Jacob Thorpe’s keys to WSU’s win over California
What went right
WSU’s offense was ready to play from the get-go, scoring
touchdowns on drives of 92 and 85 yards to start the game. Cal, conversely, needed 19 minutes to score its first offensive points.
The Cougars gave themselves
a big enough cushion early
to withstand a second-quarter
rally by the Golden Bears, and it was smooth sailing after that.
What went wrong
Not much went wrong for the Cougars on a day when Connor Halliday passed for 521 yards, 10 short of WSU’s all-time record.
Halliday did have one mistake, however. After Kalafitoni Pole recovered Brendan Bigelow’s fumble on the 2-yard line to give WSU the ball, Halliday checked into a stretch-run play backed up against his end zone. RB Teondray Caldwell was hit 2 yards deep in the end zone, giving Cal a safety.
When Cal’s Vincenzo D’Amato hit a 43-yard field goal with 15 seconds left in the first half, it cut WSU’s lead to 21-15 and it appeared as if Cal might have survived the Cougars’ early supremacy. But Washington State scored first in the second half with a methodical, 10-play, 79-yard drive that put the Cougars up 28-15 and the Golden Bears never got closer.
Connor Halliday played brilliantly but the Cougars’ biggest offensive surprise was senior wide receiver Vince Mayle. The 240-pounder entered the game with just two touchdowns at WSU, and matched that total on Saturday. Mayle scored the game’s first points on an over-the-should grab from Halliday for a 35-yard touchdown and showed off his speed on a 72-yard touchdown in the third quarter on the way to a four-catch, 113-yard day.