On second-and-goal at WSU's 5-yard line during the game's opening drive, running back Daniel Lasco fumbled, which was recovered by junior nose tackle Toni Pole with 10:58 left in the first quarter. The Cougars took advantage of the turnover with a touchdown and 7-0 advantage on their ensuing possession.
DEFENSIVE PLAYS OF THE GAME:
A more apt name for the category might be "Gauta Plays of the Game." Senior nose tackle Ioane Gauta regularly has played well during his two seasons at WSU, but this might have been his most explosive performance. He had a pair of sacks and disrupted several passes, including a fourth-down deflection late in the game.
OFFENSIVE PLAY OF THE GAME:
It appeared to be just a generic screen pass on second down. But junior running back Marcus Mason took Halliday's pass and beat several Golden Bears defenders for a 68-yard touchdown pass that gave the Cougars a 21-12 lead with 1:04 left in the first half.
WSU defensive coordinator Mike Breske likes to apply pressure in hopes of generating turnovers. While the Cougars surrendered several explosive plays, they also ruined several promising California drives. None were more significant than the pair of fumble recoveries when the Golden Bears drove inside the WSU 5.
The Cougars won the turnover battle 5-1. There might not be a more significant stat for teams playing on the road than takeaways.
MEANINGLESS STAT OF THE GAME:
There is no question that the game was entertaining as Halliday and Goff combined to pass for more than 1,000 yards. In fact, Halliday set a school record for pass attempts with 67. But with both coaches employing an Air Raid offense, high passing totals are expected.
MONDAY MORNING QUARTERBACKING:
WSU coach Mike Leach would have received plenty of criticism if his team lost for his decision to run the ball from the Cougars' 1 directly after Bigelow's fumble. Teondray Caldwell was stuffed in the end zone by DeAndre Coleman, which led to a significant momentum swing during the second quarter. WSU led 14-0 after Bigelow's turnover, but the Cougars were outscored 15-7 before halftime. Halliday, who was 41 of 67 for 521 yards, three touchdowns and one interception, deserves a lot of credit for WSU ending its eight-game losing streak in the series against the Golden Bears. The Cougars took a quick 14-0 lead and missed a significant opportunity when they went three-and-out near midfield during the first quarter. Halliday, who was hurt a week ago against Stanford, converted several third-down plays during the third quarter.
SPECIAL TEAMS EDGE GOES TO …
Even though Andrew Furney missed a 39-yard field goal during the first half, WSU gets the edge here because Theron West stripped the ball from Bigelow and the Cougars recovered at California's 10-yard line. While WSU did not score on the drive they burned more game clock that the Golden Bears desperately needed late in the fourth quarter.
The Cougars return to Martin Stadium to host Oregon State at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
9:26: Junior wide receiver Vince Mayle caught a 35-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Connor Halliday. The Golden Bears were cited for pass interference on the play.
4:21: Sophomore running back Jeremiah Laufasa scored on a 5-yard run. Key play: Junior running back Marcus Mason took a screen pass 41 yards down the sideline to California's 29-yard line.
13:58: Teondary Caldwell was stopped by Deandre Coleman for a safety.
11:00: Vincenzo D'Amato 35-yard field goal. Key play: Chris Harper had a 50-yard reception from Goff.
7:20: Harper scores on an 89-yard touchdown pass from Goff. It is the second longest touchdown pass in school history. Key play: Score was set up when Halliday was intercepted.
1:04: Junior running back Marcus Mason turns a screen pass from Halliday into a 68-yard touchdown.
0:15: D'Amato 43-yard field goal. Key play: Goff finds Richard Rodgers for a 29-yard gain down to WSU's 26.
7:14: Caldwell scores on a 10-yard touchdown run. Key plays: Junior Isiah Myers breaks a tackle for a 30-yard gain directly before the touchdown. Also, the Cougars converted a pair of third-and-1 situations.
4:24: Mayle breaks away for California defenders for a 72-yard touchdown.
3:33: Goff connects with James Grisom for a long touchdown pass. FOURTH QUARTER:
14:39: Andrew Furney converts a 44-yard field goal. Key plays: Halliday completed a pair of third-and-long passes to Bobby Ratliff and Rickey Galvin.
7:53: Furney 41-yard field goal. WSU 44-22
7:53: Furney 22-yard field goal.