SAN FRANCISCO — It was dark, cold and gloomy at AT&T Park … but enough talk about the dismal performance of the Washington State football team.
The Cougars’ offense reflected the weather Saturday when the California Golden Bears dominated Washington State on both sides of the ball in a 30-7 Pacific-12 Conference romp.
“I don’t know what happened,” WSU defensive end Travis Long said. “It just seemed like by game time not all of us were ready, focused.”
A fifth consecutive loss adds to the pressure on coach Paul Wulff. The Cougars are 8-38 in four years under Wulff, and athletic director Bill Moos has repeatedly said that he will not decide whether to retain Wulff until the end of the season.
“It’s something we’re not going to think about, (but) it’s a big red-light issue,” offensive guard John Fullington said. “We’re just going to go out and focus on next week.”
The Cougars (3-6, 1-5 Pac-12) must win their three remaining regular season games, starting Saturday at home against 20th-ranked Arizona State (6-3, 4-2), to become bowl eligible.
The Cougars were all wet in the late afternoon and early evening rain that fell in San Francisco. They trailed 23-0 at the half — WSU’s first scoreless half this season — then missed perhaps six tackles on the first play from scrimmage in the second half.
Cal ended the drive with a 43-yard touchdown on an off-tackle play on fourth-and-1.
Missed tackles, blown blocks, overthrown passes, dropped balls, needless penalties, a botched field goal from 27 yards … the Cougars did it all from a negative standpoint.
“We do immature, dumb things,” Wulff said.
“I felt like we were ready to play,” WSU safety Tyree Toomer said. “But once the game going, (the Cougars were) a little bit slow reacting.”
If not for the inability of Cal quarterback Zach Maynard to connect with wide-open receivers on deep routes, the final score could have been much worse. The Bears were winning so handily that Maynard was pulled from the game late in the third quarter after he was shaken up, even though coach Jeff Tedford said Maynard was fine.
WSU might have been shut out for the first time since a 42-0 loss at Arizona State last October, but linebacker Alex Hoffman-Ellis recovered a fumble on Cal’s 18-yard line on the final play of the third quarter. Rickey Galvin then scored on a 5-yard run in the rain and wind before what was left of an announced crowd of 35,500.
Tyree finished with a career-high 10 tackles, one more than Hoffman-Ellis. Galvin, who grew up a Bears fan near the Berkeley school, ran hard to gain 73 yards on 12 carries.
The Bears (5-4, 2-4) gained 411 yards and held WSU to a season-low 224. California junior tailback Isi Sofele ran for a career-high 138 yards and one touchdown.
“I thought our offensive line played great,” Tedford said. “I thought Isi ran really hard.”
Wulff complimented the Bears — “They are the best-looking team that I have seen in this conference, period” — but he added, “Our defensive front and linebackers clearly did not play very well.”