Berkeley, CA – The California Golden Bears (3-0) completed their 2018 non conference schedule on Saturday, Sept. 15, defeating the Idaho State Bengals (1-1) in a 45-23 victory at California Memorial Stadium.
Head coach Justin Wilcox has now opened each of his first two seasons leading Cal with three straight wins, moving to 6-0 against nonconference opponents.
Cal’s offense struggled to find any momentum early in this game.
As has been the case throughout the 2018 campaign so far, it was the defense that provided the spark the Golden Bears needed to cruise ahead.
Following a second-quarter interception from junior safety Ashytn Davis (27), Cal took possession at the Idaho State 40-yard line. From there, quarterback Chase Garbers (7) drove the offensive to the 5-yard line with a strike up the middle to tight end Ian Bunting (83) to set up a short dash and score for running back Marcel Darcy (29).
Defensively, the Bears looked as stout as they had all season, especially in the opening half.
The Bengals were held to 121 total yards through the first two quarters with just four first downs. Cal has yet to surrender a first-half touchdown this year.
Garbers finished the game completing 20 of 25 through the air for 224 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. His favorite target on the day, junior receiver Jordan Duncan, took full advantage of his targets with four receptions for 63 yards and two touchdowns.
Davis, a track-and-field athlete star known for his breakaway speed, would also make his presence felt with an 89-yard touchdown return following an Idaho State field goal—his first scoring play as a Golden Bear.
Despite the victory, Cal fell vulnerable to penalties and other mental mistakes which allowed the Bengals to find multiple scoring opportunities in the second half.
Wilcox focused on the need to correct and improve quickly with a difficult conference schedule looming after the game.
“Fifteen-yard penalties, pass interference, facemask on a third down, third-down pass interference, fourth-down pass interference that they end up scoring on, running into the punt returner. We scored a touchdown, and then the ball comes back. We can’t have that,” Wilcox said, “No one on our team overlooked the opponent today, we just have to play better. It’s technique, it’s focus, and it’s training. We have to be better across the board, starting with me.”
Cal will look to correct the mistakes shown today and tighten their play overall heading into their bye week, before opening PAC-12 Conference play at home against the Oregon Ducks on Saturday, September 29.