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2019 Cal Football Recreation: Golden Bears defeat Wildcats, 42-28

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Cal improves to 1-0!

NCAA Football: Redbox Bowl-California vs Illinois Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Your Cal Golden Bears are 1-0 after defeating the Northwestern Wildcats, 42-28, in a Week 1 clash of Power-5 schools.

Cal was just one of two Pac-12 teams to take on a school from the Power-5 in the opening slate of our recreated 2019 season and they dismantled the visiting Wildcats despite what the final score may indicate.

It wasn’t one possession into the game when Cal flexed their collective defensive muscles by the way of an Elijah Hicks interception return for a touchdown.

Hicks’ pick-6 was on Clemson-transfer QB Hunter Johnson’s first pass attempt of the day and although Johnson would finish with over 300 yards on the day, those numbers were largely inflated by garbage time.

Cal jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead on the heels of Hicks touchdown and a Nikko Remigio four-yard pass from QB Chase Garbers when Cal flexed it’s defensive muscles once again.

Ashtyn Davis broke perfectly on a pass and jarred the football loose from the intended receiver on a key third-down stop that thwarted the Northwestern drive.

Garbers threw a touchdown on the ensuing possession to jump the lead to 21-0 at the half. Halftime adjustments were made on both sides and after a quick scoring drive by the Wildcats that cut the lead to 21-7 in the third quarter, RB Christopher Brown Jr. rumbled, bumbled and skirted through the defense for a long 74 yard run before he was pushed out at the 1-yardline.

The momentum switched at that point and with a fresh Marcel Dancy giving Brown a much-needed rest, Cal scored two quick touchdowns on the ground with Dancy’s feet to increase their lead to 35-7 entering the fourth quarter.

With sub packages in and the majority of the starters resting to open the final quarter, Northwestern marched down the field and scored a quick touchdown to cut into the lead but the Golden Bears rested on their laurels only to see the ensuing onside kick attempt recovered by Northwestern.

Head coach Justin Wilcox reinserted his starting lineup on the field but Northwestern’s momentum carried them into the end zone again, scoring 14 points in a matter of 1:15 of game clock.

Cal recovered the next onside kick and Garbers threw his third touchdown of the day, this time getting Brown into the end zone through the air. At 42-21 and just 2:22 left on the clock, this one was as good as over.

Yet, Northwestern threw the ball well on their final drive in garbage time, only to see two fourth-down attempts extended by way of roughing the passer penalties by Cal, something they’ll look to work on this week at practice.

Full game highlights:

Cal is back in action in Week 2 against FCS West after a 42-28 victory over the Big Ten’s Northwestern. It’s likely we don’t see the starters reinserted into the lineup in the second half in this one after FCS West lost to Oregon State, 48-3.

We’re 1-0 headed into Week 2. Enjoy it, Berkeley!

Offensive Player of the Game:
Christopher Brown Jr., RB, Cal

Defensive Player of the Game:
Elijah Hicks, LB, Cal

Unsung Hero of the Game:
Ashtyn Davis, S, Cal

NCAA Football 14 WTF Moment:
A clear ground-caused-the-fumble moment was not overturned despite both announcers informing the audience that it was ‘the right call to overturn’ based on the video.

Passing stats:

Rushing stats:

Receiving stats:

Defensive stats:

Reminder, this is a fictional take on our recreation of the 2019 NCAA football season using last year’s updated rosters and playing the games in NCAA Football 14 on a Playstation3. For more information, check out our intro story.