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Cal v Oregon State

Lilian Richards, Reporter

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After two biting losses, the California Golden Bears have regained their footing and defeated the Oregon State Beavers for their last game of the season in Memorial Stadium. This emotional game ended with a canon as the Bears’ seniors walked off of the field with a decisive victory and a score of 37-23. It was a great game all around: Patrick Laird had a career high in yards of rushing; the Bears defense held the Beavers to a season low in yards; and there was no possession where the electric Bears offense was forced to punt.

After the Beavers’ first drive, it did not look like the game would end this way, however. In just under four minutes, the Beavers drove down the field to score on a trick play. Quarterback Darell Garretson threw a screen pass to tight end Tuli Wily-Matagi, and as the Bears defense shifted to the strong side of the field, Wily-Matagi threw a 26 yard lob to the free side to the wide open receiver. The Bears did not take long to come back. They got the ball back and drove 75 yards down the field in three minutes, giving the ball to Patrick Laird to run it in.

After forcing the Beavers to punt, the Bears drove down again to the two yard-line. After a loss of 12 after a crushing sack, Ross Bowers got right back on his feet and threw a 14 yard dime to receiver Vic Wharton.

The Bears made history with their next possession. Senior kicker Matt Anderson kicked a 45 yard field goal to become Cal’s all-time leading scorer with 289 career points. With that field goal, the Bears took a 17-7 lead.

However, this record breaking field goal was not Anderson’s last highlight in Memorial; with 31 seconds left in the half and beginning the drive at their own 15 yard-line, Bowers lead the Bears to the Beavers’ 32 yard line with one second remaining. After taking a timeout, Anderson drilled the 49 yard field goal to put the Bears up 20-13 at halftime. By the half, Laird already had 115 yards of rushing.

The Bears did not slow down in the second half. Though they started off their opening drive on a fumble, they got it to the nine yard-line. After forcing the Beavers to punt, they scored either a field goal or a touchdown on every possession for the rest of the game.

Patrick Laird finished the game with 214 yards of rushing, the most in a single game for the Bears since Jahvid Best. He also had career highs in carries (33) and receptions (6). When asked about how it felt to break 200, he responded saying that he had no idea what kind of game he was having before the game was over: “I didn’t know until I came to the sideline after my last play. Someone came up to me and said something like 214 and I was like ‘what are you talking about?’ They pointed behind me… and I saw the banner behind our sideline.” Bowers said that it was incredible to have the best seat in the house to watch the walk-on run, but it was not surprising: “It’s awesome to watch, but it’s nothing knew. He’s been doing it all year. I know the numbers are a little more flashy today than some other games but he’s a really good player, great leader… we almost expect him to do that.”

Next to this outstanding performance, it would be easy for Vic Wharton’s incredible game to get overshadowed. He had 121 yards of receiving and a touchdown on eight receptions. Bowers also had a great game with 259 yards of passing and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

But their stupendous offense did not win the game on its own; they were complimented by an impenetrable defense. They only allowed 299 yards of total offense all game which is a new season low. When asked about this performance, defensive run-stuffers James Looney and Raymond Davidson said that it was their tackling technique that helped them hold running back Thomas Tyner to 41 yards: “I would think that the biggest thing was the leverage tackling… Anytime you get a bigger running back like that you don’t need to try and Ray Lewis the dude and chest him up. If you can then do it, but it’s not always about the big hit, it’s about making sure you get him down.” When Davidson was asked about how he felt about playing his last game in Memorial he said the he was feeling all of those sentiments the whole time: “I was pretty emotional. I was almost about to cry today… I’m going to be emotional, but we’ve got to find a way to win and put all of that to the side.” Looney then added on to that by elaborating on his experience at Cal as a whole: “Berkeley has been the greatest experience of my life. I thank God for everything he’s blessed me with. To be able to come out here and go to a prestigious university and just have the years that we had, I’ve been around great guys… These guys you grow a bond with, they become your brothers.”

Cal has a bye week next week where they will prepare for next Saturday’s game against Stanford and fight to bring home the Axe.

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The student news site of Head-Royce School
Cal v Oregon State