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Instant analysis/reaction: Cal stages massive comeback for Big Game win

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NICK QUINLAN | SENIOR STAFF

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NOVEMBER 19, 2022

Key takeaways

Scoring struggles plague the Bears in the first half

In the first half, Cal’s offense was able to engineer a total of 216 yards. One would think that the Bears would have a couple touchdowns to show for it — that wasn’t the case. Cal was kept out of the endzone on all six of its first half drives, only being able to gain two field goals and six points off of Dario Longhetto. Cal receivers also had issues hanging on to the football. Catches that would have added more lumber to the offensive fire were dropped, and the offense suffered because of it.

The run game for the Bears was nonexistent in the first half. The Cardinal are ranked No. 125 in the nation in rushing yards allowed a game. Cal was only able to post 22 yards on six attempts after the first 30 minutes. Season Team leader in rushing, Jaydn Ott, was held to zero yards on three carries. 

Offensive chaos ensues, but Cal doesn’t falter

The Cal offense struggled throughout the second half as it mounted its comeback against the Cardinal. In the third quarter, the blue and gold produced a measly 46 yards of total offense while the run game was stuffed once again. Among these struggles was another Jack Plummer interception in the endzone late in the fourth quarter. 

But in the words of legendary coach Joe Kapp, “The Bear will not quit, the Bear will not die.” The Cal offense came to life, chipping away at the game clock as it inched closer to Cal’s first Big Game win at home since 2008.

Cal’s game MVP

Tonight’s MVP can be described in just three words — scoop and score. After a forced fumble by Daniel Scott slipped through Jeremiah Earby’s fingers, Jackson Sirmon scooped up the football off the turf and took it all the way for a Cal touchdown.

Sirmon’s recovery touchdown was his first career touchdown, and it could not have come at a better time for the blue and gold. This would give the Bears their first lead of the game, a lead that they would not give back. 

Eye-opening stats

Defense came to play tonight — and that is putting it simply. The impressive stats posted by the defense tonight are highlighted by Daniel Scott’s game sealing interception with two minutes to play in the game. 

Oluwafemi Oladejo was an absolute ballhawk the entire game. The second year posted 10 total tackles and a forced fumble leading the blue and gold to victory. 

Looking forward

Tonight the Bears celebrate, but they will face a short week as they prepare for their final game of the season. On the day after Thanksgiving, the Bears will host No. 16 UCLA. Cal’s Southern Californian counterparts are coming off a crushing defeat to Arizona, and are set to host their own rivalry game tonight against the No. 7 USC Trojans. 

Contact Emmanuel Macedo at 

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NOVEMBER 19, 2022