GAME: California (2-4 overall, 1-2 Pac-12) at Washington State (2-4 overall, 0-3 Pac-12). WHEN: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.. PT, Martin Stadium, Pullman, WA. MEETING: 74th (California 43-25-5). COACHES: Jeff Tedford, California; Mike Leach, WSU. RANKINGS: Neither team ranked. LINE: California by 7. TV: Pac-12 Networks. RADIO: ESPN 710 and IMG College Sports Network.
Mike Leach’s Washington State Cougars have reached the season’s halfway point with Leach convinced of two things: The Cougars have made significant strides since the beginning of fall camp, but they have missed a lot of opportunities to win due to a lack of maturity and a poor effort collectively by the upperclassmen.
“If we were more mentally mature, we could have capitalized on a lot of situations,” said Leach, whose 2-4 Cougars host California at Martin Stadium Saturday night. “We need focused people. We’ve got some guys who have the collective mindset where we don’t embrace adversity. Lately, we’ve played some pretty good teams (Oregon, Oregon State), but we’ve got to get better and play together better.
“Right now, if it’s not easy, we want to flinch and flounder. We’ve got to change that. We just haven’t gotten the strength from our senior class (Leach referred to some seniors as “empty corpses” and “zombies” earlier this week) that we expected. We get into a mental fetal position. So we’ve had to turn to our younger players.”
Washington State is coming off a fine defensive performance against the No. 10 Oregon State Beavers, but a miserable offensive effort.
“We were a disaster offensively,” said Leach. “We didn’t play well at all.”
That was particularly true of quarterback Connor Halliday, whom Leach jerked after Halliday’s third interception. But Halliday — not senior Jeff Tuel — will get another shot against the Bears.
“We’re at the point in the season where we have to invest the (practice) reps into someone,” Leach said. “He (Halliday) just needs more reps and more experience.”
WSU, which has lost its past three and hasn’t had a victory since a 35-27 victory over UNLV Sept. 14, will be facing a Cal team fresh off a decisive and surprising victory over UCLA. California has won seven in a row from the Cougars and hasn’t lost in Pullman since 2001, a year before the Jeff Tedford era began.
“Good, quick and physical,” Leach said of the Bears. “They’re a better team than their record.”
In each of the four games Cal lost, the Bears have been within one score in the fourth quarter. In the season opener, the Bears were edged by Nevada, 31-24, but the game was tied until Nevada’s game-winning touchdown with 0:36 remaining.
The Bears nearly pulled off an upset at then-No. 12 Ohio State, tying the game at 28 in the fourth quarter before losing on a 72-yard touchdown pass with 3:26 to go.
A pair of Vincenzo D’Amato field goals in the third quarter brought Cal to within 17-9 of USC the following week before the Trojans put the game away with 10 fourth-quarter points.
Against Arizona State, the Bears pulled within three of the Sun Devils on Keenan Allen’s touchdown reception at the 9:33 mark in the fourth quarter before eventually falling, 27-17.
Cal’s losses have come against teams that have combined to post a 19-3 record in Nevada (5-1), Ohio State (6-0), USC (4-1) and Arizona State (4-1). The Bears have played three teams ranked in the top 25 at the time of their contest in Ohio State (then No. 12 AP), USC (then No. 12 USA Today/No. 13 AP) and UCLA (then No. 25 AP).
SERIES: Dates to Oct. 25, 1919, when Washington State scored a 14-0 victory in Berkeley, CA. The Cougars have lost their last eight meetings to the Bears, with the last win coming in 2002. California defeated WSU 30-7 in last year’s meeting, in Berkeley. The Cougars are 12-7-1 vs. California in Pullman, but have dropped three in a row.
WSU HEAD COACH: Mike Leach (87-45 overall, 2-4 WSU): Hired Nov. 30, 2011 to replace Paul Wulff, who went 9-40 in four seasons, Leach in 10 seasons at Texas Tech (2000-09) earned 10 bowl bids. The Susanville, CA., native, who was raised in Cody, WY., recorded a school-record 84 victories. Leach’s offenses led the nation in passing six times and three times accumulated the most total yards. In 2009, the Red Raiders finished second in passing offense and fourth in total offense, both marks tops among BCS conference schools. Prior to Texas Tech, Leach spent one season as the offensive coordinator at Oklahoma (1999). That year, the Sooners set six Big 12 and 17 school records.
WSU STATS / NOTES
- SEASON SUMMARY: Record: 2-3. Home: 1-1. Road: 1-1. Neutral: 0-1. Vs. Pac-12: 0-2. Vs. Pac-12 North: 1-0. Vs. Pac-12 South: 0-1. Vs. Non-Conference: 2-1.
- Points For: 131 (21.8). Rushing Yards Per Game: 41.3. Passing Yards Per Game: 312.0. Total Offense Per Game: 353.3.
- Points Against: 182 (30.3). Opp. Rushing Yards Per Game: 151.3. Opp. Passing Yards Per Game: 303.8. Total Defense Per Game: 455.2.
- PAC-12 Ranks: Scoring Offense — 11th (21.8); Scoring Defense — 10th (30.3); Total Offense — 9th (353.3); Total Defense — 10th (455.2); Rushing Offense — 12th (41.3); Rushing Defense 7th (151.3); Pass Offense — 3rd (312.0); Pass Defense — 11th (303.8); Pass Efficiency — 10th (119.0).
- WR Marquess Wilson made four receptions at Oregon State and has 171 in his career, six away from Hugh Campbell who sits third. Wilson’s touchdown catch against the Ducks also pushed him past Campbell and into second on WSU’s top-10 for career touchdown receptions with 23.
- Travis Long has 18.5 sacks in his career, seventh on WSU’s top-10 for career sacks. Long’s team-leading 10.0 tackles-for-loss puts his career total at 39, fifth on WSU’s career top-10.
- In nine career games, quarterback Connor Halliday has four 300-yard performances, two 400-yard games and three four-touchdown performances.
- Junior safety Deone Bucannon made his ninth career interception last Saturday at Oregon State and is tied for first in the Pac-12 Conference with four this season.
- T. Caldwell leads the Pac-12 in kick return average at 26.8 yards.
COUGARS OFFENSIVE LEADERS
COUGARS DEFENSIVE LEADERS
|Tackles||Bucannon 47, Monroe 39, Long 35|
|Sacks||Long 7.5, Monroe 3.0, Mayes 2.5, Hoffart, 2.0|
|Interceptions||Bucannon 4, Coen, Toomer, Simmons, 1|
|Passes Defensed||Simmons 4, Bucannon, Long, Coen, Wash., 3|
|Forced Fumbles||Monroe 2, six players with 1|
|Fumbles Recovered||Monroe, Locker 1|
Pac-12 Standings / North
|Oregon||6-0||3-0||Oct. 18 at ASU, 6 p.m., ESPN|
|Oregon St.||4-0||3-0||Saturday at BYU, 12:30 p.m., ABC|
|Stanford||4-1||2-1||Sat. at Notre Dame, 12:30 p.m., NBC|
|Washington||3-2||1-1||Saturday vs. USC, 4 p.m., FOX|
|California||2-4||1-2||Saturday at WSU, 7:30 p.m., Pac-12|
|WSU||2-4||0-3||Saturday vs. WSU, 7:30 p.m., Pac-12|
Pac-12 Standings / South
|ASU||4-1||2-0||Oct. 18 vs. Oregon, 6 p.m., ESPN|
|USC||4-1||2-1||Saturday at Washington, 4 p.m., FOX|
|Colorado||1-4||1-1||Saturday vs. Utah, 12 p.m., FOX|
|UCLA||4-2||1-2||Saturday vs. Utah, 12 p.m., FOX|
|Utah||2-3||0-2||Saturday at UCLA, 12 p.m., FOX|
|Arizona||3-3||0-3||Oct. 20 vs. Washington, TBA|
CALIFORNIA NOTES: The Bears have victories over Southern Utah (50-31) and UCLA (43-17) and losses to Nevada (31-24), Ohio State (35-28), USC (27-9) and Arizona State (27-17) . . .California ranks 7th in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (28.5 points per game), 9th in scoring defense (28.0), 7th in total offense (401.5), 9th in total defense (418.5), 4th in rushing offense (174.5), 10th in rushing defense (167.0), 9th in passing offense (227.0), 6th in pass defense (251.5) and 8th in pass efficiency (129.7) . . . C.J. Anderson ranks 9th in the Pac-12 in rushing at 64.3 yards per game (2 TDs) . . . Quarterback Zach Maynard is 8th in the conference passing yards per game (224.7) and 7th in passing efficiency (135.3) . . . Keenan Allen is fourth in the conference in receptions per game at 6.8, with four TDs. Allen also leads the Pac-12 in punt return average (14.1) . . . The Cal roster includes one player who is Washington state native, DL Deandre Coleman, who grew up in Seattle and attended Garfield High School.
CALIFORNIA HEAD COACH: Jeff Tedford is in his 11th season as Cal’s head coach. He led the Bears to a school-record seven consecutive bowl games from 2003-09, is 5-3 in bowl games and is the only Cal coach with more than two bowl wins. Prior to his arrival at Cal in 2002, Tedford worked as the offensive coordinator at Oregon (1998-01) and at Fresno State (1993-97). Tedford is a graduate of Fresno State.
COMING UP: The Cougars travel to Stanford Oct. 27 and then play at Utah Nov. 3. They return to Martin Stadium No. 10 to host UCLA.
Washington State 2012 Schedule/Results
|Date||Opponent||WSU Rnk||Opp Rnk||W/L||Score||Rec.|
|9/8/12||vs. E. Wash||—||—||W||24-20||1-1|