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Roundtables: First conference road win in 3 years!

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NCAA Football: California at Oregon State Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

With our first PAC-12 road win in quite some time, what does this victory mean to the this team? to the trajectory of the program?

boomtho: I think it’s an important step, although everyone recognizes that OSU is the worst team in the conference, so we definitely shouldn’t proclaim the season “back on track”

I do think it’s an important win for Wilcox & Co though - the wheels were in danger of falling off, and I think it will help build confidence in the scheme (especially offensive) and talent. And if it helps solidify the QB position, and get Laird back on track - it’s just about as good as a single week can go!

Joshua.Morgan: It was definitely a big win for us. While Oregon State isn’t a great team by any standards, a road Pac-12 win is what it is and a convincing win definitely does provide even more reason for optimism in my mind. I think this can be a huge confidence booster for the team. Now that we are entering the tough part of our schedule free from pressure and expectations, I expect this team to play loose and motivated, and with nothing to lose, I wouldn’t be surprised if we stole a game or two.

HydroTech: The win over Oregon State is a nice confidence boost to the team, and a nice end of Cal’s Pac-12 road losing streak, but I don’t think it’s much more than that. The win isn’t going to trampoline the Cal Football team to sudden greatness or to a competitiveness on par with the top teams in the Pac-12. Oregon State is not a good football team this year. The win was a win that every Cal fan was expecting at the beginning of the year. This may very well be the last win this 2018 Cal Football team sees this year as it enters its brutal second half of the season schedule.

Ruey Yen: Let’s put it this way. It would have been an absolute disaster had Cal lost at Oregon State this past Saturday. Had that happened, all the good that Justin Wilcox had build last year may have been undone with the fan base questioning whether he’s the longterm answer. Instead, we are back to that relatively low bar for Cal Football.

I hate to say it, but Cal fans are grading their team akin to how Stanford students are getting their grades - it doesn’t take that much to have a passing grade thanks to grade inflation. A relatively plausible path to a mediocre bowl that involves beating a young USC and a flawed Stanford team will get this Cal Football team an easy “A” for this season from the majority of us.

Rob Hwang: 10-3.

The offense clicked and poured on points against a very poor OSU defense. What were your biggest takeaways from the offense?

boomtho: It’s hard to take away too much from this week (Nick’s article covered that will - this is a baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaad defense), but the few things I think we learned are:

-Please start Garbers!

-Nice to see a really solid game from Patrick Laird, hopefully it’s a sign of a better OL/RB connection

-Good to see Noa with a higher target volume, think he is key to unlocking what our passing game can do

Joshua.Morgan: I know we can’t take too much away from this game, but the thing that stood out to me was the playcalling. With Garbers at quarterback, our playcalling resembled our gameplans of last year rather than whatever we had been doing with Brandon McIlwain. Let me remind you that by the end of last year, we were all thrilled with Beau Baldwin and he was even getting some head coaching interest (ironically from Oregon State). If he can call games like he did last year and like he did in this game, this isn’t a terrible offense to watch.

The other thing that stood out to me was obviously the fact that we were pretty successful in protecting the ball. Sure, we had the fumble at the goal line that is never pretty to see, but other than that, we protected the ball very well. This allowed Chase Garbers to have a pretty good passing game and allowed Patrick Laird to shine on our way to our best offensive game of the season.

I think that if these two themes continue (good playcalling and ball security) and Garbers continues to be productive as a passer, then this team could have an okay enough offense to let out defense win us some ballgames.

Ruey Yen: The 2018 Cal offense is obviously based on the ground game. Bears were able to impose their will against a bad OSU defense for the peak display of this Beau Baldwin offense. I am fairly sure that every other defense that they see for the rest of the season will be better. Yes, Chase Garbers had a great game as the game manager for the Bears, but can he execute like this under more stress? It was awesome to see Patrick Laird with some a big game just because he is a great student-athlete. I am just not sure that one game can really lift my expectations for the Cal offense for the rest of the year that much.

Rob Hwang: Garbers looked good throwing the long ball and he’ll get the opportunity to do it against a decent UW squad. If he can translate his success against OSU to UW, I think we’ll be fine for the rest of the year. The running game led by Pat Laird looks to be coming back to form at the halfway mark of the season.

The defense also had a stellar game, albeit it was a shorthanded OSU offense. What were the biggest improvements you saw from the defense this week?

Joshua.Morgan: We basically saw a return to the pre-UCLA levels of defense, so I think it is fair to call that game an outlier. I wasn’t necessarily surprised by this as I still believed we had a strong defense coming out of the UCLA blowout, but it was nice to have this confirmed against Oregon State. I think it will be exciting to see our defense get tested by some good offenses while our offense hopefully doesn’t screw them over like they have against Oregon and Arizona. If our offense and defense can operate as one unit, this could be a good football team down the stretch.

Ruey Yen: Other than the UCLA game, Cal defense has been quite consistent. With OSU playing for the most part without their stud running back in Jermar Jefferson and then playing with their backup QB (who was 3rd in the depth chart at the start of the season) for the entire second half when they had to throw more, Cal defense did what they were supposed to do against an overmatched opponent. Most of those 7 sacks were drives killing. Bears even had a pick-6 for the last TD of the game. I just feel that the Cal D may need to actually score more points and force more than just two turnovers in a game for the Bears to pull off some big upset wins in the rest of 2018.

Rob Hwang: A return to form of turnovers. Its a huge confidence boost coming home going against a ranked opponent. The Defense will be rejuvenated after having the offense give them an easy 3 possession cushion to play with. Very intrigued to see how they come out to play against the Huskies.