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Photo by © Kelley L Cox USA Today
Cal Football

Cal Leads From Beginning to End in Upset of Beavers

October 30, 2021

Where have these Bears been all year?

The same Cal team that found its way to five losses in six games put together a spectacular offensive show to upset  Oregon State, 39-25, Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

The Bears were pretty much in charge from start to finish. Oregon State showed enough energy to get back in the game with two second-half touchdowns, but each time the Bears answered with a TD of their own

OSU (5-3, 3-2) fumbled the ball away on its first possession and never led as the Bears neutralized the most potent running offense in the Pac-12, and racked up 517 yards of total offense, pretty equally divided between 262 passing and 252 rushing.

Playing without outside linebacker Cam Goode and inside backer Mo Iosefa, who were unavailable because of injury, Cal held OSU to just 134 rushing yards. The Beavers averaged 245 per game coming in.

“I thought the guys came out of the gate competing,” head coach Justin Wilcox said after the game. “And it’s been each and every week. Starting the game with a turnover which became a touchdown and created some momentum was huge. Offensively we were able to run the ball pretty effectively, threw it, a bunch of different guys making plays, tight ends, receivers, running backs. We did a great job protecting the ball (zero turnovers).

“Defensively competed pretty dang hard, got some new guys in there, a couple of youngsters showed up and made some big plays.”

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
uarterCal defense celebrates

Attaining bowl eligibility, which seemed a pipe dream for the Bears two weeks ago, is now a possibility. Cal (3-5, 2-3) must win three of the four remaining games. But despite having all but one on the road, none looks out of reach at this point.

Chase Garbers had perhaps his best game, completing 17 of 26 passes for those 262 yards and three touchdowns. It would have been even better without a couple of drops.

“It’s up there,” Wilcox said when asked if this was the quarterback’s best. “It’s hard for me to pick one for Chase. He ran the ball for another 60 (58) yards. Timely throws, he was efficient. He protected the ball so well all year. He is just playing good football right now. I am excited to see him grow.”

Damien Moore led the Cal running attack with 111 yards on 11 carries, but the better story might be  Christopher Brooks, who had his best day of the season with 83 yards on 20 carries. He had an important third-down conversion in the late going, 

“He runs with a purpose,” offensive lineman Valentino Daltoso said. “He is not going down on the first hit. He creates contact while running. It is really fun to come off your block and then see Chris running by you carrying three people.”

© Kelley L Cox USA Today
Christopher Brooks

After Oregon State had cut the Cal lead from 14 points to 24-17 with a 70-yard TD drive in the third quarter the Bears looked as if they might have put the game away with a special teams play. They forced an Oregon State punt, then Nick Alftin broke through and blocked the kick. 

On the first play from scrimmage Garbers hit Trevon Clark with a 38-yard TD pass and it was 31-17.

But this OSU team was not going away. It took just six plays, the last a 45-yard pass to Trevon Bradford. QB Chase Nolan ran the ball in for a two-point conversion.

But that was it for the Beavers. The Bears scored another touchdown then on OSU’s next drive, Elijah Hicks intercepted Nolan’s overthrown pass. The Bears actually ended the game inside the OSU 5-yard line following Moore’s 56-yard run.

Cal came out of the gate fast again, but let OSU back into the game just before halftime.

Having received the opening kickoff, the Beavers fumbled the ball away on its first offensive play. Marques Bimage forced B.J., Baylor to lose control of the ball then fell on it at the OSU 22.

Brooks carried the ball four times and Garbers completed a pass to Collin Moore to put the ball on the OSU 2. On the next play, Garbers could not locate an open receiver and scooted around right end for the TD.

Midway in the period, Cal began a drive on its own 20 that should have been more productive than it was. The Bear reached the OSU 27 and on third down Garbers threw a perfect pass to Jeremiah Hunter in the end zone. But the usually reliable Hunter dropped the pass and Cal had to settle for a field goal.

Penalized on the ensuing kickoff to their own 15, the Beavers moved smartly upfield until stalling on the Cal 11. Everett Hayes kicked a 29-yard field goal to get OSU on the board.

Cal went 75 yards in nine efficient plays for another touchdown, scored by Moore from the 8.

Freshman Nate Butchera halted the next OSU drive with an interception, but the Bears could not move the ball and had to punt again. 

Oregon State followed with its most impressive drive of the day by going 75 yards in seven plays. The final play was Nolan’s 32-yard TD pass to  Bradford.

Some curious clock management cost Cal a chance to score at the end of the half. They had 55 seconds and all their timeouts when the Bears started out on their 25. They did not call a time-out after the first play, a 2-yard run by Brooks. They did stop the clock after the next play, but those wasted seconds were crucial when Garbers hit Hunter for 41 yards to the OSU 19. By the time Cal tried to call time out, the clock had expired.

© Kelley L Cox USA Today
Elijah Hicks interception ices game

Undaunted Cal came out after halftime and on the first drive went 75 yards in eight plays. On the scoring play, Garbers found Brooks all alone in the right flat and the Bear running back dashed in untouched to complete the 38-yard TD play and make the score 24-10.

Wilcox said there were no major changes to the Cal defensive scheme that had such a good day against the rugged OSU running game.

“There is only so much defense out there,” he said. “There are not a lot of secrets anymore. I thought the coaches did a great job of preparing the players. And the players went out and played physical, tackled pretty well. That’s what it takes. There is no magic defense to stop the run.”


  • Cal was 13-for-19 on third downs.
  • Cal travels to Arizona Saturday for a noon start against the Wildcats.
  • Garbers passer rating was 188.1, a career-high. His previous best was 187.
  • Cal was called for only two penalties. One was offset by an OSU penalty and the other for excessive celebration following Hicks’ interception late in the game.

Other stories:

OSU Preview: The Beavers Aren't Pushovers Anymore

Bears DT Took the Long Way to Cal

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Cal Leads From Beginning to End in Upset of Beavers

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