SAN FRANCISCO -- After a lackluster effort last week against UCLA, the California football team showed up in a big way against fellow Pac-12 North cellar-dweller Washington State through wind and rain at AT&T Park in San Francisco, sprinting out to a 23-0 lead at the end of the first half.
Embattled junior quarterback Zach Maynard completed 9-of-14 passes (64.3 percent) for 106 yards and a touchdown, while his younger brother - sophomore wide receiver Keenan Allen caught six passes for 68 yards to become the sixth player in school history to record 1,000 receiving yards in a single season.
The Bears piled up 240 yards of total offense to the Cougars' 70, with most of those coming on the ground. Of the 134 rushing yards Cal tallied, junior starting tailback Isi Sofele accounted for 91 on 15 carries, including a two-yard touchdown run.
Cal didn't waste much time getting on the board after a futile showing in Pasadena, kicking off its first scoring drive with a 15-yard run over right tackle by Sofele, which included a patented Jeremy Ross hurdle.
With veteran offensive guard Brian Schwenke downed due to illness, senior Justin Gates has filled in admirably against an active Washington State defensive line, led by big defensive end Travis Long, who's recorded four tackles, one sack and two tackles for loss at the break.
After Sofele's run, Maynard hit Allen on the left edge for nine yards, and a solid pair of blocks by tight end Spencer Ladner and Matt Summers-Gavin led to a 22-yard Sofele gain on the right side.
On second-and-six at the Cougars' 18, Maynard faked a handoff to the right, rolled left and found tight end Anthony Miller for an 18-yard touchdown to cap a 66-yard, six-play drive.
Each team came up empty on their next drives, with Cal punter Bryan Anger providing a big highlight with a 60-yard coffin-corner kick to the Cougars' 5.
On the ensuing defensive stand, redshirt freshman outside linebacker David Wilkerson went down with an unspecified lower body injury, and was replaced by true freshman Cecil Whiteside.
Whiteside paid immediate dividends, coming up with two tackles, one sack and one pass break-up in the first half, as the Bears held Washington State QB Marshall Lobbestael to 8-of-19 passing for 70 yards, and stifled the run game, holding the Cougars to -15 net yards on the ground.
Sofele was key on the next Cal scoring drive in the first quarter, rushing 5 times for 14 yards and the score, with a big, 29-yard pass from Maynard to Allen on a slant, where Allen hurdled a defender to get down to the one-yard line to set up a scoring rumble from Sofele, to put the Bears up 13-0 when the point-after attempt by Giorgio Tavecchio was blocked.
Tavecchio would wind up redeeming himself in the second quarter, hitting a 43-yard field goal as Cal added a two-yard touchdown run by C.J. Anderson with less than a minute to go before the half.