Doesn’t this week have a familiar feel? It was just a little over two weeks ago that the Washington State Cougars were coming off of their rather one-sided performance against Stanford.
The defense played an amazing first half, but nobody left with the same feeling that normally would accompany a big loss because the Cougars played Stanford hard.
The worst fear for the Cougars would be to follow that up with a letdown against Oregon State.
As we know, that was exactly how that played out. Click Here for all your Cougars STATS.
Scouting Report: This Week’s Matchup – Cal
Fast forward to this week and the Cougars are once again coming off an emotional effort against #7 Oregon.
Unlike Oregon State, this is a much different situation.
Cal is a much better opponent and Washington State has lost four consecutive games by an average of 17 points a game.
The difference in opponent is noticeable.
The Golden Bears are a veteran team led by 12 seniors and 8 juniors in the starting lineup. The bulk of the upper-classman leadership is on the defense, and as is the case with most senior laden defenses, the Bears are quite potent.
The Bears are 5th in the conference in rushing yards allowed, 137.8 YPG, and 1st in the conference passing yards allowed at 199.2. YPG.
They are physical at the point of impact, and they have speed at the skill positions that almost make it impossible to get the one-on-one match ups the Cougars desire.
Unlike the defense, Cal’s offense is their achilles heel.
Injuries, inconsistency, and discipline issues are the main reason why Cal is 4-4 instead being 6-2.
The Bears are the 7th most penalized team in the conference at 71.7 YIP, and they all seem to be the most untimely penalties. 70% of all of Cal’s penalties came at points in the game that either extended opposing drives or killed their own momentum on offense.
As electric as junior QB Zach Maynard can be at times (12 TD’s on 2039 yards on 7.2 YPA) he can also make you scratch your head (53.4 com% with 10 INT’s).
Maynard benefits by having RB Isi Sofele in his backfield. The junior RB has 144 carries for 701 yards and 6 TD’s.
WR Keenan Allen give the Bears a legit home run threat down field. Allen has 67 rec for 989 yards and 5 TD’s. A high percentage of what the Bears do on offense comes out of the spread offense, but Head Coach Jeff Tedford will try to be as balanced as much as possible on offense.
They have had a lot of drives flame and fizzle out this season because of their inconsistencies and untimely mistakes.
Key to the Game
At 3-5 the Cougars are one loss away from the 6-loss bowl eligibility plateau, and two losses away from completely playing themselves out of a bowl birth all together.
There is no margin for error the rest of the way. The Cougars must have the approach to these last four games like they are bowl games.
There has to be a sense of urgency in the way the Cougars approach their game plan.
Paul Wulff must let Marshall Lobbestael be a playmaker. Is it going to matter if Lobbestael throws 2 interceptions as long as he passes for 380 yards and 4 TD’s and the Cougars score 35 points?
Those are the type of messages that make players want to compete at the energy level needed to win these types of games.
News. Notes, and Injuries
It’s looking more like QB Jeff Tuel calf injury may keep him out for the season. The question moving forward for the Cougars is whether Tuel is still eligible to claim a medical hardship this late in the season.
A player must be injured but play in less then a quarter of the teams scheduled games in order to qualify. The problem is in the timing in which Tuel returned.
Even though he meets the criteria, WSU is still waiting to hear back from the NCAA.
The Cougars welcomed LB Mike Ledgerwood, DT Toni Poole, and WR Kristoff Williams back to practice this week.
All were in yellow non-contact jerseys, but HC Paul Wulff expects all three to play this Saturday.
RT Dan Spitz participated in full contact drills this week and should be available on Saturday.
WSU @ California at AT&T in San Fransisco
Television: ROOT Sports ch.30
Radio: 770 KTTH
Vegas Line: California -9.5
Steve’s Hopeful Prediction: 27-24 Washington State
|Nov 5-6:30 PM ET||Record|
|WSHST||3-5 (1-3 V)|
|CAL||4-4 (3-1 H)|