PULLMAN — Two straight victories have changed the outlook for a California team that began the season 1-4, receiver Keenan Allen said Saturday night.
“Confidence is very high,” Allen said after the Golden Bears beat Washington State 31-17. “We feel we can play with anybody.”
Quarterback Zach Maynard threw for a touchdown and ran for another, and Cal rushed for a season-high 318 yards.
C.J. Anderson rushed for 112 yards and two touchdowns as the Golden Bears (3-4, 2-2 Pac-12) earned their eighth straight win over the Cougars.
Anderson said a key to the game was the 78 yards on 10 carries by Maynard.
“They’ve got to account for the quarterback,” Anderson said. “Zach did a great job of getting upfield.”
Maynard completed 14 of 23 passes for 189 yards, and was intercepted twice. Cal finished with 507 total yards of offense.
Washington State (2-5, 0-4) has lost four in a row, and new coach Mike Leach is still looking for his first Pac-12 win.
Washington State continued to suffer offensive woes, switching quarterbacks in the first quarter. Despite piling up 420 total yards, the Cougars had trouble punching the ball into the end zone when they got into scoring position.
“We left meat scraps all over the table,” Leach said. “We had opportunities to win that game.”
“We played very hard,” Leach said. “I thought we got better.”
The Bears scored first, after Michael Lowe’s interception gave Cal the ball on its own 25. On the third play, Maynard connected with Allen, his brother, on a short pass that turned into a 69-yard touchdown reception and a 7-0 Bears lead late in the first quarter. Allen finished with 11 receptions for 166 yards.
On its next possession, Cal drove to WSU’s 10 before Maynard was intercepted by Anthony Carpenter. Jeff Tuel, who replaced Connor Halliday at quarterback after Halliday was intercepted twice, then led WSU 86 yards to the 3. But two incomplete passes and a short run made them settle for Andrew Furney’s 20-yard field goal to cut Cal’s lead to 7-3 in the second quarter.
Cal responded with a 75-yard drive, and Anderson ran over from the 4 to give the Bears a 14-3 lead that they held at the end of the first half.
WSU receiver Marquess Wilson, who caught four passes for 87 yards in the first half, was injured late in the half and did not return.
Cal marched 71 yards on the opening drive of the second half, with Maynard running over from the 1-yard line for a 21-3 lead.
Washington State came back with a 75-yard drive, with Tuel passing 8 yards to Brett Bartolone for a touchdown to narrow Cal’s lead to 21-10 with 6:42 left in the third. That broke a string of six quarters in which WSU had not scored a touchdown.
Vincenzo D’Amato hit a 52-yard field goal to lift Cal to a 24-10 lead with 2:02 left in the third. Furney missed a 43-yarder for WSU early in the fourth quarter.
Anderson added a 29-yard touchdown run for a 31-10 lead
Bartolone caught a touchdown pass from Tuel midway through the fourth quarter to complete the scoring.
Tuel completed 30 of 53 passes for 320 yards and two touchdowns. Isiah Myers caught eight passes for 108 yards.