Déjà Vu for Golden Bears Against Huskies


Two minutes remaining, and the opponents have the ball on their own 30 or so yard line, down by a score. Sound familiar? If you watched the Golden Bears take on the Texas Longhorns just a week before, you’ve probably seen this before. One week after avoiding overtime in Austin, after having a 20+ point lead, the Bears pulled the exact same stunt in their Pac-12 opener against a young Washington Huskies team.

After a touchdown gave the Golden Bears a 20-point lead in the third quarter, a touchdown drive and fumble returned for a touchdown by UW cornerback Sidney Jones made that 20-point lead just six heading into the fourth quarter, but after a fumble on the next Husky drive, their fourth turnover, and an interception late in the game by true freshmen quarterback Jake Browning, their fifth, the Golden Bears again escaped a late game collapse.

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Jared Goff was impressive again, passing for over 300 yards, and two touchdowns, and didn’t commit any big turnovers in a game that was mostly decided by turnovers. While the Cal offense did surrender the ball two times, a Goff interception at the end of the 1st half, and the fumble returned for a touchdown, the Bear defense forced the young Huskies football team (which included four freshmen on the offensive line) into five turnovers which, ultimately, was the difference in the game. Defensive back Darius White was probably the defensive player of the game, as he had both a fumble recovery, and an interception, in the Golden Bears’ more impressive defensive performance against UW than against Texas.

Another key stat worth noting so far this season has been the turnovers Cal has been causing. With this recent game in the books, the Golden Bear defense has forced 14 turnovers this season. Yes that’s right, 14. That’s 3.5 turnovers forced per game! So what does this game mean for the rest of the season?

Well, the Bears’ offense isn’t invincible. They proved that they could score points against a good Pac-12 defense, but have at times struggled to run the football, leading to blitzes and pressures of Goff. This game also showed the resilience of the Bears’ offense. After struggling mightily at times, they found a way to score 30 points and, importantly, score after the defense forced a turnover, which will also be key for the rest of the season.

This game was also huge in determining the pecking order of the Pac-12. For five years, the Huskies have had a solid grasp on the third spot in the Pac-12 North, and the first step in Cal’s attempt to come out of the North on top was this game, and eclipse the Huskies and put themselves in place to upset both Oregon and Stanford and get a spot in that Pac-12 title game.

Up next for the Bears, they take on the Washington State Cougars, then hit a tough stretch against #10 Utah, #7 UCLA, and #17 USC. To win those games, their defense will need to play as well or better than they did at Washington. The offense will continue to put up points, but the key to the rest of Cal’s season is in how their defense can perform against some of the Pac-12’s better offenses.

Next: Golden Bears Move to 4-0 with Another Close Win