Friday the 13th met #Pac12AfterDark and… you absolutely expected things to get freaky. Shovel passes getting picked off. Touchdowns with :00’s on the scoreboard. One yard punts. Protesters with stuffed pigs. Eight minute field goal drives. Triple-tipped interceptions.
Yes, there was a little bit of everything on a freaky Friday night in Berkeley as No. 8 Washington State became the second top 10 team in as many games to get upset, falling 37-3 to a Cal team that punched far above their weight but looked like the better side for four quarters.
The outcome doubled as head coach Justin Wilcox’s first conference win and a signature victory to hang his hat on as just the second ever upset of a top 10 team in school history. The Bears paved the way with his trademark defense and looked nothing like the squad that was ranked in the 100’s in most defensive categories last year. Cal was feisty from the opening kickoff, recording nine sacks, seven turnovers and a trio of three-and-outs all told.
Taking the brunt of that effort was quarterback Luke Falk. The Cougars’ prolific signal-caller had a hand in his face all night long in an offense that never seemed to click and he put up only 291 yards, with no touchdowns and five — yes five — interceptions. While his receivers made a few catch and runs, there was never much in the way of sustained drives outside of a lone eight minute field goal effort that resulted in the only points of the game for Wazzu.
Counterpart Ross Bowers looked like he was the one setting a host of Pac-12 career records instead, as the sophomore threw for 259 yards and a touchdown while coming up with a key play whenever it was needed. That included a memorable play-action toss to the end zone just as time expired in the first half and this incredible scramble-and-flip across the goal line that might be one of the plays of the year:
Though he didn’t stick the landing, Bowers did do so in pulling off a similar move back in high school and has plenty of experience considering his mother is a former Washington gymnastics coach. His buddy in the backfield, tailback Vic Enwere, also chipped in with 102 yards rushing and a score as well.
The blowout loss ends a hot 6-0 start for Mike Leach’s side and comes as part of a rough second half of the season that sees them hit the road in five of their final seven. Despite the setback inside the conference, the Cougars do still control their own destiny inside the Pac-12 North but likely saw those whispers of being a dark horse College Football Playoff contender go away.
But those are thoughts for another time as the Bears lifted plenty of spirits in the Bay Area with a historic win in Strawberry Canyon on a night where strange doesn’t even begin to describe things.