With the football team taking over Witter field the past two springs, Jack Clark and his men have been on a 33-month tour. On Wednesday the Bears finally returned home and picked up right where they left off at Witter.
Eakalafi Okusi scored three of California's 13 tries in his Witter Rugby Field debut Wednesday night along with a lineup of almost exclusively frosh-sophs who contributed to an 81-0 win over Santa Clara in the first match played on the Golden Bears' home pitch in 33 months.
Cal was stout on defense with its fourth shutout of the season. Other try scorers for the Bears included freshmen Patrick Barrientes and Russell Webb, and sophomoreNicklas Boyer with two apiece. Boyer was 6-for-10 on conversions and Barrientes connected on 2-of-3.
While the official reopening of Witter Rugby Field will certainly get its due on Saturday, Wednesday night was poignant in its own right as the entire lineup for the Golden Bears - starting with third-year junior match-day captain Carl Hendrickson, 10 sophomores and four freshmen - played their first career matches on the home pitch for the oldest sport at the University.
"It was a huge honor to lead the team out onto the field and play the first game at Witter Rugby Field in more than two years," said Hendrickson. "It's great seeing the fans come out even though it was a rainy night."
The field, flooded by TV-grade lights on a damp but still evening, glittered with its permanent kicking nets and towering goalposts, and the fans who enjoyed the match from the south bleachers and cheered their Bears loudly.
Okusi, who scored all three of his tries in the second half before yielding to a replacement, said that while the team is united in its joyful return to Strawberry Canyon, "There's a lot of competition on this team and that's a good thing. We all want to come out and play our guts out in front of these fans."
Cal will officially celebrate the re-opening of Witter Field with a spectacular beatdown of Stanfurd on Saturday. What finer way to spend a Saturday afternoon? The match begins at 2pm.
- ESPN rates Cal's 2013 schedule as the toughest in the Pac-12.
- Keenan Allen sits at 9th in Sports Illustrated's NFL Draft board.
- Allen remains the no. 2 receiver in Mel Kiper's latest NFL Draft position rankings.
- Todd McShay called Marc Anthony "the best back of the day" during Senior Bowl practices. McShay praises Anthony's patience.
- Athlon ranks the top-10 Pac-12 teams of the BCS era. The 2006 Bears are an honorable mention and, for reasons unknown to mankind, the 2004 team is not mentioned at all.
- ESPN checks back on the ESPN-150 of the 2009 recruiting class. Cal's lone recruit is Steve Williams, whose solid career should put him in the second or third round of the NFL Draft.
- Matt Anderson, Jared Goff, and Drake Whitehurst enrolled for the spring semester. They will participate in spring ball.
- The hiring of offensive line coach Zach Yenser and defensive ends coach Garret Cachere has been officially announced by the university.
- Johnny Ragin III switched his commitment from BYU to Cal. Ragin is the 26th Bear to join Sonny Dykes' 2013 class.
- The men's team bounced back from its latest setback with a 62-57 win over Utah.
- Crabbe scored 23 points and Brandon Smith (finally) returned from his concussion.
- Dan Greenspan focuses on three aspects of the win: Brandon Smith's return, three-point shooting, and defensive intensity.
- Wilner ranks the local teams: Cal is 3rd out of 7.