California beat Hawaii 51-31 to open up the season. What are the five things that matter from the game?
Cal 51, Hawaii 31: 5 Things That Matter
– Welcome to Davis Webb.
The new Cal starting quarterback got plenty of time to throw as the game went on, but he appeared to be in command of the offense throughout, completing 38-of-54 passes for 441 yards and four touchdowns, and barreling in for a rushing score. He was hit with a few dropped passes, but considering this was his live run in the offense, it was the debut the Bears needed with a nasty San Diego State defense coming up next.
He’s not going to be Jared Goff in terms of mechanics and throwing motion right away, but he showed nice patience to let plays develop, he trusted his targets, and considering it was the first game, he made enough right reads to keep the offense moving all game long. He needed to because …
– The Cal defense has a long way to go.
Hawaii used a blend of things in its attack, working with a Pistol style, a more normal spread, and even getting physical when it had to. The line got whipped way too often allowing the Rainbow Warrior backs too much room to get up a head of steam into the second level. The Hawaii running backs are good, but with Donnel Pumphrey and the San Diego State running game coming up, and a bruising Texas ground game to follow, the defense needs Webb and the offense to score and score and score.
– Hawaii will eventually want to bomb away, but …
The ground game works. Cal isn’t going to be Alabama against the run, but the Hawaii backs did their part with 248 rushing yards including a 53-yard dash out of Diocemy Saint Juste’s 118 yards, 61 hard yards and a score from Steven Lakalaka, and 36 more and a score from Paul Harris. Throw in the ability of QB Ikaika Woolsey to take off, and Hawaii will crank up the production. The line did a nice job and the backs finished off their runs – 200 rushing yards might be a regular thing.
– The Cal offense wasn’t warp speed quite yet.
One of the goals was to make the already fast offense fly even faster, but Cal was a bit deliberate at times as it started to wear down the Warriors. There wasn’t a need to keep Hawaii’s D on its heels – it turned out to work better when Cal was running the right play and executing. The machine will speed up as the season goes on, but to start things off, it was enough to crank up 630 yards and 51 points without too much of a problem.
– What Does This All REALLY Mean?
The game confirmed already held beliefs. Webb is ready to put up a massive statistical season, but the defense will likely keep Cal from doing anything big once the Pac-12 campaign kicks in. Hawaii’s going to have a far stronger, far better offensive identity under Nick Rolovich, but the defense will take its lumps for a while.
Considering the quirky Australia start to the season, and with the game coming before the rest of the fun starts, 82 combined points, well over 1,000 yards of offense, and plenty of big plays – it was an entertaining way to get the whole thing rolling.