Cal Football Returns to Action at Washington State
Sept. 14, 2001
Following an emotional week that included the postponement of Cal's Sept. 15 game at Rutgers, the Golden Bears make their first road trip of the season when they visit Washington State Saturday, Sept. 22. In facing the Cougars, Cal will be looking for its first win in the state of Washington since beating WSU, 45-13, in Pullman during the 1979 season.
Although 0-2 on the year, the Bears have demonstrated an ability to move the ball, averaging 396.0 yards per game, far better than the 317.5 ypg the Bears averaged last year. In fact, Cal's 411 total yards last week gave the Bears their first 400-yard game since late in the 1998 season.
Individually, Cal's backfield of TB Joe Igber and FB Marcus Fields may soon prove to be one of the school's best in many years. Igber rushed for 116 yards and two touchdowns against Illinois, passing former Cal great Jackie Jensen for eighth place on Cal's career rushing list with 1,753 yards. Fields came through with 79 yards on five catches vs. BYU, including a 25-yard scoring pass. Fields (9 total catches) and Igber (7) rank 1-2 in receiving for the Bears.
At quarterback, junior Kyle Boller already has shown improvement from last year, increasing his completion percentage from 46.7 percent to 57.4 percent (35-61, 411 yards). Against BYU, Boller moved into 10th on Cal's all-time passing yards chart, and he enters the WSU contest with 3,835 yards.
Cal-Washington State: The Series
In a series that dates back to 1919, Cal owns a 36-23-5 lead. However, Washington State has won seven of the last nine match-ups. The Cougars have also prevailed in the last eight games in Washington, dating back to 1979. In last year's contest, WSU capitalized on three Cal punting miscues to win, 21-17.
A Quick Look at Washington State
With wins over Idaho and Boise State, Washington State is off to a 2-0 start for the first time since 1998. The Cougars have allowed just 128 net rushing yards and rank 13th nationally (64.0 ypg). On the offensive side, senior WR Nakoa McElrath leads the nation in receiving yards with 18 catches for 251 yards. McElrath's numbers are a result of an impressive start by QB Jason Gesser, who has thrown for 498 yards so far.