Cal Football Steamrolls Oregon State 39-25
Golden Bears racked up 255 rushing yards against the Beavers
Savvy college football fans came to FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium Saturday ready to see a run-heavy playstyle.
Oregon State’s star running back, B.J. Baylor, came to Berkeley, Calif., ranked sixth nationally, rushing an average of 118.4 yards per game this season. Baylor had also run for more than 100 yards in his last four games.
But the streak ended this weekend.
Instead, California’s stable of running backs would shine, leading the Golden Bears (3-5, 2-3 Pac-12) to a 39-25 win against the Oregon State Beavers (5-3, 3-2 Pac-12).
In the first play of the game, Oregon State tapped Baylor, perhaps unsurprisingly.
But California outside linebacker Marqez Bimage, who started for the first time in his career on Saturday, was there. Bimage stopped the Beaver running back for a three-yard loss. Less than six seconds later on the same play, the Brenham, Texas, native also forced a fumble and recovered the ball at the Oregon State 22-yard line.
“I think that play definitely helped the play of the game,” Bimage told reporters in the post-game press conference. “I definitely think it was huge.”
In the drive following the Oregon State fumble, quarterback Chase Garbers punched in the ball for a two-yard touchdown to give California the early lead.
Garbers’ score was his 10th rushing touchdown in his career, good enough to set a school record for career rushing touchdowns scored by a quarterback.
Garbers also added 262 passing yards and three touchdown passes, including two touchdowns to running back Christopher Brooks.
Brooks was targeted by Garbers twice and scored on both for a combined 40 yards receiving. The Oceanside, Calif., native also added 83 yards running the ball.
“I thought he had some big runs,” California head coach Justin Wilcox said after the game, referring to Brooks. “He had a couple of key tough runs late in the game especially... He gave us a new set of downs that changed the complexion because the clock became a major factor at that point.”
Damien Moore led California with 111 rushing yards, including a 56-yard run to the Oregon State 1-yard line with less than three minutes of game time remaining to ice the game for the Golden Bears. The sophomore running back also had an eight-yard rushing touchdown in the second quarter.
“All of them made some big plays,” Coach Wilcox said of Brooks, Moore and Garbers.
Baylor never recovered after his early mistake. California's defense limited Oregon State's star running back to a pedestrian 42 rushing yards and prevented him from scoring a single touchdown.
Oregon State, which had rushed for at least 200 yards in its last six games, only totaled 134. Meanwhile, California ended the evening with 255 rushing yards and an average of 5.4 yards per rushing attempt.
There are several story lines to this game. The most important one is the performance of the defense against arguably the best offense in the Pac12. Two key players, Goode & Iosefa, were ruled out of the game late in the week. During the game, Gamble who was coming into his own the past few weeks and who already had two stellar plays in the game went out with an injury. This was the “oh-oh” moment. How does Cal play its secondary now? Drayden played the corner spot in place of Gamble. But in nickel coverage Drayden went to slot with a newcomer, Young, playing corner. So, what does Young do in his introduction to Cal fans? He has 4 PBU’s (pass break ups) with one leading to an INT. Yes, he got beat for a TD but on that play Hicks was the help over the top and made a poor decision. The tape reveals that Hicks paid attention to the TE and not the receiver deepest in the route, which caused him to be late on the over-the-top help. The DB’s for the entirety of the game played solidly. And so did the DL. Holding OSU to over 100 yards BELOW their average rush per game was phenomenal! Cal won the line of scrimmage for most of the game. The young ILB’s held their ground and the entire D executed tackling throughout the game. While improvement on D has been steady each week, this performance and the immergence of new talent was critical in this game.
On offense Cal finally did what fans have been searching for, for over 2 years. They finally played with consistency. And penalty free. More importantly each time OSU scored in the second half, Cal followed with a score of their own. THIS is what good teams do. I have been critical of the OL play ~ rightfully so ~ during the Wilcox era. Is this the game that the OL finally arrived and gelled as a unit? Perhaps. Is this the pivot for the entire offense that fans have waited for with the arrival of Musgrave? Perhaps. OSU’s strength on defense is their ILB’s and corners. Going into the game, on paper, Cal should have been able to run against OSU’s front 4 and they did. THAT is the sign of a good team. Is Cal making progress towards “good”. Perhaps. Sans a few dropped balls, this would have been as close to a perfect game for the offense as any team (pro or college) can get to perfection. That is how dominant and as good as Cal’s offense played. And like all good teams it boils down to the offensive line. It isn’t realistic to expect this high a level of performance but if the O has arrived future performances should be significantly above the norm of the past 2 years.
Finally special teams helped and did not hurt. Enough said. OK, one thing needs to be said. Alftin needs to be on the field more. Perhaps at H-back. Kid is a great athlete and needs to be used prior to his eligibility expiring. His lack of use reminds me of how McMorris wasn’t used.
We shall know if Cal, as a team, has arrived come Saturday in Arizona. Cal should dominate the game from start to finish. They can if they play with discipline and consistency. Folks, AZ isn’t going to fold in this game, they are hungry for a win and will scheme up trickeration or whatever it takes to win. And Cal needs to win this game for any shot at a bowl. So, pressure is now on Cal, let’s see how the team preforms and if they have indeed turned the corner.
Didnt get to watch the game until after it was over... Wow, most complete game in recent memory. Garbers was awesome, and wouldve looked even better if not for a couple drops. Never seen him throw the ball as proficiently. Wonder if knowing his little brother was making his first p12 start sparked something in him.
It also appears Musgrave is running the offense more around Chase's skill set more and more each week. If we had this kind of play selection from the start we'd probably have a couple more wins. That pro style pocket game flop in week 1 against Nevada had me thinking all doom and there was no way Musgrave was going to adjust.
Also, of course, kudos to the offensive line, where the offense stops and starts..