Football: Big Game leftovers

–One of the things I found interesting after yesterday’s game was Cal’s players expressing satisfaction that they not only got The Axe back, but they prevented Stanford from playing in a bowl game. That seemed to be an added bonus for the Bears, that they weren’t the team the Cardinal reached the six-win plateau against.

“I want those guys to go to a bowl game. Those guys are good, smart kids. But not at our expense,” linebacker Worrell Williams said. “It just can’t happen like htat. I’m sorry they had to play us.”

Quarterback Kevin Riley said: “I know they were looking forward to that and they were waiting for a long time. It feels good to get The Axe back and have them keep on waiting.”

–Good bounce-back game for the offensive line in pass protection, although Riley threw only 11 passes. Still, they allowed Riley to connect with Shane Vereen on his 59-yard TD catch, and allowed Riley the time to roll right, pivot and throw across the field for Cameron Morrah’s scoring grab.

“I thought the offensive line played well today,” coach Jeff Tedford said. “Our offensive line has been catching a lot of flak.”

–A good job by the coaching staff to install that hook-and-ladder play for this game. Riley said the play was installed after thet eam noticed on film that Stanford’s cornerbacks rush to the inside on those inside screeens, and that was apparent after Jahvid Best took Verran Tucker’s lateral and raced untouched up the sideline.

–Tucker’s catch on that play was the only reception by a wide receiver.

–Tedford talked about the Bears’ focus of getting plays in the open field because of Stanford’s physicality up front. “I felt like if we could get our speed in the open field, if we could get our athleticism and speed in the open field, we had a chance to make some plays,” he said. “A couple of those plays worked just like you draw them on the board.”

That game plan had Best licking his chops. He had 19 carries for a career-high 201 yards and added three catches for 35 yards. He scored three touchdowns.

“I feel like when I’m on the perimeter, I can do whatever I want,” Best said. “Anybody on our team — Shane, J-Ross (Jeremy Ross) — we all have the ability, when we get out on the edge, to take it the distance.”

Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.