Oct. 14, 2006
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) - Marshawn Lynch and the California defense did away with the Martin Stadium jinx.
Playing with a sore ankle, Lynch ran for 152 yards and two touchdowns and Cal won in Pullman for the first time in 27 years, beating Washington State 21-3 on Saturday.
"I'd heard that we hadn't won here in 20-odd years," Lynch said. "It just feels good to come up here and get the victory."
Cal had lost nine straight games in Martin Stadium, dating back to 1979.
"It's great to get a win here," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "But you know, we weren't here that whole time. So, like I told the team: we had an opportunity today to erase a lot of past history and put our mark on Cal football."
California's high scoring offense, which averaged 39.5 points a game, was overshadowed by the defense and special teams, which set up TDs with a blocked punt and an interception. The Golden Bears (6-1, 4-0 Pac-10) also bottled up the Cougars' running game.
Playing a top-10 team for the third time this season, Washington State (4-3, 2-2) finished with 88 yards rushing yards, managing only 3 in the first half. In three trips inside the Cal 20, WSU managed only a field goal and turned the ball over on downs twice.
Tedford said the Bears' offense started out strong, but faded with second half penalties, miscues and turnovers, so the victory belonged to the defense.
"They really did a nice job in the short field and keeping them out of the red zone, keeping them out of the end zone," he said. "Sometimes one side of the ball has to step up and the defense did today, thankfully."
Nate Longshore completed 17 of 31 for 176 yards with two interceptions and a rushing TD for Cal. DeSean Jackson and Robert Jordan combined for 116 yards on 10 catches to keep WSU's defense off balance.
The Cougars entered the game leading the nation with 27 sacks, but only got to Longshore once.
Washington State intercepted Longshore on the Cougars' 7, but was forced to punt from the 16 in the first quarter. Nu'u Tafisi blocked Darryl Blunt's punt and recovered it on the WSU 5. Two plays later, Lynch ran 2 yards for the score.
Lynch, the Pac-10's leading rusher, later ran untouched for an 8-yard score after Daymeion Hughes intercepted Alex Brink's pass on the WSU 12. Hughes' interception was his sixth of the season.
California jumped to a 21-3 halftime lead, then turned the game over to its defense.
"I think it was a very big win for us," Longshore said. "I don't think we've won here since before 1980, so it was huge for us to come in here and get a win after the big win we had last week. Just to come in and have our defense dominate like they did and get another win for us, it was nice."
Cal dominated Oregon 45-24 last week.
Brink completed 19-of-35 passes for 227 yards and was sacked twice. Jason Hill, the Cougars top receiver, was held to 23 yards on two catches.
"We tried to go into the game and really shut down their vertical field," Hughes, a senior cornerback said of Hill. "He was one of our focuses during the week, so we just basically tried to take pride in that and really try to show up."
After WSU turned the ball over on downs on the Cal 29, the Bears marched 71 yards and Longshore sneaked over from the 1 to make it 14-0 with 3:22 remaining in the first quarter. A 28-yard pass to Jackson and a 20-yard completion to Jordan kept the drive alive.
The Cougars only score was Loren Langley's 25-yard field goal in the second period.
WSU appeared to score a touchdown late in the third quarter on a 4-yard pass from Brink to Dwight Tardy, but a review called the play dead at the 1. Brink's attempt to sneak in on fourth-and-goal was stopped for no gain.
The missed scoring opportunities grated on the Cougars.
"It's frustrating, because everybody can see how close we are to getting it into the end zone," Brink said. "It's not a confidence issue. It's an execution issue."