California won a wild double-overtime game over Oregon, 52-49. What does it all mean?
Cal 52, Oregon 49, 2OT: What Does It All Mean?
– Is that it? Is that the end of the Mark Helfrich era? A brilliant interception by Cal’s Jordan Kunaszyk saved the game in double-overtime to close out the wild battle with no defense, a ton of fun offense, and a tough, tough defeat in what might have been the nail in the Mark Helfrich coffin – at least to some.
And no, Scott Frost isn’t available yet.
Now Oregon is 2-5 with five straight losses, but three of the last four games are at home to go along with the date at USC. Would winning three more games to get bowl eligible do enough to keep the program from making a coaching change? The hot seat is about to flame up.
– With the win, Cal is 4-3 on the year – alternating each win followed up by a loss – in a must-win performance with at USC, Washington, and at Washington State. There’s still a ton of work to do to get to six wins and a bowl game, but this was a desperately needed step.
– Ho hum. Without top target Chad Hansen to throw to, Cal’s Davis Webb still threw for 325 yards and five scores and ran for a touchdown. Tre Watson (154) and Khalfani Muhammad (148) picked up any and all slack in an almost perfectly balanced offense.
– Justin Herbert threw the one bad pick in double overtime, but he woke up and almost pulled off the monster comeback win, throwing for 258 yards and six scores with 56 rushing yards – and one interception.
However, he needed to rise up because the Oregon running game couldn’t get going – Royce Freeman finished with just ten yards on 15 carries.
– It’s absolutely ridiculous that the game went so late. Forgetting that it was close to 3 am on the East Coast when the thing ended, it was midnight in Oregon and California, too. Yeah, the whole idea of Pac 12 After Dark is cute, but these brutally late night games that aren’t going to be seen be most of America does nothing for the Pac-12’s brand.
– As bad as the Cal run defense is, and even as miserable as the Oregon D might be, if you said before the game that the Bears would crank out more than 300 rushing yards and outgain the Ducks by well over 100 on the ground, you’d have assumed a three-touchdown Cal win.
– What really matters? It took overtime to get there, but the two managed to rip past the all-timer 90-point over/under.
– It’s statistically proven that calling timeouts to ice the kicker actually works. It’s not a massive margin, but it matters. It mattered to Cal, with two Oregon timeouts in regulation leading to a whiffed Matt Anderson field goal attempt. He’s good enough that this didn’t matter.
– BRUTAL. These two couldn’t stop screwing up and getting flagged, and it wasn’t just because the officials were laundry-happy. They were legitimate screw-ups that needed to get called. Oregon was hit 14 times for 134 yards, and Cal 14 times for 145.