CFN Take: Cal Loses Ugly To Cardinal

CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Nov 22, 2014


California Golden Bears 2014 ... Head Coach: Sonny Dykes

California Golden Bears

2014 Schedule
Record: 5-6

Aug. 30 at Northwestern W 31-24
Sep. 6 Sacramento St W 45-0
Sep. 13 OPEN DATE
Sep. 20 at Arizona L 49-45
Sep. 27 Colorado W 59-56 2OT
Oct. 4 at Washington St W 60-59
Oct. 11 Washington L 31-7
Oct. 18 UCLA L 36-34
Oct. 24 Oregon L 55-41
Nov. 1 at Oregon State W 45-31
Nov. 8 OPEN DATE
Nov. 13 at USC L 38-13
Nov. 22 Stanford L 38-17
Nov. 29 BYU
Nov. 22 Stanford 38, at California 17
And You Care Because … California turned it over five times and couldn’t stop committing penalties, and Stanford took advantage getting up 31-7 on three of Remound Wright’s four touchdown runs and a five-yard Kevin Hogan dash. Cal got a ten-yard Stephen Anderson scoring run, but the mistakes were too much for the Bears throughout. The Bears didn’t get back into the end zone until the final few minutes on a 12-yard Daniel Lasco run, but the Cardinal had the game well in hand.
What Else? Stanford RB Remound Wright ran 23 times for 92 yards and four scores
- California QB Jared Goff completed 16-of-31 passes for 182 yards and a score with two picks
- Penalties: California 12 for 113 yards – Stanford 4 for 21 yards
- Turnovers: Cal 5 – Stanford 1
Game Rating: C-

Nov. 13 at USC 38, California 30
And You Care Because … USC WR Nelson Agholor dominated in the first half catching touchdown passes from ten and nine yards out, and Georgia Farmer caught a 32-yard touchdown pass on the way to a 31-2 lead. Cal appeared to be completely down and out, but it got a six-yard Chris Harper touchdown catch with nine seconds to play in the first half, and then the rally was on. Following Cody Kessler’s fourth scoring pass to give the Trojans a 38-16 lead, but Cal continued to push with Jared Goff finding Bryce Treggs for a five-yard score and Stephen Anderson for a 29-yard touchdown to pull within eight. USC held on.
What Else? USC WR Nelson Agholor caught 16 passes for 216 yards and two touchdowns
- Cal QB Jared Goff completed 29-of-47 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns
- USC QB Cody Kessler completed 31-of-42 passes for 371 yards and four touchdowns with an interception
- Penalties: USC 14 for 160 yards – Cal 11 for 117 yards
Game Rating: B

Nov. 1 California 45, at Oregon State 31
And You Care Because … Daniel Lasco ran for three touchdowns and Vic Enwere ran for a 19-yard touchdown as Cal pulled ahead in the second quarter, but had to rally back late. Oregon State got up 31-27 in the fourth with a 16-yard Terron Ward run and a 17-yard Chris Brown touchdown run, but it was all Cal the rest of the way with 17 unanswered points. Chris Harper caught a ten-yard touchdown pass and Lasco put it away on a 15-yard run, while the Bear defense clamped down.
What Else? California RB Daniel Lasco ran 30 times for 188 yards and three touchdowns
- Oregon State WR Jordan Villamin caught nine passes for 140 yards and a score, and Victor Bolden caught 11 passes for 119 yards
- Cal WR Stephen Anderson caught nine passes for 117 yards
- Third down conversions: Cal 11-of-19 – Oregon State 3-of-11
Game Rating: B

Oct. 25 Oregon 55, at California 41
And You Care Because … There were 1,150 yards, 21 combined penalties and four turnovers with Marcus Mariota throwing his first interception of the year, but Oregon was almost unstoppable throughout. After getting down 14-7 in the first half, Charles Nelson came up with a brilliant 58-yard punt return for a score as the Ducks rolled up 24 straight points, but they didn’t take control. Marcus Mariota threw five touchdown with two to Dwayne Stanford from 22 and 24 yards out and two to Pharaoh Brown from nine and 21 yards away to keep Oregon ahead, even though Cal stayed alive. Jared Goff threw two touchdown passes, and Luke Rubenzer ran for two scores, but Oregon kept answering time and again. Royce Freeman ran for two touchdowns for the Ducks, including a backbreaker from two yards out midway through the third.
What Else? Oregon QB Marcus Mariota completed 18-of-30 passes for 326 yards and five touchdowns with a pick, and ran six times for 36 yards
- Penalties: California 11 for 111 yards – Oregon 10 for 106 yards
- Cal QB Jared Goff completed 32-of-52 passes for 360 yards and two touchdowns
- Total yards: Oregon 590 – California 560
Game Rating: B

Oct. 18 UCLA 36, at California 34
And You Care Because … Ka’imi Fairbairn nailed a 26-yard field goal to give UCLA the lead late, and Cal couldn’t answer in the final minutes in a weird and wild game. Brett Hundley threw two touchdown passes, but it was his 15-yard dash that gave the Bruins the lead late in the third. Cal’s Jared Goff threw two touchdown passes including a 23-yarder to Kenny Lawler in the fourth, but the two-point conversion attempt failed, keeping it a one-point lead and opening the door for the UCLA win. Paul Perkins caught a 16-yard touchdown pass to start things out for the Bruins, and he later took a Hundley pass 49 yards for a touchdown with 13 seconds in the first half.
What Else? UCLA QB Brett Hundley completed 31-of-42 passes for 330 yards and two touchdowns with an interception, and he ran 17 times for a team-leading 94 yards and a score
- California QB Jared Goff completed 25-of-41 passes for 303 yards and two touchdowns with one interception, and RB Daniel Lasco ran 19 times for 44 yards and two touchdowns
- UCLA RB Paul Perkins ran 15 times for 86 yards and caught four passes for 75 yards and two touchdowns
- Total yards: UCLA 567 – California 366
Game Rating: B+

Oct. 11 Washington 31, at California 7
And You Care Because … Washington wiped out Cal early with a 28-0 first half lead starting out with a stop of the Bear offense finishing with a 100-yard fumble return for a score from Shaq Thompson and getting three Cyler Miles touchdown passes including an 86-yarder to John Ross in the final minutes of the half. Cal turned the ball over three times and only managed a three-yard Daniel Lasco touchdown run late in the third. Washington put it well out of reach on a 42-yard Cameron Van Winkle field goal.
What Else? Washington QB Cyler Miles completed 22-of-29 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns
- Cal QB Jared Goff completed 35-of-51 passes for 304 yards
- Average yards per carry: Washington 2.9 – Cal 1.9
- Washington WR Jaydon Mickens caught ten passes for 69 yards, John Ross caught four passes for 118 yards and a touchdown
Game Rating: D

Oct. 4 Cal 60, at Washington State 59
And You Care Because … In a record-setting day, it came down to a 19-yard field goal, and Washington State’s Quentin Breshears missed it to give Cal the wild win. Wazzu’s Connor Halliday set an FBS record with 734 yards with River Cracraft catching three touchdown passes and Vince Mayle rolling up 263 yards, but it wasn’t enough as Cal’s Jared Goff threw five touchdown passes including two to Bryce Treggs and two to Trevor Davis, who also returned two kickoffs for scores in the third quarter to answer Cougar scores. But Halliday always had a response, coming right back after the returns with drives ending in touchdown passes. Goff and Treggs hooked up twice in the fourth quarter to take the two point lead, but the Cougars answered again with Gerard Wicks’ second touchdown run of the game to go up five. Cal needed just over a minute to go on its game-winning drive.
What Else? Cal QB Jared Goff completed 37-of-53 passes for 527 yards and five touchdowns
- Washington State QB Connor Halliday completed 49-of-70 passes for 734 yards and six touchdowns
- Washington State WR Vince Mayle caught 11 passes for 263 yards and a touchdowns, and River Cracraft caught 11 passes for 172 yards and three scores
- The two teams combined for 20 penalties and passing 1,261 yards. Washington State finished with 812 yards of total offense, Cal 589.
Game Rating: A

Sept. 27 at California 59, Colorado 56 2OT
And You Care Because … Jared Goff and Sefo Liufau each threw for 449 yards and seven touchdown passes, but it was Cal’s defense that got the job done late with a goal line stand in the second overtime allowing Bear PK James Langford to hit a 34-yard field goal for the win. It took a wild final four minutes get to the extra time with Colorado’s Nelson Spruce coming up with his second of three touchdown catches with just over three minutes to play, but Cal answered with two touchdowns in less than 30 seconds on a Goff 75-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Anderson and a 40-yarder to Chris Harper for the lead. But the Buffs would fight back with Bryce Bobo catching a 30-yard touchdown pass with 21 seconds to play to force overtime.
What Else? Colorado QB Sefo Liufau completed 46-of-67 passes for 449 yards and seven touchdowns with a pick, and led the team with 72 rushing yards on ten carries. Cal QB Jared Goff completed 23-of-41 passes for 449 yards and seven touchdowns with one interception
- Colorado WR Nelson Spruce caught 19 passes for 176 yards and three scores
- Total yards: Colorado 629 – California 576
- Penalties: California 12 for 113 yards – Colorado 9 for 75 yards
Game Rating: A

Sept. 20 at Arizona 49, California 45
And You Care Because … Arizona made a comeback for the ages, scoring 36 fourth quarter points including 19 unanswered finished off by a Hail Mary from Anu Solomon to Austin Hill from 47-yard out for the improbable win. Solomon threw five touchdown passes with three to Cayleb Jones and two to Hill including the game-winner. The Cal passing game rolled at will early with Jared Goff throwing three touchdown passes, and even after the Wildcats went on a run – helped by a nine-yard Hill catch – the Bears appeared to be fine with a six-yard touchdown run from Khalfani Muhammad for a 15-point lead with just over five minutes to play. The Wildcats scored quickly with all three final scoring drives under two minutes, helped by a recovered onside kick to keep the game alive leading to the second-to-last score, but missed on the two-point conversion allowing Cal to stay ahead 45-43. The Wildcat D came up with the stop, and Solomon made magic.
What Else? Arizona QB Anu Solomon completed 47-of-73 passes for 520 yards and five touchdowns and two picks, and he led the team with 46 rushing yards on 16 carries.
- California QB Jared Goff completed 18-of-30 passes for 380 yards and three scores with a pick
- Total Yards: Arizona 627 – California 573
- Arizona WR Cayleb Jones caught 13 passes for 186 yards and three scores, and Austin Hill caught eight passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns
Game Rating: A

Sept. 6 at California 55, Sacramento State 14
And You Care Because … Cal came up with a 45-0 first half lead and ended up with four Jared Goff touchdown passes in the blowout. Goff connected on 17-of-22 passes for 229 yards and four scores, while Daniel Lasco ran nine times for 94 yards and a touchdown. Sacramento State scored twice, highlighted by a 73-yard Garrett Safron run, but Cal came back with ten unanswered points. The two teams combined for 19 penalties for 198 yards.
Game Rating: D

Aug. 30 California 31, at Northwestern 24
And You Care Because … Cal jumped out to a 17-0 lead helped by two short scoring passes from Jared Goff, and was up 31-7 on a 76-yard Trevor Davis pass play and a one-yard run from Khalfani Muhammad. Northwestern came roaring back with 17 straight points and was driving late, but Trevor Siemian was picked off and Cal ran out the clock.
What Else? Northwestern woke up too late. It was awful on both sides of the ball early on, and it was getting its doors blown off in the second half, but it showed good fight to get back in the game with Siemian throwing well and finding his groove. It was too late.
- Cal LB Jalen Jefferson ended up saving the day with a huge sack and interception to stall Northwestern’s final drive. Fantastic, he led the game with 16 tackles with a sack and the pick.
- Jared Goff didn’t have to throw a bazillion times for Cal to win, completing 21-of-34 passes for 281 yards and three scores with a pick. The running game wasn’t there, and things started to bog down late, but the offense worked early.
- How did NU do without RB Venric Mark? Justin Jackson led the way with 40 yards and the team ran for 108 yards and a score.
Game Rating: B+

2014 Preview 

Hey, at least it can’t get any worse in Berkeley, right?

The Bears hit rock bottom in Sonny Dykes’ debut at the helm, delivering arguably the worst season in the program’s long history. They went 1-11, averting a winless campaign with a 37-30 Week 2 escape of FCS Portland State. Cal has essentially regressed to where it was more than a decade ago, just before Jeff Tedford was hired to replace Tom Holmoe. That sort of collapse is bound to happen when a school loses 20 of its last 22 games with FBS opponents.

While there’s undeniable hope on offense, with young QB Jared Goff and all of his receivers all back, the defense being inherited by new coordinator Art Kaufman is in dire shape. The Bears will look to take small steps this fall, gradually moving beyond the catastrophe that was 2013.

Cal was a defensive horror show last fall, ranking next-to-last nationally in points allowed. Sure, the personnel was average by the Pac-12 measuring stick, but the Bears also got whacked with an unthinkable number of season-ending injuries. Depth was exhausted.

Underclassmen were forced on the field before they were ready. And the team got obliterated on a weekly basis. The well-traveled Kaufman must first repair the kids’ psyches, an achievable task if last year’s infirmed Bears are ready to play.

That Goff-led offense will have to spearhead the charge this season. As a rookie, the quarterback smashed a number of single-season school records. As a sophomore, and an emerging veteran of Dykes’ teachings, he’s being counted on to bring even more pop to the attack.

Goff will be flanked by three of last season’s top four pass-catchers, Bryce Treggs, Chris Harper and Kenny Lawler. The Bears plan to be shootout-capable after the 2013 D yielded more points than at any time in school history.

The storm has passed. The dark clouds have slowly lifted. Cal will continue rebuilding in 2014, with a valuable season of experience for both the young players and the second-year staff now in the bank. It’s been a very busy offseason for Dykes & Co., who’ve been busy sifting through a jumbled roster that’s getting an infusion of veterans who missed considerable time in 2013. If the Bears remain healthy, they can’t help but be more competitive this season.

What to watch for on offense: Who protects the franchise’s blindside? Freddie Tagaloa held the job early last season, got demoted and eventually transferred to Arizona. Christian Okafor stepped in, but performed to mixed reviews. The hope around Strawberry Canyon is that sophomore Steven Moore can handle the shift to left tackle after starting 11 games at right tackle in 2013. In that scenario, Dominic Granado, a transfer from Golden West (Calif.), will battle Okafor for the vacated spot on the right side.

What to watch for on defense: Plugging holes in the interior. Assuming everyone is healthy and available, the Bears are capable of surging ahead in all areas … except defensive tackle. Deandre Coleman exhausted his eligibility, and Viliami Moala gave up his final year as an amateur. A shred of good news comes from the return of Mustafa Jalil, who missed all of 2013 with a knee injury. He’s expected to anchor the nose, while Jacobi Hunter looks to padlock the tackle position. Trevor Kelly has also been brought in from College of San Mateo (Calif.) to provide instant relief and competition.

The team will be far better if… the injury bug has been exterminated. Sure, Cal was bad last season, but losing 13 starters for multiple games contributed to the 1-11 collapse. The Bears have better than one-win talent, provided the depth chart isn’t perpetually taxed by fallen contributors. Since there isn’t much margin for error in Berkeley, Cal has to be whole from September to November. If the team stays healthy during the regular season, many of those young Bears pressed into action in 2013 will now be seasoned performers coming off the bench.

The Schedule: The Bears have a few good chances to come up with a strong season, with the biggest plus coming early on with just two road games - Arizona and Washington State - between September 6th and November 1st. Getting UCLA and USC from the South, along with Arizona, isn't great, but a home game against Colorado will help. Oregon and Stanford are both coming to Berkeley, with The Big Game and the regular season finale againt BYU both at home. The non-conference game isn't easy with the finish against the Cougars and the opener at Northwestern, but the Sacramento State game will be nice target practice.

Best offensive player: Sophomore QB Jared Goff. As the quarterback goes, so goes the pass-happy Bear Raid offense. Goff showed flashes in his first season out of Marin Catholic (Calif.) High School, setting a handful of Cal single-season passing marks. Beyond just the numbers, the program is ecstatic that its triggerman already has a full season as a starter in Sonny Dykes’ system. Provided he gets help from the O-line, Goff is expected to take another big step forward, especially since he has access to a budding corps of pass-catchers.

Best defensive player: Junior DE Brennan Scarlett. The Cal D needs an exorcism after last season’s defensive debacle. It’ll settle for an improved pass rush, which is where Scarlett enters the discussion. The Bears registered just 18 sacks in 2013, which trickled down and negatively impacted the rest of the defense. Scarlett wasn’t a part of that unit, spending the year rehabbing a hand injury instead. The 6-4, 265-pounder is now back, poised to unleash a combination of edge speed and physicality that could attract the attention of pro scouts.

Key players to a successful season: The offensive linemen. Cal’s quickest path to a 2014 rebound will be paved by the passing game. But the passing game won’t operate even close to peak efficiency if Jared Goff isn’t afforded the time he needs to find an open man. The good news is that the Bears used a slew of underclassmen last season, and senior Chris Adcock is working toward a return from a serious knee injury. The concern, though, rests on whether or not the group can gel and develop in time to keep the pocket clean during the regular season.

The season will be a success if ... the Bears are markedly more competitive than they were a season ago. Forget the record. Cal won’t be bowling in December, and if it wins more than three games, go ahead and label it a major surprise. For Dykes in his second season, he’s aiming to bring this program closer to that point when outcomes are in doubt after halftime. After being outscored by an average of 23 points in 2013, even a few close calls versus Pac-12 opponents will qualify as progress at this downtrodden program.

Key game: Nov. 22 vs. Stanford. Since no single outing is going to dictate how Cal fares in 2014, the Big Game becomes even bigger than usual. This will be the Bears’ proverbial bowl game, since playing in an actual postseason game is extremely doubtful. What better way for a sagging program to capture some late-season momentum than by shocking a heavily-favored rival at home? The Cardinal has dominated in every imaginable facet lately, winning the last four meetings, including last November, 63-13. Cal is hungry for a signature win in the worst way. So is Sonny Dykes, the players and the frustrated throng of loyal fans.

2013 Fun Stats:
- Red-zone touchdown%: Cal 49% – Opponents 67%
- Turnovers: Cal 28 – Opponents 13
- First-half scoring: Cal 146 - Opponents 335

- 2014 California Preview - What You Need To Know & Top Players


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