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Mansion gets first start vs. weary WSU

| November 6, 2010 9:00 PM

Washington State could really use the bye that was originally scheduled for this weekend.

Physically and emotionally battered from playing nine straight weeks and winning only once, the Cougars take on a California (4-4, 2-3 Pac-10) team that was spanked by Oregon State last weekend and lost starting quarterback Kevin Riley for the rest of the season to a knee injury.

Washington State was granted a request to change its schedule and moved the Cal game to what had been a bye week, meaning the Cougars (1-8, 0-6) will play 11 consecutive weekends before getting a break. WSU has numerous injured players and is coming off a 42-0 loss to Arizona State, it's worst game of the season.

"We're on an 11-game stretch of straight games without a bye," coach Paul Wulff said. "No one else is doing that in the country."

The Cougars had been scheduled to play California in two weeks, but switched to this weekend to accommodate the Bears and Stanford. The Bay Area rivals wanted to play Nov. 20 instead of their original date of Dec. 4, which is two days before the Cardinal begin finals. Cash-strapped WSU received $400,000 for its trouble.

The Golden Bears will give little-used Brock Mansion his first start at quarterback, but don't need to rely on his arm to move the ball.

Cal coach Jeff Tedford plans to stick with Mansion, who only recently passed sophomore Beau Sweeney on the depth chart, even if he struggles early.

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