California (2-4) at Washington State (2-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 13, 10:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Martin Stadium (33,522) -- Pullman, Washington. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: California 2-2, Washington State 1-2 Away Record: California 0-2, Washington State 1-2. Neutral Record: California 0-0, Washington State 0-0. Conference Record: California 1-2, Washington State 0-3. Series Record: California leads, 43-25-5.
GAME NOTES: Fresh off a convincing win over the previously ranked UCLA Bruins,, the California Golden Bears will try to build some momentum when they square off with the Washington State Cougars at Martin Stadium.
California dominated from start to finish in a 43-17 win over UCLA last weekend. The win snapped a three-game losing skid for the Golden Bears, who are now 2-4 on the season and 1-2 in Pac-12 action.
Also sitting at 2-4 is Washington State, although the Cougars are coming off a loss rather than a victory. The Cougars fell to No. 10 Oregon State on the road 19-6 in what was their third straight loss. It was also the second time this season the Cougars have been held without a touchdown. The other time came in a loss to BYU on opening night when the Cougars also finished with just six points. Washington State has yet to record a win against Pac-12 competition.
It has been seven straight victories in the all-time series for California. Long win streaks against Washington State have been a bit of a trend during the all-time series, which the Golden Bears lead by a healthy 43-25-5 margin.
An up and down season for Zach Maynard had a high point in California's win over UCLA. The quarterback threw for 295 yards, while tying a career-high with four touchdown passes. For the season Maynard is completing 61.9 percent of his pass attempts for 1,348 yards and nine touchdowns against five interceptions. Those numbers make him the eighth-leading passer in the Pac-12. Part of Maynard's issues have stemmed from a lack of time in the pocket, as California leads the Pac-12 in sacks allowed (28).
Maynard's inconsistencies have taken a toll on the production of star receiver Keenan Allen, who is still having a strong season with 41 receptions for 467 yards and four scores, all team-highs. Allen has more than twice as many receptions and yards as any other receiver on the team. In fact he has more receptions than the second and third leaders in receptions combined.
California has a stable of running backs that have helped balance the offense. C.J. Anderson is the team leader in yards (386), but Isi Sofele has carried the ball a team-high 73 times for 354 yards.
On defense California is being out-gained by its opponents, surrendering 418.5 yards per game while picking up 401.5. The Golden Bears are also near the bottom of the conference in scoring defense (28.0 ppg) with that number seeing a decline after the win over UCLA. While allowing a great deal of pressure on its own quarterback, California has not returned the favor. The Golden Bears have only 14 sacks on the season and are averaging only 2.3 per game.
Josh Hill (42 tackles) and Steve Williams (40) are the team's leading tacklers thus far. Marc Anthony has been the most productive in disrupting plays in the backfield with 5.5 tackles for loss. Chris McCain has also been effective up front with five tackles for loss and a pair of sacks.
Washington State still seems to be adjusting to the offensive system under new head coach Mike Leach. The Cougars are the second lowest scoring team in the Pac-12 this season (21.8 ppg) and have not fared much better in producing yards at 353.3 yards per game.
Leach's offensive philosophy emphasizes the pass. This season the Cougars are putting up 312 yards passing per game and only 41.3 on the ground. Leach has had to use two different quarterbacks. Jeff Tuel may have earned his starting job back after he was put in last weekend for Connor Halliday who threw three interceptions in the loss to Oregon State. Tuel has completed 70.7 percent of his passes this season and has three touchdowns to match three interceptions. Halliday also has as many touchdown passes as interceptions (nine) but has completed only 53.6 percent of his passes, while taking the majority of the snaps.
While the quarterback situation has taken some time to develop, who the primary offensive option is has not. Marquess Wilson has been stellar no matter who throws him the ball this season, bringing in 34 passes for 553 yards and five touchdowns. He is ranked third in the Pac-12 in yards per game. Isiah Myers (29 receptions, 272 yards, 4 TDs) and Gabe Marks (24 receptions, 379 yards, 2 TDs) have also been reliable.
Leach was not known as a defensive guru in his time at Texas Tech and his Washington State squad hasn't fared well in that respect this season. The Cougars are the third worst team in the Pac-12 in total defense (454.2 ypg) and scoring defense. The Cougars have been able to hold teams to the fourth best conversion rate in the red zone (77.8) but that statistic is less impressive considering the Cougars have allowed the most red zone attempts in the conference.
Deone Bucannon has been a force in the secondary, leading the team with 57 tackles, while also collecting team-highs in interceptions (four) and passes defended (seven). Travis Long has played well up front with 10 tackles for loss and a Pac-12 leading 7.5 sacks.
The uncertainty at quarterback for Washington State has hampered any progress the offense has made this season. With such a one-dimensional attack that inconsistency will be easy for the California defense to key in on.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: California 27, Washington State 20
10/10 10:56:04 ET