Cal Fends Off Feisty Cougars in First Road Win
Monday, November 8, 2010
Category: Sports > Fall > Football
PULLMAN, Wash. - With about seven minutes to play at Martin Stadium, the Cal football team held a 14-13 advantage over Washington State.
On 3rd-and-20, Bears quarterback Brock Mansion tossed a bubble screen to Jeremy Ross, who was stood up after a 13-yard gain.
But the senior wideout, aided by a crowd of teammates, kept pushing. And pushing. And pushing.
"I probably looked at the sideline two or three times to see what we we're doing," quarterback Brock Mansion said. "I was looking for the next signal, like 'Should we go for this?' All of a sudden, it's still going, it's still going."
Eight yards later, Cal had a first down. Five plays and a blocked extra point later, the Bears led, 20-13 - the final margin of a win that, like Ross' clutch play, devolved into a painful struggle.
Cal (5-4, 3-3 in the Pac-10) staved off an enormous upset by the Cougars (1-9, 0-7) to finally earn a road victory in 2010. It was the team's first in six tries, dating back to last year.
The Bears avoided the embarrassment of being Washington State's first Pac-10 victim in 16 games, but still found themselves on the wrong side of history in Pullman.
They were blanked in the first quarter against the the nation's worst defense, giving the Cougars their first opening period shutout of 2010.
Cal also became the first FBS team ever to spot Washington State a halftime lead in Paul Wulff's three-year tenure.
"They really came out fighting," Bears defensive end Cameron Jordan said. "We could just feel it. They were fighting for every yard, everything they had was going into it."
Indeed, the Cougars struck the opening blow.
Running back Logwone Mitz scored from 10 yards out, capping a nine-play, 80-yard touchdown drive to put Washington State ahead, 7-0, early in the second quarter. The Cougars went into the locker room with a 10-7 edge.
Led by Jordan, however, the Bears settled down and claimed the lead after intermission.
Cal's senior defensive end made consecutive tackles on Cougars quarterback Jeff Tuel to force a three-and-out just after halftime. Jordan delivered a stellar afternoon, racking up a career-high 12 tackles (including four for loss), 1.5 sacks and a forced fumble.
"Wow, that's a lot. Then I think I'm doing alright," Jordan said, laughing, after finding out his own defensive numbers.
Fellow end Trevor Guyton also had a terrific game. Guyton was put in at the nose tackle position in place of Derrick Hill, and contributed seven more tackles and 2.5 sacks.
"I was happy to see Trevor have a great game," Jordan said. "That's all I saw him, was in the backfield. He got in there like a knife through butter."
With the defense holding Washington State to just 60 yards after halftime, Cal's offense found life coming out of the intermission. The Bears covered 65 yards in just four plays on the team's opening second half possession.
Jones snatched the ball away from Cougars safety Deone Bucannon with a leaping, one-handed grab for 27 yards. On the very next play, Ross took a 27-yard fly sweep to pay-dirt and the Bears led, 14-10.
The two receivers came through in the absence of freshman Keenan Allen, who stood on the sidelines with an ice wrap after tweaking his right knee in pregame warm-ups.
Jones finished with 101 yards receiving on four catches, greatly aiding Mansion in the quarterback's first career start.
Jones reeled in a 50 yard bomb in the second quarter to set up his team's lone first-half score - a two yard run by Shane Vereen.
Meanwhile, Mansion ended the afternoon 12-of-24 for 171 yards and added 25 net yards on the ground.
The junior signal-caller certainly showed some jitters, sailing a couple of early passes and throwing a pair of interceptions. Yet, he shook off those errors to complete 3-of-4 on the Bears' final scoring drive.
"He made very few mistakes," said Vereen, who rushed for 112 yards and two scores. "The mistakes he did make were very fixable. I think he's proven that he can play."
The article's photo caption stated that Brock Mansion went 14-of-24 passing. He actually completed 12-of-24. Mansion's net rushing total was 25 yards, not 53. Jeremy Ross' catch occurred with nine minutes remaining, not seven.
The Daily Californian regrets the error.
Ed Yevelev covers football. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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