Cal Football: Golden Bears Close Non-Conference Game with 31-17 Victory Against the Idaho Vandals
California scored 31 unanswered points beginning in the second half to close out the game
The California Golden Bears (2-1) overcame a slow start and scored 31 unanswered points to defeat the Idaho Vandals (2-1), 31-17, Saturday afternoon.
The visiting Vandals, who defeated the Nevada Wolfpack 33-6 last week, scored on their first three possessions of the game, commanding an early 17-0 scoreline. California’s defense initially struggled to keep up against the Idaho wide receivers and tight ends’ physical play and size.
“We didn't necessarily play impressively today,” California head coach Justin Wilcox told reporters in the post-game press conference. “I don’t know if our defense [or] anybody would say that overall.”
The momentum shifted with California’s second drive in the second quarter. California quarterback Sam Jackson V found junior wide receiver Jeremiah Hunter with a deep 20-yard touchdown down the middle of the field to help the home team dig themselves out of their hole.
On the next drive, California’s defense limited Idaho to only six plays before forcing a punt. The big defensive moves set up Jackson V to make a big play with less than two minutes in the first half. The redshirt sophomore play-caller threw a deep bomb to wide receiver Trond Grizzell, who brought the ball home 36 yards for a touchdown.
Despite California’s late second-quarter comeback, Idaho outgained the home team 248 yards to 168, earned more first downs and visited the red zone more often in the first half of the game.
But Idaho’s good fortunes did not last, as the Vandals made forced error after error. California’s secondary pulled down an interception in the last two minutes of the second quarter and seized two forced fumbles in the second half to put the game on ice.
Jackson V ended the game with 108 passing yards and two touchdowns thrown. He added 41 yards on the ground, including one 27-yard rushing touchdown in the third quarter.
“I think I did a little bit better today, but [I] still got to make some better decisions on some plays,” Jackson V told reporters after the game. “I can do much better, for sure.”