Spring Game Rewind With Zach Kline
BERKELEY -- The defense got the better of the California offense on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium, by the count of 28-24, notching a turnover on a fumble by Jeffrey Coprich on the first play of the game and then moving on to record six tackles for loss and three sacks for a 28-24 win in front of 5,831 in attendance.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Zach Kline was the most efficient quarterback, going 7-for-14 passing for 124 yards with no interceptions and one touchdown.
Kline was sacked twice for 10 yards, but also ran the ball three times for 11 positive yards, though he did get knocked around a few times -- once by Jalen Jefferson and another time by David Wilkerson.
Wilkerson and Jefferson -- along with safety Avery Sebastian and linebacker Hardy Nickerson, Jr. -- led the defense with six tackles apiece, as the Bears had to rotate a very limited corps of linebackers due to injury.
Offensive highlights included a 47-yard first-drive bomb from Kline to Maurice Harris on second-and-13, as Kline rolled right to escape pressure.
The redshirt freshman signal-caller then followed that up four plays later with a 19-yard touchdown strike to Maximo Espitia in the corner of the end zone for the offense's first score.
Early-enrollee Jared Goff led the longest sustained drive of the day for the offense, which began at the end of the first quarter and continued into the second. Goff's drive lasted nine plays and covered 65 yards, with the freshman out of Kentfield (Calif.) Marin Catholic running once for seven yards and going 3-for-3 for 22 yards passing, including a nifty side-arm toss on first-and-10 at the defense's 43-yard line. Goff harkened back to his days as a middle infielder, stepping up into a collapsing pocket and finding enough room to sling a pass towards Coprich for a gain of 11 yards. The second-longest drive of the day came on Kline's seven-play, 75-yard drive to open the game.
Coprich was the workhorse of the day, carrying the ball 13 times for 28 yards and catching that one pass for 11. The real star of the day, though, was one Cal fans are already quite familiar with.
On fourth-and-10 on the third drive of the first quarter, No. 10 in white stepped onto the field with dreadlocks flowing: Marshawn Lynch.
"It was going to be a $25 million fine for anyone who hit him," laughed head coach Sonny Dykes. "I don't want to get that call from Pete [Carroll]."
The Seattle Seahawks star, All-Pro and former Bears bruiser took the handoff from Goff up the middle for a 22-yard touchdown, which the official play-by-play stated was "NO PLAY ... negated by lack of eligibility." Nevertheless, his offensive teammates still mobbed him in the end zone.
Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin said that he wished he'd have been able to use Lynch for about 30 plays, due to the lack of healthy running backs.
Quarterback Austin Hinder rushed four times for 37 yards, many times on designed run plays and zone-reads, while going 5-for-9 passing for 87 yards and one touchdown, though he took two sacks for -10 yards.
The leading receiver for the afternoon was Darius Powe, who caught four balls for 47 yards. Whitehurst caught three balls for 14 yards and a score, and Espitia also caught a trio of passes for 34 yards and a touchdown.
Harris caught two balls for 56 yards, and Bryce Treggs caught two balls for 12 yards, with his day being ended with a big hit from Sebastian that caused him to leave the field to get his hand checked out, though he returned after the conclusion of the game appearing no worse for the wear.
Cole Leininger punted the ball three times for 113 yards, while Stephen Mos booted two punts for a total of 92 yards.
Two field goals were attempted during the game, with Vince D'Amato nailing a 39-yarder, and Noah Bieto missing a 44-yarder to end the game and give the defense the win (with three points for a missed field goal being awarded).
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