Chase Garbers

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Chase Garbers, Evan Weaver lead Cal to Redbox Bowl win

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Chase Garbers earned MVP honors after passing for 272 yards and four touchdowns as Cal (8-5) pulled away from Illinois (6-7), 35-20, Monday in the Redbox Bowl. The Redbox Bowl victory was Cal’s first bowl win since the 2015 Armed Forces Bowl.

The first touchdown thrown by Garbers gave Cal a 7-3 lead in the first quarter. His only touchdown run on Cal’s next possession re-gained the lead for the Bears, and his second touchdown pass late in the first half lifted Cal to a 21-10 lead. Cal never really had much reason to check the rearview mirror after that.

Garbers added two more red zone touchdown passes to provide a solid cushion against the Illini, who still have plenty of reasons to be satisfied with their 2020 season despite taking a loss in the final game of their season. Illinois just did not play as clean and efficient game as Cal and it cost them. Illinois had the only turnover of the game, although the defense made up for it by forcing a three-and-out and a punt.

Cal defensive standout Evan Weaver also made some history in the game. Weaver set a new Pac-12 single-season record for most tackles, bringing his season total to 182 tackles in 2019.

The Big Ten and Pac-12 have now split their first two bowl meetings this season, which means the Rose Bowl will determine a bowl season winner between the two conferences. Wisconsin will face Oregon on New Years Day. Iowa defeated USC in the Holiday Bowl. The Big Ten is now 3-2 this bowl season, and the Pac-12 evens its bowl record at 2-2.

Cal will kick off the 2020 season in Las Vegas on Aug. 29, 2020 with a game against UNLV in the brand new Allegiant Stadium, the new home to UNLV and the NFL’s Oakland Raiders (soon to be the Las Vegas Raiders). Cal will continue to be a team nobody in the Pac-12 will want to play next season with a young nucleus set to return next year.

Illinois will open its 2002 campaign at home against Illinois State. Hopes of getting to a second consecutive bowl game could be lifted early with a favorable home schedule to start the season (UConn and Bowling Green). Illinois is on track to return up to 16 starters next season and Lovie Smith has done a decent job filling out the roster where needed. Expect to see Illinois in a bowl game again in 2020.

Big first half by Chase Garbers has Cal leading Illinois in Redbox Bowl

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Illinois has a little bit of work to do if the Illini are going to win their first bowl game since 2011. Illinois trails California at halftime of the Redbox Bowl, 21-13.

The Illini and Bears exchanged touchdown drives on three striaght possessions beginning with Cal’s second offensive series of the game. Chase Garbers completed a short pass to Collin Moore to give Cal a 7-3 lead midway through the first quarter. Brandon Peters answered for Illinois with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Daniel Barker on the ensuing possession, but Garbers came up with his own response with a short run on the goal line after the Bears moved down the field their next time out.

Garbers has completed 13 of 16 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns. He has also rushed for one touchdown.

Cal head coach Justin Wilcox and Illinois head coach Lovie Smith are each hoping to secure their first bowl victory as a head coach.

Undefeated no more! Arizona State tops No. 15 Cal in defensive battle

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For the first time since 2009, no team from the Pac-12 managed to get through the first five games of the season without a loss. No. 15 Cal (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) was upset at home Friday night by Arizona State (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) in a 24-17 game showcasing two of the toughest defenses the conference has to offer. Eno Benjamin scored the game-winning touchdown for Arizona State with 4:41 to play in the game. The Sun Devils tacked on a field goal later in the fourth quarter for the final score.

Cal’s offensive hopes took a hit with the loss of starting quarterback Chase Garbers in the second quarter. Garbers fell to the ground hard on his right shoulder and left the game favoring his throwing arm. Garbers did not return to the game in uniform but did return to the Cal sideline with his arm in a sling.

Without Garbers and against a solid defensive team like Arizona State, Cal going with backup quarterback Devon Modster was far from an ideal situation. Fortunately, Cal’s defense was up to the task and the Bears had enough to power through a scoring drive with their running game to tie the game at 14-14 in the third quarter.

Early in the fourth quarter is when Cal seemed to have the ball just bounce their way. As Cal converged on Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels and forced a fumble, the football fell into the hands of Cameron Goode to give the ball to Cal. Quick reaction time by Goode allowed Cal to gain possession, which led to a go-ahead field goal by Greg Thomas from 47 yards away.

The lead would not last. for as much defense as this game had, teams seemed to have answers to their opponent’s scores all night. After Cal took the 17-14 lead, Arizona State embarked on a 15-play drive led by Daniels and Benjamin. The 15-play drive consumed just over six minutes of clock in the fourth quarter. With the defenses leading the way, that played to the advantage of Herm Edwards and his program.

 

For the first time since 2009, no team in the Pac-12 has managed to go 5-0. Cal losing for the first time means there will be no undefeated Pac-12 champion. The one-loss Pac-12 champion is still certainly in play, although there is still two months of conference games to get through and there could very well be some cannibalism within the conference still to come. Even if Cal wasn’t a real threat to reach the College Football Playoff, the Pac-12 appears to be on track to miss out on the playoff for a second consecutive season.

Cal will be on the road next week for a big game in the Pac-12 North Divison. Cal visits Oregon, who has won three straight games since losing their season opener against Auburn. Oregon won last year’s meeting, 42-24. Cal’s last win against Oregon was in 2016 in a 52-49 shootout. Oregon will be coming off a bye week after beating Stanford last week.

Arizona State will get a week off before playing a pair of tough games back-to-back. The Sun Devils host Washington State in two weeks and follow that with a road game at Utah.

Cal, Arizona State tied at halftime; Cal QB Chase Garbers leaves game with injury

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On a night that has already seen three winning teams score at least 40 points, Cal and Arizona State look determined to have a race to about 20 points to determine a winner. No. 15 Cal and Arizona State are tied at 7-7 after one half of play in Berkley. Cal quarterback Chase Garbers left the game in the second quarter after a hard fall on his right shoulder at the end of a run.

Garbers left the sideline shortly before halftime to go to the locker room. Whether that was just to get a head start in the locker room before halftime with no chance of getting back on the field before halftime or because of a more severe diagnosis remains unknown.

Both teams got in the end zone in the first quarter. After exchanging punts to start the game, Arizona State struck first with Eno Benjamin running for an 11-yard touchdown. Cal answered with Garbers completing a 16-yard pass to Trevon Clark to tie the game up. Arizona State has had chances to tack on more points, but two missed field goals have kept the game tied.

Cal also had a chance to get to halftime with a lead, but backup quarterback Devon Modster was picked off in the end zone late in the second quarter.

Cal is the last undefeated team left standing in the Pac-12. Will they remain undefeated? We’ll have to stay up late to find out.

No. 23 Cal gets crazy last-second goal-line stand as time runs out on Ole Miss

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How many teams have beaten a top 25 team on the road and added a road win against an SEC team this season? No. 23 Cal (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) has after picking up a 28-20 victory at Ole Miss on Saturday. Chase Garbers passed for 344 yards and four touchdowns. But this one was all about how the game ended.

With no timeouts, Ole Miss was held short of the goal line on the final play of the game. Clock management, to put it kindly, was not ideal for the Rebels. Ole Miss ran successive running plays without a chance to stop the clock in the final minute. Without a chance to dial up a different play, Ole Miss tried pushing across the goal line for a chance to tie the game with a two-point conversion, but the Bears stood firm.

The biggest blow of the game from Cal was a 60-yard touchdown to a streaking Jake Tonges midway through the third quarter. Cal had taken a 21-13 lea don Ole Miss on their previous offensive series, and the defense forced a quick three-and-out to get the ball right back. On 2nd & 10 from the Cal 40-yard line, Garbers and Tonges connected on the pass attempt and Tonges ran away from a pair of stumbling Ole Miss defenders and had enough gas to reach the end zone before anyone could catch him.

Ole Miss had a chance to make things closer in the fourth quarter but opted to try a 29-yard field goal from the Cal 2-yard line on 4th & Goal. Similar to the decision of Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi last week against Penn State, this decision by head coach Matt Luke backfired in a big way when Luke Logan missed the short field goal attempt.

Cal is now 4-0. They have completed their non-conference schedule with a 3-0 record against UC Davis, North Texas and Ole Miss. Cal also picked up a win on the road against Washington (who was No. 14 at the time). Next up for Cal will be a home game against Arizona State in what is suddenly a fairly significant game in Pac-12 play. Arizona State also entered this week 3-0 with a game against Colorado coming up later tonight). Cal’s defense gave up some yards and plays against Ole Miss, but Cal is looking to be a team to keep an eye on in the Pac-12. Cal is 4-0 for the first time under head coach Justin Wilcox and the first time since 2015.

Ole Miss will get a bye week to rest up for their next game on the schedule. They’ll need it. Ole Miss travels to Alabama in two weeks.