It would be hard to top the two sports-filled days we enjoyed Friday and Saturday. After seeing the A's sweep the Twins and clinch an ALCS berth Friday, we turned right around and headed up the 880 freeway to see the #16 ranked California Golden Bears take on the #11 ranked Oregon Ducks in a game that had both conference and national rankings implications. When the contest had concluded, and the sellout crowd of nearly 73,000 had made their way out of Memorial Stadium, the Bears emerged victorious by a lopsided score of 45-24, keeping the team unbeaten in conference play, and serving notice that their week one failures at Tennessee were a fluke.
Cal scored early and often against the Ducks, seemingly from the very first snap. The first series Oregon ran on offense turned into an interception for the Bears, who scored a touchdown shortly afterwards. Similarly, the first possession in the second quarter saw an errant pass from the Ducks land in the Bears' hands. On another chance, the Bears returned a punt from well beyond mid-field for a score, as the team rallied ahead their higher-ranked opponents by the tune of 28-3.
Oregon's offense simply could not get on track. Their only touchdown before halftime, making it 28-10, came on a faked field goal try that landed them near the end zone. In the second half, it was more of the same, as Cal added on, scoring 10 in the third quarter, and breaking up the Ducks' rhythm throughout. The only concerns on the game were the occasional sloppy penalty picked up by an overexcited Cal Bear, and the injury suffered by Heisman hopeful Marshawn Lynch, who exited the game for good in the second quarter following an injury. Yet, even in his absence, Cal kept the pressure on, as backup rusher Justin Forsett tallied on more than 100 yards in relief.
With the victory, the Bears are certain to advance in the national polls. How high depends on how many other Top 25 schools went down to defeat, and how the myriad of writers and coaches around the country interpreted the win. After coming into the season with very lofty expectations, only to have them dashed at the hands of the Volunteers, the Bears have an uphill climb to change the hearts and minds of the people. Luckily for them, my wife and I are already converted.
Listening to ''Marrakech (A and T Remix)'', by ATB (Play Count: 17)