PULLMAN, Wash. -- Shane Vereen ran for 112 yards and two touchdowns, and up-and-down California snapped a six-game road losing streak that dated to last season with a 20-13 win over Washington State on Saturday.
The Bears (5-4, 3-3 Pac-10) were playing without quarterback Kevin Riley, who injured his knee in a game against Oregon State last week.
Brock Mansion started in his place, completing 12 of 24 passes for 174 yards while throwing two interceptions against a WSU (1-9, 0-7) defense that ranked at or near the bottom of the conference in nearly every defensive statistic.
But a staunch defensive effort by Cal, which had lost its previous four road games this season by a combined score of 145-61, bailed out the Bears' ineffective offense against a Cougar team that has now lost 16 consecutive conference games.
Vereen also scored Cal's first touchdown, a 2-yard rushing score that was the end result of a 95-yard Cal drive early in the second quarter.
Washington State managed a 10-7 lead at halftime thanks to a 51-yard field goal by Andrew Furney, the Cougars' first halftime lead in a Pac-10 game since 2007.
Cal responded early in the third, though, as Jeremy Ross took a fly sweep 27 yards for a touchdown with 11:17 left in the third quarter to give the Bears the lead for good.
The score followed a 27-yard pass from Mansion to receiver Marvin Jones, who used a one-handed catch to steal an interception from WSU safety Deone Bucannon.
Another Furney field goal cut the Cal lead to 14-13 with 1:24 remaining in the third, but the Bears extended the lead to seven with a 10-play, 65-yard scoring drive capped by Vereen's 1-yard touchdown run that gave the Bears a 20-13 lead -- the PAT was blocked -- with 5:29 to play.
The Cougars had two chances to drive down the field and tie the game after Cal's final touchdown, but both series resulted in three-and-outs and the Bears were able to run out the clock.
Those last-ditch attempts by the Cougars were typical of their offensive performance all day. WSU quarterback Jeff Tuel finished just 9 of 25 for 92 yards, and was sacked six times by a California defense that held the Cougars to 194 yards of total offense, and just 60 in the second half.
Jones caught four passes for 101 yards.
Nike Men's Washington State Cougars Crimson Football Icon Legend T-ShirtShop
After surviving the Les Miles telenovela, which landed LSU's big cigars at No. 5, we're left to ponder who can claim the Bottom 10 title.
SEC Network's Matt Stinchcomb and Clint Stoerner discuss whether or not Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart will be a good fit as Georgia head coach.
After building a reputation as one of the nation's top assistants at Oregon, Scott Frost will have the resources to succeed at UCF.
SEC Network's Matt Stinchcomb and Clint Stoerner discuss the dominance of Alabama's defensive line.
SEC Now's Clint Stoerner and Matt Stinchcomb discuss the impact No. 18 Florida's secondary will have on No. 2 Alabama.
ESPN senior college football writer Mark Schlabach explains why Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart is a good choice to replace Mark Richt as the coach at Georgia.