There was talk, even expectation, that Washington State could take down No. 15 Arizona on Saturday night. The Wildcats needed only the first quarter to put any upset talk to rest on the way to an easy 59-37 win.
It was in that first quarter that Arizona used a punt return touchdown and three easy drives to build a 24-0 lead. That lead would eventually grow to 31-0 in the second quarter before WSU would put up 16 consecutive points. It was 31-16 at halftime, and at least from scoreboard-watcher's perspective, the game wasn't over.
Much like the initial upset talk, the notion that WSU had any chance after halftime was quickly defeated. Arizona scored on its opening drive, and would put up 21 unanswered points in the third quarter to build a 52-16 advantage.
For those keeping score at home, that's 45-0 combined in the first and third quarters for Arizona. The second and fourth quarters also happened, but they didn't matter at all.
The defense and special teams were issues once again. Arizona scored on offense seemingly at will until the game was out of hand. There was that aforementioned punt return, a missed extra point and an onside kick ran back for a touchdown that featured two penalties on the Cougs. But still, it's not as if the offense helped the charge.
As Arizona rolled to its 31-0 lead, the Cougar attack was busy punting or turning the ball over against a Wildcat defense that had been vulnerable to the pass. By the time Connor Halliday and company finally came to life, the game was over. The Cougs did end up with 37 points once they got going, but one has to think Arizona was playing some softer defense with a big lead late.
WSU hosts USC next Saturday. Another loss officially ends any hope for a bowl appearance.