Now go do that voodoo that you do ... so well!
Everyone has it; that place or thing that always causes them a big bug-a-boo. Parallel parking a car, properly cooking a pumpkin pie, actually locating that thing you’ve been looking for for your wife for hours on end only for her to walk into the house and find it in like 20 seconds. No personal experience there. Nope. None.
For the Washington State Cougars, that thing seems to be the Cal Golden Bears.
A last second touchdown to escape in 2018, poor Zach Charme being destroyed needlessly in the worst fake punt in world history (yes, even knowing what the Indianapolis Colts once did), destruction at the hands of an unranked Cal squad and the destruction of the locker room that followed.
And we probably don’t need to mention that 19-yard field goal.
For whatever reason, the Golden Bears are the thing that causes the Cougars big problems. It’s ordinarily a regular sized problem but in a season where the margins are become more razor thin by the week, the problem becomes outsized. The Cougars have four games left to win two and with three realistic shots, this game is close to a must-win as they’ve come in 2019.
We know the issues Cal’s defense has caused Washington State’s passing game in the past couple of seasons. So to try to defeat that Cal voodoo, the Cougs need senior quarterback Anthony Gordon to cook and cook like he never has before.
We’ve all seen what a capable signal caller Gordon is. His ability to drop passes into a bucket 35 yards downfield is unlike anything we’ve seen on the Palouse in sometime. I count myself among those who thought this job was Gage Gubrud’s to lose though it’s now apparent to me why Liam Ryan was happy to tell the world in January the team was quite content with their talent at that position. It’s clear what good four years of learning this offense has done for him; combined with his confidence and swagger, he’s more adept than any of us could have imagined.
It’s clear the problem with this team is not the offense but, then again, it’s clear the problem with Cal is not its defense. The Oregon Ducks’ defensive quality looks a little worse today than it did before their game against the Washington Huskies and the Arizona State Sun Devils are almost certainly not that top-25 SP+ defense they were a month ago. So it stands to reason this will be the best defense the Cougs have faced since they played Utah which went ... not great.
Yes, it was in the rain. Yes, it was in the wind. But it still gives plenty of reason to worry. That, and Justin Wilcox is a former Washington coach and we all know how well those games have gone recently. Or ever.
The Cougs have scored just 22 points in the last two match ups with the Golden Bears. This offense is certainly better than either of those and the Cal defense looks a little worse but here’s where we bring you back to that lil’ voodoo issue. WSU is trying to counter it with the most gorgeous away unis they have but Cal will counter with what they wore in 2017 but they didn’t even need that because Cal is ... Cal.
So Anthony Gordon is going to have to have one hell of a game if Washington State wants to get past Cal. The defense is improving but there’s still reason to worry about them allowing a big play or two and with less room for error, Wazzu needs to capitalize on as many drives as possible.
Let Gordon cook in this game, and the Cougs should toss the voodoo doll in a dumpster as they head past the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum where it belongs. Seriously. The sewer backs up.
I have exercised the demons!
Anthony Gordon, the most important person vs. California.