The story of the first quarter was Washington's defense showing why they were so hyped coming into this game. Cal's three full possessions in this initial quarter resulted in: 1) failing to gain a first down and handing the ball to UW after Vic Enwere missed the first down marker by a few inches; 2) field goal; and 3) a punt. Washington's run defense limited Cal runners to only 22 yards on 13 carries. The Huskies' front seven continually applied pressure up front on QB Jared Goff all quarter long, resulting in two sacks (Travis Feeney & Jaylen Johnson). But, despite the pressure, Goff did a nice job spreading the ball around a variety of receivers - Powe, Lawler, Treggs, Harris, and Anderson.
Defensively, Cal looked like how they finished the Texas game - pretty porous against the run. While Cal limited Washington QB Jake Browning to no passes in the first quarter, Dwayne Washington ran all over Cal with 5 rushes for 71 yards and 1 TD, including a long sweep for 27 yards. Washington was definitely the star of the quarter for the Huskies.
The first quarter looked like most typical first quarters - both teams were getting to know each other, some shaky plays by both QBs, and both sides needing to work through their adrenaline and calm down into the pace of the game.
Cal finished the first quarter down 3-7.
Two unlikely Cal players stepped up big in the second quarter. LB Kyle Kragen got a nice sack on Browning early on in the quarter that forced the Huskies to punt. On the next Cal defensive stint, Kragen forced a fumble by Browning to give Cal great field possession.
But, even more exciting for Cal fans is how RB Vic Enwere looked like the second coming of Marshawn Lynch on a couple of occasions. First, Enwere had a 12-yard run that saw him running through blockers left and right and finishing with an heroic lunge into the endzone. Then, halfway through the quarter, Enwere got a nice 17-yard plow through the heart of the Washington defense that almost resulted in a TD. And, with a minute left in the half, Enwere had a stomping 24-yarder through multiple defenders again. Enwere is a big back (6,1", 230 lbs) who keeps his pads low and feet driving - just like our legendary Beast Mode.
On Cal's second possession of the quarter, they were stood-up by Washington on their 1-yard line. After losing the ball on downs, CB Darius White came-up with a nice interception on Browning to give the ball right back to Cal. Goff then drives the ball down into the red zone again, but Cal gets stood-up with some failed trickery as a multiple sweep play between Goff, Khalfani Muhammad, and Trevor Davis got busted-up. Cal then had to settle for a field goal.
After Cal's CB Darius Allensworth forced a fumble by Washington's Isaiah Renfro, Cal's third possession made it look clinical as they drove down the field and scored on a beauty by Goff to Treggs. Goff made some nice throws to Anderson, Davis, and Powe, then Muhammad got some good yardage on the ground (17 yards on two rushes) to set-up Treggs' TD catch. This was the first passing TD that Washington gave-up this season.
Cal finished the first half up 20-7.
While the second quarter was a major swing quarter for Cal, Washington made great strides in the third quarter to make the game competitive again. After Cal drove down the field and scored a Goff-Lawler TD (Goff connected with Lawler twice and Treggs once), Browning put together his best drive of the game so far, culminating with a Chico McClatcher 2-yard TD run. Then, on Cal's next drive, Enwere fumbled the ball and Washington DB Sidney Jones returned it for a defensive TD.
On the defensive side of the ball, Washington's DT Elijah Qualls really asserted himself this quarter down in the trenches. He got another sack on Goff, stuffed the run multiple times, and helped cause the fumble by Enwere. Think Danny Shelton - Qualls (only a sophomore) was a monster up front for the Huskies. Qualls & Co, coupled with Cal losing both of its starting tackles to injury during this quarter, had Goff making many hurried throws this quarter and seeing Cal's lead go way down.
Cal ended the third quarter up only 27-21.
Cal seemed like it had gained a little bit of momentum back to start the fourth quarter. Cal's DT Marcus Manley caused a fumble by Huskies' Dwayne Washington that gave the ball back to Cal after Goff missed on a long bomb to Treggs to end their first possession of the quarter. On this possession, Goff connects with Treggs for a 27-yarder that had Treggs tippy-toeing the sideline for a nifty catch. Then, a roughing-the-passer call helped Cal get into the red zone. But, after a series of self-destructive penalties, Cal had to settle for a 37-yard FG.
With two minutes left in the game, Damariay Drew hauled-in a very timely interception off a lob throw from a scrambling Browning. Goff & Co then finished the job and sealed the game for the Golden Bears. Goff made a heroic lunge on a 4th & 4 QB keeper at the end of the game to clinch it.
Cal wins the game 30-24!
The Final Word
This game was too close for comfort for Cal fans. RB Daniel Lasco suited up, but didn't make an appearance in this game - let's hope HC Sonny Dykes is saving him for our murderer's row of games coming up soon (Utah, UCLA, USC, Oregon). Both defenses performed admirably at times, but showed their tackling deficiencies quite often. The defining difference - offense. Cal's Bear Raid was essentially unstoppable, led by our fearless QB leader. The Huskies have a freshman QB who made freshman QB mistakes.
Roll on, you bears!!