PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — Gardner Minshew threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Easop Winston Jr. with 32 seconds left to lift No. 10 Washington State to a 19-13 win over California on Saturday night, extending WSU’s long-shot quest to crash the College Football Playoff.
Minshew threw for 334 yards for Washington State (8-1, 5-1 Pac-12, No. 8 CFP), which is also seeking its first Pac-12 North title. The Cougars have a 12-game home winning streak, fourth-longest in the nation.
Chase Garbers threw for 127 yards and ran for 67 for Cal (5-4, 2-4).
This is Washington State’s first 8-1 start since 2002.
Blake Mazza’s 29-yard field goal put WSU up 3-0 early in the game.
After Evan Weaver intercepted a Minshew pass at the Washington State 39, Garbers threw a 2-yard touchdown pass to Malik McMorris to give the Bears a 7-3 lead.
Max Borghi replied with a 5-yard touchdown run, capping a 75-yard drive, to put the Cougars ahead 10-7.
Greg Thomas hit a 42-yard field goal late in the first half to tie the score at 10-10. Washington State linebacker Dominick Silvels was ejected from the game during the drive for targeting on tight end Ian Bunting.
Mazza kicked a 36-yard field goal with one second left in the first half to give Washington State a 13-10 lead.
Thomas kicked a 46-yard field goal late in the third to tie the score at 13-13.
Cal was driving for a go-ahead touchdown when quarterback Brandon McIlwain was intercepted in the end zone by Skyler Thomas midway through the fourth. The Cougars drove to the California 13, where Mazza missed a 30-yard field goal with 3:31 left in the game.
After Cal went three and out, Minshew drove the Cougars 69 yards, ending with a 10-yard touchdown pass to Winston for a 19-13 lead.
Cal: The game was a classic showdown between Washington State’s Air Raid offense, which is averaging 40.8 points, and a California defense that is the best in the Pac-12 against the pass. Cal managed to play the game on its terms until the very end.
Washington State: The Cougars are the only remaining Pac-12 team with a single loss, and the Cougars almost certainly need to win out for a chance at their first playoff bid.