Well, that was disappointing…
Week Five is gone and the Cal Bears lost their second straight game (third of the season) against the best team in the Pac-12, Oregon, 55-16. Here are my final reactions to tonight’s loss.
The Good: This game is over. They don’t have to see Oregon again until next season, when the Ducks quack their way up to Memorial Stadium. Oregon rarely loses, and they lose even less often at home (sporting a .837 win percentage in Eugene). Cal also got a moral victory when Vincenzo D’Amato boomed a 46-yard field goal to end the first half and spoiled a potential shut out for the Oregon Duck defense. Other than that, this game was downright ugly.
The Bad: Let’s start with the fact that Cal could not capitalize on the fumbles and gaffes that Oregon had in the opening quarter due to the inclement weather. The rain was coming down, making the handle on the ball impossible. This led to more than a few slippery balls that could have created the offensive opportunities Cal needed in order to make this matchup a possible game. Instead, the ball kept bouncing Oregon’s way, and thus, Cal never got extra chances. In fact, there were a few turnovers on Cal’s end to start the game that Oregon capitalized on that made it and even bigger differential (and tougher mountain to climb for Cal) that the game ended then. The defense didn’t help any.They (the defense) did have a few cheap plays run on them (the block that Josh Huff laid on Kameron Jackson in the opening quarter that took him out for the game was grimy, and no one can tell me any different), but overall Oregon played a clean game that showcased this Oregon team as one of destiny, and rather than Cal trying to stick a fork in that strategy (even for a moment or two in the game), they looked like they just let them roll by. What I saw tonight was a young Golden Bear team that could not catch up with their tougher, older, grittier, more experienced counterparts. I could only watch and think this was a lot like Cal popping their cherries… it was messy and the inexperienced person left wondering what happened to them. I needed to buy a 40 at halftime and watch the rest of the game with a small buzz. It was bad.
The Ugly: Simply put, I did not like the choice to take Jared Goff out mid-way through the second quarter. My dad threw out the idea that maybe Sonny Dykes did not want this ugly game to result in an injury to his star quarterback. I get that. But Goff should have gotten to finish the half, no matter what. Taking him out could effect his confidence. He could think that it was his fault the game got out of hand so quick (it was 41-0 with 6:08 left to play in the second quarter). The thing is, Oregon is the best team (in my opinion) in the nation. They win no matter who they play. Not to mention, getting Zach Kline his first game experience against this Oregon team did not favors to his stock. He looked bad to begin with; he lofted the ball when he threw (which is a major no-no if you want to become a good quarterback in the NCAA) and he had to deal with entirely too much pressure. Ultimately, this was going to be a tough game no matter what. Oregon is one of the most consistently good teams (this weekend will marked the 66th straight week for them as a ranked team); they are talented and have a lot of depth. There was no way this would end well for Cal.