SPOKANE, Wash. - Washington State quarterback Kevin Lopina may be ready to start Saturday's Apple Cup game against archrival Washington, coach Paul Wulff said Tuesday.
Lopina was knocked out of last weekend's game at Arizona State late in the first half after suffering a concussion during a sack. Wulff expected Lopina to be cleared to play in Saturday's showdown between two of the worst teams in the nation.
"If he is cleared he will start, but he is not officially cleared yet," Wulff said during a conference call with reporters.
Backup J.T. Levenseller, a freshman, suffered a hand injury against ASU, but also can play.
Washington State (1-10, 0-8 Pacific-10) will have backup running back Logwone Mitz back for the game, but kick returner Chantz Staden is likely out for the season with a devastating knee injury suffered last weekend. Freshman Kevin Norrell will perform kick return duties.
Cornerback Tyrone Justin, linebacker Myron Beck and defensive lineman Andy Mattingly are slowed by injuries, but may play. Defensive lineman Kevin Kooyman should be back at full strength, Wulff said.
The game with Washington (0-10, 0-7) is the first time the Apple Cup has matched two teams with 10 losses each.
"Probably like everyone else I couldn't imagine it," said Wulff, who played at WSU.
"But it's not really about records, before, now and in the future," he said, adding the game is more about pride and bragging rights.
"We want to win it," he said. "It'll help take some of the sting out of the season, obviously."
One game will not affect the future of either program, said Wulff, who was hired in December after Bill Doba was forced out. Still, a place in the history books is at stake.
Through a nightmarish football season, one question has remained unanswered: Is this the worst Cougar team in history?
While direct comparisons across different eras of college football are difficult, there is a case to be made that the program has reached the bottom of the barrel.
That's based on the fact that the Cougars rank at or near the bottom of their peers in both offense and defense, have yielded an unprecedented number of points, and are getting blown out in games by unnatural margins.
Yet a win Saturday and the following weekend at Hawaii could leave the history books largely unchanged.
The 1970 WSU team under Jim Sweeney went 1-10 (beating Idaho) and posted a second consecutive 0-7 mark in the league.