Well, that won’t rank as a great night to remember. There are a few different ways to look at tonight’s football game, some positive and some negative, but generally the Bears lost a game they were supposed to lose. Sure some of us thought the home magic might come into play and it certainly looked that way for most of the first half. However the Huskies are ranked #5 in the country for a reason and everyone at memorial Saturday night saw why Washington is nearing a college football playoff appearance.
As for the game itself, Cal put up some significant numbers against one of the best teams in the country. The Huskies had only allowed seven points all season to opponents in the first quarter and the Bears dropped 13. In the second quarter, the Bears even brought the lead to one point after a Chad Hansen (he’s back!) touchdown.
The second half Washington would pull away and they would do so rather quickly. The game rapidly fell out of reach in the third quarter and by the fourth quarter most Cal fans were wondering why exactly we hadn’t seen Ross Bowers march onto the field. The final score wasn’t pretty but there were at least some positives that can come from this loss, even as ugly as it may look to the outside observer. Let’s take a look at a few of the highlights from each quarter.
Cal had the first lead of the game after the Bears defense shut down Washington on their first drive. Matt Anderson made a 43 yard field goal to put the Bears up 3-0 and Washington immediately answered back. In what was a theme of the night, Jake Browning hit John Ross on a beautiful sixty yard bomb which put the Huskies up 7-3. Cameron Saffle made a couple nice defensive plays, including a near safety before forcing the Huskies to punt. On the punt, Vic Wharton would field the rugby kick and bring the ball near the twenty yard line of Washington. The Bears would waste that field position and settle for another field goal, which Dykes later elaborated on in his post game press conference. With the score now 7-6, Washington would use a classic Jeff Tedford play to score another touchdown, taking a 14-6 lead.
Chad Hansen came up a bit slow on an earlier tackle but would eventually return later in the quarter. After a quick Bears three and out, Washington would score again and once again with Browning finding John Ross, this time for 67 yards.
Just as the first quarter was about to conclude, Davis Webb hit Robertson on a beautiful deep ball of his own before setting up a crucial fourth down play. On a designed QB draw, Webb would follow Addison Ooms up the middle for a Cal touchdown. At the end of the first quarter, the score was 21-13 Washington.
Cal would open the quarter stopping Washington again on defense and giving their offense another shot at the Huskies. Webb hit Hansen for a big 38 yard gain in the drive and found Robertson on the outside to push the ball deeper into Washington territory. Davis Webb then found Chad Hansen for a 14 yard touchdown and it started to feel like the memorial stadium magic was coming to play once more. 21-20 Washington.
Washington, to their credit, would immediately strike back. Browning was shredding the Bears through the air with relative ease, taking the Huskies all the way inside of the Bears ten. He then found John Ross, yes again, for his third touchdown of the evening and coincidentally Browning’s third passing touchdown of the night.
Cal immediately went three and out, returning the ball to Washington. The Huskies wasted no time getting into the end zone again. The Bears did have a chance for a stop but committed a pass interference penalty that extended the Washington possession and the drive concluded with Browning finding Pettis for a one yard touchdown. 35-20 Huskies, and the score would stay the same heading into halftime.
The third quarter was where the game got extremely out of hand. The Huskies immediately scored on their first possession, using a reverse to gain some decent yardage on the ground. Browning hit Pettis for a 17 yard touchdown, his third touchdown on the evening (one passing, two receiving) and the game started to feel out of reach.
Cal was putting together a decent drive downfield as Davis Webb looked to hit Vic Wharton in single coverage. However stud Husky cornerback Sidney Jones was having none of it and intercepted Webb’s pass. The Huskies would then immediately convert that into points as Myles Gaskin scored on two yard run. 49-20 Washington.
The Bears next possession would have the exact same result as Webb totally missed Jones who intercepted him once more. Jake Browning then found Dante Pettis for a 32 yard touchdown and the rout was on. Browning with that throw, set the record for the single most passing touchdowns in school history.
The Huskies kicked an early field goal to push their total on the night to 59. The Bears would finally answer back with Patrick Laird scoring on a well earned, six yard touchdown. The score moved to 59-27 and most Cal fans watching were hoping to get a glimpse of Ross Bowers as well as other younger players.
Washington would eventually remove Browning with his six touchdowns yet it wouldn’t stop their production. Lavon Coleman rushed for a 49 yard touchdown to push their point total to 66. With the Bears facing a near forty point deficit, Davis Webb was still in the game unsuccessfully leading the team downfield.
As the final seconds ticked away, the Bears had given up their third biggest point total ever and allowed over 700 yards of total offense. The Bears secondary looked depleted, worn down and overmatched against the Washington offense while Browning looked like a legitimate Heisman candidate.
The bright side for Cal is they hung in there against an incredibly talented team and continued to prove to themselves that they can score on anyone. The running game struggled to find much room all night long behind the tackles and yet the Bears were effective when they needed to be through the air.
Cal needs to regroup and prepare to take on a very good Washington State team this upcoming Saturday night in Pullman.