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 20th in the nation, took control of the Pac-12 North by winning their eighth consecutive game on Saturday night.
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Luke Falk threw five touchdown passes, including three to River Cracraft, to lead Washington State past California, 56-21.
The Cougars 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.
The victory, coupled with Washington’s loss to USC, left the Cougars (8-2, 7-0 Pac-12, No. 23 CFP) 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 an injury.
Cougfan, Scout.com’s WSU affiliate, reported Sunday afternoon that Cracraft suffered a torn ACL in his left knee and will miss the remainder of his senior season.
Cracraft is WSU’s second-leading receiver this season. He has 701 yards on 53 receptions, with five touchdowns.
Falk completed 36 of 50 passes for 373 yards against Cal 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 on Saturday, including 254 rushing yards.
“These guys run like trains,” Sorenson said of the Cougars running backs. “It adds a wrinkle we haven’t had.”
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.
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.”
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.
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.
Running back Gerard Wicks, who finished with 128 yards, scored on a 2-yard plunge for a 14-0 lead.
Marks caught a 7-yard touchdown pass from Falk midway through the fourth quarter — his second scoring reception of the quarter — to set the career receiving record. His seven catches against Cal gave him 295 receptions overall, breaking the Pac-12 record of 294 held by Colorado’s Nelson Spruce.
The Cougars control their own destiny and can clinch the Pac-12 North by winning their final two regular-season games — against No. 12 Colorado and No. 7 Washington.
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.