NOTEBOOK: Mayle plays fast & loose with Bears

VINCE MAYLE ISN'T exactly sure how it happened. When the wide receiver broke away from several California defenders for a 72-yard touchdown reception from Connor Halliday, he just did what he was trained to do. "I really don't remember it at all," he said of the Cougars' longest scoring pass of the day. "I just got loose – I guess."

It's the kind of moment Mayle has been waiting for – and it came at precisely the right time, as the Cougars snapped an eight-game losing streak against California with a 44-22 win in Berkeley.

Last year, the highly touted wide receiver was named to the All-America CCCAA first team at Sierra College in Rocklin, Calif.

"I'm pretty comfortable with everything," he said of the transition from playing at the junior-college level to Division I. "It took a little longer than I expected (but) the game was really slow and I adjusted well."

In addition to his big catch with 4:24 left in the third quarter, Mayle also hauled in a 35-yard touchdown pass to open scoring for the Cougars with 9:26 to go in the opening period. He finished the day with 113 yards on four receptions.

Mayle's performance attracted the attention of coach Mike Leach, who was especially pleased with the teamwork shown on the 68-yard touchdown pass from Halliday to junior Marcus Mason with 1:04 left in the first half.

"(It was) a really great play by Marcus Mason," he said. "I thought Gabe (Marks) and Vince had great blocks."

Now, Mayle and his teammates are in unfamiliar territory: being 2-0 against conference teams on the road.

"I'm excited for the team," he said. "We got a great win."

And perhaps even more meaningful for Leach, whose team has only played at Martin Stadium twice despite now being halfway through the season. Last week's meeting with Stanford in Seattle was considered a home game.

"We've been on the road more than anyone, too," he said. "I don't know if anyone in the country has been on the road more than us."

Senior nose tackle Ioane Gauta said in postgame interviews that his success against the Bears was a result of doing his homework. Gauta sacked freshman quarterback Jared Goff twice and batted down a pair of passes, too, en route to helping the defensive line hold Cal to a mere 79 yards on 29 carries.

"It started from film work," he said. "Just watching their offensive linemen and their tendencies, I took advantage of it."

Also getting some playing time was junior Mitchell Peterson, who took over for Cyrus Coen at strongside linebacker.

Peterson, a graduate of West Valley High in Spokane, came to WSU to play outfield for the baseball team, but found himself inserted into the game early in the fourth quarter. He also played against UCLA last year on special teams.

"It was a blast," he told The Seattle Times. "It's football."

  • Goff and Halliday combined for 1,010 passing yards, the highest combined total in California history.

  • Punter Mike Bowlin did not wear his infamous yellow shoes during the game. He kicked five punts, three inside the 20-yard line, and his longest 49 yards.

  • WSU's 92-yard touchdown drive was the longest of the season and the longest since a 96-yard drive against UCLA last season.

  • The Cougars have rushed for six touchdowns in six games. Last season, they had six rushing scores in the entire season.

  • Halliday, who now has 37 career touchdown passes -- the seventh most all-time -- completed a career-high 41 passes, the second most in school history. He now has 399 completions for 4,828 yards, both of which are the eighth most in WSU history.

  • Mason caught his second career touchdown pass -- his first came against UCLA last year -- and is the first WSU running back to record 100 receiving yards since Deon Burnett had 101 against Arizona in 2000.

  • Deone Bucannon made 12 tackles in his 14th career double-digit tackle performance. He now has 326, the sixth most in WSU history.

  • Andrew Furney's three field goals -- from 44, 41 and 28 yards out -- now owns 39, the fourth most of all-time.

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