California Golden Bears Look to Build on Week One Win Against SDSU


After handing out a 73-14 trouncing in week one against the Grambling State Tigers, the California Golden Bears should have went through practice this week with a little more confidence than usual. In the second week of the season, the competition takes a step up from the Division I-AA Tigers, as the Golden Bears will welcome the San Diego State Aztecs, out of the Mountain West Conference, to Memorial Stadium.

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The Aztecs will provide a tougher test for the Bears this week, as San Diego State’s defense is a tough nut to crack. In their opening week contest against the University of San Diego, the Aztecs forced six turnovers, five of which were interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. The Terreros only mustered 183 yards of offense against the Aztecs’ stout defense.

The Bears’ offense should be up to the task, especially after the blistering start to the season the team enjoyed last week. As a unit, the Bears’ offense racked up 656 yards of total offense, and posted 73 points, the second-highest output ever for the school.

Bears’ quarterback Jared Goff, as he’s made fans accustomed to, had a tremendous outing to start a season that could have him in the Heisman chase very soon. Goff completed 24 of his 32 attempts, piling up 309 yards and three touchdowns (all to Kenny Lawler) in the process. He didn’t even play in the second half.

Goff enters week two a very strong game away from breaking a pair of school record. He is 337 yards and 23 completions shy of Troy Taylor‘s marks of 8,126  passing yards and 683 completions.

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The Bears’ defense, a big question mark entering this season, played extremely well against an inferior Tigers’ offense in week one. The first-team unit pitched a shutout in the first half, and racked up four interceptions (two of which were returned for touchdowns) and three sacks, all before the game’s midpoint.

Cal’s run defense, which ranked fourth in the Pac-12 last year at 144.6 yards per game, was particularly disrupting last Saturday. They allowed 127 yards on the ground, but that number is skewed quite a bit, as the Tigers gained 90 yards on a single scoring run late in the fourth quarter, when the game was already well out of hand. Besides that big scamper, the Bears allowed 37 rushing yards on 32 carries.

Donnel Pumphrey, the Aztecs’ stud running back, will attempt to crack the defense. Pumphrey had a rough week one, as he gained just 65 yards on 20 carries. Last season, he gained 1,876 yards on the ground (a school record) while averaging 6.8 yards per attempt and scoring 20 times (also a school record). He went over 100 yards nine times in 13 games, including each of the last five contests, during which he averaged nearly 160 yards per game.

The Aztecs do not have history on their side entering this game. They have lost 27 consecutive games on the road against Pac-12 opponents, dating all the way back to 1975. San Diego State and Cal have met six times in the past, and split the games evenly, with the home team winning each time.

This game will mean a little more for Bears’ senior defensive tackle Mustafa Jalil, who is a San Diego native. In 2010, Jalil committed to SDSU, but changed his mind, citing academic and family reasons for his switch to Cal. This will be his first opportunity to take on his almost-former-team.

Cal is a little more focused this year on the game in front of them. In a press conference during the week leading up to this game, senior safety Stefan McClure said “we let a few slip away last year, [but] we’re taking it game by game this year.” That mindset should bode well for the Bears as they look to improve to 2-0, and in the weeks ahead when the competition will only get tougher, as well.

Next: Bears Dominate Opening Week Amidst Pac-12 upsets