Scene: Memorial Stadium's non-existent parking lots, Oski greets Joe Bruin.
Oski: Welcome to our new Memorial Stadium! Please, take a seat. Tightwad Hill is still there, but we have some nice new facilities. Fewer trees but SHINY NEW LOCKER ROOMS.
Joe: Thanks! This is going to be fun.
Oski: And, go ahead, win the game.
Joe: No no. Here are a couple of turnovers. You win the game. You have a brand new stadium.
Oski: Nah we just kinda touched up the old one, and we're in debt up to our eyeballs. You win the game! Here, we'll fumble it right to you.
Joe: Golly geez, I don't know... we'll feel kinda bad if we don't use our senior corner backs. Just don't throw to their side that often. How about some penalties to help you out?
Oski: That'd be nice, but we'll do our best to return that favor too. But we'll take the win, we sure could use a win right now.
Even if that conversation didn't happen, IT SURE FELT LIKE IT.
The game started on a good note in Strawberry Canyon as Andrew Abbott picked off Zach Maynard and we score on our jumbo package, with Cassius Marsh catching the pass from Brett Hundley in the end zone. A great start with happy feelings everywhere. Oh, it doesn't last.
I can give you several reasons why. I can just say "Aaron Hester picks up a penalty" and many of you will probably recoil. Probably more accurately is the entire team seemed to pick up penalties, as we were flagged 11 (as of this writing) times for 89 yards. Cal came out to play quick to keep Maynard off his back (although he did receive several vicious and legal hits throughout the game, but he bounced back after each one.) After our touchdown, Cal scored on a field goal, and the quarter ends at 7-3, UCLA, but the quarter started well and ended badly, and just went downhill from there.
In the second quarter, more penalties (by Aaron Hester, yes, everyone, take a drink) and on Devin Fuller's first action in the game, the ball is thrown to him but he cannot come up with the pass, resulting in a fumble, and Fuller's redshirt is promptly burned on that turnover. Cal winds up scoring a touchdown, and really, the rout is on.
On the following drive, we manage to move the ball. Brett Hundley had a nice run, Jerry Rice Jr had some nice blocks but Cal kept up the pressure they were putting on Hundley all night, forcing him to rush a few throws. We go for a 46 yard field goal, but Ka'imi Fairbairn hooks the kick wide left. Oh boy.
Our follies continue in the game on punt coverage - Steven Manfro is signalling for a fair catch, and we run into our own player, causing a fumble, leading to a Cal touchdown. Whatever.
We look like we're mounting a nice drive on our next possession, with Cal helping us out with a roughing the passer penalty, and Hundley picking up first downs, but on the last play of the drive, miscommunication leads to a ball floated into the end zone, right into the arms of the Cal Defender.
I can't even recap the second half. It's depressing. Fairbairn did convert a 35 yard field goal, so basically under 40 he seems to be fine. That drive featured quick plays, quick passes, and everyone doing their job. Some may be angry at the time we didn't go for it on fourth down, but we needed the points. Aaron Hester picked up a facemask penalty, although I don't know why he was back in the game, considering he was yanked for Rios. We also had the fumble follies, were Cal fumbled, we almost fumbled back but recovered, then Hundley throws a pick, then they fumble, Cal fumbles back, and then Hundley throws another pick.
Ugly. Zach Maynard was so close to being thrown out of Cal, Tedford had half a foot out the door and alums rounding up every last penny out of their piggy banks to pay for his contract buyout, and we show up with this effort.
Basically Cal figured it out.
1. Pressure Brett Hundley. Don't let him get any time. It's a young O-Line. They just might break.
2. Stop the run. Stop Franklin.
3. Many quick plays, tire out the UCLA defense. Don't let Anthony Barr get back there often to create havoc.
4. Throw at Hester and Price. Watch the flags fly.
It's a game we've seen many times before, and we thought we wouldn't see again this season with the new coaching staff.
* expletive here *
* many more expletives here *