Football: Bears were ’embarrassed’ by 2014 UW game

Recalling last year’s 31-7 loss to Washington in Berkeley, Cal linebacker Michael Barton said, “Washington just beat us down, basically destroyed us. We’re looking for redemption.”

Cal was 4-1 and had averaged nearly 55 points over its previous four games when it was stuffed by a Washington defense that eventually had four players taken in the first two rounds of the NFL draft.

“Our guys were embarrassed. They came in here and humiliated us,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. “We’ve got to play better at every position across the board than we did last year to have a chance to win.”

It won’t be easy. The Bears (3-0) are seeking their first 4-0 start since 2007. Washington (2-1) has played better each week and owns a six-game winning streak vs. Cal. The Bears have not won in Seattle since a 56-17 verdict way back in 2005.

* Coach Sonny Dykes said running back Daniel Lasco (strained hip muscle) is expected to practice more each day this week with the hope he’s ready to face UW. He said tests indicated neither defensive end DeVante Wilson (foot) nor safety Damariay Drew (foot) suffered serious injuries at Texas.

* Cal’s home game against Washington State on Oct. 3 will kick off at 1 p.m. and is being carried on the Pac-12 Networks.


Football: Troy Taylor is OK with the quarterback breaking all his Cal passing records

Seemingly week by week, Cal quarterback Jared Goff picks off the school records Troy Taylor set a quarter century ago. “They lasted a lot longer than I thought they would,” Taylor said.

Taylor, now 47, never has met Goff but he’s entirely comfortable with the player who last week eclipsed him in three more categories, including career passing yardage.

“Absolutely,” Taylor said. “He’s a great kid, a lot better than me.”

Taylor was very good, but played on Cal teams from 1986 through ’89 that had a combined record of 14-27-3. Those teams never matched the 3-0 start Goff and the Bears have assembled heading into their Pac-12 opener Saturday at Washington.

Taylor spent two seasons with the New York Jets and now is coach at Folsom High, where protégé Jake Browning last season passed for 5,790 yards and tied the national record with 91 touchdowns to earn USA Today first-team All-America honors. Browning is now a freshman starter for Washington.

So Taylor knows quarterbacking, and he’s convinced Goff is a rare talent.

“Jared’s a special guy. He’s going to play for a long time,” Taylor said. “The thing that impresses me the most is his feel for the pocket. He’s able to play in a confined area, move and find little nooks in the pocket and still keep his focus down the field.

“That’s the trait that separates the one quarterback from the other million. Not many that can do that, and he can do it.”

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Football: Washington coach Chris Petersen calls Jared Goff ‘one of the best in the country’

Washington coach Chris Petersen, at his weekly news conference in Seattle on Monday, called Cal quarterback Jared Goff “one of the best in the country, without question.”

The numbers support that: Coming off a 45-44 win at Texas in which he broke Cal career records for passing yards, total offense and pass completions, Goff now ranks No. 8 nationally in pass efficiency at 181.9. He has passed for 898 yards and nine touchdowns for the 3-0 Bears.

The Bears (3-0) and Huskies (3-0) meet in the Pac-12 opener for both on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Husky Stadium in Seattle.

Here’s a portion of the transcript from Petersen’s news conference, courtesy of the Seattle Times:

(On Cal’s offense and Jared Goff) “Those guys are very, very good. I think that whole offense has taken the next step, next level … from last year. The line’s better, they’ve got a bunch of backs that run really hard, and (Goff)’s good. I mean, he’s really, really good. He gets it out really fast. He’ll hang in the pocket and sit on his back foot. That guy can throw it down the field 40 yards on his back foot, I mean, on a line. So they’re good.”

(Are Goff and Washington quarterback Jake Browning similar in the way they read progressions?) “That’s hard to say. One guy’s played three years, and the other guy’s played three games. And so it’s kind of hard to make that comparison right now. I think Goff is one of the best in the country, without question. So it’s kind of hard to make that comparison.”

(What impresses you the most about Jared Goff?) “He can make all the throws, and he gets it out very quickly, but then he’ll stay in the pocket. And he can deliver the ball sitting on his back foot down the field. Most guys hang onto it (but) they’ve got to hitch up to get that ball down there. He does not need to do that. He had two really, really big runs, scrambles in the Texas game. So he can obviously run. He’s not a guy that can’t get out of the rush’s way. I think that’s why the NFL guys are so excited about him, because he’s big and athletic, but he’s a guy that hangs in there and throws it all over.”

(On any differences he sees from Jared Goff from last year to this year) “I think their whole offense is different. They’ve been doing it now a couple, three years with a lot of those same players. I just kind of go across the board. I think their o-line and their run game is better than it was. Kenny Lawler, (Bryce) Treggs, and those guys have been around there for a while. They really execute that offense at a high, high level. I think it’s kind of all of them. All together, I think they’ve probably all gotten better.”


Football: Cal running game productive until the end

Cal’s 280 rushing yards in its 45-44 win over Texas was the most by the Bears in coach Sonny Dykes’ 27 games. The offensive line performed well, Khalfani Muhammad and Vic Enwere had career games, and the Bears did it all without ailing senior Daniel Lasco, their top running back.

So what’s not to like?

“We talked about running the ball to finish games,” Dykes said, “and we weren’t able to do that.”

The Bears had 278 rushing yards through three quarters –240 of them on 24 carries in the second and third quarters alone.

But in the fourth quarter, as they tried to put away a game they led 45-24, the Bears couldn’t sustain the running game.

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Football: Two Cal defensive starters hurting

Defensive end DeVante Wilson and safety Damariay Drew – both starters on the Cal football team – sustained foot injuries in the Bears’ 45-44 win at Texas, coach Sonny Dykes said. Wilson was scheduled to undergo an MRI exam, but there was no status report on either for this week’s Pac-12 opener at Washington.

Dykes said that quarterback Jared Goff suffered a minor ankle sprain in the game but was fine Sunday and will have no limits on him when the Bears next practice on Tueday.

Running back Daniel Lasco, who sat out the game with a hip muscle strain, will begin doing more in practice this week. Dykes hopes he will be ready to face the Huskies.


The Bears moved up to No. 29 in the latest AP Top-25 rankings.


Football: What we learned about the Cal Bears

Here’s a scary thought:

A year ago, Cal’s season took a bizarre turn in Week 3 with a 49-45 come-from-ahead loss at Arizona. The impossible storyline continued in Weeks 4 and 5, when the Bears outlasted Colorado 59-56 in double-overtime, then beat Washington State 60-59.

On Saturday night, after two rather uneventful victories, Cal appeared to be taking a page out of last season’s crazy script.

The Bears fought back from a 10-point hole, scoring 31 straight points to lead by 21, then had to hold on for a 45-44 victory after Texas missed an extra point with 1:11 left.

Are more head-spinning outcomes coming the Bears’ way?

They trek to Washington next week, then face WSU back in Berkeley.

Not sure what will happen going forward, but here are a few things we learned about the Bears at Texas:

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Football: Cal survives Texas comeback, claim biggest win under coach Sonny Dykes

Quarterback Jared Goff said the Cal football team was probably lucky but ultimately deserving of its crazy 45-44 win over Texas in front of 91,568 fans at Darrell K. Royal Memorial Stadium on Saturday night.

Darius White’s block of a PAT kick with 1:11 left made sure Sonny Dykes got the chance to enjoy a big hug afterward from his father, whose football roots in Texas sparked the Cal coach’s entry into the business.

Two years removed from a 1-11 season in Dykes’ debut, the Bears improved to 3-0 and beat the Longhorns for the first time in six tries dating back to 1959.

Asked about securing a signature victory for his program, Dykes said, “I don’t even know what that means. We’re 3-0 and if we win next week we’ll be 4-0.”

The 2015 version of Texas (1-2) is a work in progress, but the Bears took a huge step against a traditional powerhouse that had outscored Cal 155 to 28 in five previous meetings. Since the start of the 2010 season, the Bears were barely competitive against elite competition, 0-17 in games against USC, Stanford, Oregon and Ohio State.

The Bears, 3-0 for the first time since 2011, open Pac-12 play at Washington next Saturday.

Cal trailed by 10 points with 1:32 left in the first half, responded by scoring 31 straight points for a 45-24 lead entering the fourth quarter, then held on for dear life as redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard took them on a carnival ride.

“It felt a lot like Arizona last year. Luckily, it ended up like Washington State,” said Goff, referring to a fourth-quarter collapse in a loss at Tucson and a bizarre 60-59 win secured when WSU missed a short field goal at the finish.

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Football: Cal vs. Texas facts

RECORDS: Cal 2-0; Texas 1-1.

KICKOFF: Saturday, 4:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.

TV/RADIO: Fox/810-AM

SERIES HISTORY: Texas leads 5-0. Texas won 21-10 at the 2011 Holiday Bowl in the most recent meeting. The Longhorns have outscored Cal 155-28 in the five games.

STORYLINES: The Bears, favored by 6½ points, try to become just the fourth Pac-12 team in 15 tries to beat Texas in Austin since World War II. UCLA has two wins at Texas and Stanford one. . . .Sophomore Vic Enwere will start at running back if senior Daniel Lasco is unable to go due to a hip muscle strain. . . . A win sends Cal into Pac-12 play at Washington a week from now with a 3-0 record for the first time since 2011. . . . Jared Goff needs just 16 passing yards to break Troy Taylor’s 26-year-old Cal career record of 8,126 yards. . . . The Bears have won their past four games played in the state of Texas, beating Air Force 42-36 in the 2007 Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, winning at Houston 35-3 in 1997, beating Iowa 37-3 in the 1993 Alamo Bowl at San Antonio and winning at Texas A&M 19-17 in 1983.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal: RB Daniel Lasco (hip) is questionable; WR Matt Rockett (knee) is questionable; WR Jack Austin (foot), Saf Griffin Piatt (knee) and LB Aisea Tongilava (toe) are out; Texas: None reported.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s coverage teams vs. Texas return specialist Daje Johnson. The Bears rank 97th nationally in kickoff return defense, but are allowing just 1.0 yard per punt return, thanks in part to the height punter Cole Leininger has gotten under his kicks. But Johnson has their attention after his second career 85-yard punt return for a touchdown last week while averaging 39.7 on three returns. He leads the Big 12 in punt return average (24.4) and is third in kickoff returns (23.8).

STATS THAT MATTER: There are 12 FBS teams in the state of Texas, and the other 11 all rank above the Longhorns in total offense so far this season. Texas is averaging just 220.0 yards per game. . . . Senior WR Bryce Treggs has climbed to ninth on Cal’s career receptions list with 157. He needs 10 more to match his father, Brian Treggs, who played at Cal from 1988-91. . . . Through two games, Cal has 55 first downs, Texas has 19. The Bears are completing 69.8 percent of their passes, the Longhorns just 39.4 percent.


Football: Sophomore Vic Enwere ready to run if ailing Daniel Lasco can’t go for Cal

Cal running back Vic Enwere knows there will be plenty of people watching Saturday when he makes his return home to Teaxs.

A native of Missouri City, Texas, the sophomore is only worried about his people – family, friends, former coaches and teammates, and his current teammates. He hopes to contribute to a victory Saturday evening over the Texas Longhorns.

“There’s going to be a few more eyes, but everything down here on the field is the same,” Enwere said this week. ”I don’t think we care too much if we play in front of a packed crowd or five guys from down the street. But we’ll be excited and ready to play either way.”

The crowd Saturday could be close to 100,000 – although more than 11,000 tickets still hadn’t been sold by Thursday, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

Enwere, in particular, must be ready for the possibility of something he hasn’t done before: Start a game for Cal.

Senior Daniel Lasco (hip muscle strain) did very little in practice all week and may not be ready to play. Coach Sonny Dykes said Thursday that Lasco’s status will continue to be monitored.

But Lasco still seemed to be limping a bit as he walked off the practice field. He made the trip to Texas, but the availability of the Bears’ 1,100-yard rusher certainly is in question.

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