PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Washington State is 7-0 in conference play for the first time in its history. That isn't enough for receiver Gabe Marks. "Now we want to be 8-0. That would be cool," Marks said.
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Washington State is 7-0 in conference play for the first time in its history. That isn't enough for receiver Gabe Marks.
"Now we want to be 8-0. That would be cool," Marks said.
The surging Cougars, ranked 23rd in the nation, took control of the Pac-12 North by winning their eighth consecutive game on Saturday.
Luke Falk threw five touchdown passes, including three to River Cracraft, helping Washington State beat California 56-21.
The Cougars (8-2, 7-0 Pac-12, No. 23 CFP) have their longest winning streak since 1930 and are on a surprising quest for a Pac-12 championship.
"It's about just winning games," said Marks, who set a Pac-12 record for most career receptions in the game.
Davis Webb threw for 425 yards and three touchdowns for Cal (4-6, 2-5), which has lost three straight games and is struggling to keep its bowl hopes alive.
The victory, coupled with No. 4 Washington's loss to Southern California, left the Cougars in first place in the Pac-12 North. But they weren't getting complacent.
"We've still got a lot of football to play," Falk said.
"I'd like to be first place at the end of November," offensive lineman Riley Sorenson said.
Cracraft caught nine passes for 87 yards before leaving midway through the third quarter with a leg injury.
Falk completed 36 of 50 passes for 373 yards with one interception. The former walk-on broke a team record with his 23rd game of at least 300 passing yards.
The Cougars produced 654 yards of total offense in the game, including 254 rushing yards.
"These guys run like trains," Sorenson said of the Cougar running backs. "It adds a wrinkle we haven't had."
California's high-flying offense piled up 525 yards but struggled to get into the end zone. Demetris Robertson had a pair of touchdown receptions for the Golden Bears.
California had won 10 of the past 11 games between the teams and had not lost in Pullman since 2002.
"I was disappointed in the way we played," California coach Sonny Dykes said. "We are not playing particularly well on defense, but it does not help when we have lost seven of our starting eight safeties for the year."
Cal punted on the game's first possession, and Washington State's Kaleb Fossum returned the ball 75 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead. It was WSU's first punt return for a touchdown since 2005.
Gerard Wicks, who finished with 128 yards, scored on a 2-yard run for a 14-0 lead.
Marks caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Falk midway through the fourth quarter to set the career receiving record.
MARKS A LOT
Marks caught seven passes in the game to give him 295 career receptions, breaking the Pac-12 record of 294 held by Colorado's Nelson Spruce. Two of Marks' receptions were for touchdowns.
California: The Golden Bears are struggling to qualify for a bowl game, having lost four of their past five games. They are giving up more than 44 points per game, worst in the Pac-12.
Washington State: The Cougars control their own destiny and can clinch the Pac-12 North by winning their final two regular season games — against No. 16 Colorado and No. 4 Washington.
Washington State is nearly certain to move up a few places in the poll after yet another decisive victory.
The last Washington State team to win eight games in a row was the 1930 squad, which won its first nine games and then lost to Alabama in the Rose Bowl.
Dykes worked as an assistant under Washington State coach Mike Leach at Texas Tech for seven years and runs a similar offense to the Air Raid, though Cal's is known as the Bear Raid.
California hosts Stanford next Saturday.
Washington State travels to No. 16 Colorado next Saturday.
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