Seven points. That seemed to be the magic number in the second half Saturday. WSU, despite a litany of mistakes in every phase, especially special teams, needed just seven points to beat a ranked team on the road. From the opening play, it was clear that WSU was at least as good as the 24th-ranked team in the country, if not better. Still, there were those seven measly points.
Needing those seven points, Gabe Marks fumbled at the Cal 20, WSU went three-and-out despite great field position, WSU couldn't recover a fumble despite seemingly 100 tries to get it, the defense allowed a 3rd and 36 conversion (seriously, who could've seen a draw play coming there?!) and Luke Falk was intercepted because he waited too long to throw to previously wide open Tyler Baker.
Seven was also the grand total of points a supposedly potent offense could muster against a supposedly poor defense in the second half. I don't know what happened to those guys at halftime, but their second half performance was night-and-day worse. The offensive line, which many have raved about in the past, gave up way too many sacks. In fairness, more than one of those were once again the fault of the quarterback's failure to either throw to a receiver or throw it away.
There were so many plays that, if just one had gone WSU's way, the outcome would have been different, and we'd all be much happier this morning. Ahh, but therein lies the rub. I think Cal is a bit overrated, but they made the plays it took to win the game (and even got credit for a couple they didn't make because Pac-12 refs). That's the sign of a good team. WSU didn't make that play or two it took to win. That's the sign of a bad team.
Is WSU a bit unlucky? Yeah, they are. Cal fumbled four times Saturday and only lost one of them. WSU fumbled three times Saturday and lost all three. But when you aren't a very good team, it also seems like you aren't a very lucky team either. Funny how that works. And I don't know about you, but I feel like this season is already about four months old for some reason.
EDIT: I forgot to add this originally. It is clear that Mike Leach is not a student of history. If he was, he'd have known that Bill Doba once called for a fake punt with a lead, at ranked Cal, near midfield late in the game. In 2005, WSU led by 10 with under seven minutes to go. On fourth and two, Scott Davis tried a sneak from punt formation. He didn't make it. Just over a minute later, Cal was in the end zone. Three minutes after that, they scored again. Despite playing well enough to win, WSU lost that one too. Second verse, same as the first.
In the end, it's just another loss to throw on the pile of others that we've witnessed over the last decade plus. It's the 27th loss since Mike Leach took over, the 67th loss since Paul Wulff took over and the 96th loss since Mike Price left. In all likelihood, we will endure our 100th loss since the start of 2003 by mid-November. One would think we'd be numb to it by now. For some reason, it doesn't feel that way.
Cougars play well, but not well enough to win at Cal | The Spokesman-Review
But on a day the Cougars played some of their best football of the season, the squandered opportunities that have plagued WSU arose once more in a thoroughly deflating 34-28 loss in front of 42,042 fans at No. 24 California.
WSU notes: Redshirt freshman DE Hercules Mata’afa makes presence known - Spokesman.com - Oct. 4, 2015
Hercules Mata’afa picked up the first sack of his career. Two plays later, Mata’afa smashed into Goff again, making Cal’s offense backpedal like a cornerback.
Cal rallies to beat Washington State 34-28 - San Jose Mercury News
The nation's worst major college defense most of the past two seasons, Cal collected seven sacks and forced four turnovers. Over the past two weeks, the Bears have 11 sacks and nine takeaways.
Cougars Place Four in Finals at WSU Invitational - Washington State University Official Athletic Site
Washington State women's tennis continued play at the 2015 WSU Invitational.
Great American Beer Festival favorite beers - Fortune
I was lucky enough to attend this event in 2010 and 2011, when you could get tickets a day or so after they went on sale. Apparently that isn't the case anymore.
Cats meet craft beers in latest Internet trend | www.journal-news.com
Looks like Baxter has some competition.
These Americans have yet to recover from the recession - MarketWatch
The Great Recession is officially over, but one group of Americans is struggling to leave it behind.