Football: How sacks, 3rd-down woes and 1st-down failures add up to Bears’ offensive malaise

Here’s my notebook off Tuesday’s news conference, exploring the complicated nature of Cal’s offensive shortcomings.

With an NCAA-worst 25 sacks through five games, the Bears are on pace to finish the regular season with the astronomical total of 60!

The NCAA’s most-sacked team a year ago was Pitt with 64 — the most by any team since at least 2004.

I went through stats dating back to the early 1980s and found only three Cal teams who’d surrendered as many as 40 sacks in a season. The worst of those was the 1984 team that allowed 44 sacks for 357 yards in 11 games.

As recently as 2007, the Bears allowed opponents to take down their quarterback only 11 times for losses totaling 63 yards. Cal has exceeded that total just the past two weeks.

Then there’s former Cal quarterback Gale Gilbert (1980-84), who had a rocket for an arm but struggled to avoid the rush. Could not find sack totals for Gilbert, but he finished his career with a net total of minus-808 rushing yards. Surely a Cal record never to be broken.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, Air Force (admittedly, with just 44 pass attempts) and Texas-San Antonio (87 PA) have yet to permit even one sack this season. Middle Tennessee (109 PA) and Louisiana-Lafayette (122 PA) have surrendered just one apiece.


Jeff Faraudo