BERKELEY — After seeing progress on offense week after week early this season, the Cal football team hit a wall on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.
Matched against a Washington State defense that was surrounding 29.8 points per game, the Bears delivered their most ineffective performance of the season in a 21-6 loss.
The Bears (1-4, 0-2 Pac-12) remain winless against four FBS teams entering their bye week. The Cougars (2-3, 1-2) won at Berkeley for the first time since 2013.
Cal averaged nearly 29 points through the first month of the season and its previous three losses were by 5 points, 2 points and in overtime. This one was a step back.
Chase Garbers, who entered the game second in the Pac-12 at 273 passing yards per game, was pressured all game and wound up 14 for 30 for 152 yards. He was sacked four times and intercepted once.
The only second-half score by either team came via Jayden de Laura’s 8-yard touchdown pass to D’Zhaun Stribling with 8:47 left in the third quarter, pushing WSU’s lead to 21-6.
The Bears had two second-half drives that teased the announced crowd of 40,286.
But Garbers threw incomplete on fourth-and-3 from the WSU 28 with 25 seconds left in the third quarter.
Then, after hitting Trevon Clark for gains of 20 and 28 yards, Garbers’ fourth-and-6 completion to Chris Street was halted one yard shy of a first down at the WSU 2-yard line with 11:20 to play.
The Cougars led 14-6 at the half as Cal struggled to contain WSU’s pressure on Garbers. He passed for just 59 yards in the half was sacked twice.
The Cougars outgained Cal 204 yards to 104 in the half, ran 43 plays to 28 and had 12 first downs to just five for the home team.
WSU sophomore Jayden de Laura, who missed last week’s game at Utah with a knee injury, started and threw a pair of first-half touchdowns to Calvin Jackson Jr. The second one was a spectacular one-handed grab on a 5-yard fade for a 14-6 lead with 1:46 left in the quarter.
The Cougars’ 75-yard scoring drive was highlighted by a bizarre play in which Cal’s Nick Alftin blocked a punt but WSU’s Ron Stone Jr., a linebacker from San Jose, retrieved the ball and ran for the first down.
Cal’s only score came on Christopher Brooks’ 11-yard TD run with 7:44 left in the first quarter. The Bears then botched the snap on the PAT try, the third time this season they have fouled up a field goal or PAT before even getting to the kick.
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Author: Jeff Faraudo