It's a win, but Cougars wish they played better

Updated: October 6, 2003, 2:04 AM ET

PULLMAN, Wash. -- It's nice to win, but even nicer when you play well, Washington State coach Bill Doba said after an uneven performance by his Cougars.

"It's nice to win 30-7 and not be satisfied," Doba said.

The Cougars allowed Arizona to stay in the game much longer than Doba would have liked on Saturday, but the victory moved the Cougars into the top half of The Associated Press poll, up two places to No. 12.

Despite dominating in yardage and preventing the Wildcats from converting any third downs in 13 tries, the game wasn't decided until the fourth quarter, when WSU's Jason David intercepted a Kris Heavner pass and returned it 34 yards for a score.

Doba had warned his team not to regard Arizona lightly after the Cougars' 55-16 rout of Oregon the week before.

"We just kept getting yardage and we couldn't punch the thing in," Doba said. "We were inconsistent. We were walking out of the huddle, instead of flying around."

Two fumbles, an interception and penalties forced WSU to settle for field goals, or no points at all, after reaching the Arizona 4, 22, 12 and 6.

Still, the Cougars compiled 513 net yards of offense while holding the Wildcats to just 198.

"I don't know if they were up, or down, or what," Doba said of his team. "I though we were pretty lethargic at times."

The Cougars' 13-0 halftime lead was cut to 13-7 with 9:38 remaining in the third quarter when Nic Costa hit Matt Padron with a 5-yard scoring pass.

David's interception of a Kris Heavner pass to Gilbert Harris and 34 yard return for a touchdown finally put the game out of reach with 9:02 remaining in the fourth quarter.

"You come off a great win and it's tough to just let go of it. And I don't think we played a great game," said David, a senior cornerback. "We stayed focussed and came out in the second half and played the game we wanted to play."

Washington State (5-1, 2-0 Pac-10) dominated Arizona in the Wildcats' first game since head coach John Mackovic was fired. Mike Hankwitz is coaching the team for now.

"It was a tough week because of all the changes, but I think our players responded and tried to do everything we asked of them," Hankwitz said. "I am pleased overall that we came up here and fought into the fourth quarter."

Washington State held Arizona (1-5, 0-2) to just 65 yards rushing. The Cougars, who intercepted seven passes last week against Oregon, were able to grab only one against the Wildcats.

Matt Kegel completed 18 of 32 passes for 315 yards, spreading passes among nine receivers. He was intercepted once.

Kegel suffered a mild sprain of his right shoulder -- his throwing shoulder -- in the second quarter, but stayed in the game until it was well in hand.

"He played through some pain," Doba said.

Kegel hit Devard Darling for an 84 yard scoring pass play in the first quarter, then connected with running back Jonathan Smith for an 11-yard touchdown in the fourth.

Drew Dunning hit field goals of 22, 38 and 23 yards in front of a homecoming crowd of 34,923.

Heavner completed 18 of 35 passes for 128 yards, but frustrated the Cougars' strong rush.

Washington State's defense did not record a sack for the first time in 23 games.

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index