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Golden Nuggets: Post-Game Reaction from Cal’s Big Win Over USC

Get ready for Big Game Week as well.

California v USC Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

Post-Game Video

What did you tell your team at the half

“To boil it down, it was something in effect of we played as bad as we could play. And we were down two scores. So let’s play as good as we can play and go win the game. No magic speech. We couldn’t get out of our own way in first half. The offense couldn’t stay on the field and the defense couldn’t get off the field.“

It’s the next step for us and really I couldn’t be more proud. Down 14 and we didn’t do much. And we came out and played confident and played it hard and I’m proud of that.“

On what he told the team after the game

“Just that I’m proud of them. The guys are tough and compete and play for each other and have a belief amongst them. Really in the end that’s all that matters. There were moments where there’s ups and downs and little dips and we’ve had them this year. And they’ll happen during a game, but they continue to fight and pay for each other and it validates that.”

On Luc Bequette

“Luc (Bequette) is a steady guy. He brings It every day. He does a lot of things that probably don’t show up here. But he and Jordan play hard. They have a really good camaraderie. A group of guys that play really good together.”

On Traveon Beck

“Traveon has gotten better and better. He’s not big. But he’s got elite quickness and he’s really smart. He made some really good plays today. The fake FG and a couple plays on the screen. And the interception was huge. He disguised the coverage and kind of baited the guy. We need him to keep getting better and better.”

On Evan Weaver

“Weaver is a throw back through and through but there’s a lot of tough guys on the defense. Not sure there are any tougher. But week in and week out he tackles a lot of people and gets people on the ground.”

Key to the defense

“Our faith in each other. Guys wanted to go out there. They were talking, this is how we want it. They know we’re going against a talented team with a good scheme. They want to line up and they’re not afraid to go out there. You know you’ll get beat sometimes but they’ll line up again and that’s what it takes.

“To get bowl eligible and know those guys had such a big part. That’s one of our goals is to win a bowl game. And we put ourselves in a position to do that. That needs to be an expectation. Not just to get there but finishing. We have a heckuva game next week against an opponent we all know about.”

What’s this win mean

“It’s awesome. We’ve gone through a lot of adversity this year and haven’t flinched. It feels real good to go on the road at USC to secure our sixth win … It’s awesome. I’m so happy for the program and the guys and the coaches. It’s a huge step to get our sixth win and secure our bowl. We’ll celebrate but we’ll be ready to get that axe.:

The message at the half

“We’ve got to go out there with energy and play our game. When we do that were a dangerous bunch. We did that on that first drive and kind of took over the game. We wanted a situation like a dog fight. That’s what we got.”

“We just played our game. We practice so hard every day and we train so hard in the off-season. When times get tough we rely on our training. We’re a resilient bunch. A bunch of guys who are blue collar who play with passion and persevere.”

On his thoughts on the 4th and 1

“I was getting ready to sit on the bench because I knew we were going to get it. It was so awesome to see the offense get it done. To see them run down the clock, it was really a credit to them.”

On Justin Wilcox’s emotion at the end

“He’s a great coach and a great leader. He’s a player’s coach. He loves us and his program and it showed. He let loose and it’s awesome to see.”

On the losing streak being snapped

“We weren’t playing against the logo and we weren’t playing against history. We were playing against the players. And we knew if we played our game we could get it done. It feels good to do that and to do it on their home turf.”

Pat Laird

On being bowl eligible

“Our first goal is to get six wins to get to a bowl game. Whether you’re a freshman on scout or a redshirt senior … But it means so much more being on five different Cal teams. To get a sixth win this time of the season against a longtime rival, it means a lot. I’m so happy for the guys.”

“My running back coach, he was on the team the last time we beat USC and he’s kind of old, so it feels good. Getting a win against any Pac-12 team is good and it USC is a good team.”

On the grittiness of the game

“I was saying, if we’re going to win this game we’re going to have a bunch of grimey drives. And I’m fine if that’s our identity. We know the character of our team and we know if there’s a long drive and in the red zone, out team will continue to punch and other teams might not.”

Evan Weaver

“You play the game to win. We came out focused and we had some great halftime adjustments. We were able to bounce back and they had no answer for what we could do.”

On the 4th and 1

“I was getting ready. Maybe we were going back out there. We wanted to be focus. And make sure no one runs onto the field. But Pat being Mr. Reliable comes through. There’s no better way to win a game.”

“A lot of our west coast kids think of playing in this stadium and it means a lot to our fan base to break the streak while at the same time going bowling makes it more impressive.”

Post-Game Articles

  • SF Chronicle Recap has Cal creating a “lifetime moment” by beating the Trojans.

Cal receiver Moe Ways stood in front of his teammates Friday night and reminded them that their next victory would earn bowl eligibility, a notable step for the program.

If that win came against USC, however, it would mean so much more.

“He told that us that 20-plus Cal teams went to a bowl game. Heck, we did that three years ago,” senior outside linebacker Alex Funches said. “Cal teams have not beat USC. If we’re the team to do that, that’s going to last for a lifetime.”

At the post-game press conference, inside linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk kept repeating the word “awesome.”

“I can’t stop saying that word because I’m filled with so much joy and happiness, just for the guys,” he said. “I’ve never been to a bowl game. We’ve been 5-7 two years in a row, and we’ve been trying to break that. Right now, we’re 6-4, and we’re not anywhere near being done.”

But it isn’t just the redshirt seniors like Kunaszyk and Laird, the team’s captains, who might feel like a weight has been lifted from their chests. Junior cornerback Traveon Beck seemed overjoyed at the idea of sending Cal’s seniors out “right this year.”

“To give them the opportunity to play in a bowl game, it’s just so surreal,” Beck said. “We really did that for them.”

  • Christie Aguilar notes in her instant analysis that the Bears offense did just enough despite missing several key receivers.
  • Jon Wilner’s Saturday Night Five notes Cal’s rise and wonders what could have been if Cal had only played Chase Garbers this season.
  • The 2018 Bears prove that they are “different” (Evan Weaver’s words). Cal Bears Maven looks at this special defense. This similar article from them also praises the defense.
  • In a battle of freshmen quarterbacks, the Bears showed more poise than the Trojans and that made the difference.
  • Post-game notes from last nights game. Did you know it had been seven years since Cal and their opponent combined for 0 points in the first quarter?
  • Check out some of the best tweets from former and current Cal players plus members of the community.


  • Check out this early preview of Stanford. They scored 48 points against Oregon State which could be a sign that their offense is back on track, although Cal posted a high score against the Beavers as well and that hadn’t translated into much.
  • Check out the Big Game Week events you can look forward to. Note that due to Spare the Air regulations as a result of recent fires, there will be no Bonfire but there will still be a rally at the Greek Theater on Friday night.