What they're saying: post-Cal edition

DESPITE WASHINGTON STATE'S 21-3 loss to California, reports from across the West Coast praised the crimson defense that held the nation's No. 10 team scoreless after halftime with only 123 second-half yards. Preseason All-American Mkristo Bruce called Cal "the most relentless team" – more relentless than No. 3 USC, which the Cougars nearly beat on Sept. 30. Here's what the media is saying.

"Don't run our team down," Doba told the press sternly. "These kids are tight. They're a family, and they're staying tight. I guarantee you they'll play their butts off against Oregon." But it was Sean O'Connor, the junior offensive guard from Redmond, who seemed to strike the proper chord for the day. He was asked if it would have taken a perfect game to beat the Bears, who had averaged 40-plus points their five previous games. "I don't think we'd have had to play a perfect game to beat them," he insisted. "We're a good enough team to beat them playing well — and we didn't play well today." - Bud Withers, Seattle Times

[Brandon] Gibson caught a game-high eight passes for 130 yards, with a long of 55, in the Cougars' 21-3 Pac-10 loss to California at Martin Stadium. Gibson, from Rogers High School in Puyallup, was only sorry that his catches didn't come in a win. - Seattle Times staff

The Cougars came dangerously close to having their scoring streaks snapped. They now have scored in 256 consecutive games since a 44-0 shutout at Ohio State in 1984. That streak ranks second in the nation to Michigan with 268. Washington State also has scored in 240 Pac-10 games, the current best in the conference, and in 191 consecutive Martin Stadium games. - Seattle Times staff

The biggest medical surprise was that right tackle Charles Harris (ankle) was able to start. He had been listed as doubtful. The defensive star for the Cougars was strong safety Eric Frampton, who had an interception, forced a fumble, recovered another fumble and led the team in tackles with 12. California had entered the game after scoring more than 40 points in each of its past five games. "In the second half, we held them to zero points, which is awesome," Frampton said. - Craig Smith, Seattle Times

Defensive end Mkristo Bruce said, "USC's a good football team. But I think Cal is the most relentless team." Bruce, the country's sack leader with 10, apparently was the target of California's offensive game plan. Bruce got three hits on Bears quarterback Nate Longshore, but did not record a sack. "They are the hardest, most relentless offensive line in the Pac-10," Bruce said. "They kicked my butt all over the field. That was the most physical, nasty game I've ever played in." - Nick Daschel, The Columbian

"This was a defensive victory," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. That's what Washington State might have said had it won, because the Cougars defense was salty after a spotty first quarter. Cal had 14 points and 145 yards during the first quarter, one touchdown and 208 yards the rest of the game. California, averaging 280.2 passing yards a game to lead the Pac-10, managed only 176 against Washington State. - Nick Daschel, The Columbian

It was another creditable showing by the WSU defense, which held the Bears to 123 offensive yards after halftime. Cougars safety Eric Frampton single-handedly gave the WSU offense two second-half opportunities, causing and recovering a fumble and later slashing in front of DeSean Jackson for an interception. The 18-point margin was the slimmest among California's six straight wins, but it represented the staunchest performance by its defense. The Bears got 152 rushing yards from Marshawn Lynch and 17-for-31 passing from Nate Longshore. - Dale Grummert, Lewiston Tribune

The man who picked up the slack in the passing offense – heck, the entire offense – was Puyallup's Brandon Gibson, a Rogers High product in his second season as a receiver. Gibson had a career-high eight receptions for 130 yards, and was quarterback Alex Brink's only consistent threat all game. He flashed flair. He displayed toughness squeezing through tight coverage. He showed strength to break away from the Golden Bears' experienced secondary after catches. - Todd Milles, The News Tribune

WSU players, including captain Mkristo Bruce, were candid about who they think the best team in the conference is. They would know, having also lost to USC, 28-22, two weeks ago. "Cal wins," said Bruce, who was not the All-American-defensive-end hopeful he's been in recent weeks. He was spent. He was beaten. - Todd Milles, The News Tribune

Turning point: Down 14-3, WSU found a rare groove on a drive early in the second quarter when quarterback Alex Brink hit three different receivers, steering the offense to the Cal 49-yard line. Brink tried to go back to Charles Dillon in the middle of the field, but the pass was intercepted by cornerback Daymeion Hughes at the Bears 12. Cal drove 88 yards in nearly six minutes for a touchdown and a 21-3 lead. - Todd Milles, The News Tribune

Twice during the game, Washington State quarterbacks threw the type of interceptions that leave the crowd searching for intended targets. Cal defensive backs Daymeion Hughes and Bernard Hicks could havecalled fair catches on both picks. Jay Heater, Contra Costa Times

"It's great to get a win here," Cal Coach Jeff Tedford said. "But you know, we weren't here that whole time. So, like I told the team: We had an opportunity today to erase a lot of past history and put our mark on Cal football." - Associated Press

Slingbox Technology redirected the scoreboard feed from Martin Stadium through the Internet to a computer connected to the Memorial Stadium scoreboard, which relayed the video feed, including replays. Slingbox combined the video feed with the audio play-by-play feed from KGO, Cal's flagship radio station, and that's how local fans saw a football game inside a stadium without actual players. The 6,000 in attendance paid no admission, but had to provide their own food and drink. Cal left the stadium bathrooms open. The atmosphere had everything but a halftime show. The crowd booed Washington State lustily and cheered Cal loudly, offering several standing ovations as the Bears trounced the Cougars 21-3 for Cal's first victory in the Palouse country since 1979. - Dave Newhouse, The Oakland Tribune

Despite a jumble of mistakes, No. 10 Cal (6-1, 4-0 Pac-10) managed to grab a road victory Saturday against Washington State for the first time since 1979. Just enough went right for the Bears to escape with a 21-3 win -- their sixth straight -- in a game that was as unusual as the 69-degree temperature on the fall day in Eastern Washington and as odd as the seemingly silent crowd of 31,441. - Rusty Simmons, San Francisco Chronicle


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