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2017 Cal vs. Arizona Report Card

Statue of Liberty?!

NCAA Football: Arizona at California Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Berkelium97: Why must our losses to Arizona always be so agonizing? In 2006, DeSean Jackson’s big toe and a phantom pass interference penalty doomed us in a game that ultimately cost us the outright Pac-10 title and a trip to the Rose Bowl. In 2010 the Cal defense held a great Arizona offense without a touchdown for 58 minutes. After the Bears missed a field goal that would have given us a two-score lead, Arizona drove down the field to score the game-winning TD. In 2013 we barely missed our best opportunity to beat an FBS team. In 2014, Cal’s three-possession lead evaporated as Arizona scored 36 fourth-quarter points culminating in the Hill Mary. And now another heartbreaking loss to Arizona.

Average Standard Deviation
Pass Offense 64.7% 16.2
Rush Offense 64.3% 18.7
Pass Defense 56.1% 22.3
Rush Defense 50.0% 19.4
Special Teams 78.5% 20.7
Coaching 73.9% 19.5
Overall 67.8% 17.9
Win Probability vs. Colorado 69.1% (+26.6) 20.3

The offense earned higher grades than the defense, for once! Khalil Tate is a magician, so the defensive grades suffered a bit this week. Still, it’s a good sign that in a loss the coaching category earned a solid score. We’re clearly feeling good heading into this weekend’s game against an increasingly dysfunctional Colorado team. Our confidence in a win over the defending Pac-12 South champs has grown substantially since August.


You know the drill. We have three awards: one recognizes the highest grades, one recognizes the lowest grades, and one that highlights those whose scores were closest to the community average. First, the lowest grades of the week:


Name Grade
1. Goldenbears02 0.00 (0.0%)
2. iwasthere4theplay 3.00 (42.9%)
3. snowcrash 3.45 (49.3%)
4. Mitchgobears 3.50 (50.0%)
5. canes 3.60 (51.4%)

Except for that goose egg, these are fairly respectable scores for a loss.


Name Grade
1. Old Bear 71 7.00 (100.0%)
2. CALiforniALUM 5.78 (82.6%)
3. BTown85 5.73 (81.9%)
4. justbear 5.70 (81.4%)
5. m4ld 5.25 (75.0%)

A perfect score leads the way to complement the 0 we had leading the pessimists.

The Voice of Reason

Name Deviation
1. 1988goldenbear .0562
2. LeonPowe .0651
3. Berkelium97 .0677
4. Odki7r .0837
5. calvint .0854

Regular VoR recipient 1988goldenbear leads the way over two of CGB’s most intelligent and attractive writers. I guess we have some editorial integrity after all.

GoldenBearsBandwagon: Loved the effort, loved the 2PT conversion call. Let’s bounce back next week and hopefully take our next step towards bowl eligibility.

Gameday Experience

Justbear: we need more fans in the stadium

Gumibears: I'm stuck in Canada in an airbnb basement. Stream was of ok quality.

Snowcrash: I don't like overtime. The games are long enough as it is. Except for playoff games, I would just let ties be ties but have them count for 1/3 of a win in the standings, not 1/2 of a win.

BearMD: Great weather. And the best part is they actually started nearly on time! I think my son and I barely made it to our seats about 5 minutes past 5 and the game was ready to start.

Yogi Bear: My easy chair was comfortable and the hour I added to my DVR was sufficient

Iwasthere4theplay: Cold empty stadium. But we were on TV!!!!

Odki7r: Really good atmosphere

LeonPowe: Twist tried to infiltrate the victory formation, but he failed. I blame the loss on The Federer Express finally showing up for one (1) home game this season.

Prd74: I think after the game I said to myself that everyone who went to the game got their money's worth. Exciting game, Cal Band and the Alumni Band put on what I think is their best Alumni Band show ever, the commercials were not annoying, and no one could grumble about their seats since way less than half the capacity showed up and it seems that everyone moved close to the 50 yard line seats since most were empty. So during and after the game I was thinking about our attendance or lack of. I think that since every game is now available on TV or internet, going to the game is far less appealing or necessary than in the old days. What old days? The days when there were always going to be some games that were radio only (usually when we played the crappy teams). Pre Pac12 Network, pre FS1, Pre ESPN. Lowering the cost of tickets won't help. Winning more games won't help (as evidenced tonight). I doubt that we will ever get our attendance and ticket season holder totals up until we go back to blacking out the games locally. This won't happen, so attendance will be bad for now and into the future. Sorry, but my game day experience was fine but I was thinking about what the **** happened to everyone who should have been at this game.

Old Bear 71: So frustrated with the PAC-12 arrangement with Comcast Xfininty in Florida. Could only get the game on Gamecast. Unclesam22 kept me apprised of detailsnot noted on the bare bones rundowns on the internet.

Pass Offense

Cleancutmedia: I really don't think bowers is the answer. He is not good on the outside throws, he doesn't go through his checks often and gambles way too much. I know this is his first time out there, but it's been a few games now.

Justbear: Noa is our new Keenan Allen. But we need more playmakers. We need Kenny Lawler type of player in the endzone.

CALiforniALUM: Droppsies kill...

Hardtobecalfan: the interceptions were just too much to overcome

Snowcrash: 6.1 yards per attempt and two picks doesn't sound like much, but they kept the chains moving. Pass pro seems to be improving, and Bowers looked more like a legit Pac-12 qb. The receivers mostly did a good job of holding onto the ball even when they knew they were going to get pounded.

RogerRogerWhatsYerVectorVictor?: A couple of bad picks, but easily have been 4 interceptions... But also some good moments. First year starter blues.

1988goldenbear: Bowers was shaky in the first half - those picks were bad. But he picked it up in the second half and had a solid game overall. We are in good shape with him under center moving forward. The O-line was decent against almost constant blitzing.

BearDown: Bowers is looking more comfortable but still needs to improve on consistency while the receivers need to catch passes that hit them in the hands.

BTown85: Bowers did a fine job, until he didn't. He was doing well, but INTs looked like pretty bad throws. But he stood in there. I'm impressed by his ability to run the team.

Mitchgobears: Inconsistent. Ineffective without Noa in the game.

Uthaithani: Really happy to see the offense find a rhythm and score real points. The team is gelling and the line looks better in pass protection. Bowers is maturing into a good QB, making fewer dumb mistakes. Needs to stop staring down receivers, but that'll develop over time.

2004-present: Still too much of a struggle. Competent but it just looks like they have to try too hard.

Run Offense

CALiforniALUM: Laird is a beast. Lairdmode is on!

Gumibears: We actually ran pretty decently. I like Enwere's push at the endzone last week and this week laterally. Laird is the better outside rusher and north south back.

Hardtobecalfan: nice having laird back. loved enwere's effort to get his TD in 2OT

BearMD: Man, let's protect Laird...the dude's got moxie! I think he's the RB of the future for the team...oh wait, he's a junior. So we get him for one more year. Laird almost reminds me of another RB from that farm across the bay (McCaffrey), although I would say Laird has a bit more body and a bit less speed. But when you see Laird, he's got the lateral movement to get shifty and I'm excited to see what more he can bring the rest of the season and beyond! Enwere's OT TD was good, but not enough. If you've got 10 more minutes of time of possession, Enwere should be the bruising back he needs to be to wear down the defense. I'm still waiting for that day when Vic can mow down the defense, instead of trying to get finesse with cuts and jumps.

Moosehead: It's ok. We should be getting more out of Vic Enwere

Yogi Bear: It was okay. No real big play potential with the running backs we've got, but managed to generate just enough running offense to keep a meh Arizona defense honest.

Iwasthere4theplay: Enwere in the game, handoff up the middle. OZR with Enwere don't work well. Laird gets the running game going, but a lot of it is on his own. Echols coming in helps, but they mostly run him on jet and orbit and he rarely gets the ball. He got some touches during this game, but not much room to run. We were not blocking the edge defender well.

LeonPowe: #NEVERRUN, unless it works, then #ALWAYSRUN

Prd74: I loved Tre Watson last year. He may have not run much, but he was always giving 100% effort. Tonight, it is clear that we have yet another group of running backs that give it their all. Patrick fought hard on every play. Our big FB made his presence known every time he was in the game. Enware was guaranteed to give the one or two yards when we needed that. His effort in OT was proof positive that he is not a quitter. Our running offense is not a Ron Gould flashy bunch, but blue collar, hard working, and acceptable and saying that says a lot of good things about this bunch and what they did last night.

Uthaithani: Kudos for the coaches for sticking with the run, and it started to work! Again, happy to see the offense developing an identity and rhythm. It gives me hope for the future of this season and the program.

2004-present: Bad. I'm almost beyond caring about the dozens of TFL we get every game, but this was an Arizona front 7 that has been gashed recently. We need better.

Pass Defense

Cleancutmedia: our guys could not keep up with their WRs. should have figured out a way to cover those wide open wrs. where were the safeties?

Justbear: Not too bad, except for allowing some big plays

Hardtobecalfan: not great, but tate is a good passer.

Snowcrash: Small sample size, but had horrible breakdowns on Zona's 56 yard score and the second overtime TD. Brown is probably going to have nightmares about running right past Tate and out of the play for a long time. Pressure was generally good though.

RogerRogerWhatsYerVectorVictor?: Hard to do when you're so concerned about the run and the running QB. Hard to get effective pressure on a QB like Tate

1988goldenbear: Got beat too many times for huge plays, and we had Tate dead to rights a few times but he managed to get away and make a big play. I don't think we face another QB like him this season.

Moosehead: It did not respect Arizona's quarterback's passing which cost us.

Yogi Bear: Didn't get tested much. The long TD was bad coverage, the interception was a slight overthrow by Tate (but at least we held on) and at times, the coverage forced Tate into running out of bounds.

Iwasthere4theplay: Long plays against the secondary were horrible. Receivers had 3-4 steps on defenders. Bad technique maybe? I didn't watch them much but those big plays were easy run and catch.

BearDown: While they continue to impress, they did let a couple of big passes hurt us.

Old Bear 71: Got a BIG int at the critical moment. Kudos!!!

Uthaithani: I realize the scheme was run-focused, but it was disappointing that seemingly every time UofA needed a big pass play, they got it. I know our secondary is better than that.

Run Defense

CALiforniALUM: All things considered we did a pretty good job going toe to toe with a strong run game.

Hardtobecalfan: got beat by tate and their carousel of RBs.

1988goldenbear: As with the pass defense, we just gave up too many really costly plays, and we gave up too many yards to Tate after he escaped or got hit. And Green had a great game for UA as well.

BearMD: I think I'll stop bashing the some point, you can only do so much with the remaining talent standing. Losing Downs for the season was painful. I think giving up 345 yards is always painful. But who the heck is is Green? The dude didn't break a buck rushing until against us! Painful.

Yogi Bear: I guess I grade this one on a bit of a curve. As expected, we didn't really have the defensive line to stand up their offensive line and close gaps so that our linebackers could chase down plays for TFL's. First half, we got run on pretty much at will and in the second half we defended it better. Overtime they ran untouched into the endzone on one play.

NinjaNed: The way you stop a triple option is with power. Athletes on the D-Line getting to the back field consistently to stop the middle options, strong tacklers at the linebacker positions that can occupy spaces for all the gaps, and overall position so we don't have to think so much with all the options. We don't have that yet, so I knew it was gonna be tough, but we'll get there.

BTown85: Well, Tate ran for fewer yards than I THOUGHT he was going to. Too bad we couldn't stop the RB when we needed to.

LeonPowe: As much about the Arizona gameplan as anything (anytime Tate handed it off, I breathed a sigh of relief. Is this what it's like playing against Madden '02 Michael Vick? I felt if Tate had a seam, he was gone; if he turned a corner, he was gone. So every time they didn't run QB1, we gave up 3-5 yards. We were ok, but not fantastic.

Mitchgobears: Fooled by motion too frequently. Play your assignment.

Uthaithani: Well, didn't look so good. Got burned by everyone who touched the ball. But also stood up most of the second half and did much better against the run. Kudos to UofA, probably the best offense Cal has faced, and certainly the toughest matchup.

2004-present: I get that Tate's been hot lately and their ground game is their bread and butter, but come on now. Tate's not exactly Lamar Jackson back there it shouldn't have been THAT easy for them. I get Devante Downs was missing but he's not coming back so we need to figure something else out.

Special Teams

Cleancutmedia: Anderson for the Win... or the Tie. great kick. that's all I have to say.

Justbear: Anderson's 52 yard FG to force the game into OT was a beauty. That itself earns special teams an A

Snowcrash: Anderson from 52. Yeahhh.

1988goldenbear: Anderson from 52! Nothing to complain about otherwise.

BearMD: Matt Anderson, we will miss you next year when you'll be kicking lights out for some NFL team. That 52 yard FG was just beautiful to watch! Considering that that kick had some 10+ yards to spare, I think he could have easily drilled a 60+ yarder! Way to go!!

Iwasthere4theplay: Nice to see the ball getting to the endzone. Davis is very close to breaking one for a TD and you could see at the end they were kicking it high and short to keep it away from him. Nice 50+ FG during the game as well.

BearDown: Nice to see the old Anderson back to form!

Prd74: ANDERSON!! The other guys were very good, too.

Old Bear 71: 53 yards! that was some leg!

Mitchgobears: You can't diss a 52 yard field goal. (It would have been good from LONGER!)

2004-present: Nice kick Matty. Thought we were f'ed when he lined up from that far away so I'll take it.


Justbear: I think it was great decision to go for 2, but there should have been a safer playcall, an easier pass, a roll out, or play action out of power formation, or just power run with Vic

CALiforniALUM: I personally liked that we went for it at the end. Play to win. Trust your players.

Hardtobecalfan: liked the decision to go for 2 but did not like the playcall

Snowcrash: We made some decent second half adjustments and generally had the right calls on 3rd down, but the timeout management at the end of the second half was shambolic and the decision to go for two at the end was highly questionable. Zona's defense was gassed, and I think our chances in a 3rd overtime would have been 50-50 or better.

RogerRogerWhatsYerVectorVictor?: People will complain about the last play, but impressive that Cal fought back from where they were in the first half, and i give coaches some credit for that.

1988goldenbear: They did a good job coaching them up after the first half. A comeback like that would've been inconceivable last season, but this game it felt like we would somehow get it done. I'm on board with the call to go for two - gotta trust the coaching staff to do what they thought would work.

BearMD: Wilcox has moxie. While this hurt, I don't think anything less of going for that two point conversion at the second OT. Would the extra point kick be a safe bet, of course! But consider that we were beginning to lose some linemen to fatigue and injury, I think the decision was good...execution was kinda painful...why take the timeout when you already had the element of surprise? But at this stage, I like this aggressiveness. Kudos to coach Baldwin for having the guts to try and for Wilcox to allow it to go!

Moosehead: It seems to be getting better by the game.

Iwasthere4theplay: In his presser, coach said he felt going for 2 was the best chance of winning. In OT I think you have to keep matching the other team when they score TD and hope for a break in the next OT. Bowers called a TO which gave AZ more time to set up the D.

NinjaNed: I liked the play calling a lot. Statue of liberty play, Malik McMorris TE routes against a freshmen safety, etc. It comes down to execution and personnel, and with Bowers floating up passes, receivers dropping easy balls, and random false start penalties, it hurts the game plan.

Odki7r: Liked going for 2

BearDown: Again, I love our staff. I fully support going for 2 but was disappointed in the final play that was called compared to others called earlier in the night.

BTown85: LOVED that we went for 2 !!!!! Love their confidence in the team. Did about as good as I think you can hope with Tate......... I'm SURE they told the team no stupid penalties, but then we have that stupid unnecessary roughness call in the first half. THAT'S what lost us the game, IMHO. Not the coaches' fault.

Prd74: We stopped the guy who just killed two other teams. They should have stomped us and didn't. The Head Coach went for the win which was the absolute correct decision according to every amateur coach sitting near me in Section EE. Wilcox and his crew kept everyone in their seats until the very end. We are blessed.

Uthaithani: Game was a dogfight and Cal lost by centimeters. The coaching was good - I don't fault coaching for the challenges on D. Offense is best I've seen since last year, I love the swagger, glad to see that's turning around. So overall, great job, coaches. Sorry the game didn't bounce your way.

2004-present: Not their best game. The decision to go for 2 was the correct one and they deserve credit for having us in position to win after being outplayed for large chunks, but they left some stuff out there as well. I didn't like the playcall on the 2pt try-- it seemed too vanilla. The playcalling as a whole regressed a bit from last week's tailored-to-offense's-skillset design. And the run defense did not appear to respond well to the loss of Downs or the potent Arizona rush attack. Not the end of the world but plenty of stuff to correct.

Overall Performance

Justbear: A fun game to watch, the score reminds us of Dykes era, but a lot more sound game.

Gumibears: Its good the team stepped up to overcome the deficit, but unlucky they couldnt squeak by with a win.

Hardtobecalfan: they almost clawed their way to a win after a terrible first half, so that's encouraging.

Snowcrash: Not terrible, and the offense has made some progress over the last two games. The defense looked like it did against Weber St, but most of the problems are correctable. Fortunately only one of our last four opponents has a strong running attack.

RogerRogerWhatsYerVectorVictor?: Future is bright for both Arizona and Cal

1988goldenbear: What a great comeback to tie this one up after giving up so many big plays. This team never gives up, and the offense seemed controlled and confident despite the deficit. It was another demonstration of how far this coaching staff has pushed this team - very impressive.

Moosehead: Poor. We had the opportunity to win this game but we let it slip away.

Yogi Bear: 2nd Half adjustments limited the defensive bleeding. The statue of liberty play was great, but I wished we had saved it for the 2 point conversion attempt (which I agreed with, we weren't going to stop their offense).

Iwasthere4theplay: Game was back and forth, mostly offenses controlling defenses. After watching AZ beat up fucla I was worried but I feel good about this team.

BearDown: Tough, tough loss. We hung in there and came back strong. We deserved the win and, while I support going for 2, I will actually hold Baldwin responsible for the play call for the final play - didn't seem terribly imaginative or tough to defend.

BTown85: LOVE this team. Played hard, especially with DDowns out. So proud of these guys.

LeonPowe: Young team, house money, we're way ahead of everything so I'm ok.

Prd74: Disappointed over the result, but not how it played out.

Uthaithani: Sometimes a loss is as good as a win. This was one of those times. The offense came out of hibernation, the defense was seriously challenged but stood up to a very very good offense. I see a lot this team can improve on and, more importantly, a lot this team can build on. I feel optimistic about the offense (for the first time all year) and the team as a whole (which I've always felt pretty good about).

2004-present: Tough to go through all that and lose, but trajectory doesn't change. Colorado looks much less and Arizona much more formidable than 2 months ago, so maybe we'll swap this win for next week's. I know the 2pt failure at the end will always ruffle some feathers, but it was absolutely the correct call. There's no guarantee of success no matter which path you choose, so to me it again comes down to "feel for the game." Wilcox understood Arizona was "controlling" the game at that point (meaning they were the primary aggressors and we were mostly just reacting to their moves), so our odds of winning would decrease as OT wore on. It was a struggle just to stay tied. The only way we were going to win was a) we get the 2 right there, or b) they screw up + we capitalize (while making sure the game stayed tied in the meantime). The first option is by far the more likely, thus the right decision. So kudos to JW for feeling that out.