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112th Big Game Report Card

Position QB RB Rec. Run B Pass P Run D Pass R Pass D ST Coach Overall
Score 3.457 4.086 3.076 3.733 3.429 3.286 3.010 3.419 1.943 3.657 3.914
Grade B+ A B A- B+ B+ B B+ C A- A

Often times, people tell us that the CGB Community is one of the best online communities they have ever been a part of.  I usually scoff at that, assuming that they've never seen a single Rishi comment ever.  And maybe they haven't, because reading through these Report Cards after the Big Game, it was inspiring.  So many of our commenters provided intelligent comments packed with insight into Cal's performance in the Big Game.

CALumbus Bear and Ohio Bear are just two of the commenters who did NOT do that.  No, their comments were mostly infantile with a delightful dash of juvenile.  But we did get an inside look at the Cal Ohio Fan Club's Big Game Party this year.  It was pretty much like my Big Game experience, except Ohio Bear didn't run through my house.  Check out the comments and read some of the great ones after the fold.  There were tons more, thanks to all our readers for submitting, but there's only so many we can include in the post.  GO BEARS!

Calumbus Bear - Woke up thinking stanfurd was just gonna kill us, nervous nervous nervous
Did some work, watched some football, raked leaves, still nervous
Hung the Cal flag, decorated the living room for Big Game, made brownies in the shape of a bear, still nervous
Ohio Bear came over, we watched the first quarter, felt like throwing up, nervous we were gonna lose by 50
We took the lead and started playing well, but couldn't put it away, now I'm REALLY nervous wondering how we would blow it
We take a knee, get a 6 point lead and give furd the ball on the 42, which makes me nervous AND pissed
Toby makes it to the 13 and I'm about to commit nervous suicide
We then popped open a bottle of good Napa wine that was in an etched Cal bottle that says "Go Bears" -- we were saving it for a great victory, and this surely qualified.
We finished that bottle while watching the end of the OU/AZ game, and then we watched the Cal game again on the DVR.  The wine was excellent, had notes of Cal victory, crushed cardinal, and a lingering axe finish.

OhioBear - The annual Big Game gathering hosted by CALumbus Bear and Mrs. CALumbus Bear.  It did not disappoint.  There was an assortment of fine beers and Mrs. CALumbus Bear stepped it up with delicious (and large) Golden Bear shaped brownies.  (I did not ask if they were Tim Lincecum special brownies.)  The brownies were so tremendous, I didn't feel right eating them during the game.  That would've been bad karma, no?  So I waited until after the game, in hopes that the brownie would be part of revelry.  And it was.  As was a special bottle of wine that my gracious hosts opened after the game to celebrate victory.

Golden Rationality Award (to the most level-headed Bear!)

Commenter/alias name Standard Deviation
OaklandishBear 0.5954
ajay 0.6916
Kodiak 0.7164
sec119 0.7780
Ohio Bear 0.9655








Old Blue Award (to the most dour grizzlies!)

Commenter/alias name Average score (out of 4)
yorzepol 2.788
iVinshe 2.879
Manwich 2.939
AERose 3.030
KikiRevenge 3.061









Golden Sunglasses Award (happy as can be!)

Commenter/alias name Average score (out of 4)
LeonPowe 4.091
rollonubears 4
Oaktown123 4
calx 3.909
VandyImport 3.727











IMG_0206 (via Monica's Dad)

CaliforniaPete - As I've already posted (twice!), my key decision to break out the Golden Bears (cocktails, that is) early proved pivotal in this one. Down 14-0, and getting home late from my younger son's soccer game--he scored a freakin' awesome goal by the way--I went to the liquor cabinet and started mixing for the wife and me. If you don't know this classic, the Golden Bear from Henry's features equal parts 151, SoCo, OJ, Amaretto, and 7UP. But since I've heard the 7UP can also be substituted for champagne, I figured the dry vanilla, orange-blossom mead I made this spring might be a good choice, too. Bears like honey, right?

Anyway, during the time it took for us to finish the first round--we're slow drinkers--Cal had roared back to take a 17-14 lead. To keep the momentum going, I had to quickly mix up a second batch before the Furd climbed back into the lead, and I managed to hold on to my last sip until the clock read 0:00. I almost drank it down after the Prophet's interception, but I've seen too much in this rivalry, so I wanted to wait until it was truly official.

Needless to say, my wife and I are now well into our third round as I'm typing this.

Troatie - For a while being the downtrodden Cal fans that we are, we started cheering for the 'Furd for good luck.  You know, like saying "Break a Leg."  We did this through most of the third quarter.  It was working.  Then we said screw it.  Go Bears!!!  Several of us lost our voices.  Awesome.

AERose - Watched with my mom, the Old Blue who gave up on football when she was a student back in the late 60s but found herself back on the bandwagon around 2005 and brought me with her. Best game either of us has ever seen, and it isn't even close. Also I went out for tacos from the carniceria near our house at halftime, and the adobada absolutely did not disappoint.

JKK - The Greatest Big Game I have ever watched. by far.
I had bet all my money on Cal victory and I was rewarded.

Berkelium97 - I haven't felt this sense of euphoria since Oregon 2007.  What a win! I call this season a success!

LeonPowe - 4 Cal alums, 3 laptops, a handful of phones and blackberries. Two other Cal alums stuck in church with their families begging for updates. One Cal alum on a business trip to Chengdu, also needing updates. A stack of muffins and Starbucks. 8.30am Sunday morning in Shanghai - and man it has made the day sooo good.

VandyImport - Sick.  Wife unwell.  Still bussed up to the stadium, consumed some booze at WIT & RAC'S (Where The Elite Meet To Eat And Greet Stanfurd's Defeat, Since 1989, Accept No Substitutes).  Then home, meds, more meds, crouch around laptop, do deals with God, hope neighbors don't think somebody's being beaten (there was yelling), keep drinking for luck (bourbon + naprosyn is fine, right?), win win win WIN.

SwampHunter - Saw Cal beat up the team that had beaten the other teams that kicked our asses. What else is more awesome than that?

Well, if you want more, I guess being able to walk on The Furd's grassy knoll in their shoebox of a stadium was awesome too. Great Cal crowd presence as well. Very loud, much better than what Furd's fans provided.

Also booed the crap out of Tiger. Never thought I'd be doing that.

ajay - Nothing special, drove up there, saw the pretty place, which my roommate noted looked like a weaker westwood. Got free parking, got into the stadium, found the student section PACKED. Just the way I like it.

JrBear - Watched with friends on TV.  Cheers from the neighboring apartments as The Profit made his final interception!

SoCalOski - You want to hear my gameday experience?  I'm in Santa Monica.  I was hosting the Big Game viewing.  The Big Game was shown on Versus.  I have DirecTV.  DirecTV doesn't carry Versus.  The only place within 5 miles of me that had Versus was Busby's, and for reasons too long and (quite honestly, stupid) to go into here, we weren't going to Versus.

This was a problem.

The solution?  Find some website streaming the game.  Connect my PC to my TV via the HDMI cable.  Watch a pixelated stream of the Big Game, magnified from a 640 x 480 video onto a 60" HDTV, while listening to Joe Starkey make the call.

Oh, the sound and picture didn't sync -- there was like a 15 second delay.

It was like we were watching the game from the outer steppes of Uzbekistan.

But there was beer, carne asada, beer, tamales, beer, some Mayan Insanity Salsa (the hottest stuff I've ever had), beer, and more beer.  And a pack of wild Old Blues, a couple of Ucla folks who deep-down regret their choice of school, and one hell of a Big Game.

My Gameday Experience was great.

KikiRevenge - My girlfriend hates football but I convinced her to watch the game with me cuz it was Big Game. We streamed it online and we started watching just as Cal got in the red zone being down 14-0. We started drinking (beer for me, red wine for her) and I told her that we would likely stop watching at half as Cal was looking like they would get blown out. Then they scored the TD at half. And kept scoring. And we kept drinking. By the time the game was over, the six pack of Stella Artois was gone as was the bottle of wine and we had moved on to the Grey Goose. I was teaching her all the Cal yells. Just as Cal was lining up for the last FG, Justintv FAILED and we had to follow the rest of the action via the 4th Qtr comments on CGB. When I saw the MOHAMED INT! come up, we let out a loud cheer and started dancing around the apt. And drank some more. Feel like ass today, but was SO worth it!

ososdeoro - A more beautiful day has never existed.

yorzepol - This was a very frustrating game to try to watch.  It turns out for the second week in a row that Direct TV kept me from watching the game at a sports bar (really? A sports bar isn't carrying a game!?!)  Anywho, I had a friend who invited me over to his house because he was having a party and he happens to get Vs (sweet!)  The only down side is that he doesn't show up until the second quarter because he was at a wine tasting (like who goes wine tasting when there's The Big Game to watch!)  Thankfully I found the game on AM and kept up with it until he showed.  I have to say I understand the frustration with Starkey, it was hard to get a feel for the game from him.  At last I was watching the game and even if it was with only one other Cal Alum out of 20 people I got to see the game. Oh yeah and WE WON THE FREAKING AXE! So in the end all was good with life.

iVinshe - Raced from the bonfire rally to BART>>>Caltrain>>>shuttle Friday night. Woke up early Saturday; went to a cubing tourney; left early. Got there 1.5 hours beforehand. Predicted everyone would get lost on the way back to their cars in the dark. Admired how small their stadium was. Sightlines kind of sucked from the student section. I liked how the fact that it was an away game meant that the usual "fans" clogging up Memorial, texting their friends, complaining about how everyone is standing, being spoiled brats in general, etc. were kept away. What was left was LOUD. I honestly think that the Cal crowd at Stanford was as loud as Memorial all of this year except for USC first series and Arizona last quarter.

Rushing the field was awesome. Major demerits to RallyCom for attempting to stop us. Supposedly their not allowed to rush the field, but when I came back a few minutes later they were on the field anyways. So much for that excuse. Nobody could find the axe, though I respect their decision to hide it. A mob could've formed if someone had raised it up into the air or something.

jpeng - on the other side of the earth, woke up with a hangover, couldn't make it to the local expat bar to watch the game at 8am so watched a stream while bed ridden. but damn did i feel 100% better after we won....

BTown85 - Flew to San Diego to stay with in-laws.  Pre-game watched Notre Dame lose (which is ALWAYS a good start to football Saturday).  Settled into Big Game with a beer.  Down 14-0, another beer.  Scared mother-in-law with 4th quarter cheering.  Did the best ever alligator chop at the TV screen when Harbaugh went across the field to ask Tedford what his deal was.  Then visited CGB to REVEL in victory.

OaklandishBear - Layered up for the anticipated cold.
Picked up 1988goldenbear who flew up from LA for the game.
Dreaded the prospect of facing Gerhart and hoped that the Bears who played Arizona showed up, rather than the Bears who played OSU.
Cursed DirecTV for not carrying Versus and preventing me from recording the game.
Shot of rum after parking to steel the nerves for the night ahead.
Thought about leaving 10 minutes after the game started.
Got really pumped that we got to within 14-10 at the halftime.
LOVED THE THIRD QUARTER!  OMG the best we have played the past two years.
Cursed Ludwig/Tedford for not giving the ball to Vereen/Holley/any RB instead of Riley's off-tackle sneak on 3rd and short.
Cursed Ludwig/Tedford for not giving the ball to Vereen to pick up a first down on last drive.
Cursed Tedford for not kicking deeper on ensuing kick-off.
Cursed everyone during the last StanfUrd drive.
Head exploded when Mohamed saved the game.
Ran on the field.
Drove home happy.
Played poker with the boys until 0130, still cursing DirecTV because I couldn't re-watch the game.




IMG_9968 (via Monica's Dad)

First And Ten - The numbers were fairly pedestrian, but I would say this is one of Kevin's best games.  The decision making was generally very good and his numbers would have been better absent a few drops and the badly miss played deep ball (I can't remember the receiver).  He missed a few open receivers but he generally was accurate and made big plays when they were needed.  His running was fairly effective (though he seemed overly reliant on it early). For the most part the accuracy was pretty good on the intermediate routes, though he overthrew a couple deep balls, and under threw one.  The interception was not a good pass but the pick was not his fault.  The missed td pass early was actually one his better throws of the day.

Overall this was the Kevin Riley many of us (including myself) thought was going to be the QB this year.  The numbers were not spectaculer but if Kevin plays like this for the next two games I will be very happy and optimistic heading into next season.

AERose - It's undeniable that his poor play helped put the team in a 14 point hole at the beginning of the game, but when he got out of the "fuck it, I'm going deep" mindset and just started looking for the open man he came through for the team. I don't know if he'll ever be great, but tonight he was good enough.

VandyImport - A steady hand at the controls, nothing TOO cringe-inducing...the fact that Riley has reached a comfort level with Miller and Lageman is promising in the extreme.  He stepped up and answered the bell, and I feel a lot better about next year...

ajay - Finally, finally, in my last game as a Cal student of any sorts, Riley plays exactly how I want him to: smart. Didn't try to force too much, took what the defense gave him, and for the most part, delivered catchable balls (except for the first pass of the game, which would have been to a wide open, streaking Marvin Jones).

Made some smart plays, scampered when necessary, and successfully (along w/ other factors) convinced me he wasn't going to throw a pick when we needed a play. Somehow.

Oh, yeah, and got us a win.

CalX - Riley was just below 55% on completions (17/31), which is much lower than ideal.  But there weren't any backbreaking mistakes that I could remember.  Running through his throws:

-First two drives, one incompletion, a handful of scrambles, two three-and-outs.
-Drive #3, 10 plays, 70 yards, Cal FG: This was almost all Riley.  Vereen had 1 long run for 15 yards.  2 completions for 18 and 13 yds, and a 9 yd scramble.  Incomplete on 3rd and goal at the 4 ended the drive.
-Drive #4, 13 plays, 62 yds, INT: his worst drive by far.  4 incompletions and the INT.
-Drive #5, 14 plays, 85 yds, TD: 4/7 for 40 yds, but none of the incompletes hurt the drive.  This is where he and the offense pulled it together and took control of the game.  Riley followed his first incompletion with a 9 yard pass to make it 3rd and 1.  His second came on 2nd and 2, and he made up for it next play with a 5 yd scramble for first down.  His last incompletion came on 1st and 10, and was followed by passes for 8 and 16 yds to Lagemann.  This drive effectively ended the half, lasted 5:48, and swung momentum to Cal.

-Drive #6, 11 plays, 92 yds, TD: 5/6 for 71 yds!  Only miss was 2nd and 7, followed by a pair of 12 yd completions.  (5:05 ToP)
-Drive #7, 10 plays, 72 yds, TD: 1/1 for 10 yds.  This drive was all Vereen.  But the one completion was on 3rd and 4, preventing a 3 and out and keeping the drive alive. (5:02 ToP)
-Drive #8, 6 plays, 72 yds, TD: 3/3 for 47 yds.  (1:58 ToP)
-Nothing of real consequence after that (a very meh 4th Q).  Mostly grind-out-the-clock runs with Vereen, with a few throws sprinkled in. 

So drives #6, 7 and 8 effectively consumed the entire 3rd quarter (about 12 minutes), allowed our defense a huge stretch of rest (drive #5 through halftime through all but 3 minutes of 3Q), probably exhausted the Stanfurd defense, and most importantly, resulted in 21 points.  On those 3 drives, Riley went 9/10 for 128 yards.  Of his 9 completions, EIGHT of them were for first downs.  The ninth was the TD pass to Marvin Jones.  I'm scrolling up and bumping his grade up a notch.




IMG_9826 (via Monica's Dad)


First And Ten - What can you say?  Overall a fantastic game that should convince any doubters that Shane is the next great Cal running back (boy what a series of backs its been).  I guess the only thing Shane did not do was reel off any huge runs, but he was a great workhorse.

The only real quibble I can have with the performance was the struggle of the wildbear.  If we want to keep running that we really need some more wrinkles to it because defenses are just sitting on it.  This is the only thing that keeps this from an A+, but great game.

AERose - I'm not sure there are even words.

JKK - Vereeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeen!!!
42 carries? wow. I hope he can walk.
Hes got plenty of time to recover with a bye week.
He fought for 3 yards constantly.
Not a 80yard TD like Jahvid, but Shane can move the chains. and kill time off clock.

Berkelium97 - SHANE TRANE! Shane Vereen is incredible.  I love Best and think he's one of the finest people ever to wear a Cal uniform, but I truly think Vereen is a better feature back.  He can make something out of nothing and he did that several times today.  He doesn't have the same top-end speed (he's close, though!), but he is surprisingly elusive.  Even more impressive is that he could still walk after carrying the ball 42 times.  He's a trooper.  He earns hard hat of the year for his performance tonight.


Seriously though, 42 carries, 192 yards and three TDs? Vereen is ready to be a star.

Our second stringers Sofele and DeBoskie did really well too. Hope Sofele is alright. I saw him get injured sometime in the second half.

ajay - What a day Mr. Vereen. Provided a glimpse of what we're going to be seeing all of next year, which is power running with that nice elusiveness and drive for the extra yardage. Has that speed and vision to break a big play, and was the work horse today. Held onto that ball like it was his baby, and was an overall play-maker. Not much you can ask for from your No. 1 back no the day.

As for Debo, I liked what I saw. Provides enough talent to keep defenses honest when he is in the game, and didn't make mistakes, which was the main thing. When Vereen is out, get your yards, hold onto that ball, and get Vereen some rest. His time will eventually come.

SoCalOski - I'm convinced that somewhere deep in LSB (or the annex), some pointy headed PhD has created a reagent that imbues superhuman power, enhances reflexes, allows for greater preception, and makes time seem to run slower.  This mad scientist gave this elixir to Tedford who had Vereen drink it down.  Because he was a freaking Marvel Comics superhero on the field.





IMG_9961 (via Monica's Dad)


Troatie - Lots of dropped passes.  They weren't always great passes, but passes that should have been caught.  Esp. in the first half they needed to catch with their hands not their bodies.  Miller was great.  So was Lagemann.

AERose - Dropped some balls early, couldn't shake coverage at other times (partially because of Riley being late, see the skinny post to Tucker), got into a groove and started setting up shop beyond the chains and moving the ball.

JrBear - They are saved from a C grade for their inspiring second half play.  There is very little adjustment by the receivers to where the ball is thrown, and I see many of them following a route very strictly like some virtual player in Madden. Miller's return was very welcome. Lagemann should see more balls, Calvin....maybe not so much

SoCalOski - Horrible. It's almost as if the receivers believe that the ball has nasty, sharp teeth and is trying to bite them.  And that one long pass in the 4th to (I think) Tucker, where the ball fell about two feet in front of him, almost had me in the hospital.  All it would have taken was for him to stretch out his arms and that is a catch and a 30 yard pickup.

That poor effort and the dropped pass after the curl (I think in the 3rd) has me believing that maybe he is a Furd double-agent.

KikiRevenge - Mostly meh. Was disturbing to see the dropsies return after a nice effort versus AZ. I was particularly shocked to see Jones drop one in the end zone. Wasn't an easy catch by any means, but he usually comes up with that. Calvin was horrible. Hope he can bounce back next year. We will need him. But the receivers did come through when it absolutely mattered. Tucker and Miller each had huge catches to keep drives alive, move the chains and keep Furd's offense off the field.

sycasey - The Jones/Lagemann/Miller show rolls on. These guys have a knack for getting open and getting their hands on the ball; the receiving corps looks good for next year with these guys coming back. Tucker had some big catches too. Too many drops by the other guys, though.


Run Blocking


IMG_9856 (via Monica's Dad)


First And Ten - Other than some struggles out of the Wildbear, this was the best run blocking effort of the season.  Early i thought they struggled a bit, but they really turned it on in the second quarter and were fairly dominant up front.  Very well done.


Berkelium97-  Holes, glorious holes! Vereen usually had some room to run, and even if he didn't he managed to find something to squeeze through.  They won the battle in the trenches today, and helped give us a dominant 39:21 time of possession.  We also ran about 30 more plays than they did.  Great job!

ajay - No way our RB's do what they did w/o a great run block in front of them. I'm not the best at this type of analysis, but there always seemed to be a nice hole opening up for Vereen when he got a carry, and that has to be due to the run blocking.

SoCalOski - The line did an outstanding job of giving Vereen the opportunity to gain yardage.  But I honestly think that Best doesn't do as well as Shane on this night with this blocking.  The line tended not to open giant holes, but to make cracks.  And Vereen is good enough, quick enough, and strong enough to take a crack and turn it into anything from a 4 to 7 yard gain.

KikiRevenge - Best effort of the year. It made me sad to think what we would have been able to do if they blocked this well the whole season with a healthy Best in the lineup. Sigh. But I will definitely take their greatest game of the season to beat the crap out of the Cardinal. Not perfect as there were some runs stuffed for a loss or tackles that Vereen just ran out of for positive yardage. But an overall great game for the much maligned unit.

ososdeoro - Run blocking was really very good. It always seemed that Vereen ran for two more yards than it looked like. Some of that is Vereen, but a lot of it is the OL as well. The long TD drives were sustained by the run blocking, which had Furdie defenders gasping for air and pretending to be injured.

CalX - They should be graded a hair below Vereen.  On almost all of the negative plays, Vereen had multiple defenders in the backfield.  There would have been even more were it not for Vereen's elusiveness and Stanfurd's shitty tackling. 

But on the plus side, we had 242 rushing yards.

But on the minus side, we didn't control the 4th quarter like we owned the 3rd, which was disappointing.  I was sure that our o-line would maul their exhausted D in the 4th after keeping them on the field for 12 punishing minutes in the 3rd.  That never happened, which resulted in several short drives and a too-exciting finish. 

The line looked great at times, and awful at times.  Consistency would be nice (consistently awesome please, and not consistently awful).



Pass Protection


IMG_9685 (via Monica's Dad)

rurata - Got beaten a few times, but most of the time KR had time to throw for the first time in a few weeks.

First And Ten - Kind of the opposite for the run blocking for me in that i thought they were stronger early in the game and struggled a little in the second quarter.  But they played pretty well in the second half.  Not quite as strong as the run blocking but still pretty good

SwampHunter - We... did a good job on this this week? MADNESS. UNADULTERATED MADNESS.

The o-line actually did a good job protecting Riley, and Riley was able to throw a damn good game.

CalX - It looked like Riley had enough time to scan the field on almost every pass attempt.  He scrambled 9 times, but a lot of them looked like good pass coverage, and not poor pass protection.  It looked like a vast improvement over some of our other games this year, when defenders were racing the football to get to Riley, and came close to winning a few times.



Run Defense

Troatie - They let 4 rushing touchdowns go.  That said, I was expecting more our of Gerhart for some reason.  Looking at the numbers, he had an awesome game.  But I feel like Cal slowed him somewhat.  Maybe I'm delusional from the win.

pyunny - Terrific, besides a few HUGE plays given up.  Either way the defense really stepped it up for us today keeping Gerhart contained probably breaking furd fans' harts along the way

JKK - We stopped Toby. Yeah, he ran 130 yards, but other than 61yd TD to open the game and another one that Cattouse saved a TD on, we stopped him to 3yd or less each play.

Berkelium97 - You wouldn't tell by looking at the stats, but I think they did a great job.  After giving up the long run in the first quarter, they shut down Toby pretty well (he had something like 30 yards in the rest of the half).  Most importantly, they were so good at containing Toby that Luck was forced to lead the offense (Gerhart only had 20 carries!).  That didn't work out so well for Luck.  Linebackers did a great job of swarming on Gerhart to bring him down close to the LOS.  He plowed his way through a few times, but he was often too overwhelmed to drag defenders for a few more yards.  Luck, Stanford's second-leading rusher, was also held in check.

ajay - We did one of two things here: either give up long running plays, or stuff the run. Only a few times were they ever able to gain 5 or 6 yards at a time, and they could never consistently do so.

I was worried about our tackling, especially on a big and strong Gerhart, but we were up to the task and gang tackled him whenever he decided to run, which was all I could have expected.

CalX - meh.  Gerhart's 136 yds was about on par with what he's done against other Pac-10 teams.  We didn't "shut him down" like OSU did, if you consider 96 yards on 20 carries (4.8 average) for 2 TDs to be shutting down.  But we also didn't get gashed like Wash, Oregon and USC.  Yes, he had some frighteningly unstoppable runs (2 of them?), but those were by far the exception.

96 yd vs OSU

121 yd vs WSU
123 yd vs Arizona
125 yd vs ASU
134 yd vs UCLA
136 yd vs Cal <-------

178 yd vs USC
200 yd vs Washington
223 yd vs Oregon

yorzepol - You can not stop The Great White Hope so all things considered, they did OK.  There was no way that we were going to keep Stanfurd out of the end zone when we kept giving them such great field position.  Except for one play, they did a decent job of containing Gerhart.

grouchyBear - Geihart will be an NFL star and he had his moments, but Run defense made it hard enough and not quite reliable enough that Harbough went to the pass on the 13 yard line.  That is all you need from the Run defense, the rest is on the secondary.


Pass Rush


IMG_9935 (via Monica's Dad)

Manwich - I was loving it in the beginning.  Rushing 4 or 5, constantly pressuring Luck.  Then the 4th quarter came along.  We started getting conservative and sitting on our laurels and only rushed 3.  No pressure, and that's where the grade drops.  Keep the foot on the pedal ... although this is more a reflection of the coaching decisions.

Troatie  - Got a a little jitters out of Luck.  There were times where the pressure was enough that he made rushed throws.  The interceptions at the end of the game was a bad throw.  Maybe a rushed throw?

VandyImport - I didn't expect much - let's face it, the Cardinal's weapon isn't any running back or QB, it's that wall of beef up front that makes both possible.  But they were getting pressure without having to send the house, so...gentleman's B.

SoCalOski - By the middle of the 2nd quarter I began to think that Gregory's plan was not to try and put too much pressure on Luck, but to take away his options.  The pass rush never came close to threatening a sack, though it did manage to get close enough to cause Luck's dainty Furdie instincts to become alert to the fact that he might get hit.  That caused a few rushed throws and prevented him from going completely through the progression, settling for the lesser options.

CalX - Didn't seem to really turn it on till the 4th quarter (that sounds familiar).  But the rush looked instrumental in the last 2 drives, which effectively sealed the game.  Before that, they managed to make Luck scramble on a lot of passes, but never really got his uniform dirty.

Pass Defense

JKK -  We gave up some easy passes, but we had a good coverage. Luck struggled to find open receivers. I saw Hagan play more today. Didnt see Ezeff again.
Why isnt Conte seeing action other than on special teams?

Berkelium97 - Excellent.  Nnabufie is developing into a fine corner.  The DBs have been having great coverage of the receivers in the past couple games.  Even tight ends are getting covered!  The pass rush was helping, however.

SwampHunter - Luck passing 10/30 with a pick? A completion rate of only 33%?
That's what I want to see every week, Bears! Great job shutting him down.

ajay - No passing touchdowns, only a few big plays, but other than that, shut down Luck.

The only other concern was that Luck turned into Riley in that he had a few open receivers, but, to our good luck, just overthrew them. That means that we missed coverage, so we gotta work on that, but I can't possibly nit-pick anymore no a day where we made their star QB look like a fool.

Bobbled a few pick's that we should have had, a few potential game changers, but at the end of the day, that pick at the end was beautiful, and we got it done when it counted.

SoCalOski - The secondary was pretty good, despite a couple of meltdowns early and late.  Syd was a beast, Cattouse had a couple of good hits, and the rest of them each had at least one or two plays where they broke up passes on good efforts.  Pressure on the receivers caused disruptions in timing, and frustrated the Furd's air attack.  But the last two Furd drives were regressions into the pass D we saw against the Ducks and the Beavs.


Special Teams


IMG_9763 (via Monica's Dad)

Troatie -  I hate the squib kick.  I mean I guess we're playing to our strength there, but my god.  Stanford's average starting position must have been 10 or 15 yards better than Cal's.  I mean I know our coverage stinks, and Owusu is a great returner, but come on.

First And Ten - The Good --> the field goals went in.  Anger is Anger.  No major mistakes in the return game.

The Bad --> Kickoffs were terrible.  I get we did not want to give up a big return but it was just terrible to let them have the ball at the 40 over and over again.  Seriously if we are going to do that we should just onside kick everytime and hope to get the ball back.  Anger got blocked.  The pressure got there really fast, so i think most of the blame has got to go to the protection. 

without a doubt special teams has really hurt this Bears team and we need to improve for next year. 

VandyImport - Punting was not outstanding but not disastrous.  The erratic kickoff schemes more or less took their return guy out of being a threat.  Placekicking was serviceable.  I'd sure like to see better tackling on returns, but what the hell, I'm drunk.  Gentleman's B.

SwampHunter - ALAMAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
/not s

One of our punts got blocked and (from what I can tell) an average starting position around the 40-50 for Stanfurd? At least we kept it away from Owusu most of the time.

JrBear - Alamar and Weis appear to weigh about the same, and both should accordingly be chucked out to lift up their respective programs.  Although I have no problem with the domers wallowing in mediocrity.

SoCalOski - I'm really pleased with the way Forza Azzurri has developed into a solid PAT/FG team.  And I think Ludwig's choice of keeping the ball out of Owusu's hands on kickoffs was probably smart.  But any time the other guys consistently start play on their 35 or 40, special teams is bad.

On the other side, it seems that our guys fair catch every stinking punt.  Either every punter we face has hall-of-fame efforts against us, or our punt teams don't know how to block the other guys.  Or the returner (Syd mainly, though my picture was so bad I just saw a white blur) is a fraidy cat.

Calumbus Bear - Anger = mediocre
Blocked punt = epic phail
Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week Salami not kicking field goals = WTF?
KO coverage = sheh-tay
Keeping Owusu from making big plays: he ran it back to our 27 once (with penalty help), but we did keep him from housing it
D'Amato = didn't F up on critical FGs
ALAMAAAARRRR!!!!!11 = special teams was the worst aspect of our game, yet again

CalX - I literally covered my eyes by the 3rd kickoff.  I think my mouth was hanging open too at just how awful the kickoffs were.  There's what, 30,000 students on campus?  That's like a small city.  There isn't a single person who can put it in or near the endzone? 

3 Anger punts.  Stanfurd punt returns: 0 attempts for 0 yards. 
2/2 on FG = woo.  The second one made it a 6 point game, which forced Stanfurd to try for a TD, which led to the game-ending interception.  No FG, and Stanfurd probably runs Gerhart non-stop on that last drive with the option of a tying FG.  In my mind, Gerhart was a better bet to make a play than Luck.  Which is to say, D'Amato's second FG was one of a half dozen plays that won the game.


Special teams almost cost us the game.  All their touchdowns save one were due to great field position.  The saving grace is that Owusu did not run it back for a touchdown.  So I guess that's something.  But having to squib it every time to prevent that was a little embarrassing.




IMG_9868 (via Monica's Dad)

CaliforniaPete - Kudos. Kudos. Kudos. Ludwig had his best game of the season, and Gregory's boys did something that USC and Oregon could not. You guys laid some eggs earlier this season, but this one was a masterpiece.

rurata -  I didn't really agree with the conservative call to center the ball on the last scoring drive, but we won, so who am I to question it?
Alamar must REAAAAALLLLLY rock as the TE coach for them to continue keeping him.  Also we must be really cash-strapped to not be able to just hire a ST coach.
I think today's OL performance merits giving Marshall another year with the OL, but if they play the same next year, we might need to find a new coach.

Manwich - I liked the gameplan up to the beginning of the 4th quarter.  We were aggressive, attacking them time and time again.  You could see Riley getting comfortable as we passed on all 3 downs.  Vereen was able to capitalize and eat up yardage on the ground.

Then we sat back and almost let Stanford win it.  Wildbear/Bearcat 3 plays?  Rushing 3 and dropping back and daring Luck with no pressure to make the throws?  Come on guys, it didn't work for USC what makes you think Cal is so special?  No, you attack and keep attacking.

Coaching in the 4th was the biggest WTF moment for me.

Troatie - The team looked really well prepped.  2nd half adjustments looked great.  I'm really not diggin the Wildcat/Crazytown/Whatever formation.  Vereen is not a great thrower, and Stanford knew it was a run and how to defend it, every time.

First And Ten - The team came in with a very good game plan.  It was balanced and effective.  Gregory's defense brought it today and slowed one of the top offenses in the conference.  The offensive play calling was the best its been all season. Also i am thrilled to see the performance of Coach Marshalls line today.  Great job Coaches for winning the Big Game and getting the team to bring it today.

Okay now a few complaints.  My first complaint: The special teams is a disaster.  We gave up field position on every kickoff and got a punt blocked.  We are lucky that did not cost us the game.  Whatever we are doing to get ready for special teams needs to be improved. 

My second complaint: the Kevin Riley kneel before the last field goal.  Accepting that Tedford wants to be conservative there I still do not get the play call.  Sure you want to center the ball but why not just hand it to Shane up the middle on the off chance he manages a huge play.  The only downside risk is a fumble which is both unlikely and honestly not that bad a result.  A fumble gives stanford the ball with relatively little time left needing to drive the length of the field for either a game tying field goal (with a somewhat shaky kicker) or game winning TD.  A kneel gives you a chance at a field goal to go up 6 knowing you have to kickoff to stanford with the accompanying risk of a big play and absolute knowledge they will have good field position.  Of course you want the field goal (at least) but why not give yourself even a chance at a game clinching touchdown. 

Anyway I am just happy it all worked out for the best

AERose - I was on the "fire Marshall" bandwagon, now I'm off. Sorry dude! I guess you just needed time. I wish it hadn't taken so long, but we have a winning season, a solid ranking, a bowl berth and the Axe. Let's see what you can do next year.

I was never on the fire Gregory tip, and I'm glad he's given us all reason not to be.

Alamar needs to go, but what's new.

Tedford will lead us to the promised land. Only a matter of time.

Berkelium97 - Great play calling throughout most of the game.  One nitpick though: the wildcat was getting predictable and Stanford was not respecting the Sofele flysweep out of the formation.  They really should mix it up with a pass or a handoff to Sofele out of the wildcat.
Defense was great.  After giving up the long Gerhart TD, Gregory did a good job of making sure guys were in position to take him down if he broke through the first line.

/totally s

Outside of Alamar, everyone did a good job shutting down the Furd where it needed to be shut down. I do have a nitpick with the field goal on our last drive. Why not punch it in for a TD?

I think it was an act of showboating.

Ludwig was willing to put the game on Gregory's shoulders, pointing out at 'Furd and going "Haha! We're gonna kick in for a field goal and watch as your offense tries to score for the last three minutes!" The problem is, is that 'Furd's offense only works with big break-open plays which is what happened on the final drive. Sure, when they're going at a slow pace they can have a hard time getting something going, but when they give it to Gerhart and Gerhart is moving WITH A PURPOSE, there's gonna be trouble. And there was. Until Mohamed saved the game.

SoCalOski - All Hail the great Tedford.  He and his staff had an outstanding plan, and it worked.  Though, to pick nits (and I must) -

Gregory: I guess this is what BBDB is supposed to do, and it worked.  But we gave up 28 points, and the last two Furd drives were seemingly effortless.  Yes, I know it was by design, but it is a dangerous way to play a game.  I think our D held in spite of the plan, because of outstanding effort, and that the plan didn't actually put our guys in a position to win.  If that makes sense at all.  In other words, barring such huge effort from the players, this defensive plan has the Furd hanging 50 on us, too.

Ludwig: You know, I get why (theoretically, anyway) you want your QB to throw some deep passes.  But not why Ludwig insisted on so many potentially drive-killing ones.  Riley is most effective on the 10 - 15 yard throws over the middle or curls.  And the rationale behind the long ball doesn't work when the opposing team doesn't respect you enough to actually believe it will work!  The long passes did nothing to soften the Furd D -- they were just play wasters.

Alamar: This guy was like GW Bush after Katrina - in pure damage minimization mode and hoping that there wouldn't be any more rain. 

Rope Guy: I wanted to see more Pete Townshend-like windmilling and less helicoptering from him.  Very very disappointing.

KikiRevenge - Great game plan on either side of the ball. Was weird and glorious to see us in long, sustained drives. Some nit-picks: I think we overused the Wildcat, especially in the red zone. We desperately need to pass out of it at least once a game, because everyone knows it's a run. It got stuffed a lot in the red zone. God bless Tedford, but for the love of Bak Bak, please loosen up a little bit! Going for the FG at the end was SO playing not to lose and you just knew Stanford was going to march down the field after yet another shitty KO/coverage. I could maybe see playing that conservatively if the Rose Bowl was on the line. But we aren't going there, are already bowl eligible and IT'S THE BIG GAME!!! Lighten up, Francis, and go for the TD! End of rant.

sec119 - Tedford will catch a lot of flak for playing conservative in the last drive, but looking at the big picture the coaches had an organized gameplan for stopping Gerhart via the gang-tackle, for neutralizing Owusu via squib kicks, and for taking advantage of the Stanford pass defense via all that stuff Hydro will probably cover.  Let's not lose the forest for the trees (get it? get it?), a Big Game win over a rising Stanford team going away means the coaches did lots of stuff right.

secret ASian man - Up until the point where Tedford got conservative near the very end. I had no complaints.  Doesn't Tedford know he works in one of the most liberal ZIP codes in America.  Conservative does not work in Berkeley.

Not running up the score is one thing, but when the lead is just a field goal, you can't go conservative.  It's the Big Game, punch the Furd in the mouth and play to win.  If the team was up two scores, you have luxury to be classy.  There was no such luxury that night.

sycasey - Just to get it out of the way: Tedford's decision to take a knee and center the ball for a field goal was indefensible. There was way too much time left to not at least try to get the first down with a Vereen run. Outside of that, though, the game plan on both offense and defense worked to perfection. Cal controlled the ball on offense, and the defense kept Gerhart from dominating the game and forced Luck to be the deciding factor. His game-ending interception was the culmination of that strategy.



IMG_9741 (via Monica's Dad)

rurata - WE HAVE THE AXE!!!!!!!  WE HAVE THE AXE!!!!!!!  WE HAVE THE AXE!!!!!!!

pyunny - Overall a terrific game. I was so proud of our Bears. Our defense really stepped it up this game and our offense was actually clicking giving us those long sustained drives.  We took command of the game and put those ingrates in their place =]

First And Ten - Go Bears! This is the team I thought we would have and am glad they finally showed up.  For me this season will always be something of a disappointment, but today did a lot to makeup for that. Overall this was the best game for the bears all season.  While many will always cheer against Stanford, I have to say the Big Game is just more fun when both teams are good.  Ideally this game would decide the Rose Bowl every year for both teams (with Cal winning every game of course). 

This game should kill any ghosts of 2007.  After the devastating losses to the hated Trojans and the disliked Ducks, this team has proven resilient and gotten better, especially the last two games.  The effort is even more impressive given the absence of Mr. Best.

A great game that will deserve its place in Big Game Lore. 

JKK - Nothing beats a win over Furd in the Big Game.
And to play a spoiler against ranked opponents two weeks in a row.

Kinda sucks our team finally shows up at the end of the season. I feel like this team can beat USC. If we won at least the OSU game... we would still be in Rose Bowl hunt.

If we finish strong, we can make it to Holiday Bowl. and I can go watch.

Berkelium97 - Vereen was the player of the game, but there was one member of Rally Comm who stole his thunder today: Mr Death Stare (anyone who watched the game knows who I'm talking about).  That stare could melt granite.  Even Zach Follett would be broken by that stare.  Physicists looking for the source of dark flow (the mysterious force that is propelling galaxies towards a common point) need to look no further than that stare--those galaxies are fleeing his gaze.
Also, kudos to all the Cal fans who rushed the field.  They were louder than the Stanford house and made it seem like Stanford Stadium was our house tonight.  They deserved to trample that field.


ajay - What a way to finish a last Big Game. They could not stop us. There was a point where we did not punt for a good stretch of time. On Defense, we got the stops, we made the right plays. On offense, we constructed drives (which hasn't been done much at all this year), we mixed things up, and best of all, we silenced the crowd.

We could smell their fear, and you know what? We frikken capitalized, and that felt damn good.

Top that off w/ a nice rush the field, and a big ol' California suck it in the Stanfurd end zone? What a great Saturday.

Of course I would have preferred the 2 TD win that we should have had, but seeing harby's face after THE PROFIT's interception is just fine by me!

SoCalOski - Despite all the nits I picked, this was a Big Game win.  At the Furd.  In front of their (now departing) bandwagon fans.  For the Axe.  And keeping the Furd out of the Rose Bowl.  And likely giving us a better bowl bid.  So, even though the average of all the grades I gave might be a "B" the team gets an A+ for shutting up Furdies, ruining their precious season, making Harbaugh choke on his blue-collar hubris, and giving us all a good reason to ask any Furd we see two questions:

1. Hey, Furdie, what's your deal?
2. Who's axe?

KikiRevenge - This game was more than the sum of its parts. Overall, Cal played its best game of the year in its biggest game of the year. But it was more than that. I was sure we were going to lose heading into the game and absolutely certain when it was 14-0. Man, they proved me dead wrong with a resiliency I have rarely seen from a Cal team. We keep the Axe. For me, this more than makes up for the three losses and dashed hopes. A season-saving victory.



What a great f-ing Big Game win

CalX - My only concern was the 4th quarter offense, and it wasn't necessarily the play-calling.  In the Tedford years, when our running game is humming for 2 or 3 quarters, we tend to own the 4th.  The o-line devours an exhausted defense, and our stable of running backs turn 3 yd draw plays into 15 and 20 yd scampers.  You can literally see the air go out of a defense as they try to arm tackle and shoelace tackle the 2nd and 3rd string RBs.  But not tonight.

Stanfurd doesn't quit?  Yeah, neither do most of the teams in the Pac-10.  They should've been exhausted after that 3rd quarter, but they managed to step up and punch back.  I don't think I'm worried so much as disappointed that the offense didn't have another 10-play, 5-minute drive drive in the 4th.

Still, an excellent win overall.  Having graduated in 2002 (and experienced 4 years of the Holmoecaust), the '02 Big Game is still #1 in my book.  I flew back and stayed with friends for Thanksgiving just to go to that game.  This one's a close second, given the rankings, standings and the satisfaction of denying them any shot at the Rose Bowl.

sycasey - Any Big Game win is great, but to pull off an upset and kill Stanford's dreams of winning the Pac-10 made it even sweeter! Also, for Tedford to prove that he hadn't lost the team despite the consecutive blowout losses early in the season and the scary injury to Jahvid Best two weeks ago might make this his most impressive motivational job ever. To still have a shot at a 10-win season seems nothing short of miraculous after the early debacles. Kudos to the Bears!