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Cal Football

Cal Allows 571 Yards in Win Over Weber State

September 9, 2017
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Cal came away with a win in its home opener, but you wouldn't know it from Justin Wilcox's postgame comments.

The Bears defeated Weber State 33-20, but their first-year head coach expressed disappointment in their execution, particularly on defense.

"We didn't play well today," he said. "We've got to be better than that and (the players) know it. That's what we talked about after the game, so we'll be excited to get back on the field on Monday."

"A win is a win and it's hard to come by, but it's nothing to be proud of," said linebacker Devante Downs of Wilcox's message to the team. "Give credit to Weber State for being a tough team, but we've got to come out and perform way better than we did."

"That level of play is going to get us beat later on during the season," added linebacker Raymond Davison III, who led the Bears with 11 tackles, two forced fumbles, and a sack. "Great (to get) the win, but we've got to pick it up."

Weber State outgained Cal 571 yards to 431, including a staggering 431-200 margin in passing yards. Wildcats senior quarterback Stefan Cantwell completed 25 of 44 passes for 431 yards and a touchdown, averaging an explosive 17.2 yards per completion. The Bears allowed eight plays of 23 yards or more, including three that went for at least 47 yards. A few of those big plays were the result of busted coverages.

"Totally unacceptable," commented Wilcox. "Whether it was a technique breakdown, communication error, whatever it was, there were just a multitude of self-inflicted wounds. If you compete and the guy beats you, that's one thing. But if we make a mistake, whether it's communication or technique, that's just something we can't have."

"It wasn't a scheme issue," added safety Luke Rubenzer, who recorded five tackles and a fumble recovery. "It wasn't just getting beat or outplayed or anything. It was just a lack of clarity on assignments, and I don't think they scored a point in the second half. So I guess that's one thing we can take away from this."

Rubenzer is correct - Cal pitched a shutout in the second half after allowing 20 points in the first half. The Bears also forced three Weber State turnovers, all on fumbles.

"That's something that we've definitely focused on a lot more this year," said Rubenzer. "We focus on going after interceptions more and being more aggressive when the ball is in the air, and also punching at the ball when the ball carrier is on the ground."

"We have a couple of sessions in practice specifically working on (forcing fumbles) and I think it carries onto the field pretty well," added Downs, who notched five tackles, a sack, and a forced fumble.

"Turnover margin and big plays are the two things we talk about the most," said Wilcox. "It's playing fast, playing aggressive, and having confidence in your technique and what your job is. It's a lot of those things that will lead to turnovers."

As Davison noted, the Bears will have to play much better against future competition, beginning next Saturday with Ole Miss. But after two weeks, Cal is 2-0, and that is the most important stat of all.

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