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Cal Football

Bears' Bowl Game Hopes Extinguished in Disappointing 42-14 Loss at UCLA

November 27, 2021
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LOS ANGELES -The Rose Bowl hasn’t been friendly to the Bears in recent years and tonight was certainly no exception, as Cal fell to 4-7 (3-5) in an embarrassing 42-14 loss to UCLA, extinguishing their faint postseason hopes in their lopsided loss.

A game that appeared to be very competitive heading into the halftime locker room quickly became a romp in the second half as the Bears failed to build any offensive momentum and saw the defense badly break down in their fundamentals, from tackling to coverage in the final two quarters in the demoralizing defeat.

“You name it,” said head coach Justin Wilcox in response to being asked what went wrong in the second half after leading last in the first half of the game. “Everything. We came out and had a 3-and-out, then we really struggled to have any third quarter offense and we weren’t stopping them on defense. Pick a matchup. They beat us everywhere.”

Quarterback Chase Garbers went just 16-for-31 for a mere 125 yards and two interceptions after rising to second in the Pac-12 in offense leading up to the game. Starting tailback Christopher Brooks ran fairly effectively at 5.1 yards per carry and a TD in 12 carries but the only other carries by Cal’s talented running back corps were a pair of Marcel Dancy carries for 10 yards and a Damien Moore 1-yard run late in the game as the Bears only had 15 running back carries for the game after falling behind in the second half. And unlike recent games, Garbers was unable to manage much on the ground himself, netting just 20 yards in 16 carries after his four sacks for 23 yards were factored in.

“We knew playing their style of defense, we were going to get some blitzes,” said Garbers. “They’re one heck of a team. In the end, we got beat. They did a really good job of getting to the quarterback and creating havoc.”

The Bears have traditionally had far more success winning the initial coin toss and deferring to the 2nd half in earlier games this season. That was not to be tonight, with UCLA winning the flip and deferring then forcing the Bears into a three-and-out their first possession.

In their first possession, the Bruins moved the ball efficiently with a pair of nice gains on Dorian Thompson-Robinson keepers and a 24-yard completion to tight end Greg Dulcich but the drive stalled at the Cal 23 and UCLA kicker Nicholas Barr-Mira knocked one through for a 41-yard field goal to put the Bruins up 3-0 5:27 into the game.

After trading short drives and punts, the Bears finally started to generate a little offensive momentum, driving to the UCLA 49, but under heavy pressure, Cal QB Chase Garbers tossed an ill-advised pass that was easily intercepted at the Bruin 42 and returned to the Cal 40 by cornerback Jay Shaw. The baby bears capitalized on the error, driving 40 yards in 10 plays, with the key plays of the drive coming on a DTR 24-yard keeper on third-and-13 and the final play of the drive on a 4-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Kyle Philips, who slipped through the defense to the back of the end zone in broken coverage to haul in the pass to push the UCLA lead to 10-0 after the Shaw PAT with 14-10 left in the half.

The ensuing possession found the Bears in a third-and-13 situation on their 22 yard line, rapidly approaching a dangerous situation but Garbers stepped up in the pocket under pressure and fired a rocket to senior receiver Nikko Remigio for a 26-yard completion to the Cal 48. It was the spark the Bears needed, with running back Christopher Brooks picking up 13 yards on three straight runs followed by a 14-yard pickup by Big Game hero Marcel Dancy to the Bruin 25. After another first down, the Bears lined up in a power left formation, opening a nice hole off tackle that Brooks could run a truck through as he strolled into the end zone for a 14-yard TD.

The Bears capitalized on a muffed kick return by speedy receiver Kazmier Allen after the score, with senior linebacker Cameron Goode coming up with the ball at the UCLA 13. Four plays later, OC Bill Musgrave dialed up another good call. With the Bruin defense loading up the box on RB Brooks, Garbers held onto the ball on a delayed run and strolled through a hole off the left tackle to find paydirt, putting the Bears up 14-10 with their first lead of the night following the Dario Longetto PAT with 7 minutes left in the half. As it turned out, it would be one of the few, if any, obvious good calls or plays for that matter for the Bears O.

The Bruins regained momentum on the next possession, stringing together a methodical 13-play, 74-yard drive with only one play going for more than 8 yards -an 11-yard gain by running back Zach Charbonnet, who ran for 106 yards and one TD on 22 carries to lead UCLA. The Bruins retook the lead with just 26 seconds left in the half on a swing pass to the speedy Allen, who juked and shook off a pair of tackles to find the pylon and a 17-14 UCLA lead going into the locker room.

The 2nd half saw both teams trade three-and-outs before the Bruins quickly struck again, going 71 yards in just four plays with a 20-yard Charbonnet run, a 7-yard completion to Philips, a pass interference call on cornerback Lu-Magia Hearns on a badly overthrown pass and a tightrope-walking catch by Dulcich for a 29-yard TD completion to give UCLA the 24-14 lead with 11:19 left in the 3rd quarter.

The Bears were unable to put together any semblance of an offense in the next few series, as UCLA dialed up the pass pressure as the Bears fell further behind and Garbers unable to avoid the rush and beat the Bruins with quick-hitting passes or over the top to make them pay. Meanwhile the normally reliable Bears’ defense began to miss more and more tackles, helping UCLA eventually stretch their lead to 42-14 by scoring on four straight possessions, as the defense almost looked as if their spirit was broken and they were playing out the string.

Even a Remigio 67-yard kick return to the UCLA 33 in the fourth quarter failed to ignite the Cal offense, with the offense going backwards with a pair of back-to-back sacks, turning over the ball on downs.

Remigio’s big returns of 67 and 58 yards -his second and third longest returns of his career- were wasted on an evening of anemic offensive production as the Cal o-line continually allowed pressure and Garbers unable to get anything going all night long.

Even their first semblance of a scoring drive in the second half ended in failure, as the Bears drove 74 yards in 19 plays in their final possession but failed to punch it in from the 1/2 yard line with 2:45 remaining. From there, the Bruins ran out the clock, content to sit on their 28-point winning margin to go to 8-4 (6-3) on the season, likely putting them in the Las Vegas Bowl as the Bears stay home for the second straight disappointing season.

Thompson-Robinson had a solid passing game, going 19-for-28 for 164 yards and three TDs but where he did the most damage was on the ground, gashing the Bears for 102 yards on 13 carries and a 7.8 ypc clip.

“We expected to play better,” said Wilcox. “We knew this would be a very tough game. They’re an explosive offense. Their team speed, their quarterback, the tailback...they’re very good on offense. Defensively, there’s a ton of movement and we did not do a good job picking it up in the run game or the pass game.

“We’ll get another chance to play together as a team (vs. USC next weekend). Guys are prideful and people have pride in their performance -whether they’re playing for their teammate or playing for the Cal script or the name on the back of their jersey. There’s a lot of motivation.”

“(We’re) staying together,” said senior safety Daniel Scott. “We’ve had a lot of ups and downs and challenges this year but we’re a pretty resilient team. So we’ve got to come in with an attitude on Monday.”

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Discussion from...

Bears' Bowl Game Hopes Extinguished in Disappointing 42-14 Loss at UCLA

1,937 Views | 10 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by GoOskie
Bobodeluxe
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Kool-Aid will be served early this spring. Be there.
SBGold
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I felt it was obvious we would lose, unfortunately we got boat raced
BearoutEast67
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Our play-calling was so odd. No screens or slants to combat the constant blitzing, until there was one screen late in the 4th. Musgrave's decision to pass on 4th into the end zone instead of a quick call run(send in a two play call sequence) to punch it in reminded me of Pete Carroll's decision to not run Lynch in a Super Bowl. Garbers was so rattled, with no rolling to the left and erratic ad libbing. I do don't see him looking forward into the gaping open middle but 1-2 times during the game. I'm guessing Brooks got banged up. It sucked seeing our D on the field so much.
BearGoggles
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BearoutEast67 said:

Our play-calling was so odd. No screens or slants to combat the constant blitzing, until there was one screen late in the 4th. Musgrave's decision to pass on 4th into the end zone instead of a quick call run(send in a two play call sequence) to punch it in reminded me of Pete Carroll's decision to not run Lynch in a Super Bowl. Garbers was so rattled, with no rolling to the left and erratic ad libbing. I do don't see him looking forward into the gaping open middle but 1-2 times during the game. I'm guessing Brooks got banged up. It sucked seeing our D on the field so much.

This x 100. And its a good description of the play calling against Arizona and WSU. Of course, there are people on this board who would say we're not allowed to comment on play calling.

Regarding the defense, I thought for the most part the game plan was sound - Cal players were in position. But poor tackling was a real problem (especially after they got worn down) and UCLA had some exceptional athletes (DTR, Charbonnet, Allen, Dulcich) who made plays.

bluehenbear
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On Dulcich's TD, did he have his feet down? Paws seemed unsure and thought it deserved a review, but alas there was no review. Did not see replay.
Golden One
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bluehenbear said:

On Dulcich's TD, did he have his feet down? Paws seemed unsure and thought it deserved a review, but alas there was no review. Did not see replay.
What difference does it make? This game was a blowout by UCLA. One TD more or less by the Bruins still leaves the game a major a$$ whipping.
bearchamp
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Game would have been much different if Cal had used an offensive line. Hard to tell what the guys in front were doing.
JSC 76
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bluehenbear said:

On Dulcich's TD, did he have his feet down? Paws seemed unsure and thought it deserved a review, but alas there was no review. Did not see replay.
On the broadcast, they showed the replay several times from several angles. Yes, he got one foot juuuust inside the line.
71Bear
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bluehenbear said:

On Dulcich's TD, did he have his feet down? Paws seemed unsure and thought it deserved a review, but alas there was no review. Did not see replay.
Every play is reviewed in the press box. Only those with a chance of reversal are buzzed down to the field.
GoOskie
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BearoutEast67 said:

Our play-calling was so odd. No screens or slants to combat the constant blitzing, until there was one screen late in the 4th. Musgrave's decision to pass on 4th into the end zone instead of a quick call run(send in a two play call sequence) to punch it in reminded me of Pete Carroll's decision to not run Lynch in a Super Bowl. Garbers was so rattled, with no rolling to the left and erratic ad libbing. I do don't see him looking forward into the gaping open middle but 1-2 times during the game. I'm guessing Brooks got banged up. It sucked seeing our D on the field so much.
Musgrave needs to go.
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