DeSean Jackson’s punt return for a touchdown was a great example of what separates good teams from bad ones. Of course, the play was created by a tremendous block by Cal’s Thomas DeCoud, whose main responsibility on the play was trying to block the punt. DeCoud realized he couldn’t get to the punter, and therefore turned back up field and ran as hard as he could to help out Jackson. As it turned out, his crushing cleared the way for Jackson. It was strictly a hustle play made by a player who wants his team to win a championship. On a team that doesn’t have the same aspirations, perhaps a player in a similar position doesn’t run so far and so hard.
UCLA led the nation in third down conversion defense at 23.4 percent. CAl converted on six of nine. Jeff Tedford said he was very proud of that statistic.
Cal special teams coach Pete Alamar said that DeSean Jackson is great at “setting the net” at the beginning of a punt return. His fakes get the defenders caught in the net, or Cal’s blocking wall.
After the game, many of Cal’s players got back to the locker room and immediately watched reruns of DeCoud’s block, which was ready to play by the time they got there.
Lost in all the big plays was a 60-yard rushing day by Justin Forsett, who looked good running up the middle. That ability will be important next season when Lynch is gone.
Daymeion Hughes led the team in tackles with 10. That’s pretty unusual for a cornerback. Desmond Bishop and rover Bernard Hicks both had eight tackles. Syd Thompson had seven tackles.
True freshman Tyson Alualu had a solid game with six tackles. We might be seeing a lot more of him.
I was somewhat surprised the crowd wasn’t better. The student side was rocking as always while it appeared there was a “They’ve got things under control and don’t need our help” feeling prevailing on the other side. Perhaps the Oregon game was a one-game deal.