Sept 22, 2001
PULLMAN, Wash. - Turnovers, dropped passes and big plays cost the Bears in their Pac-10 opener, as Washington State defeated Cal, 51-20, Saturday afternoon at Martin Stadium.
The Bears (0-3) jumped out to a 10-3 lead in the first quarter and were ahead, 13-6, in the second period. However, four turnovers limited Cal's offense and WSU (3-0) took advantage, scoring 17 points off the first three of them.
Several Bears did put up big numbers, including receiver Charon Arnold, who finished with eight catches for a career-high 125 yards and freshman tailback Terrell Williams, who rushed for 63 yards in his first career start.
Cal managed one first down on its opening drive, but had to kick from its own 25. Tyler Fredrickson unleashed a career-long 55-yard punt to pin Washington State back on the 20-yard-line. However, it took the Cougars just seven plays and 2:19 to march down field, reaching the Cal 21. But the Bear defense held from there, and Drew Dunning came in for a 38-yard field goal and an early 3-0 WSU lead.
Cal responded with quick touchdown drive. After a pair of first downs set up the Bears on the WSU 45-yard-line, Cal resorted to a bit of trickery. Kyle Boller handed off to Williams, who gave the ball to Sean Currin, who then pitched it back to Boller. Boller found a wide-open Arnold down the middle of the field for a score and a 7-3 lead. The drive covered 68 yards in six plays.
The Bears appeared to have WSU in trouble on its next drive with a third-and-long situation, but quarterback Jason Gesser hit receiver receiver Mike Bush for 34 yards to the Cal 43-yard-line. After safety Dewey Hale sacked Gesser for Cal's first sack of the year, cornerback LaShaun Ward came up with the Bears' first turnover of the season, intercepting a Gesser pass and returning it 27 yards to the WSU 32.
Cal moved the ball five yards to the 27, and Mark Jensen came in for a career-long 45-yard field goal attempt. From the left hash mark, Jensen put the ball through the uprights with plenty of room to spare, and the Bears moved ahead, 10-3 with 5:43 left in the first quarter.
Cal started the second quarter on its own 14-yard-line. Boller then went for a big play to Arnold, but Marcus Trufant intercepted it and returned the ball 25 yards to the Cal 27. Gesser hit McElrath for 17 yards on the next play, and WSU eventually reached the four when the Bear defense stiffened. Dunning made a 23-yard field goal to make the score 10-6 Bears with 13:02 left in the half.
When Cal next came out on offense, Eric Holtfreter was behind center at quarterback. After one first down, the Bears faced a third-and-four at the 37. Holtfreter hit Christian Prelle on a receiver screen, and the freshman weaved downfield for 55 yards to the WSU 8. On third down from the three, Holtfreter's pass when off Currin's fingertips and Jensen connected on a 20-yard field goal for a 13-6 advantage five minutes into the second quarter.
Later in the period, Cal forced WSU to punt deep in its own territory, but Jemeel Powell fumbled on the return and the Cougars recovered on the Washington State 40-yard-line. Gesser quickly passed 16 yards to McElrath. After a short run, Gesser went deep down the near sideline for a 41-yard touchdown pass to Jerome Riley. The extra point tied the score at 13-13 with 7:46 to go in the quarter.
With 3:41 left, WSU started at its own 9-yard-line. A nine-yard run by Minnick and a pass interference call on Powell moved the Cougars to the WSU 33. Gesser then passed 25 yards to McElrath, and the Cougars were in Cal territory at the 42. On the next play, the Cal defense was penalized 15 yards for having 12 men on the field. The Bears, though, held and Dunning connected on a 37-yard field goal, giving WSU its first lead, 16-13, with 1:56 remaining in the half.
Cal began its final drive of the period on its own 20. On third-and-10, Holtfreter hooked up with Currin for 26 yards to the 46. A 16-yard screen to Arnold set the Bears up at the WSU 38. But Cal wasn't able to move much further, and Jensen's 49-yard field goal attempt was wide right with 11 seconds left.
On Cal's first drive of the second half, the Bears faced a third-and-13 from their own 28. However, center Ryan Jones' shotgun snap didn't reach Holtfreter and WSU recovered the fumble at the 18, although an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty moved it back to the Cal 33. On the next play, Gesser passed 19 yards to McElrath. Two plays later, Gesser and McElrath hooked up again, this time for a touchdown and WSU took a 23-13 lead.
Cal couldn't move the ball, and Washington State moved down field in three plays to extend its margin. Gesser lofted a shot pass to Bush over the middle and Bush sprinted 47 yards untouched for a 30-13 Cougar advantage with 8:49 to go in the third period.
WSU extended its lead to 37-13 on a four-yard pass to McElrath late in the quarter. The big play was a 55-yard pass to Riley down to the Cal 5.
Boller returned to quarterback on Cal's ensuing drive, and he guided the Bears into the end zone. The drive covered 80 yards in 11 plays, culminating on a 15-yard pass to Williams, who bobbled the ball before hauling it in. The score made it 37-20 with 14:18 left in the game.
WSU padded its lead on a two-yard run by Minnick, putting the Cougars up, 44-21 with 8:10 to go. The Cougars then became the first team since Arizona State in 1998 to top 50 points against the Bears when Allen Thompson scored from six yards out with 4:52 remaining.
Golden Bear Notes ...
Before making a 45-yard field goal in the first quarter, Mark Jensen's previous longest was a 40-yarder vs. Oregon State last season ... Adam Sugarman carried an American flag as he led the Bears onto the field from the locker room ... Dewey Hale had Cal's first two sacks of the season in the first quarter, one for seven yards and another for 19 ... in addition to wearing an American flag decal on their helmets, Cal players also had a "BW" decal as a tribute to former tight end Brent Woodall, who worked in the World Trade Center South tower and is missing following last week's terrorist attack ... Holtfreter's 55-yard pass to Prelle was Cal's longest pass play of the year ... WSU scored 17 of their points off three Cal turnovers ... WSU set a record for a Cal opponent with 513 yards passing, topping the old mark of 477 y ards by San Diego State in 1996.