ANALYSIS: Five takeaways from Cal's 51-31 win over Hawaii in Sydney, Australia

Cal's win over Hawaii was an incomplete effort, with some fits and starts on offense and some worrying trends on defense. What stuck out to us? Plus, notes and quotes from Sydney.


Head Coach Sonny Dykes
Opening Comment
"Just want to start off by saying thanks to the people of Sydney for coming out and supporting this event, and their hospitality all week, It's been an incredible experience for me personally, and I know it has been for our players as well. The chance to come and see Sydney, which is such a beautiful city, and have an opportunity to meet the people of Australia, I've really enjoyed meeting them and it's something I will remember forever. I'm really proud of our players, I think they've handled themselves incredibly well this week. It took some maturity to come 14 and a half hours across the [world] and focus like they did on the task at hand which was to play well today, while at the same time we wanted to ensure they got to see the city and experience some unique things. I thought they handled it incredible well. It was good to win the ball game but clearly there are some things we need to improve on and work on, but it was a good start and I'm really proud of the young men that are up here, and it was fun to watch them play, I really enjoyed it."

On How Tough It Was To Prepare For A Football Team With Lots Of New Pieces, with Hawaii only showing a pistol look once, and instead running a system neither pistol (from head coach Nick Rolovich's time at Nevada) nor pure run-and-shoot, as Rolovich ran in his last stint with Hawaii:
"It was hard. I thought Hawaii played well, they were very well coached. They kept mixing things up defensively and made some really nice adjustments in their running game and we had a hard time keeping up. Nick's a really good football coach and he knows what he's doing, and he'll get Hawaii going, I've got no doubt in my mind. They're going to have a good ball team, they've got a really good squad and I thought they played incredibly hard so hats off to their preparation. It's hard because you don't know what you're going to get - I mean you kind of think you do, but they kept mixing things up defensively and we had a hard time at times, some of our checks they showed us a bunch of different things. It took awhile for us to get adjusted."

On How Cal Played
"There always is pressure, when we sit down and watch the tape we'll be happy we won the ball game and pleased about a lot of things, but we're not satisfied with the way we ran the ball offensively, we were spotty at times, we had some big plays but didn't consistently run it the way we want to run it and then obviously defensively weren't as good against the run as we need to be. So I told the guys afterwards that's what we want to improve on. I thought on the back end, I thought our safeties did a good job and so it was good to see those guys compete the way we did. We've got to sure up the run game a little bit, and you've got to give credit to Hawaii, they caught us in a couple of stunts, the first two drives we got out of a gap and they creased us, and we missed a couple of tackles - we've got to tackle better. Clearly we have to improve, if we don't, we'll have a hard time coming up against a very good San Diego State team, so they're we've got to run the ball a little better." "We've got a lot of work to do. The first game of the season is always a good test to see how you handle it, and there were a lot of good things, a lot of bad things. We've got to play better but all our guys understand the next two games are going to be tough for us, San Diego State and Texas and that's before we get into the Pac-12, and we've got a lot of work to do but today was a good start."

On The Pac-12 Broadcasting Game to Australia On FOX Sports
"I think it's great for the Pac-12 - I think Australia is kind of a sports-crazy place. People love sports. That's the thing that stands out when you get here, just how many green spaces, parks, stadiums, the investment in sport in their country is really fun to see. And I think it shows how popular a wide variety of sports are, they love sports like this like Australian rules and rugby and soccer that are similar to football, and it shows a lot of foresight by the Pac-12 just because I think the people of Australia can identify with American football because it's very similar to many of their games that are very popular."

On The Crowd
"It's a big stadium, and it's a little further away because of the nature of the stadium than what we're accustomed to - a lot to the stadiums are more vertical than spread out like this, but the crowd was great and they were into it. It seemed like a great environment. During the game we're pretty focussed on our job but at the end of the game I was able to take in the atmosphere and would know the players did that too."

On Whether There Will Be More College Football Games In Sydney
"I'm certain this won't be the only one of this, I'm sure there'll be more college teams coming over in the future and it just makes sense on so many levels. It's such a great opportunity to experience something that's so different and special, and I would anticipate this becoming an annual event."

On Hawai'i's Onside Kick On The Opening Kickoff, recovered by Patrick Laird
"I thought it was a really good call. I thought it was a heck of a play by us to get that covered first of all, and it's something that we talk about all the time and emphasize and we showed that to our players over and over again this week, but I don't think any of us anticipated anything like that right out of the box like that. But I think it showed they came here to win the ball game. I think it's their mentality that Coach Rolovich has got and that's why they're in good hands with that program because he's got that mentality. He's not afraid to put themselves in good situations and giving them opportunities to win, and I thought it was a heck of a call and we were fortunate to make a play on it. It just depends - I think he was trying to give his players the best chance to win and it's always good to see your players make a play like that when it catches them off guard, but the difference in the game really was turnovers. We didn't turn the ball over and we got four turnovers and we're going to win a lot of football games like that if we don't turn the ball over and we're going to win a bunch of games by turnovers, so that part I was very pleased about."

On ANZ Stadium Grass Surface
"We don't play many games on grass and we haven't practiced much on grass, we only had one practice on the surface on Tuesday because it rained, so it was a little bit soft and our guys weren't that accustomed to it at times, but I thought they adjusted and nobody complained about it or made an excuse and I know they worked really hard to get the field ready, so I thought it was a really good playing surface."

Junior WR Chad Hansen
On His Connection With QB Davis Webb
"Even after the game, I had no idea how many catches I had. As soon as Davis got here in May, we've just had a connection. I think it's sort of blossomed over fall camp, us being together day in day out from 7 am to 9 pm, it really helps a quarterback and wide-receiver connection, so that sort of helped us."

On The Sydney Trip
"They don't put any pressure on me, all the pressure I put on myself comes from me. I was just happy to be out there with our team in Sydney, Australia - there's not many teams that have, just to be here with the brothers is a great way to start the season."

Senior Running Back Khalfani Muhammad
On Scoring The First Touchdown
"It was phenomenal, it was exciting and I was energetic about it. Our team came out and we executed our game plan and it got me to the end zone. So thanks to the whole line, our blocker scheme was perfect, and first touch down in college."

On His Kick Returns
"We emphasized a lot on special teams, special teams could be a game changer. So we've been in practice and working on it and we came out here and executed today. So I'm really proud of the guys blocking out front, opening gaps and giving me seams and I just took advantage of it."

Senior Quarterback Davis Webb
On His Performance 
"It was okay - I'm glad we got the victory obviously, I'm proud of how they executed the game plan, as coach Dykes said there's a lot of things we need to improve on. All credit goes to Hawaii, they played really hard tonight. We didn't know what they were going to do defensively and they did a good job throwing us off our grove in the first and second quarter, and that's a credit to their coaching staff. I'm just really proud of guys like Chad and Khalfani and guys like that who played their butts off tonight and I'm just excited to be here, it was a good victory tonight."

On How Cal Played Against Hawai'i
"Hawaii threw some blitz at us and I think our line did a good job sorting it out, and protecting the best they could and only gave up two sacks today out of a lot and that's a credit to Coach [Brandon] Jones and the line coaches, he had his players ready to go and I'm really happy with our centers, and guards and the whole line played well. There's stuff we can improve on but I'm looking forward to getting out to practice and working on it."

On His Connection With Chad Hansen
"He's my roommate on the road, and last night I told him he had three touchdowns today so he fell one short - but watching film I really felt Chad had the chance to have a big day, and he was the one who stepped up. The other guys had a few chances, but that's just how it went today and I'm looking forward to whoever steps up next week."


California is now 8-2 in season openers since 2007. The Sydney College Cup game marked Cal's second game outside of the United States with the first one being a 17-17 tie against Washington State in Tokyo in 1987.
Webb's passing yardage total ranks 10th in school single-game history. It was the second-best debut by a Cal quarterback as Jared Goff had 450 passing yards (39-for-64) against Northwestern on Aug. 31, 2013. That total ranks ninth in school history.
Hansen, who was named MVP of the game, caught a personal-best 14 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns, his first 100-yard receiving performance and his first multi-touchdown game. The reception total ties for third most in school single-game history (Chris Harper also had 14 catches for 231 yards against Washington State on Oct. 5, 2013). The all-time record is 16 by Geoff McArthur at Stanford in 2003, followed by Dameane Douglas at Oregon State in 1998.
Cal's leading rusher on the day was Muhammad who totaled 96 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, giving him an average of 9.6 yards per rush.
After being one of the nation's leaders in turnovers last season with 27 (13th in the nation), the Bears forced three Hawaii turnovers and earned 10 points off of turnovers.
Kicker Matt Anderson was good on all three of his attempts with the longest from 29 yards out. The three successful kicks tied his career high. Anderson connected on 18 of his 21 tries in 2015, and has now made 13 straight field goals and 18 of his last 19.

Noah Beito averaged 60.6 yards on his 10 kickoffs, with two touchbacks. Hawaii averaged 20.7 yards per kick return on the seven kicks the Warriors did take back.
Safety Khari Vanderbilt was Cal's leading tackler with seven, including five solo tackles and a forced fumble. Nickel back Cameron Walker tallied his third career interception. Sophomore defensive end Cameron Saffle had two tackles for loss and defensive end DeVante Wilson added a sack.

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