In the southeast corner of Washington State, where Pullman is located, they have a phrase for what happened to the Cougars last weekend against Oregon.
They “Couged it.”
Their fans hope it doesn’t happen again when Washington State plays host to Cal (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) on Saturday afternoon for their homecoming game.
Washington State (3-1, 0-1) blew a double-digit lead in the final four minutes against the then-No. 15 Ducks, allowing 22 unanswered points in a span of less than three minutes. The host Cougars scored a meaningless touchdown in the final seconds to lose 44-41.
“We need to make sure we’re going into every single game ready to go four quarters,” Cougars edge rusher Brennan Jackson said. “We had some great goal-line stands early in the game. That’s kind of the embodiment of finishing.”
Instead, the Ducks scored 29 fourth-quarter points.
“We gotta finish the game out … I think we did that in the first two or three games, but we gotta do it consistently, every single week,” Jackson said. “There’s going to be some great teams. This is a hard schedule, it’s a hard conference.”
Washington State’s Cameron Ward completed 37 of 48 passes for 375 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a score in the fourth quarter.
“You saw the best of Cam Ward,” Cougars coach Jake Dickert said. “He has magic with the ball in his hands. …
“(But) you’re not going to win a lot of games giving up 600 yards of offense. … It was them out-executing us in the fourth quarter.”
The Golden Bears opened Pac-12 play with a 49-31 victory against Arizona as freshman Jaydn Ott ran for 274 yards and three touchdowns.
It was the third-highest single-game mark in school history, behind Jahvid Best’s 311 against Washington in 2008 and Jerry Drew’s 283 against Oregon State in 1954.
“Every time I touch the ball, I feel like I’m going to score,” said Ott, who had touchdowns on runs of 73, 18 and 72 yards. “That’s my mentality.”
Jack Plummer added three touchdown passes for the Golden Bears.
Cal leads the all-time series with Washington State 48-29-5.