While Cal's offense sputtered for much of the afternoon against USC, they finished on a high note. Their final offensive play showed what the pace and execution of their offense can do, though, as well all know, it was too little too late.
On the play, Cal had just completed a long, game extending fourth down pass on a great catch by Darius Powe to get to the nine yard line. USC had trouble aligning fast enough, and Cal took advantage. This shows the potential of Cal's offense, which is also the frustration for Cal fans - big plays lead to big plays with the pace that Cal can play at, but Cal has struggled to hit such big plays during their three game losing streak, and the Bear Raid has thus not been able to fly in the fashion that most envisioned.
Football is a process. While the ultimate judgment is wins and losses, improvement comes from focusing on that process. As a team, Cal continues to play hard and give themselves chances to win against top competition. While nothing guarantees the eventual success that fans crave, there is still much reason for optimism that Cal will continue to improve as a program. The drive that this touchdown capped featured several big plays in high pressure situations, displaying an offense capable of bigger things than they achieved against USC.
Keegan Dresow spent four seasons as the head coach of the Avedøre Monarchs of the Danish American Football Federation, is the author of Offensive Football Systems and Gridiron Cup, 1982, and is the operator of totalamericanfootball.com.