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The Washington State Cougars, who came into Friday night ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press Top 25, fell from the ranks of the unbeaten with a 37-3 loss to the California Golden Bears.
Washington State quarterback Luke Falk, who entered the matchup with two interceptions in six games, was picked off five times and was sacked nine times.
Cal senior running back Vic Enwere led the offense with a season-high 102 rushing yards on 22 carries.
This touchdown run from Cal quarterback Ross Bowers was emblematic of how well things went for the home team:
Pac-12 Network @Pac12Network
Ross Bowers and @CalFootball flipped the script on Wazzu for the @OpusBank #12Best Moment. https://t.co/6GgCEFHQzY
Bowers finished with 259 passing yards and two total touchdowns. After throwing eight interceptions in Cal’s first four games, the sophomore is on a three-game streak without a pick.
Cal alum and current Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff tweeted:
The game turned with one minute left in the second quarter with Cal up 10-3. Washington State opted to punt on a 4th-and-2 from its own 44, but Mitchell Cox kicked the ball just one yard. Cal tacked on a touchdown in the final 52 seconds for a 17-3 halftime lead.
Falk’s single-game interception total against Cal nearly matched the number he threw in 2014 (seven) and 2015 (eight).
Washington State head coach Mike Leach had his team in the playoff discussion coming into Friday. The Cougars scored at least 30 points in winning each of their first six games, and this was their first game as an AP Top 10 team since 2003.
After the loss, Leach had no answers for what happened to his team but gave credit to Cal for being ready.
“Every position I saw, Cal outplayed us. They wanted to win more than we did, they tried harder than we did and tried more consistently than we did,” he said.
Per ESPN’s Ivan Maisel, dating back to Leach’s time at Texas Tech, his teams have lost 13 games as a ranked team by an average of 25 points, including six by at least 31 points.
Washington State will look to keep its hopes for a Pac-12 North title and appearance in the conference championship game alive with a bounce-back game against Colorado on Oct. 21.
Cal ended its three-game losing streak and earned its first Pac-12 win of the season. The Golden Bears have winnable games against Arizona, Colorado and Oregon State to keep climbing the conference standings before playing at Stanford on Nov. 18.