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Cal-Washington State was football with flamethrowers

Every week, without fail, you should watch Drunk Pac-12 Football.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

1. Considering everything that happened on Saturday, you'd be forgiven for glossing over Washington State and Cal bringing flamethrowers to a football game, aiming them directly at each other's defenses and special teams, and laughing while lighting everything in sight on fire. It was late -- a 10:30 p.m. ET start -- and most of the country had already been overloaded with very good football throughout the day, including a Hail Mary in the USC-Arizona State game during the early moments of the Cougars-Bears slugfest.

2. Don't ever skip out on Pac-12 football at night. This cannot be emphasized enough: If there is a Pac-12 game on at night, no matter the day, find a television and watch. Arizona-Oregon, USC-Arizona State, and WSU-Cal are exhibits A, B and C from this week. Drop what you're doing and find the drunk football on the West Coast. It's the most entertaining thing going.

3. Connor Halliday is going to throw the ball until his arm falls off. We knew this already, and have since Mike Leach took over at Washington State. Halliday threw the ball 89 times in a loss against Oregon last year, in all likelihood because Leach was mad that Oregon was working his team over and decided to just extend the game as long as possible by throwing the ball on every down. Halliday only threw the ball 70 times against Cal, and I say only because it could've been much, much more. The Washington State run game was mostly inept, and with the passing game finding little to no resistance, it's a wonder Leach didn't abandon the ground entirely in favor of non-stop air strikes.

4. Halliday finished the game with 734 yards passing, six touchdowns, and no interceptions. The yardage was a Division 1 record, and Halliday broke his own Pac-12 record for passing yards during the third quarter. The most amazing part of that first sentence is the zero interceptions part. He threw the ball 70 times and did not turn it over once.

5. Washington State still lost, 60-59.

6. Jared Goff threw the ball a pedestrian-by-comparison 53 times for 527 yards and five touchdowns. This would be an amazing performance in a bubble, but ends up being somewhat of a footnote compared to Halliday and the rest of the ridiculousness that happened late in Pullman.

7. Washington State and Cal combined for 123 pass attempts and 1,261 yards, and neither team turned the ball over. No interceptions, no fumbles, no real resistance. Halliday dropped back 70 times and wasn't sacked once. Nothing makes sense.

8. We pause to discuss the third quarter here. Wazzu and Cal combined for 56 points in 15 minutes of football, and Cal was six feet from making it 63 points. Fifty-eight full FBS games from Week 6 fell short of that many combined points.

9. The points weren't even the weirdest thing to happen in the third quarter. That honor goes to the following sequence:

  • Washington State scores a touchdown, recovers a surprise onside kick, and scores another touchdown.
  • Washington State kicks the ball deep. Cal returns it 100 yards for a touchdown.
  • Washington State shrugs and scores another touchdown.
  • Washington State kicks the ball deep again. Cal returns it 98 yards for a touchdown on a return that looks exactly the same as the first.
  • Washington State shrugs and scores another touchdown.

After being burned twice, Washington State kicked short and received a standing ovation from the crowd. Both Cal and Washington State began to use squib and popup kicks after this sequence, likely because both coaches realized they were flying too close to the sun.

10. Halliday threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns in the third quarter. On the other side, Cal only had three real drives because they were too busy returning kickoffs for touchdowns. Those drives lasted 51 seconds, 41 seconds and about two minutes (this one ended the quarter). Each resulted in a touchdown.

11. Cal did not punt or kick a field goal in the second half. This is what the drive chart looked like, via ESPN:


The only time Cal didn't score a touchdown was at the end of the game, when Goff took a knee to end it. The Cal offense was on a hot streak to end all hot streaks and was using the Washington State defense as a piñata.

12. The Cougars had the ball last, which is a thing both coaches were coveting in this game. After driving all the way down to the 4, Washington State ran the ball twice (and probably scored on the first run), called a timeout on third down at the 1 with 19 seconds left, and missed a field goal to win the game. Considering everything else that happened in the game, the climax isn't even the most ridiculous thing to have happened.

All the other stuff that gets dumped in at the end like a notebook:

Cal gave up 812 yards and won ... Washington State had 25 rush attempts in the game, while Cal only had 18 … Trevor Davis accounted for four Cal touchdowns, two from the aforementioned returns and two more receiving … Somehow there were three rushing touchdowns, and Washington State had two of them (each from a yard out) … Washington State had passing touchdowns of 90 and 86 yards … The receiving stats:

wr stats

For those scoring at home, Cal is now atop the Pac-12 North and is one Hail Mary away from being undefeated.

The Pac-12 is the dumbest, most entertaining conference in the country. It's not the best football, but it is the most ridiculous.