BERKELEY, Calif. – So, to recap, the Washington State Cougars, ranked No. 8 in the country, traveled to Memorial Stadium on Friday as 16.5-point favorites and were obliterated by Cal 37-3. It was Friday the 13th after all…
Cal had beat a top-10 team only other time in the last 39 years, Washington State hadn’t finished a game without a touchdown since 2012 and quarterback Luke Falk hadn’t thrown five interceptions in a game since … well, never.
Below are some of the other notable stats, quotes and nuggets from an eerie Friday the 13th in Berkeley.
A $100 parlay on Cal and Syracuse, which stunned No. 2 Clemson on Friday, would’ve made somebody $10,837 richer.
Cal’s last win over a top-10 team came in 2003 against USC. The last time the Golden Bears did it was in 1978.
It was a miserable night for Falk by many standards. The WSU quarterback threw a career-high five picks, was sacked a career-high nine times and didn’t throw a touchdown for just the third time in his career. “It starts on me and got to put the ball in play and got to get more points than three on the board to give ourselves a shot,” Falk said. “We didn’t help the defense out tonight at all.”
In all, the offense turned it over seven times. Falk was intercepted in the first quarter when he fired to Renard Bell near the left boundary, Jamire Calvin was stripped while making a move after the catch later in the period, Falk was picked by Cam Bynum when he threw to Tavares Martin Jr. in the end zone, then when he threw an errant shovel to James Williams. The QB threw behind Tavares Martin Jr. in the middle of the field in the third quarter for his fourth int., was stripped on a sack that resulted in a Cal TD in the fourth quarter, then tossed his fifth when an attempt to Jamire Calvin pinballed around before falling into the hands of Quen Tartabull.
Falk noted in his postgame interview that the home team “wanted it more.” “They played harder, I think they played in sync together, I think they created their own luck,” Falk said, “and a lot of things went their way, just because as a collective whole, they wanted it more and we didn’t.”
The Bears won the turnover margin 7-0 and became the first of WSU’s seven opponents this season to finish the game without a turnover.
Many of the offensive numbers might have suggested a close game. Cal outgained WSU in total yards, but not by much (365 to 337). The Golden Bears also had 18 first downs to the Cougars’ 16. WSU gained more yardage through the air (314 to 259) and though this isn’t a stat Mike Leach cares much about, the Cougars did win the time of possession battle, 32:50 to 27:10.
WSU kicker Erik Powell missed his first field goal of the season that wasn’t blocked – an early 47-yarder – but the senior would later match his career-long with a 52-yard try in the second quarter.
But for just the second time in Powell’s career, the WSU kicker wasn’t asked to come out for a point-after attempt. Powell also didn’t record a PAT in the 2016 Holiday Bowl loss to Minnesota.
On a night like this, there were plenty of firsts for the victors. Here were a few of the more notable ones: Cal took a lead into the second quarter for the first time this season. Cornerback Camryn Bynum had the first interception of his career – then added another later on. Jaylinn Hawkins forced the first fumble of his career. Friday’s game was the first this season that Cal didn’t turn the ball over and the first time since a 2017 game against UCLA the Bears didn’t give the ball up. Linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk had the first sack of his career and finished the game with 2.5. Tight end Kyle Wells caught the first pass of his career right before halftime. It was a 2-yard touchdown that gave the Bears a 17-3 lead.
The Golden Bears almost couldn’t believe how it all played out, based on their reactions during the postgame interviews. Said Kunaszyk: “Can we just acknowledge, 37-3 against a team like that? I’m just so happy and so proud of how we responded from last week.”
Did Klay Thompson ditch his NBA preseason game with the Golden State Warriors to come check out the Cougars in Berkeley? It sure seemed like it.
Another ex-Coug, Shalom Luani, came out to support WSU at Memorial Stadium. Luani’s Oakland Raiders are playing at home on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers.
Jamal Morrow was the game captain for the 29th consecutive time. He lost the pregame coin toss for the second week in a row.