On a sunny day in Strawberry Canyon, Cal opened its 2022 campaign against UC Davis. With the roar of 34,984 strong Cal overcame the Aggies 34-13. This performance was highlighted by the offensive debut of Jack Plummer and Jadyn Ott, while the defense continued to thrive under head coach Justin Wilcox.
“He’s an explosive guy… we feel good about the running back room. I thought Jadyn (Ott) did a nice job getting his first extensive action,” Wilcox said.
In a game that was expected to be lopsided, early mistakes led to a sluggish start for the Bears. In his first start for the blue and gold, Plummer completed zero passes and threw an interception across the first three drives of the game. The first two of which ended in a sack on the transfer quarterback from Purdue.
“Getting some of the cobwebs out, getting out there on the field for the first time I’m sure there’s a little bit of nerves going on,” said Wilcox on Plummer.
The new quarterback showed some signs of game rust early on. After not having played in a live game in almost a year, some squeaky throws and tough passes were expected. His experience, however, helped him regain control of the game rhythm, alongside his cast of support in Jeremiah Hunter, Jadyn Ott and J. Michael Sturdivant.
While last year’s game chants consisted of ringing and rumbling “Garbers-Remigio,” the fanatic outcries look to be swinging “Plummer-Ott.” From hand off to hand off — the Plummer and Ott duo looked to be the saving grace of what began to be an ‘interesting’ (to say the least) series of plays.
While Cal’s offense tried to figure itself out — Davis’ offense came out of the locker room and quickly established a first quarter rhythm. Quick passes from their quarterback Miles Hastings and an early fourth down conversion led to the Aggies getting on the scoreboard first. However, the Cal rhythm started picking up after the end of the first.
Following Plummer’s first completion in the blue and gold, another three and out followed with Jamieson Sheahan blasting the rock sixty-five yards to another Davis possession. It was during this possession where the Aggies momentum fell off for the remainder of the first half.
Transfer linebacker from Utah, Xavier Carlton notched his first sack in a Cal uniform, in a decisive drive that stalled out for Davis.
The Bear’s were able to build steady momentum for the remainder of the first half — momentum that resulted in three straight scoring drives and seventeen unanswered points. During this sequence Plummer went 12 for 13 passing, with 157 yards and two passing touchdowns.
Plummer flashed some two minute magic as he led the Bears in a march down the field with thirty-six seconds left in the second quarter leading to a thirty-two yard field goal from Dario Longhetto.
“We had a good two minute drill, we were all aware of the situation; how many timeouts we had, what plays we could and could not run and that was in the second quarter where we started to have some good football, ” said Plummer.
The momentum, locked in and ready to go — continued as the Bears kicked off to Davis to start the third quarter. On the second play of that very drive, Hastings would be picked off by Craig Woodson to nab his first career interception, and one that he would return for another six points, making it twenty-four unanswered for Cal.
While the Bears’ offense started off as court jester and worked its way to prince — defense was king the whole game for the Bears. Highlighted by the aforementioned sack by Carlton, and interceptions by Woodson, and later Jeremiah Earby, both of which were their first in their collegiate careers.
With the game firmly in their grasp, the Bears sat their starters late in the fourth quarter allowing for second year quarterback Kai Millner to take snaps in a live game.
Even though the Bears opened up to a slow offensive start, it was necessary for Plummer to be able to settle into his offense.
The defense was able to establish their momentum early and that carried them strongly to the conclusion of the game. This is a strong first outing for the Bears and one they can surely build on.
With a better start to this season than last, fans hope that Cal will carry this momentum into next week’s game against UNLV.