This game may not be easy — playing in Pullman, Wash., rarely is — but it’s a game Cal cannot afford to surrender. Here’s my game preview that will appear in Saturday’s editions.
CAL AT WASHINGTON STATE
RECORDS: Cal 2-4, 1-2 in Pac-12; Washington State 2-4, 0-3
KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m., Martin Stadium, Pullman, Wash.
TV: Pac-12 Networks
SERIES HISTORY: Cal leads 43-25-5. The Bears have won the past seven meetings, including 30-7 in 2011 at AT&T Park. Another victory would equal Cal’s longest streak in the series, achieved from 1920 through ’29.
STORYLINES: The Bears hope to build on momentum of their 43-17 win over UCLA and reach .500 in the Pac-12 . . . This is Cal’s first road game against a team not ranked in the Top-25, following losses at Ohio State and USC . . . Cal gets its first look at WSU under Mike Leach, who coached Texas Tech to a 45-31 win over Cal in the 2004 Holiday Bowl. Leach’s Red Raiders’ teams averaged 37.3 points from 2000 through 2009, but the Cougars twice this season have been held without a touchdown.
INJURY UPDATE: Cal – CB Marc Anthony (knee) and DL Todd Barr (calf) are probable. Washington State – OG-OT Wade Jacobsen (neck/shoulder) is probable.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s defensive secondary vs. Washington State’s receivers. The Bears picked off four passes last week vs. UCLA, but will be challenged by a Cougars’ offense that employs four receivers on every down and averages 48 pass attempts per game. Cougars junior WR Marquess Wilson, needs 53 receiving yards to reach 3,000 for his career, has 13 100-yard games and scored 23 touchdowns but never has done either vs. Cal.
STATS THAT MATTER: The six turnovers Cal forced against UCLA are the most by a Jeff Tedford team . . . Three different Cal backs — C.J. Anderson, Isi Sofele and Brendan Bigelow — have posted 100-yard rushing games this season. . . . The Cougars rank second-to-last in the nation in rushing at 41.3 yards per game. . . . Washington State DE Travis Long leads the Pac-12 with 7.5 sacks.