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Golden Nuggets: Post-Game Reactions to Cal’s Win and Other Pac-12 Action

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Uh oh... is BYU better than expected? How does their upset over Arizona affect Cal and some other Pac-12 schools?

North Carolina v California Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Primetime Golden Nuggets. Blame me sleeping in before the A’s/Mariners game and then realizing by the time I was getting my ticket scanned that I was supposed to this... perhaps I should set an alarm for this next Sunday.

Football

Videos

Post-Game chant in the locker room:

Justin Wilcox’s Post-Game Presser: (Spoilers, no update on Goode - and I stil haven’t seen anything today, and of course he talks about the QB situation which has not been resolved)

Patrick Laird post-game:

Evan Weaver post-game:

Jaylinn Hawkins and Cam Bynum post-game:

Chase Garbers post-game:

Pac-12 Networks highlight reel:

Articles

How important is a defensive mentality? Over the previous nine seasons, Cal was a combined 2-34 against USC, Oregon, Washington and Stanford. Nothing good can happen when you’re incapable of slowing down the opposition. If the Bears can build on what they’ve started, they won’t be a pushover for anyone in the conference. If they sneak in a surprise win or two, they just might find themselves in a bowl game.

It was appropriate that the season’s first touchdown was scored by Patrick Laird, on a 3-yard run in the first quarter. Laird emerged from obscurity to rush for 1,127 yards last season, in addition to catching 45 passes for 322 yards, and in many ways he’s the soul of the team.

Laird is a voracious reader who grows disconsolate at the sight of kids barely interested in the process. Last spring he created his Summer Reading Challenge, designed to sharpen the reading skills of elementary school kids throughout the Bay Area, and some 2,000 of his pupils were invited to watch Saturday’s game. (It wasn’t a great crowd overall, announced at 42,168, but the Cal student section was properly packed.)

Then there is the issue of the quarterbacks. Ross Bowers, the starter Saturday and all of last season, did not take a single snap in the second half, with redshirt freshman Chase Garbers getting most of the work. Wilcox said afterword that it was part of the plan to give all three quarterbacks (Bowers, Garbers and Brandon McIlwain) playing time in the opener, but did not declare that Bowers would remain his starter.

“We’ll address it,” Wilcox said when asked whether Bowers would remain the starter. “We’ll look at the tape.”

The Cal offense has work to do, as North Carolina’s defensive front controlled the line of scrimmage, limiting the Bears to 279 total yards compared to the 301 yards rolled up by the Tar Heels.

  • But in Cal’s defense, they were the ONLY Pac-12 team to defeat a Power 5 opponent this weekend, and the mood during practice will still be nice with a 1-0 record.

* The Bears’ quest to continue improving defensively got off to a great start. Nearly perfect in the first half, they held Carolina to three points, four first downs and 119 total yards through three quarters. They pressured the UNC quarterback (although they never sacked him). They grabbed four interceptions and forced the Tar Heels offense off the field in less than two minutes on 12 of their 14 possessions.

* Cal played a relatively clean game. No turnovers (Carolina had four). Just five penalties for 35 yards (Carolina had 13 for 124 yards). The defense allowed just two plays longer than 14 yards (none in the first half). The kick coverage teams were generally solid. The Bears did not beat themselves, the sign of a program that is growing up.

* The bottom line matters. Cal was at home and facing a team missing 11 suspended players. The Bears were expected to win, and they did. In November, when bowl season is approaching and teams are adding up victories, this one will count.

  • Jon Wilner’s Saturday Night Five doesn’t talk about Cal much at all, but notes the surprising BYU win over Arizona last night. Will they spell trouble for Cal next week? The Cougars also play Washington and Utah.

GO BEARS