TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Washington State's players said all week they wouldn't let star receiver Marquess Wilson's acrimonious split from the team distract them.
Even if the Cougars were fully focused, it might not have mattered against an Arizona State team on a mission to become bowl eligible in its seniors' final game.
Arizona State dominated Washington State's usually-prolific offense and its quarterbacks combined for six touchdowns, helping the Sun Devils roll over the Cougars 46-7 Saturday to become bowl eligible in their fifth attempt.
"We didn't execute well," Washington State coach Mike Leach said. "We ran around hard, but we didn't execute well. As the flood gates opened, we didn't become less frantic and stay within our technique. We tried to make too much happen, which happens in situations like that."
It was a disappointing finish to a tumultuous week for Washington State (2-9, 0-8 Pac-12).
It started with Wilson quitting the team and accusing the coaches of physical, emotion and verbal abuse.
Leach, who was also accused of abuse when he was fired by Texas Tech, denied the allegation and his players were intent on not letting it become a distraction.
It didn't work.
Washington State's defense was on its heels from the start, backed up on Arizona State's opening drive after a botched punt, and allowed the Sun Devils to pile up 561 total yards.
Quarterbacks Jeff Tuel and Connor Halladay each threw interceptions in the first half as the Cougars fell behind 32-0. Washington State threw for 240 yards — 137 below its Pac-12-best average — and the running game provided no support, gaining 1 yard on 19 carries.
"I don't know what happened, but there was a huge change in possession that gave the defense short field early in the game and I feel like that kind of had the sideline's moral go down," Washington State safety Deone Bucannon said. "As a team, and the great teams do it, especially defensively, that needs to bounce off your chest."
It had been a frustrating run for the Sun Devils after opening their first season under coach Todd Graham with five wins in six games.
One win from becoming bowl eligible, they bogged down against the Pac-12's best teams, losing four straight.
Arizona State (6-5, 4-4) left no doubt that it would clinch in its final home game by overwhelming the Cougars from the start.
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