After a frustrating first quarter, Saturday’s Big Game quickly blossomed into one of the most satisfying wins in recent memory. A Cal offense that has been criticized for turtling after taking double-digit leads showed a relentless refusal to slow down, as demonstrated by some fourth-quarter trick plays even after the outcome of the game was largely decided. It’s as if this game was personal for the coaches. And perhaps it was; this is a rivalry that Cal had won once in the eleven previous years and LSJU increasingly appears to be a program on the decline. Why not embarrass one’s rival and definitively reclaim the Bay Area college football landscape?
Rating the Bears
It’s a new record! The Bears have played 139 games since we started this series and this game is the new #1 after dethroning the 2017 Wazzu game as the highest rated game we’ve seen.
Every category earned scores in the 90s except special teams, whose score could have been improved with some better punt returns. Run offense, run defense, and overall all breached the 95-point mark, an exceptionally rare feat. This is all a tremendous bounce back from one of the worst games of the Wilcox era. It’s also a frustrating tease of what could have been if Cal had played this well throughout the season against a weak and vulnerable Pac-12. It’s not unreasonable to believe that the same team that beat Colorado, OSU, and LSJU in the last month could be 9-1 at this point in the season.
It’s been a rough set of Big Games since we started this series, so this game rather easily earns the highest scores in every single category compared to other Big Games.
And compared to the other 138 games in the past five seasons, this one earned the highest scores in every category except pass defense and coaching (both those highs were from the 2017 Wazzu game).
We have our usual slate of awards, but the Axe is the real award from last weekend.
First, highest scores of the week.
8-way tie for first place! Today, we are all Calamo.
Next, lowest scores of the week.
Those scores are still prettay, prettay, prettay good.
The Voice of Reason
Finally, those whose scores were closest to average.
AKA the just-below-100 club.
Any comments on the gameday experience?
Texashaterforlife - close to perfection. the game started not too early and not too late. Time of kick-off is just right for a victory because I can now drink to excess. Also drinking because Texas (horns down) lost again, and is not going to a bowl game. I hope longhorns keep Sark as their coach for years!
FuzzWuzzy - Good times with SD Cal alums at Chief's bar in Solano Beach. Wifey and SDSU grad/employee has made it to three games this year, all wins. She's a winner. But the streaming thing...of two tv's with the game in my area, there's was an average of 1.5 minute time delays between each. Thanks a lot Larry...but it matters not WE GOT DAT AXE
Blue Duck - Gameday for me was watching the game from my home in Japan while I was on the phone with my family in the north bay.
Heyalumnigo - The tailgate was excellent. Food was great. Dirty hot dogs/sausages/hot links. Even a birthday celebration. My two youngest went as well, the first big game for the middle one and the 2nd for the younger one. 2nd win I've seen behind 2002 (and 1 tie).
SGBear - At a bar in suburban North Carolina, backed into the far wall of a bar picked by Stanfurd alumni. There were 5 other Cal fans holding up the back wall, but we were surrounded by about 40 cardinal-clad people (officially declared at over 43,000 Stanfurd alumni were there). After the promise of another Cheez-Its Bowl to start off the game, the Bears breaking off big plays had the back wall dancing, whooping, and high fiving. Stanfurdites started leaving by the second quarter. The feeling of last year's blocked PAT was washed away with 3 glorious quarters and a five beer buzz.
Wiata78 - Nicely reminiscent of the 1975 Big Game, which I attended on the farm, and which we also won big, 48-15. And non-QB Chuck Muncie completed a TD pass to Wesley Walker.
What are your thoughts on Cal's passing game?
1988goldenbear - Good Garbers is really solid. The pick he threw in the first quarter was horribly underthrown and probably late, but he improved after that. I wish they had saved some of the trick plays late in the game for the ucla game, but that's probably not a big deal. The o-line did a great job.
Terence - Aside from that first INT in the end zone and the end of the first half drive, Chase was on target and on time with his throws. When Musgrave goes to the mix of designed QBs and rolouts and mid level crosses, Chase can be really deadly.
Old Bear 71 - 84 yard record setting play was sweet sweet sweet!
SGBear - Great mix of packages, different looks on those packages, variations on the same looks, and even some trick plays. And the Chase executed generally really, really well. He made almost all smart reads, went through progressions well, moved in the pocket well, and bought time when he needed it or got first downs with his feet, with fewer really bad reads/throws.
Bluehenbear - DOMINATED
What are your thoughts on Cal's running game?
Sacman701 - Paved 'em.
Texashaterforlife - When your preseason imagination is finally matched by reality of what the Cal running game could have been with a trio of RBs and experienced OL.
TD_24 - The Christopher Brooks and Marcel Dancy show.
Goldenone - Finally some explosive plays from the backs. Running for over 300 yards is a great accomplishment and we almost had two hundred yards performances in Brooks and Dancy.
Tangtpt - Awesome! Amazing! over 350 rushing yards will do it every time!
SacAlum - Un-freaking-believable! Great line blocking and tremendous running all day. Christopher Brooks was a beast.
What are your thoughts on Cal's pass defense?
Goldenone - Bent, but didn't break. Made the key plays on third down, great performance by Hearns, who seems to get better each week. Go Takers!
SGBear - Not a lot of pressure up front, but the pass defenders did a great job reading and communicating. While it's hard to see on TV, there didn't seem to be a lot of blown coverages. This resulting in tight coverage, which meant that Tanner McKee needed to throw some great passes to beat Cal. He did throws some really great passes, but Cal made him pay on the not so great passes.
SacAlum - DBs played tight defense on their receivers. Great effort.
Old Bear 71 - The Trees’s trees aka tight ends got a big fat surprise. Hearns, Hicks, & Assocs. made them look like bushes.
BearsWillEndMyLife - Still gave up a bit too much over the middle but we clearly weren't concerned about their yards between the 20s. McKee was immobile so I would have liked to have seen more pressure up front. The picks were key and he still made good throws throughout.
What are your thoughts on Cal's run defense?
Sacman701 - Furd got their usual nothing, so good job.
FuzzWuzzy - Didn't Furd have fewer yards running then we gave up in penalties? Seemed like it. They really couldn't run anywhere.
TD_24 - Stanford didn't attempt to run all that much but when they did we plugged the holes very well.
Goldenone - Stanford had 32 yards rushing. Excellent.
SGBear - Oh? Are you gonna disrespect our stout run defense by calling a QB sneak on 4-and-goal from the 3? You deserve to have your spirit broken and eventually blown out.
SacAlum - It doesn't get any better than holding 'Furd to 4 rushing first downs and only 43 rushing yards total.
What are your thoughts on Cal's special teams?
Califorleanian - Finally figured out those snaps, I'm so proud!
Goldenone - Weren't noticeable which is a good thing.
SacAlum - The ST unit didn't make headlines -- which is a good thing.
Terence - One iffy punt and one big return allowed, otherwise all good.
Blue Duck - Did what they needed to do and couldn’t be happier.
Sacman701 - Made both field goals, otherwise this wasn't much of a factor either way.
What are your thoughts on the coaching staff's performance?
Sacman701 - Good game plan. And the turmoil of the previous two weeks wasn't a factor at all, so the coaches should get some credit for that.
Texashaterforlife - The performance I expect after an unexpected bye week. Hope for a bowl game is still alive.
FuzzWuzzy - Anytime we beat Furd, my ratings will get extra rounds for everyone, and we certainly can't exclude the coaches. And then they went and dropped Foaty on outrivals, AND after a couple of COVID-crazy weeks. Nice recovery...this was the booster shot we all needed.
BearsWillEndMyLife - The aggressiveness and creativity were some of the best under Wilcox. Put your boot on your opponent's throat and crush them. There were essentially no tough decisions to make, and we didn't let the offense disappear for multiple quarters. Let's see if we can keep it going against UCLA, who just dropped a sixty burger on U$C.
KJ1980 - A well prepped Bears DOMINAtED a deer I. The headlights Furd team
SacAlum - Easily one of the best-coached games in the Wilcox era. Musgrave was on fire!
Old Bear 71 - Razzle-dazzle! I never thought I’d see it from Big Bill. They did well on all counts.
What are your thoughts on Cal's overall performance?
Terence - I like beating Stanford. Let's do it again.
Old Bear 71 - I’ll savor this for years to come. Did my Old Bear heart good. Win by THIRTY in their house, that’s the way to treat the Trees.
Tangtpt - A 30-point win in a rivalry game is something special. Felt great for the kids, especially the seniors.
SacAlum - This game reminded me of Cal's 52-30 beat down against USC in 1991 when we had more than 600 yards of offense. Innovative offense & stout defense. Kudos to all involved!
VermontBear - Chase has really firmed up his rollout-left passing ability. With Chase's running ability and good execution the offense has a hard-to-defend rollout option to both sides. What a nightmare for opposing defenses!
KJ1980 - Satisfying. Go Bears!
Sacman701 - That was a comprehensive beatdown in every phase, with the dumb penalties being the only negative. The team seems to be peaking, but do they have enough to take down a UCLA team that has scored 106 points in its last two games?
Diasfordays - WE HAVE THE AXE