I usually don't write immediately following games, because I am too emotionally involved, but this time I'm going to make an exception.
I've already seen a lot of comments popping up on here applauding the team for a good effort by keeping the score close and being "competitive."
This time, I don't buy it.
Our defense was able to keep Cal in check for most of the game, but that is what they SHOULD have done. Cal was playing their backup quarterback, and he is not a good one. He was airmailing open receivers from the start and basically handed WSU two interceptions. Cal was also without their second leading receiver, and top touchdown guy through the air. So two of their most important offensive players were out for this one.
WSU should have known the run was coming in this one, and it did. Cal carried the ball 42 times for 212 yards (that's including the sacks, so it was even worse than that.) If the Bears would have gotten any sort of decent play from Brock Mansion, they would have rolled in this one, because the WSU offense wasn't getting it done.
Jeff Tuel had the worst statistical game of his WSU career. 9/25 for 92 yards and 3.7 yards per pass. We knew the Cal defensive unit was good against the pass, but that is just ugly. Jared Karstetter was completely locked down. It wasn't all Jeff's fault though, as the offensive line had him running for his life most of the day. This offense really hasn't done much of anything since Oregon outside of the fourth quarter against Stanford. That's partly because of injuries, but it is also partly because our opposition hasn't plenty of film on us now. The unit we thought was going to be carrying us to a shootout victory is letting us down just as much as the other side. Maybe we should have paid more attention to those poor S&P ratings on Football Outsiders, because they are looking pretty accurate right now.
What I really can't get over is that the offense had prime opportunities and simply failed. Two interceptions around the 40 yard line and a punt return to the Cal 20, and the Cougs had six points to show for it. Those six points came because our freshman kicker, Andrew Furney, knocked through two long field goals. Our receivers dropped crucial passes and our offensive line came up with backbreaking penalties time and time again.
So in the end, we had a game that Cal was trying real hard to give to the Cougs, and they could not capitalize. Opposing teams have figured our offense out, and our defense isn't even close to good enough to win a game on its own. It's still making bonehead plays like pushing a guy the last ten yards on a third down and twenty.
Don't even get me started on punting the ball away with two minutes left. Our defense was gassed and to expect them to stop Cal again was just silly. It's a shame that Marquess Wilson dropped two passes on that series, but, they weren't having a hard time running the ball. They did just that to waste the rest of the clock.
That game was winnable. Cal played poorly. We couldn't do anything about it. I'm not happy with the close score, I'm frustrated that we weren't the team leaving the field with a victory. If you are going to get excited about the Cougs playing well against the heavyweights in this conference, then you should be disappointed that they can't come out and play better against the teams just above us in the standings.
Brian will be along shortly with his thoughts. Basketball games that count can't start soon enough for me.