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Cal 28, Utah 23: Bears D Dominates When It Counts the Most

After a great back-and-forth game, Cal pulls out another amazing victory against a ranked opponent at home! Cal established momentum first and went up on the Utes fast, then Utah went to a steady run power game mixed-in with timely passes to come back on the Bears. At the end, Webb's precise deep bombs in timely spots - and Cal defense's timely stops in the last minute of the game - made the difference in Cal's impressive victory.

Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

First Quarter

Cal clearly dominated the first quarter of play.  From the get-go, Cal established its run game on an Utah defense that looked suspiciusly slow.  Cal was committed to the run and had big takes from Tre Watson and Vic Enwere.  To conclude the first drive, Webb lobbed a 40-yard TD pass to a wide open Hansen.  And, in typical Haneen fashion, he pulled the Cam Newton Superman celebration

Later in the quarter, Cal’s third drive played out in similar fashion.  Watson had a few nice power outside runs, then Webb bombed a 39-yard TD pass to Demetris Robertson on the right side of the field.  Robertson was eerily open just like Hansen had been on Cal’s first drive.  The power of Cal setting up the run for the deep pass play was in full effect.

Cal finished the first quarter with 41 yards on the ground and 133 yards through the air.  Webb was 7 for 11, including 2 TDs.  Watson and Enwere both had 3 rushes, providing an even inside and outside rushing diversion that setup the Bear Raid for its full effect.

Utah was not able to establish any momentum on offense during the first quarter.  QB Troy Williams was 6 for 12, for only 51 yards.  On the ground, RB Armand Shyne had 4 carries for 19 yards.  In three drives, Utah was forced to punt two times.

First quarter score: Cal 14, Utah 0.

Second Quarter

The story of the second quarter was Utah’s ball possession.  The Utes begin the second quarter with a field goal to finally get on the board.  After forcing Cal to punt the ball, Utah gets the ball back and completely dominates the clock.  After getting pinned on their own 5-yard line, Utah goes on a methodical 21-play drive for all 95 yards and kills over 9 minutes off the clock, resulting in a Shyne 4-yard TD rush down the middle.

Utah dominated the second quarter with 103 total offensive yards, compared to Cal’s insignificant 33 yards.  The Utes picked-up their run game with 14 rushes for 53 yards.  On the contrary, Cal’s run game was nowhere to be seen in the second quarter with only 1 rush for 2 yards.

Going into halftime, Utah was definitely gaining a full head of steam as its offense exemplified the definition of ball control and Cal’s offensive & defensive units appeared to come back down to Earth after a blistering first quarter.

Second quarter score:  Cal 14, Utah 10

Third Quarter

The third quarter gave us more of the second quarter.  The Utes continued their ball dominance as Cal’s defense looked tired and slow.  Utah manufactured a 13-play drive for 59 yards that killed almost 7 minutes off the clock.  Shyne gave Cal a steady dose of rushes, while Utah QB Troy Williams makes key completions to keep his unit cruising down the field.   Utah completes its first drive of the quarter with a Shyne TD-yard run down the middle.

Cal’s next offensive drive exhibited some of the fireworks that had gone MIA since the first quarter.  After a few quick rushes, Webb went full-blown air raid to Chad Hansen, over and over and over again.  The drive culminated with a nice 24-yard TB lob pass from Webb to Hansen that was perfectly placed along the right sideline of the endzone.  Hansen hauled it in, then proceeded to high-five a fan in the endzone.  You do you, Hansen - you do you.

Third quarter score:  Cal 21, Utah 17

Fourth Quarter

Cal begins the fourth quarter with a huge defensive stop.  After letting Utah go 63 yards on 12 plays, Cal got the defensive stop on Utah's 4th-and-1 on Cal's 11-yard line and gets the ball back to its offense.  And, boy, did Cal's offense capitalize.  The Golden Bears proceeded to complete 6 plays in 1:44 minutes, culminating in a 56-yard TD bomb from Webb to D-Rob.

Utah responded with an impressive drive of their own - 6 plays for 75 yards in 2:22 minutes.  Utah would miss its 2-point conversion attempt, though.  After an unsuccessful drive by Cal, Utah gets the ball back and drives all the way down to Cal's 7-yard line.  On 3rd-and-7, Cal gets a crucial sack to force an Utah 4th-and-11 with 20 seconds left in the game.  But, after a pass interference call in the endzone, Utah's drive is kept alive.  Cal's defense then lays the hammer and stifles Utah for three straight plays to pull-out another gut-wrenching victory at home!

Final game score:  Cal 28, Utah 23