in the world was going on with the coaching on the Washington State sideline in those final minutes.

And let's say you think the kids are to blame – Laufasa for fumbling and Teondray Caldwell for coughing up the kickoff return – that it wasn't Leach who lost the ball. That's fine, but you could argue that Laufasa should not have been in the game, and you could also argue that there never should have been another kickoff to return.

Whether he thinks it was the case or not, Leach should have taken accountability and said he screwed things up in some form or fashion. But, of course, he didn't, throwing out that "attack" mumbo-jumbo instead and being his usual condescending self to a reporter who isn't as smart as he is.

Then after the press conference, he blew off his postgame radio show, leaving Bud Nameck high and dry. Bob Robertson kept asking what happened, and Nameck kept saying, "He was here, but he just left." It made for an awkward and unfortunate ending to the broadcast.

We should be talking about Halliday's six touchdown passes in a 45-37 Cougar win. We should be looking at pictures of celebrating Cougs hoisting the New Mexico Bowl trophy.

We shouldn't have been watching Colorado State fans storming the field, which added another element to the whole fiasco. I can't remember the last time opposing fans stormed the field after beating us.

Now we get to go to work on Monday and prepare for mocking from Huskies fans. We have it coming. If I were them, I'd be saying "You Coug'd it" 'til I was blue in the face, and we don't have a good comeback this time around.

The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website, jimmoorethego2guy.com, and kitsapsun.com. You can reach him at jimmoorethego2guy@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.

By JUILE SCOTT Associated Press

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) – UTEP coach Tim Floyd had one goal heading into Saturday night's game against Washington State – stop DaVonte Lacy. His team succeeded and beat the Cougars 64-51.

The Miners held the Cougars' leading scorer to a season-low six points and only one field goal in the opening half as UTEP executed on both ends of the court.

"It was really a great defensive effort from a lot of guys," Floyd said. "They had two of the better guards in the Pac-12 that we were playing against in Woolridge and Lacy, and they were held to five and six (points)."

Solid defense by the Miners held Washington State (6-5) to just 17 first-half points and helped UTEP pull to a quick 12-point lead. UTEP's defense held Cougars' leading scorer DaVonte Lacy and guard Royce Woolridge to just two points each in the half.

"I'm just really, really pleased that we were able to go on the road and hold a team to 34 percent shooting," Floyd said. "I feel like we're sharing the ball really well right now. The ball is moving. I feel like our guys are having fun playing."

The Miners (7-5) led 41-22 at 14:50 mark before Washington State started chip away at the lead. Que Johnson hit four 3-pointers and Lacy converted on a three-point play to help the Cougars cut it to eight (59-51) with 2 minutes on the clock, but they missed their last six shots in the final minute.

"You have to give credit to UTEP, they came out and were ready to go and did a great job of denying DaVonte the ball, and we had prepare for that, but we just didn't make baskets," Washington State coach Ken Bone said.

UTEP drove the ball down the stretch and converted on their free throws. The Miners hit 3 of 4 from the line in the final minute of the game to seal the win. They ended the night 15 of 20, and Washington State went 4 of 11 from the charity stripe for a dismal 36 percent.

Vince Hunter scored 15 points on 7-of-9 shooting as four players scored in double figures in the win.

Julian Washburn chipped in 15 points and McKenzie Moore added 13 and hit two 3-pointers for UTEP late in the game to help end Washington State's three-game win streak.

Que Johnson scored 19 of his career-high 21 points in the second half and shot 4 of 7 from beyond the arc. The Cougars shot just 33 percent from the field (20 of 50) and converted only eight field goals in the first half.

"I'm just really, really pleased that we were able to go on the road and hold a team to 34 percent shooting," Floyd said. "I feel like we're sharing the ball really well right now."

Saturday's game was only the second road game of the season for UTEP. They return for a six-game homestand.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) - Haiden Palmer broke out of a slump with 20 points to carry No. 25 Gonzaga women to a 69-62 win at Washington State Saturday.

Gonzaga (10-2) closed the first half on a 15-4 run with Palmer scoring 11 to take a 36-28 lead.

Tia Pressley had 13 of her 19 in the first half for Washington State (6-6). Lia Galdeira added 15 for the Cougars, who had 24 turnovers

Palmer, who entered the game averaging 14.4 points after three-straight games of not reaching double figures, had 15 at halftime while the Bulldogs were grabbing 10 offensive rebounds and hounding WSU into 13 turnovers.

Lindsay Sherbert added 10 points for Gonzaga and Keani Albanez had 12, all in the second half. Danielle Walters had six assists after starting point guard Jazmine Redmon left early in the second half with an apparent concussion. Palmer also had six steals and three assists.


(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

By Jim Moore

The Cougars end a 10-year bowl-game drought when they face Colorado State in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday. If you can't watch the game on ESPN, you can listen to it on 710 ESPN Seattle. The pregame show starts at 9 a.m. with the kickoff at 11.

I'm disappointed that I won't be in Albuquerque to watch the game. I don't know about you, but I couldn't find reasonable airfare. The cheapest flights I could find were around $900.

add06825-f116-4d09-8b65-219f7b40e6f4
Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday, the nation's fourth-leading passer, could have a big day against Colorado State's 109th-ranked passing defense. (AP)
I would've gone with my wife and 9-year-olds, which meant it would've been a $5,000 weekend with hotel, rental car, food and beer, and I can't afford that, especially at Christmas-time.

The only good part about being in Seattle right now is catching all of the latest details regarding alleged payments by Washington assistant coach Tosh Lupoi to a tutor for a high-school recruit from Lynnwood.

I don't know if Lupoi really delivered cash in a coffee cup to the recruit's shotput coach. I don't know if he really left cash in a brown bag in a bathroom stall at the Northgate Ram for the same coach.

Lupoi tweeted that these are "untrue attacks," and they won't "break my focus!" An NCAA investigation is under way, and we'll find out what's what soon enough. Lupoi could be cleared of any wrongdoing or there could be sanctions coming for Washington and maybe even Coach Sark.

As a Coug, I'm hoping for all kinds of chaos because I'm a small person who welcomes the return of Probation Nation to Washington. Santa can put coal in my stocking as long as he drops sanctions off on Montlake. If that happens, he won't be the only one saying: "Ho, ho, ho!"

Meanwhile, the 6-6 Cougs face a 7-6 Colorado State team that features a terrific running back. Kapri Bibbs has rushed for 1,572 yards and 28 touchdowns for the Rams.

Connor Halliday leads a passing offense for the Cougs that ranks fourth in the country. He should have a big day against a pass defense that ranks 109th.

As always with Halliday, there's a concern with interceptions, but Kevin Gemmell of the Pac-12 blog on ESPN.com notes that the Halliday went from 18 touchdown passes and 17 interceptions in his first eight games to 10 touchdowns and four picks over his last four.

I wish I'd written 10 touchdowns and three interceptions because that would mean that maybe the Cougars would've won the Apple Cup instead of having their last drive end on a bad Halliday throw to the wrong team.

The over-under for this game is 66, which means that oddsmakers expect a shootout in Albuquerque. They also favor the Cougs by 4.5.

Both teams have six losses, but Washington State played a much tougher schedule. And I keep coming back to this: Colorado State lost to Colorado. How good can the Rams be if they lost to the Buffs? Not good enough to beat the Cougs.

Prediction: Cougars 38, Rams 35
Season record against the spread: 7-5

The Go 2 Guy also writes for his website, jimmoorethego2guy.com, and kitsapsun.com. You can reach Jim at jimmoorethego2guy@yahoo.com and follow him on Twitter @cougsgo.

By Craig Craker
Associated Press

KENNEWICK, Wash. (AP) – Throughout most of the first half Wednesday, Washington State didn't look like the Pac-12 team.

Playing Division II San Francisco State, the Cougars were struggling to score points, turning the ball over and not rebounding consistently.

But some key stops and big 3-pointers from DaVonte Lacy helped jumpstart WSU as they cruised to an 80-50 victory at the Toyota Center in Kennewick, Wash.

"I think our defense really helped our offense," WSU coach Ken Bone said. "We were able to get stops, steals or defensive rebounds and able to push it in transition. I think it kick-started our offense."

The Cougars (6-4) didn't take their first lead until nearly nine minutes were gone and didn't take firm control until a 13-3 run late in the first half.

Leading 28-23, Lacy hit three 3-pointers, and D.J. Shelton had a putback to push the Cougars to a 41-26 advantage.

"We started off kind of slow, but we started getting stops which led to easy points," Lacy said. "I think we just played harder. That's the way we need to play, and I think that is the way we are going to continue to play because that is where our success lies."

Lacy finished with a game-high 22 points and grabbed six rebounds.

Washington State continued the solid defensive play in the second half, holding San Francisco State to just six field goals in the final 20 minutes and outscoring the Gators 37-19.

"They are very athletic, long, get to the glass and defensively, they pressure out and mess with your rhythm," SFSU coach Paul Trevor said. "They make you make plays, and tonight we weren't making plays."

Early on the Gators were making plenty of plays, hitting outside shots and dictating the pace of the game.

"We should've been a little more aggressive," WSU's Royce Woolridge said. "That really helped us at the end of the half and the start of the second half – going at their zone."

Coach Bone cited Woolridge as one of the reasons the Cougars were eventually able to break down the Gators' zone as the guard started attacking the basket.

"Early on we were just passing, passing, passing, which is a good thing at times," Bone said, "but if that's not working, you have to look at doing things different."

The victory is the third in a row for Washington State, which hosts UTEP and Mississippi Valley State in Pullman before starting Pac-12 play Jan. 2 against top-ranked Arizona.

"We are just trying to get better and better each game and stop the mental mistakes," Shelton said.

Woolridge finished with 10 points while Shelton had nine points and 11 rebounds.

Udun Osakue's 11 points led the Gators (4-3).


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By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS
Associated Press

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) – Washington State coach Mike Leach disputes the notion that running backs are underutilized in his Air Raid offense.

Washington State may run the ball less than half as much as the Cougars' opponents, but the running backs catch a lot of passes.

"They are the best athletes out there, with rare exceptions," Leach said this week as Washington State (6-6) prepared to face Colorado State (7-6) in Saturday's New Mexico Bowl. "You have to get running backs the football."

This season, the Cougars' ground game – led by Marcus Mason, Teondray Caldwell and Jeremiah Laufasa – accounted for 704 yards on 224 carries. Opponents amassed 2,210 yards on 500 carries.

But those three players combined to catch 83 passes for 542 yards.

Mason, a junior, is a real dual threat. He led the team in rushing with 424 yards, on an average of 5.1 yards per carry. He also caught 49 passes for 372 yards.

Even though he doesn't talk much, Mason has also become a team leader.

"He is a guy you could lean on," Leach said. "He's very dependable."

But there is little doubt that the Cougars remain a pass-first team as they head to their first bowl game since 2003.

This season they threw the ball 698 times, completing 433 passes for 4,374 yards and 30 touchdowns. Record-setting quarterback Connor Halliday did most of that work.

"He's finally started enough games to develop into a really good college quarterback," Leach said of Halliday, a junior who shared the starter duties with Jeff Tuel last season.

Halliday's efforts started at the end of last season, when he took a leadership role in offseason conditioning.

"He immersed himself in the weight room and enthusiastically committed to it," Leach said.

Other players followed.

Leadership is important for the Cougars, who remain primarily a team of freshman and sophomores in Leach's second season at the helm.

It was particularly important because the Cougars played one of the toughest schedules in the nation – Leach contends it was the toughest – including games against Auburn, Stanford, Oregon, Southern California and Arizona State.

"We went through murderer's row this year," he said.

The team might have crumbled during a three-game, mid-season losing streak when they were pounded by Oregon State, Oregon and Arizona State, Leach said.

Instead, they rallied to win two of their final three games to qualify for a bowl.

"We improved each week," Leach said. "Nobody took their eye off the pass."

Qualifying for a bowl game is important to a program that hasn't had a winning record since 2003. First there are the extra practices to prepare for the game, Leach said. It is also an aid to recruiting.

"Extra practices are way more important than people realize," Leach said.

Leach took Texas Tech to 10 consecutive bowl games during his decade as coach there.

He said the challenges at Texas Tech, in remote Lubbock, are not that different from the challenges at remote Pullman.

In fact, it is easier to fly into nearby Spokane than it was to fly into Lubbock, Leach said. And being in the Pac-12 helps Washington State recruit in the huge and fertile Southern California market.

"Every (football player) in Los Angeles has heard of Washington State," Leach said. "We have an identity in that location."


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PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) - Royce Woolridge had a season high 20 points and freshmen Que Johnson added 14 to help Washington State beat Pepperdine 78-61 Sunday.

Washington State (5-4) opened with a 10-0 run and led by as many as 16 in the first half, taking a 41-26 lead at intermission. The Cougars never trailed in the game and used its size advantage to expose a smaller Pepperdine team.

"They did a good job defending us, they are bigger, but they also played more physical and we got frustrated at times which took us out of our offense," Pepperdine coach Marty Wilson said.

Washington State outscored Pepperdine 42-20 in the paint. Jordan Railey, the seven-foot transfer from Iowa, controlled the paint for the Cougars, scoring 10 points on 4-6 shooting from the field and had three blocks.

"We didn't talk about taking fewer jumpers, we made it our game plan to get the ball in the paint, and we were able to find the inside more tonight than we have in the past," Washington State coach Ken Bone said.

Pepperdine held Washington State's leading scorer DaVonte Lacy to only nine points, well below his 21 point season average, but Lacy contributed with a season high eight rebounds and four steals. D.J. Shelton chipped in nine to balance out the Cougars scoring.

"Teams are harder to guard when they have three, or four weapons instead of just one. They did a nice job tonight guarding DaVonte, but then Royce and Railey and Que stepped up," Bone said.

Pepperdine (6-5) cut the lead to seven, 61-54 with just under eight minutes to play, but went suddenly cold from the field, converting just two field goals the final seven minutes.

Woolridge had 16 of his 20 points in the second half to help the Cougars with their best shooting performance of the season. The Cougars shot 53.6 percent from the field (30-56) Pepperdine shot only 38 percent from the field, well below their season average of 50 percent.

Jeremy Major had 17 for Pepperdine and Stacy Davis added 12 points. The Waves had only two players score in double figures.

Both teams shot poorly from the free throw line. Washington State went 5-18 from the line and Pepperdine 7-18. Washington State forced 15 Pepperdine turnovers and had 10 steals.


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