Cal coach Sonny Dykes did his best to strike a nonchalant pose after a 34-28 victory over Washington State on Saturday kept his No. 24 Bears undefeated.
“Good win for us. On to the next one,” he said.
The next one is Saturday in Salt Lake City and it’s big enough that ESPN is marking the occasion by bringing in its GameDay program. The Bears take on No. 10 Utah, and a victory would give them their first 6-0 record since 1950.
“If we beat Utah . . . I ain’t going to say when,” said Cal wide receiver Kenny Lawler, before a sly wink of the eye. “It’s going to mean a lot when we get it.”
The Bears got to 5-0 for the first time since 2007 and improved to 2-0 in the Pac-12 on the strength of four touchdown passes from Jared Goff – two of them to Lawler – another dose of timely defense.
The nation’s worst major-college defense most of the past two seasons, Cal collected seven sacks and forced four more turnovers. Over the past two weeks, the Bears have 11 sacks and nine takeaways.
A year after escaping Pullman, Washington with a 60-59 victory, the Bears allowed the Cougars (2-2, 0-1) to score just seven second-half points before a disappointing crowd of 42,042 at Memorial Stadium.
Safety Damariay Drew, banished from campus last year after an assault incident, made the day’s biggest play when he came seemingly from nowhere to pick off Luke Falk’s pass down the middle at the 10-yard line with 3:29 left.
“I just wanted to make a play,” Drew said.
“A big-time play,” Dykes called it. “When he threw the pass, I didn’t see Damariay.”