Slow playing to start, even slower scoring
The first quarter seemed to be a warm up round for both teams – trading off punts, never quite realizing victory-worthy plays and ultimately finishing the quarter scoreless. In the face of a competent Wazzu defense, Cal offense was halted time and time again, forcing the Bears into a series of unproductive plays and a lack of winning performances.
However, the scoring dry spell quickly vanished with the start of the second quarter following a two-yard rush up the middle into Bear territory by Washington State’s RB Jaylen Jenkins to score the first points of the game. The pressure to claw back and put some points on the scoreboard fueled a blue and gold field goal just a couple minutes later. Regardless, the Bears offense remained virtually fruitless against the Wazzu defense, surrendering back to back sacks among other fatal plays. The o-line had some much needed figuring out to do. Entering halftime, the score sat at 7-3, Cougars.
After just four plays into the third quarter, Washington State’s QB Cameron Ward threw a 17-yard pass into Cal’s endzone to score another touchdown. 14-3, Cougars. However, the Bears retaliated –– a necessary Ott touchdown brought the score slightly closer. Unfortunately for Cal, Washington State responded with two touchdowns in the fourth, and Cal fans eventually knew they had to relinquish hope.
The Bears put up a fight, but the Cougars simply played a better game. On almost every front, Cougar stats were overwhelmingly above Cal’s, and their productivity followed suit. With a final score of 9-28, Cal, it’s clear that the Bears need to take some time to revamp their o-line.
Defensive battle, initially anybody’s game
Cal was on its intercepting game. At the 06:30 mark of the second quarter, safety Daniel Scott came up with an incredible interception to halt the Cougars. What’s more, safety Craig Woodson pulled off a critical interception at the 09:38 mark of the third quarter.
In the big picture, part of the reason why the score moved at a molasses-like speed was due to the defensive conversions on both sides. Albeit, the Bears sported some rough patches — particularly during the early minutes of the third quarter — but overall both defenses were outperforming their respective o-lines.
Cal’s Game MVP
To the surprise of none, freshman phenom RB Jaydn Ott was a star on the field per usual, but there was another MVP of the game: WR Jeremiah Hunter. Ott rushed a total of 42 yards and brought fire to a dampened Cal atmosphere. On the Hunter front, his two explosive catches –– a 30-yard and a 49-yard –– alongside an impressive 109 yards proved him indispensable.
It’s also worth highlighting the Bears defense –– particularly Scott. With six tackles and an arena-shaking interception, Scott also proved undeniably valuable on the field.
Hunter revealed his commanding power on the field today. While his catch percentage wasn’t as perfect as some of his Cal counterparts, the passes he did complete were incredible and incredibly crucial. His 109 total yards were unrivaled by the Bears’ other receivers, and his other stats across the board (with exception to catch percentage) too were outmatched.
After five back-to-back weeks of play, the Bears will enjoy a week of some much needed rest before they travel to Colorado to face the Buffaloes on Oct. 15. Unlike this game, the Colorado match-up should be a cake walk. The Buffaloes are 0-4 thus far, and it wouldn’t be an outlandish prediction to assume it’ll be 0-5 after they face off against Cal.