When two programs who are a collective 1-7 since September come together, you never know what to expect. That was exactly the case, as your Washington State Cougars (4-5, 1-5) fell on the road to the California Golden Bears (5-4, 2-4) by a score of 33-20. The Cougars have now lost their last four road games, and five of their last six overall. CSN photographer Jack Ellis was in California Memorial Stadium capturing the games biggest moments and plays.
The last time a WSU team won in Berkeley was 2013, led by Cougar favorites Connor Halliday and Gabe Marks. The Golden Bears have now beat the Cougs in five out of the last six matchups, a trend that doesn’t seem to change anytime soon.
For the first time all season, RB Max Borghi (21) was effectively shut down, even with the standard number of carries. Borghi ran for just 19 yards on 8 carries, 13 of which came on the first play of the game.
After a growingly-characteristic interception on the opening drive by QB Anthony Gordon, it only took one play for California to find the endzone. Cal RB Christopher Brown Jr. (34) sprinted past the Cougs for 27 yards to find paydirt less than a minute into the game.
Questions about the health of Devon Modster (6) lingered prior to the Saturday afternoon kickoff, but like most opposing quarterbacks this year, he had a career night passing for three touchdowns and rushing for a forth in his first game back from injury. Important note, Modster was the backup before the injury of Chase Garbers against Arizona State on September 27th.
Skyler Thomas (25) returns a fumble forced by CB Daniel Isom all the way to the California red zone. However, the offense was only able to muster a measly six yards and had to settle for a field goal. Missed opportunities like this create endless “what if?” scenarios and would have led to WSU’s first lead of the game.
The infamous return, flag and all. You’ve heard the story; Travell Harris (5) returns a kickoff to the 50-yard line like he does, but an illegal hands-to-the-face penalty is enforced on WSU and the ball is placed on the WSU 8. Later it was discovered that the penalty was actually on Cal and should have been placed at the Cal 35. That’s nearly a 60-yard swing, when the Cougs trailed by only nine in the third quarter. Absolutely unacceptable, but also absolutely ordinary at this point from the joke that is the PAC 12 officiating crew.
Three of the Golden Bears’ touchdown drives started inside the WSU 40-yard line, which is not exactly a recipe for success against a PAC 12 opponent. The Coug D looked strong at times, recording six TFL, but folded in the final minutes and made Cal’s offense look way better than they they are.
WR Brandon Arconado (19) continues to be one of the few bright spots of the 2019 iteration of Cougar football, recording career highs in receptions (12) and receiving yards (130). Most Coug fans didn’t even know who Arconado was just four months ago, but now don’t know how we will live without him after the season ends.
Christopher Brown Jr. (34) dances past freshman Tyrese Ross (1) en route to a 13-yard touchdown pass from Cal QB Devon Modster. This followed the fumble by Easop Winston Jr. on the opening play of the second half. Just realizing this as I type it, WSU turned the ball over inside their own 40 on their first drive of each half. Both led to Cal touchdowns. Ouch.
Final Thoughts: Winning on the road is hard. But playing a backup QB leading an offense that averaged eight PPG in their past three matchups should be slightly less hard. The optimist in me wants to write the loss off as the latest version of “Cal weirdness,” but unless the Cougs win the next two home games against Stanford and Oregon State, it is a real possibility that WSU will miss the postseason for the first time since 2014. Stanford is having a down year very similar to the Cougs, so this may be perfect timing for a program desperate for a win. FWIW, WSU opened as 12-point favorites against the Cardinal. Go Cougs.
Want more Sights from the Field? Check out my previous posts!
2019 Sights from the Field: WSU Football @ Oregon Ducks Edition
2019 Sights from the Field: WSU Football vs Colorado Buffaloes Edition
2019 Sights from the Field: WSU Football @ Utah Utes Edition
2019 Sights from the Field: WSU Football vs UCLA Bruins Edition
2019 Sights from the Field: Advocare Texas Kickoff Special Edition
2019 Sights from the Field: WSU Football vs UNC Bears Edition
2019 Sights from the Field: WSU Football vs NMSU Aggies Edition
2019 Sights from the Field: Crimson and Gray Spring Game Edition
2018 Sights from the Field: Valero Alamo Bowl Special Edition