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Washington State Looks To Extend Unbeaten Start Vs. Cal

By The Associated Press

No. 8 Washington State (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12) at California (3-3, 0-3), Friday, 10:30 p.m. ET (ESPN)

Line: Washington State by 13.

Series record: California leads 46-27-5.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

The Cougars hold their highest ranking since being eighth heading into the 2003 Apple Cup. Washington State wants to extend its best start since 2001 when the team also opened 7-0. The Golden Bears are trying to snap a three-game skid.

KEY MATCHUP

The Cougars are fifth in the country with 15 takeaways and now face a team that has struggled to hold onto the ball. The Bears have turned the ball over in every game this season and have nine during their three-game losing streak. Oregon State is the only Power Five team with more giveaways than Cal.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Washington State: DL Hercules Mata’afa. Mata’afa is the key to an improved Washington State defense. He already has 4 ½ sacks this season and is tops among all active Pac-12 players with 34 ½ career tackles for loss. The Cougars are sixth in the country and tied for the Pac-12 lead with 49 tackles for loss.

California: QB Ross Bowers. Bowers has struggled against top competition this season, throwing four INTs in a loss to Southern California and throwing for just 80 yards last week at Washington. He has completed just 55.9 percent of his passes and has already thrown eight INTs.

FACTS & FIGURES

Cal has won 10 of 12 in the series but lost 56-21 last year at Washington State. … The Cougars have scored at least 30 points in six straight game for the school’s longest streak since seven in a row in 2001. … Washington State QB Luke Falk is the NCAA’s active career leader in yards passing (12,893) and touchdown passes (108). … The Cougars are 18-3 when winning the turnover margin under defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. … Washington State WR Tavares Martin Jr. ranks 2nd nationally and leads the Pac-12 with seven TD catches. … The Bears are facing their third top 10 team in four weeks, having lost to No. 5 USC and No. 6 Washington. … Bears K Matt Anderson needs one point to tie Jim Breech for third most ever at Cal with 260.

___

More AP college football: http://www.collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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