Football Mauls Bears, 63-37
October 18, 1997
PULLMAN, Wash. - California scored early, but Washington State scored often en route to a record 63-37 defeat of the Golden Bears in front of 35,759 fans at Martin Stadium.
The win brought the Cougs to 6-0 on the season and 4-0 in Pac-10 play, while Cal fell to 2-4, 0-3 in league play. The 63 points compiled by the WSU offense was the highest output ever for a WSU team against a Pac-10 opponent. In addition, it was the largest point-total for a Cougar offense since a 64-14 beating of Montana State in 1985.
Cal jumped on the Cougs early when Justin Vedder found Kofe Nartey for a 52-yard hook-up while taking advantage of an all-out WSU blitz. But WSU would respond to Cal's 6-0 lead not once, but eight times.
The Cougs' first taste of the endzone came on their first drive of the game when Michael Black broke free for a 24-yard touchdown run to cap off the eight-play 78-yard drive. The WSU defense then forced Cal to punt for what would be the first of eight times.
With the ball back in their hands the Cougar offense struck fast. This time DeJuan Gilmore rumbled 54 yards to finish a four-play, 75-yard drive.
On their next possession Ryan Leaf found Chris Jackson on a 72-yard route which and with Rian Lindell kick's kick WSU led 21-6.
A blocked punt gave WSU possession on Cal's 14 yard-line and one play later the Cougs were up 28-6 as Leaf hooked up with Jackson for the second time in a row. Before halftime, Washington State added touchdowns by Black and Kevin McKenzie on a 28-yard run and 57-yard pass from Leaf, respectively.
Coming into the second half with a 42-6 lead, the Cougar offense was not finished, adding to the route. On their first possession of the third quarter the Cougs marched 80 yards in six plays.
Black scored his third touchdown of the game, this time on a 55-yard connection with Leaf. After another defensive stop, Leaf threw his WSU record-tying fifth touchdown pass of the game, finding Nian Taylor for 43 yards.
With the game comfortably at hand, 56-6, Leaf turned over the reins to backup quarterback Steve Birnbaum. Cal would chip away at WSU's giant lead, but it was never enough.
Before the final seconds ticked off the clock, Cal put up 21 additional points, all in the final quarter. Brain Surgener drove the Bears 23 yards, hitting Joshua White for six points, after Shawn Tims fumbled a Cal punt.
Cal's defense would strike next, bringing Birnbaum down in the endzone for a safety. Vedder then found Phillip Pipersburg and Bobby Shaw for fourth-quarter touchdown receptions.
With three minutes remaining, Mawuko Tugbenyouh recovered and returned a WSU fumble 60 yards for the score, taking the lead down to 56-37.
But the Cougs warded off any last-minute comebacks, even adding a Birnbaum scoring sneak, winning the game 63-37.
In addition to his five touchdown passes, Leaf threw for 332 yards with no interceptions. Jackson was Leaf's favorite target of the day with five receptions for 111 yards and two touchdowns. Black ran the ball for 86 yards on only nine carries. Steve Gleason and Brandon Moore led the defense with ten and eight tackles respectively.
WASHINGTON STATE 14 28 14 7 63 OPP 6 0 10 21 37
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