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Roundtables: Building off of Victory

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Up the ladder.

Washington v California Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

What a game. What were your highlights from the game?

thedozen: Evan Weaver’s pick six felt like the play of the season to this point, and that was before Cal held on to win the thing. Ashtyn Davis returned a kickoff for 55 yards which built some momentum right after the Huskies found the end zone. Greg Thomas did miss one field goal, but his 35 yard conversion in the second quarter turned out to be very important.

Rick Chen: Oddly enough, Greg Thomas’ missed field goal ahead of halftime was an eye-opener for me. As Washington iced Thomas, it finally occurred to me that we were quite close. After the miss, I paid more attention to the scoreboard and couldn’t believe we went into halftime down by just one point. Sadly, I was convinced going into the game that we’d lose 42-14, and at halftime, I thought we had a real chance of beating the spread!

Of course, Evan Weaver’s pick-six in the third quarter just sealed the deal for me. I started pumping sunshine for the rest of the game!

Sam Fielder: Getting to go to the game with my Dad. We had talked about him coming out for the UCLA game because he wanted to see a W but the timing didn’t work out (neither did the W) so he came out for this game. He started bringing me to Cal games when I was a little kid and now it is so fun to get to go to a game with him as an adult. The win was just icing on the cake from a wonderful day.

boomtho: The obvious answer is the Evan Weaver pick 6 (and his eyebrow-raising comments about Cal having “better culture” after the win!). However, I think there was an even more under-the-radar moment that led to the pick-6 that really blew my mind: Cal’s defense, a few years after the depths of the Dykes era, was dominating a preseason playoff contender so badly that they benched their senior incumbent QB! What a cool vindication for Wilcox, DeRuyter, and the defense.

Ruey Yen: The highlight for me was when Cal offense moved the ball and protected the ball just enough in the 4th quarter to make this monumental win a reality. Until that happened, I just can’t shake the fear that the Bears will find a way to coug’ed (like the previous Wazzu teams rather than this year’s squad thus far) the game.

Rob Hwang: The DBs and the swagger they played with. Any play they stopped they would be out in full force celebrating then bringing it double the following play. It’s incredible to see how good they’ve become and how much better they still can get.

What needs work going into another ranked matchup in Pullman against Wazzu?

thedozen: Cal was totally ineffective against Washington on rushing plays by their quarterbacks. The Bears could also stand to gain larger chunks through the air, but that is easier said than done.

Rick Chen: Cal’s defense continues to impress. Now we need our offense to step up similarly. I’d like to see Chase Garbers play as he did in Corvallis, throwing solid positive 10-plus-yard wheel routes, slants and play-action. Simply put, we need offensive touchdowns.

I also think I can confidently say: We shouldn’t start Brandon McIlwain.

Sam Fielder: Offensive line. They had a couple of really good drives, but overall the rushing attack stalled against UW’s stout Dline. To get the win in Pullman, Cal will likely need to play a grind it out type of game that will require the O line to open holes for the RBs and keep the pass rush off the QBs.

boomtho: Is it a cop out to say everything about the offense? Cal’s O continues to be super fortunate that the Cal D brings it just about every game. Cal will need to more consistently open holes in the running game and buy Garbers time to make downfield throws.

Rob Hwang: I’ll specifically say downfield passing. We need to be able to take the top off the defense ever so slightly. Not even 40 yard gains, just simple 25 yard down the field plays to develop so that we have more to work with either in RPO or short passing with Hawkins and Noa.