One of the things I find most amazing about Jahvid Best’s performance last night is that Miami knew he was Cal’s only offense, and it still couldn’t stop him. Perhaps even attempting passes here and there helped keep the Hurricanes’ defense honest.
It obviously was a rough night for Nate Longshore, but good for him that he ended it with the game-winning touchdown pass. That play may have had some Cal fans on edge, but it was a good checkdown by Longshore to notice that Cameron Morrah was covered and spot MIller open behind him. It just could have been disastrous for the Bears had Morrah got a hand on the pass and it resulted in a deflected interception or something.
It was pretty much the formula Cal has used all year. Let the defense set the tone and rely on the ground attack. Aside from Miami’s couple sustained drives, it never could get any consistency on offense. The Bears absolutely stuffed the run. Cornerback Syd’Quan Thompson was his usual lock-down self and Zack Follett was at his best. Follett always has fun playing, but he seemed to be especially enjoying himself Saturday. Of course, it’s easier to enjoy yourself when you’re the most dominant defensive player on the field.
The Emerald Bowl really demonstrated the value of fullback Will Ta’ufo’ou, and how badly he will be missed. He had a couple of key blocks on Best runs.
I don’t think I ever followed up on it, but cornerback Darian Hagan was out with leg cramps before he came back late in the game.
I really enjoyed that atmosphere last night. I have to admit, I was a little skeptical going into it, playing football in a baseball stadium. But the configuration actually lent itself to a good atmosphere, with the crowd right on top of the field. It really added to the home-field advantage the Bears had.
Nine wins is a good season for this team. I don’t think anybody thought Cal would win more than nine before the season. When you consider how inept the passing game was, the injuries along the offensive line, the inexperience of the wide receivers and the switch to a completely new defensive scheme, the Bears should be very happy with 9-4.
I’ll have more looking back and looking ahead in the coming days.