Cal football: Golden Bears embarrassed in historic shutout loss to Utah

Cal Football (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Cal Football (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Cal football program suffered one of their worst losses in school history on Saturday when they were shutout on the road by the Utah Utes by a final score of 35-0.

There have been some truly awful losses in Cal football history. For a program that hasn’t exactly been in the top-tier of the Pac-12 for the better part of the 21st century, there have been some downright abysmal games.

But perhaps no loss has been more incredibly painful to watch in the past 20 years than the game that took place on Saturday.

The Bears were shutout on the road against No. 12 ranked Utah as the Utes dominated their way to a 35-0 victory. It was Cal’s first shutout loss of the century dating back to 1999 — a 20-year streak.

During that time, Cal has gone through multiple one-win seasons and put out plenty of awful performances. But statistically, none of them compared to this.

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Shade your eyes from the horror below.

The Bears managed just 83 yards of offense on the night. They failed to enter Utah territory past their first offensive possession. They had six total first downs and completed just nine passes in the game.

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Cal started third-string quarterback Spencer Brasch and the true freshman was completely overwhelmed on the road against a feared Utah defense. Brasch finished with just 47 yards passing while completing 7 of his 19 passing attempts.

But at least he didn’t throw an interception.

In fact, despite Cal’s offensive ineptitude, they didn’t turn the ball over a single time in this game. Instead, they opted for more drawn-out turnovers in the form of many, many, many, many, many three-and-outs.

That’s one “many” for every drive that the Cal offense failed to record a first down. And they did just that on half of their possessions in the entire game.

Perhaps most disappointing was the lackluster play of Cal’s defense — the unit that had been so reliable for the Bears this season. Utah’s offense had little trouble moving the ball on offense whether it was Tyler Huntley or Jason Shelley under center.

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Some of this is obviously a result of Cal’s offense putting the defense in terrible situations. But some of the blame must still fall on the defense as well.

After starting the season off 4-0 and even reaching a ranking as high as No. 15, Cal has now fallen to 4-4. The Bears find themselves at a crossroads in their season with four games to play.

Cal needs two more victories to qualify for the postseason with games remaining against Washington State, USC, Stanford, and UCLA. On paper, those are very winnable games — but it’s hard to trust anything with the current iteration of this offense.

If Chase Garbers or even Devon Modster is able to return, Cal could/should be looking at a bowl bid. But if the Bears are relying on the duo of Spencer Brasch and Robby Rowell, it’s hard to remain optimistic about any game.

What once seemed like a promising season for Cal has completely fallen apart before their very eyes with injuries to their quarterbacks and other offensive weapons. Now, this Cal team is simply a shell of its former self.

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And they’ll be needing a miracle — or a clean bill of health — to salvage a bowl game this season.