Cameron Ward threw for 343 yards and three touchdowns as Washington State beat California 28-9 on Saturday, despite Ward being intercepted twice in the end zone.
Renard Bell caught eight passes for 115 yards and a touchdown for Washington State (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12), which played four of its first five games at home.
Jack Plummer completed 23 of 33 passes for 273 yards for California (3-2, 1-1), which was coming off a big win over Arizona.
Both teams scored over 40 points last weekend, but points were scarce for most of this game.
After a scoreless first quarter, Washington State got a 34-yard punt return by Robert Ferrel, coupled with a personal foul on the Bears, to start a drive on the Cal 20-yard line. Jaylen Jenkins ran the ball in from the 2 for a 7-0 lead.
Cal drove to the WSU 24, but had to settle for a 42-yard field goal by Dario Longhetto to pull within 7-3.
On WSU’s next drive, Ward was intercepted in the end zone by Cal safety Daniel Scott. The Golden Bears advanced to midfield, but Plummer was sacked on consecutive plays and they had to punt.
Washington State kept the 7-3 lead at halftime in a defensive battle, with each team barely topping 100 yards of offense.
Washington State had the first drive of the second half, and Ward quickly connected with Bell on a 47-yard completion to the Cal 17. Ferrel caught a 17-yard touchdown pass barely a minute into the half for a 14-3 lead.
Cal went three-and-out, and Washington State advanced to the Bears’ 21-yard line. But a scrambling Ward was intercepted in the end zone again, this time by Craig Woodson, to kill the drive.
Jaydn Ott scored on a 2-yard run for California early in the fourth quarter, a touchdown set up by receptions of 30 and 49 yards by Jeremiah Hunter. The 2-point conversion pass failed and Washington State led 14-9.
Ward threw a 37-yard touchdown pass to Bell four plays later to lift the Cougars to a 21-9 lead with 12 minutes left in the game.
Ward added another touchdown pass to tight end Billy Riviere with six minutes left.
Ott, who ran for 274 yards and three touchdowns last week against Arizona, was held to 69 yards on Saturday.
Washington State: The Cougars defense seems to have recovered from a collapse that allowed Oregon to score three quick touchdowns in the closing minutes of the Ducks’ 44-41 win last week.
California: The Golden Bears took a step back from their 49-31 win over Arizona last weekend.
Washington State: The Cougars play at No. 6 Southern California next Saturday in their toughest challenge of the season.
California: The Bears have a bye next weekend, before playing at Colorado on Oct. 15.
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