What A Stinker!
Saturday must have felt like a case of deja vu in some regards for the WSU Cougars. After a week of practice that Head Coach Paul Wulff described as “A damn fine week of practice,” the Cougars were left with absolutely no explanation for how they lost 30-7 to Cal on Saturday.
Less then two minutes after Washington State won the opening toss and elected to receive, Dan Wagner was on the field punting after the first Cougars possession opened with a 3 and out.
Less then three minutes later, Cal QB Zach Maynard hit TE Anthony Miller in the back of the end zone for a 19 yard touchdown, and a 7-0 lead that Cal would never relinquish.
Just like that, in a span of five minutes, Washington State had lost another game.
Washington State couldn’t come close to matching the physicality of Cal’s defense.
The Bears controlled the line of scrimmage for most of the game, holding the Cougars to their worst offensive performance in term of total yards (224), passing yards (155), and first downs (14).
QB Marshall Lobbestael, 15-37, 155 yards, was under constant Cal pressure. The Bears sacked Lobbestael three times and their defensive formations and looks had Lobbestael confused for most of the afternoon.
Most of Lobbestael’s passes were either short, ill-timed, or off target.
It was much of the same energy on defense.
Cal’s physical offensive line was able to allow running lanes off the edge and up the middle. Throw in Washington State’s poor tackling and even poorer routes taken to the ball into the mix, and Cal RB Isi Sofele had a field day.
Sofele ran for 138 yards on 23 carries and a touchdown. QB Zach Maynard, 10-17, 118 yards, 1 touchdown, had a quiet performance, but did just enough to manage the Bears offense efficiently.
Every time the WSU defense felt like the momentum was starting to turn, Cal seemingly responded with an answer right away.
Saturday was a game in which the Washington St. Cougars couldn’t afford to lose, but that is exactly what happened. With two games that were separating the Cougars from bowl extinction, the offense came out flat and the defense couldn’t tackle.
Where was the sense of urgency that would normally come from a team clinging to bowl hopes?
It must’ve indeed felt like a sense of deja vu from just three weeks earlier playing to similar results, similar energy, similar offensive looks, and similar execution.
Nothing the Cougars did offensively or defensively gave Cal a reason for them to believe this wasn’t anything but a typical Cougars team.
The only difference in this game was this loss put the Cougars season one loss closer to the season being over.