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Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea - USA TODAY
Cal Football

Bruins Overwhelm Bears, 42-14

November 27, 2021
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Cal has had some ugly games against UCLA in Southern California. Saturday night’s effort ranks with the worst. The Bruins dominated the Bears in virtually every phase and overwhelmed them, 42-14, in the Rose Bowl.

With one game left in the regular season, Cal (4-7, 3-5 Pac-12) is no longer able to achieve bowl eligibility. 

Looking at the game as a whole, it is hard to believe the Bears actually had a lead. With the help of a Bruin turnover, Cal had scored consecutive touchdowns and took a 14-10 lead late with 7:00 left in the second period. 

From there UCLA simply overwhelmed the Bears, stifling their offense and toying with their defense. “They beat us in every phase of the game,” head coach Justin Wilcox said after the debacle. “PIck a stat.”

OK, coach, we will.  Cal had just 217 total yards of offense, 92 on the ground. Chase Garbers, who was under almost constant pressure from the voracious Bruin defense, had his worst game of the year, completing 16 of 35 passes for 125 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. And a big chunk of those total yards came on the Bears' last drive which ended with them reaching the UCLA 1 before turning the ball over on downs. But by that time the game had long since been decided.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea - USA TODAY
Zach Charbonnet

UCLA piled up 446 total yards, 282 on the ground. Tailback Zach Charbonnet had 106 of those yards on 22 carries, while quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson (DTR) had 102.

Cal’s offense was virtually nonexistent in the second half until the game got out of reach. Things really turned in the third quarter. The Bears gained just 20 yards, earning but one first down in that quarter. In the same period, UCLA piled up 121`yards and scored ten points. The score was 42-14 before Cal got its second first down of the half.

“They were moving the ball on us for every reason, running, throwing, perimeter plays,” Wilcox said. “Their speed. The big guy, is tough to get on the ground. Then when they got the ball on the perimeter or whatever, the quarterback, the slot guys, the backs, we really struggled to get them on the ground tackling. That was evident.”

Cal’s offensive line, which had been stout most of the season, was unable to provide Garbers adequate protection consistently.  

“We didn’t do a great job staying attached in blocking,” Wildox said. “And they beat us one-on-one blocking. And then when they zeroed us, and they zeroed us a fair amount, we’ve got to hit some passes and we didn’t.”

After UCLA jumped out to a 10-0 lead, the Bears scored a pair of touchdowns to go ahead temporarily. But the Bruins put together an impressive drive to take the lead again just before the end of the half.

The Bears started slowly. They went three and out on their first possession and the Bruins drove deep into Cal territory. The Bears stopped them at the 23-yard line and they had to settle for a 41-yard field goal.

Nikko Remigio brought the ensuing kickoff back to the UCLA 41 with a 58-yard return. However, four downs netted the Bears only six yards and they turned the ball over.

The teams exchanged punts after that and then UCLA rook over on the Cal 40 when Garbers threw his first interception of the night to Jay Shaw. 

From there the Bruins drove to the Cal 4 and DRT threw a TD pass to Kyle Phillips.

The Bears came to life after that. The igniter was Garbers’ 26-yard pass to Remigio on 3rd-and-13 from the Cal 22, From there Cal marched smartly down the field until Christopher Brooks scooted 14 yards to the end zone.

The Bruins fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, Cam Goode recovered for Cal on the UCLA 13. Four plays later Garbers scored front the 1 on a quarterback sneak. 

That lead lasted as long as it took the Bruins to go 64 yards to a score. Kazmeir Allen went the final 8 yards for the score. Both Elijah Hicks and Daniel Scott missed tackles inside the 5 on that play.

Notes

Cal closes out the regular season next Saturday night at Memorial Stadium against USC.

This was the first time Cal allowed points in the first quarter since giving up three points at Oregon on Oct. 15. 

 Remigio's 58-yard kickoff return is the second-longest of his career. Remigio's longest is a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown against Sacramento State earlier this season.

 
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