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Cal Football Rolls to 42-39 Victory, Despite Defensive Blunders Against Washington State
California was out-gained by Washington State, 483 to 327 yards
Jaydn Ott rushed for 167 yards and one touchdown to carry his team to victory, as the California Golden Bears (4-6, 2-5 Pac-12) held on to beat the Washington State Cougars (4-6, 1-6 Pac-12), 42-39.
Ott crossed the 1,000 rushing yard milestone and is the first Golden Bear to earn more than 1,000 rushing yards since Patrick Laird rushed for 1,127 yards in 2017.
Despite the close scoreline, Washington State outplayed California for most of the game. The Cougars had 97 plays to the Golden Bears’ 57 and out-gained the home team in total yards, 483 to 327.
“We made it much harder than it probably needed to be,” California head coach Justin Wilcox told reporters in the post-game press conference. “They kind of went bang, bang, bang down the field.”
Indeed, California started “Senior Day” with a bang.
California inside linebacker Cade Uluave forced a fumble on Washington State’s first drive, carrying the ball 51 yards into the end zone only three minutes into the game. The scoop-and-score was the first of two fumbles recovered by Uluave.
Turnovers featured heavily in Saturday’s matchup. California scored 10 points from two turnovers, while Washington State earned a whopping 19 points from four turnovers.
“We kind of went both ways today, and that’s why the game felt the way it did,” Coach Wilcox said after the game. “We’ve got to do a lot better there.”
Washington State, which scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter, lost its chance to tie the game in the game’s last four minutes.
With 3:42 remaining, Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward led his team to the Cal 31, eating up 35 yards and two minutes and 52 seconds to set up a potential game-tying kick.
But Cougar kicker Dean Janikowski’s 48-yard attempt would miss, going too far to the left.
After a California three-and-out on the next drive, Washington State got the ball on its own 41 with 22 seconds remaining.
Uluave intercepted Ward’s hail mary at the California 3 as time expired to hold on and win.
“[I] don’t always love the football, but they’re in there [the lockerroom] right now, the joy is—you can feel it,” Coach Wilcox explained. “I’m really happy for them. They’re a determined group.”
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