Week 5 vs. Washington State: Not even close
In doing the research for this week's installment of Bear Raid Record Breaking, I found myself wishing that Cal had scored one more touchdown in last season's 43-17 victory over UCLA. Without a doubt, last season's win over the Bruins was the pinnacle of the Bears' otherwise dismal 2012 season, a season that ended with Jeff Tedford's ouster as Cal head coach after 11 seasons. If the Bears had mustered one more touchdown last season, then we could have used this space to relive the brightest of the few bright moments Cal had last season.
Oh, what the heck. Let's relive some of it anyway.
But I digress. Last season's 43 points were not the highest total the Bears have tallied in the history of the Cal-UCLA series. (In fact, since 2000, Cal has scored more than that against UCLA three times.) The highest point total Cal has ever racked up against UCLA is 48 and it happened in Keith Gilbertson's first season as Cal coach in 1992.
Yours truly was among the 56,000 in attendance for the 1992 Cal-UCLA game at Memorial Stadium, which took place on Halloween. To that point, the 1992 season had been a bit of a disappointment for Cal. After reaching a New Year's Day bowl the previous season for the first time since 1958, Cal had high expectations for the 1992 season, even though first-year head coach Keith Gilbertson had taken over for Bruce Snyder (who infamously departed for Arizona State following the 1991 season). The Bears entered the season ranked in the preseason top-20 and only enhanced the expectations of a Rose Bowl-starved (yes, even then) fanbase with a dominating 46-16 win over San Jose State in the season opener. Cal did not live up to expectations, however, and stumbled into the UCLA game that season with a 3-4 record and a three-game losing streak.
UCLA was just what the doctor ordered that day, however. The 1992 UCLA Bruins were also 3-4 coming into the Cal game, plagued by injuries, and in the midst of a four-game losing streak that saw them score only 27 points during that four-game span. The Bears, themselves desperate for a win, showed no sympathy for the Bruins' troubles and took out their frustrations on their visitors from the southland.
Cal jumped on UCLA early and often. Just 17 minutes into the game, Cal had already built a 24-0 lead on the strength of two Dave Barr touchdown passes, a Doug Brien field goal, and a pick six by Eric Zomalt. A 28-yard touchdown run by Russell White (who rushed for 148 yards on 22 carries that day) before halftime gave the Bears a 31-3 halftime lead and the game was effectively over. The only mysteries that remained were how many points the Bears would score, how much the Bears would win by, and whether the mostly inept UCLA offense would score a touchdown.
When Sean Dawkins caught his second touchdown pass of the game from Barr with 6:03 remaining in the third quarter, Cal had a 41-3 lead and had scored the most points it had ever scored against UCLA in the then 63-year history of the series. UCLA would get its lone touchdown late in the fourth quarter, but not before Cal's Lindsey Chapman added a six-yard touchdown run to give Cal a 48-point performance, a total that still stands as the most the Bears have ever scored against UCLA in a game.
Can the Bear Raid Beat the Record?
Going out on a limb, I'll say no. (That "going out on a limb" thing was sarcasm, in case you didn't recognize it.)
The Bear Raid has shown an ability to move the ball down the field and rack up prolific passing yardage numbers. Last week's school record 504 yard passing performance by Jared Goff is Exhibit A to that observation. But what the Bear Raid has not shown is the consistent ability to punch the ball into the end zone when the offense has opportunities in the red zone. So while Cal might show some ability to move the ball against UCLA on Saturday, there is no guarantee that the yardage will lead to points.
The Bear Raid may gets some points on Saturday. But 48 of them? Against UCLA 's defense? Probably not. The Gilbertson-era record will stand.