Flip out: Bowers’ TD Leap Leads Cal Past No. 8 Wash. St 37-3
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Ross Bowers did an acrobatic flip into the end zone to cap a touchdown run for California and the Golden Bears used a dominant defensive performance to stun No. 8 Washington State 37-3 Friday night for their first win in 14 years against a top 10 team.
Camryn Bynum had two of California's five interceptions against Luke Falk, and the Bears (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) used seven turnovers and nine sacks to top the Cougars (6-1, 3-1) for a signature win under first-year coach Justin Wilcox.
Cal was just 1-52-1 against top 10 teams since 1978 with the only win coming over No. 3 Southern California in 2003 before breaking through against mistake-prone Washington State.
The Bears used short fields on their first four scoring drives before Bowers delivered the highlight of the night with his touchdown run early in the fourth that left the crowd gasping in amazement.
Bowers, whose mother used to be the gymnastics coach at Washington, scrambled and then leaped off two feet from just outside the 2. He did a front flip over Justus Rogers and fell in the end zone following the 7-yard run that made it 27-3.
The game was played in smoky conditions because of the wine country fires that had killed at least 35 people and destroyed at least 5,700 homes and businesses about 50 miles north of Cal's campus.
The tone for this game was set when Falk was intercepted on Washington State's third play from scrimmage, setting up a field goal by Matt Anderson.
The Cougars committed three turnovers in the first half, missed a field goal and had a 1-yard punt in the final minute of the half. That short punt set up a 45-yard TD drive for the Bears, who scored on the final play of the half when Bowers threw a 2-yard pass to Kyle Wells to make it 17-3.
The touchdown came one play after a female fan ran on the field holding a pink, stuffed pig and had to be dragged off by security.
Washington State: Falk entered the game with two interceptions in 262 passes before throwing five against the Bears. He had one on his first pass, one in the end zone, another in the red zone on a botched shovel pass and two more overall. It was a rough day all around for Falk, who was repeatedly battered by Cal's rush and lost a fumble that was returned for a TD by Gerran Brown after the ninth sack of the game.
California: The Bears were held to minus-14 yards rushing in the first half before wearing down the Cougars behind bruising Vic Enwere. Enwere carried the bulk of the rushing load with Patrick Laird out with an injury and finished with 102 yards on 22 carries as Cal dominated the game in the trenches.
The Cougars, who entered the game with their highest ranking since 2003, will fall out of the top 10 next week.
WASHINGTON STATE: Host Colorado next Saturday.
CALIFORNIA: Host Arizona next Saturday.