Worst Loss Ever: California 66, Washington State 3

PULLMAN – The first home game of the Paul Wulff era at Washington State became a historic one, but for all the wrong reasons.

The Cougars suffered their worst loss in school history, losing 66-3 to the California Golden Bears in Martin Stadium.  It was also the second most points given up by a WSU squad, surpassed only by Southern California in a 70-33 loss at Spokane’s Joe Albi Stadium in 1970.

The game got off to a horrific start for the Cougs, and it never got better.  Evelen seconds into the game on Cal’s first offensive play, Jahvid Best ran up the middle and was barely touched as he went 80 yards for a touchdown.  Forty seconds later, after WSU quarterback Gary Rogers was intercepted on the Cougars second play, Kevin Riley hit Sean Young with a 14-yard touchdown pass.  Four minute after that, Shane Vereen had a 39-yard touchdown run, and the Bears never looked back.

Washington State got their only points in the game with 6:44 left in the first quarter, when Nico Grasu hit a 43-yard field goal.  It kept alive WSU’s scoring streak at 275 games, but by that time, it was 21-3 and the game was getting out of hand.

It only got worse in the second quarter.  Just under three minutes into the period, Grasu had a 42-yard field goal attempt blocked, and Zach Follett ran it back 65 yards for a touchdown.  A 27-yard touchdown run by Riley with 5:25 left in the quarter and a five-yard run by Best, set up by a 90-yard interception return by Syd’Quan Thompson with just under three minutes remaining, gave California a 42-3 halftime lead, and most of the announced crowd of 27,906 were leaving early.

The 42 points were the most WSU had given up in a half since September 15, 1990, when Brigham Young scored 43 in the second half in Provo, Utah.

Rogers was replaced by Kevin Lopina in the third quarter, but the Cougars still couldn’t score.  Lopina got WSU to the Cal 13 on the first drive of the second half, but he was intercepted by Bernard Hicks.  Two plays later, Best ran 86 yards for his third touchdown of the day, and Cal led 49-3.  A David Seawright field goal from 37 yards extended the lead to 52-3, and that’s how it stayed at the end of the third quarter.

By that time, Nate Longshore was playing QB for the Bears, and in the fourth quarter Marshall Lobbestael came in to play QB for the Cougars.  But Cal kept scoring.

The Bears made it 59-3 early in the fourth quarter, when Tracy Slocum scored from six yards out.  Cal finally ended the scoring when, on a drive started on an interception of Lobbestael by Brett Johnson, Brock Mansion scored from a yard out.  That made the score 66-3, and that was the final.

“Their X’s were a lot better than our O’s,” Wulff said after the game.  “We just couldn’t match up with them physically, period.”

California coach Jeff Tedford was happy his team never let up, even with the big lead.

“You worry about people getting in their comfort zone,” he said, “but I thought our team really didn’t do that today.”

The records were not the kind WSU would like.  The previous biggest loss in school history was a 62-3 loss to UCLA in 1976, while the 66 points surpassed the 63 points scored by Stanford at Joe Albi Stadium in 1970 as the second most given up by WSU.

The 66 points were the most scored by California since 2002, when the Bears beat Baylor 70-22.  It’s also the most points Cal has scored in a Pac-10 game, surpassing the 56 points they scored in an overtime win over Arizona in 1996.

Cal’s numbers are stunning.  They had 505 yards of total offense, including 391 yards rushing.  Best ran for 205 yards on 14 carries, including his three touchdowns.  The Bears only threw for 114 yards, but they didn’t need to pass.

Washington State’s statistics were, on the other hand, anemic.  They only got 167 yards of total offense, with only 57 yards rushing and 110 yards passing.  WSU got almost twice as many yards in kickoff return yardage (298) as they did on offense.

One category WSU did lead in was, amazingly, time of possession.  The Cougars had the ball for three more minutes than the Bears, but it shows how quickly Cal was scoring when they got the ball.

California (2-0) will travel to Maryland (1-1) next Saturday to play the Terrapins, who lost at Middle Tennesse State 24-14 on Saturday.

The Cougars (0-2) will also be on the road next Saturday.  They will be in Waco, Texas to play the Baylor Bears at 9:30 a.m. Pacific time.  The Bears (1-1) defeated FCS school Northwestern State 51-6 in Waco.