Sept. 30, 2000
The Washington State Cougars defeated the California Golden Bears 21-17 before 30,500 fans today at Memorial Stadium. It was the Cougars second straight win over the Bears and the seventh win in the last nine games played in the series. It was also only the second time WSU has defeated Cal in Berkeley since 1984 (WSU beat Cal 26-23 in 1994 at Memorial Stadium). Cal now leads WSU 36-23-5 in a series that dates back to 1919.
Questionable Call Complicates Game
With 4:11 left in the third quarter, the Cougars scored a touchdown on a 10-yard pass from quarterback Jason Gesser to wide receiver Marcus Williams. Although the pass was originally ruled incomplete, after the referees discussed the play, the pass was ruled complete in the endzone to give WSU a 21-17 lead.
Despite Strong Defensive Showing, Bears Lose Game
After averaging 383.7 yards per game against its first three opponents, WSU only gained 279 yards in today's game against Cal. In fact, WSU only gained an astonishing 23 yards against the Cal defense in the second half before their final 79-yard drive ran out the clock in the fourth quarter (aided by a 56-yard pass completion). Cal's "Hit Squad" defense recorded 4 sacks for minus 41 yards on the day (one sack apiece by Andre Carter, Chris Ball, Matt Nixon, Tully Banta-Cain).
Gesser-Led Cougar Offense Makes Big Plays
Cougar quarterback Jason Gesser made several big plays in today's game. In the 1st quarter, on 3rd-and-10 from deep in WSU territory, Gesser completed a 37-yard pass while scrambling for his life to Milton Wynn. In the second quarter, Gesser made another big play when he completed a 38-yard pass to Wynn. On WSU's final drive, Gesser again came up big with a 56-yard pass to Marcus Williams, allowing the Cougars to run out the clock.
Special Teams Anything But
Surprisingly, Cal's punt unit had several problems in today's game. In the second quarter, Nick Harris missed the ball on a punt attempt, and the resulting fumble was recovered by Cougar running back Adam Hawkins on the Cal 18-yard line. The Cougars capitalized on the miscue, scoring a touchdown (and the ensuing two-point conversion) to take a 14-7 lead. In the first quarter, WSU converted a 22-yard field goal on a drive set up when Cal's first punt attempt of the game went awry. Harris was tackled on the Cal 20-yard line after a low snap. After WSU blocked a Cal punt in the third quarter (recovered by Erik Coleman), WSU again started a drive deep in Bear territory and ultimately scored a touchdown for a 21-17 lead. In all, blocked or mishandled Cal punts led to 17 WSU points in today's game.
WSU had its own share of problems with special teams, helping set up Cal's first touchdown of the day on an unusual play at the end of Cal's second drive of the game. On fourth down, a Harris punt that was nearly blocked was muffed when Cougar wide receiver Collin Henderson was hit by a teammate while trying to field the ball. The loose ball was recovered by true freshman cornerback James Bethea at the Cougar 29-yard line giving the Golden Bears excellent field position.
Cal's Triple-Threat Rushing Attack Wakes Up Offense
Although Cal only gained 238 total yards in today's game, the Bears did a good job running the ball, doing most of their damage against WSU on the ground. Behind the running of Joe Igber (74 yards on 18 carries), Joseph Echema (72 yards on 18 carries), and Saleem Muhammad (15 yards on 3 carries), the Bears amassed 149 rushing yards. Igber also had a 25-yard touchdown run in the third quarter called back because of a holding penalty. In the first quarter, Igber tied his season-best with a 21-yard run.
Cal's "A-Bomb" Has Another Big Game
Senior defensive end Andre Carter had another big day wreaking havoc against the WSU offense. In the first quarter, Carter bulled his way into the offensive backfield to sack WSU quarterbak Jason Gesser for a 9-yard loss. Carter had 4 tackles and 1 tackle-for-loss in today's game. The pre-season All-American and Outland Trophy Award candidate has 22 tackles, 6 tackles-for-loss, and 2 sacks on the season. With 41 career tackles-for-loss and 19.5 career sacks, Carter ranks No. 6 on the Cal career list for tackles-for-loss and moves into a 6th place tie for sacks (with Natu Tuatagaloa, 1985-88, and Sekou Sanyika, 1996-99).
Joe Igber tied his season-long with a 21-yard run in the 1st quarter... Cal quarterback Kyle Boller was 11-of-31 for 89 yards in today's game... Joseph Echema had a career-long 53-yard kickoff return in the third quarter... Bears wide receiver Chase Lyman caught his first career touchdown pass on a 13-yard strike from Boller in the 1st quarter.