THREE PLAYS are going to be remembered above all others following yet another entertaining affair between Cal's Golden Bears and Washington State's never-quite-enough-at-the-end Cougars.
WSU's botched fake punt, the Bears' onsides kick recovery, and Cal running back Vic Enwere's momentum-defining 36-yard run on third down from the Cal five late in the fourth quarter will burn bright.
Here's a sample of what else we took from the 34-28 Cal victory:
WSU Player of the Game: Gabe Marks
Marks finished with 10 catches, 141 yards and a TD. Marks was the only Coug with double-digit catches. On the Cougars' final scoring drive, Marks caught four passes for 45 yards (and the touchdown). He committed a drive-killing fumble in the fourth quarter, but all in all he came up big for the Cougar offense.
Honorable Mention Coug: Dylan Hanser
The young linebacker from Montana had a big impact on special teams. Her had two outstanding tackles on Cal’s talented return man Trevor Davis. Last season, Davis took two kickoff returns to the house, but it looked like Hanser was a man on a mission this time around. Also, on the final punt for Cal, Hanser was the guy who was a few inches from making the block.
Luke Falk made a questionable pass to Tyler Baker with 3:29 left in the game. Normally Mr. Cautious, Falk was pressured on the play and launched the ball down field. Announcers blamed Falk for throwing to Baker’s right side instead of his left, but Falk had little room to operate under pressure. Which raises the eye brows as to why a guy so stellar at protecting the ball would throw into coverage with so little time left on the clock.
Washington State had four turnovers on the day. Falk only threw the one interception, but the team lost three fumbles, including Marks' to start the fourth quarter as the team was moving into the red zone. He will beat himself up for that, but in his defense he was just trying to make a move but couldn’t quite get free.
The Cougars gave up a whopping seven sacks. When an offensive line protects as well as WSU’s has this season it’s hard to imagine that level of breakdown.
On the Cougars' four TD drives, they averaged 11.5 plays and 6.75 minutes.
WSU's defense created two turnovers, pushing its season total to seven. You can’t ask for more from Grinch’s defense in the turnover conversation. The D also produced back-to-back sacks of Jared Goff -- something likely lost in the final score.
Gabe Marks moved into sole possession of seventh place in WSU’s career receptions list with 158. He caught 10 passes for 141 yards, his sixth career 100-yard game and second this season. Marks was the only Coug receiver over 100 yards receiving.
WSU's leading tackler: Linebacker Jeremiah Allison had nine total, including half a sack and one tackle for loss.
Misleading stat of the game: Penalties
The box score says the Cougars only had two penalties for 13 yards, but that’s because Sonny Dykes only accepted two penalties. There were more against WSU, but Dykes declined at least three. A few of them were also offside penalties, allowing Goff to have a free play.
Play of the Game:
Marcellus Pippins intercepted Cal QB Jared Goff on the third snap of the game. Against a heavily favored team with a a Heisman contender at QB, the script -- and tone -- couldn't have been written better.
Injuries noticed: Jeremiah Allison was dinged on the final play of Cal’s last drive.
Up Next: In Eugene next Saturday, to face the Oregon Ducks at 3 p.m.
This is the first game Keith Harrington didn’t score a touchdown this season.
WSU was 9-15 on third down, 1-2 on fourth down.