You’re not going to believe this, but two defensive-minded head coaches with two questionable offenses came together for a low-scoring and turnover-filled first half of a bowl game. Yes, TCU and Cal combined for five interceptions through two quarters of play at the Cheez-It Bowl as the Bears were narrowly able to take advantage of one of those takeaways in order to hit the locker room with a 7-0 lead in a, um, bizarrely entertaining postseason tilt.
Horned Frogs quarterback Grayson Muehlstein was responsible for three of those picks, one off an ill-advised trick play throwback pass (see below) and the other two of your more regular that’s-a-bad-throw variety. He closed out the half with just four completions to his own team for 10 yards and TCU was mighty lucky to only be down a score as a result. Tailback Sewo Olonilua wasn’t much better against a loaded box and had 70 yards on the ground as the home run hitter on the gridiron was bottled up well at the home of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Cal signal-caller Chase Garbers chipped in with three more interceptions in the first half, two coming as part of four straight series with a turnover as the two sides played a bit of hot potato with the ball itself. At least the young QB was able to get a little rhythm before that stretch while throwing for 93 yards on 12 completions and running for the game’s lone touchdown. Running back Patrick Laird also chipped in with 29 yards rushing.
Needless to say, taking care of the football will no doubt be emphasized on both sides going forward and hopefully both offensive coordinators have something saved up that could jump-start their respective groups. The Cheez-It Bowl has been entertaining despite the low score and all the turnovers but hopefully for everybody involved, the level of play gets elevated in the second half of this Big 12-Pac-12 battle.