Reeling teams clash as Cal hosts Washington State

Field Level Media

November 07, 2023 at 8:09 pm.

Two reeling teams with fading bowl hopes square off Saturday when Cal hosts Washington State in Berkeley in the last home game of the season for the Golden Bears.

After starting 4-0 and ranked No. 13 in the AP Top 25 poll, Washington State (4-5, 1-5 Pac-12) has lost five consecutive games following last week’s 10-7 defeat to Stanford at Pullman, Wash.

Cal (3-6, 1-5) suffered its fourth straight loss — all against ranked teams — when the Golden Bears were routed 63-19 at Oregon last week.

The Golden Bears must win their remaining three games to become bowl eligible. They will play at Stanford and UCLA to conclude the regular season.

“The only thing that really matters is winning, and we’re going to win those next three games,” said Cal freshman quarterback Fernando Mendoza.

The 63 points allowed to Oregon were the most in the seven-year tenure of Cal’s Justin Wilcox, who has a background as a defensive coordinator.

Cal has allowed at least 50 points in four games this season for the first time since 2013, when the Golden Bears finished 1-11.

“I take responsibility for the performance of the team,” Wilcox said. “I need to do a better job to get the team ready and make sure they are given the best chance to be successful.”

Washington State coach Jake Dickert said the Cougars have not lost their desire to become bowl eligible for the eighth straight non-COVID year. They must win two of their last three games to do that. They will host Colorado next week before playing the Apple Cup game on Nov. 25 at Washington.

Despite the Cougars’ recent woes, Dickert has not changed the practice routines.

“I’m not a big believer, or a believer at all, (in saying) ‘Because things aren’t going our way, let’s put in 30 more hours,'” he said. “Let’s just live to the standard. … Let’s prepare to the standard, and let’s do it that way regardless of the outcome. So that’s been the mindset of this building.”

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