Cal defense along with Demetris Robertson and Melquise Stovall, stymie Utah

BERKELEY -- Martina Del Bonta and I break down Cal's second straight win over a ranked team at California Memorial Stadium, taking a look at the creative use of Demetris Robertson and Melquise Stovall, as well as the defense's final stand, plus, notes and quotes.

Live Game Thread 

Video Highlights

Postgame Locker Room Celebration

Final Stats


California Head Coach Sonny Dykes

General comments: "Just another regular ole' Cal football game. The people we play are pretty evenly-matched teams, so it comes down to who makes a couple of plays down the stretch. I was really proud of our defensive players. I think those guys have taken a lot of criticism from people. The good thing is they didn't listen to it. They just kept working and kept getting better. You have to give (defensive coordinator) Art Kaufman and his staff a lot of credit for it. We took our lumps because we play a lot of young guys. If you go back to the Hawaii game, we gave up a lot of points. We gave up some yards, but we played a lot of young kids. We played a lot of young kids against San Diego State, Texas and Arizona State. Our defense had to play 97 plays today – as a result of playing some of those young guys. Our defense was fresh enough at the end of the ballgame to stop them six plays inside the 10-yard line. That's coaching. That's doing things the right way, understanding what you have to do to get your kids and your program to be successful. My hats off to those guys. I'm proud of the players and I'm really happy for them." 

On Cal's reaction during the last six plays of the game: "Those guys just kept hanging in there. The players just kept saying, 'Coach, we got this. We got it. We got you.' They just kept telling me that over and over again. Again, you've got to give them credit for believing in themselves. Again, six cracks inside the 10, to not let Utah in the end zone just shows their character and how hard they work." Cal not calling a timeout during the last six plays of the game: "We talked about it. I talked to Art (Kaufman) about it. We had a 1:40 [left on the clock].We almost called a timeout because we thought at that point, if we use our timeouts we might get the ball back with some time. You don't know how it's going to unfold. I don't know if we would've gotten it back with anytime since we had the pass interference call and that gave them a new set of downs. That was just sort of the way we played it out. I talked to Art about it and talked to Spav (offensive coordinator Jake Spavital) about it, and we said 'Hey we're going to get this stop.' Art told me, 'We're going to get this. We're going to hold them out. I think we'll put the pressure on them if we play it out this way.' He was right." 

On Cal calling more on passing plays than running plays: "We didn't do a great job running the ball. We tried to run it on first down and we ended up with a lot of second-and-seven [downs]. We felt like there were a lot of pass plays that were out there. We liked our matchups. We really liked our outside receivers on their corners, so that's what we wanted to go to. We felt like that was better for us. We need to run it better. We need to run it more. We need to have more than 49 plays. But, like I said, guys found a way to win the game."

California Players

Davis Webb, QB

On the mood on the sideline when Dykes put faith in the defense: "It was pretty hard to describe. We believed in our teammates, obviously, but football is a weird game. They did a good job on the offense, a good job on defense. It was just a great game to watch. Both teams had success, both teams had failures. Our defense stepped up big at the end of the game, and that was probably the best team win I've ever been a part of, I'm very happy to be a part of this team, and I'm very happy and very proud of my teammates on the defensive side of the ball, so it was a great win, a team win."

Demetris Robertson, WR

On his progressive comfort in this offense: "I'm getting very comfortable each and every week, just coming in and working hard with Davis and getting connected with him. Every week going into the film room, learning the concepts, how we play and how we run the up-tempo spread offense. On watching and learning from older guys on team:I watch Chad [Hansen] every day. I watch his technique, the way he works the defender and different techniques that he uses. He's not the number one receiver in the country for no reason. He works really hard at what he does and I want to be just like that."

James Looney, DE

On expecting big things from the defense this week: "I knew we were going to come out. We were going to prepare better than we previously have. For the past couple weeks, we played well and we put pieces together at times, but we just couldn't put it all together, and I knew this week that we were going to prepare as hard as we could. We went out there and it paid off. Practice makes perfect. You could see us finally put it together and we got a win. On Coach Dykes not calling timeouts and putting full faith in the defense:I loved it. Just like I said earlier on in the week, at the end of the day great defense wins championships. Look at what the Denver Broncos did last year in the Super Bowl. Playing great defense gets you a long way. I loved that Coach put the faith in us, and he always has, it's not a new thing. He just told us to go out there and play, and he knew we were playing well and we came through." Head Coach Kyle Whittingham

OPENING STATEMENT: "Tough game to lose but I'm proud of our guys for how they hung in there and fought back, just like they've done many times previously this season. They handle adversity extremely well. They do a great job of continuing to fight and not getting down on themselves. It was great to see them with that resiliency once again. We just came up a play short there at the end. Our defense played well and held a team that was averaging 45 points per game and a bunch of yards to probably almost half. We were just one play away at the end there that didn't allow us to come away with the W." 

ON USE OF TIMEOUTS ON THE FINAL DRIVE: "I didn't call a timeout. I tried to get the ref's attention as he ran down and I said 'If the ball is in play and the clock is running, look to me for a timeout after this next snap.' He didn't look at me so I went down screaming and said, 'Look to me for a timeout if we run a play and the clock is running.' The ref asked if I wanted a timeout and I said, 'No, I do not want a timeout. I want to call one if, after this play, the clock is running. The ref calls timeout. Go figure."

ON HOW THE GAME PLAN PLAYED OUT: "We didn't want to get into a scoring contest with them. That's their M.O., that's not our M.O. That's exactly how it went down, we didn't let that happen. I'm proud of our guys. They did a great job, like I said, just a little short at the end. Credit Cal for making those plays at the end. That's why I called time with 20 seconds left on fourth down in the event there was a penalty and we had a first down and goal that would allow us to take advantage of the next four snaps. It happened, we got the pass interference call in the end zone and then when we lose that timeout, it eliminated that advantage. I'm proud of our guys, like I said. Our guys have got fight. They're warriors and I love coaching them. 

ON RUNNING BACK CHOICE FOR FINAL PLAY (MOSS OR SHYNE) "[Assistant Head Coach] Dennis [Erickson] felt that Zack [Moss] was the freshest and the most ready to go and that's who we went with. Zack is a good runner, too and he's a physical runner, as well. 

ON IMPACT OF LOSING TIMEOUT ON FINAL DRIVE: "We would have gotten four snaps instead of three. We could've run it. It limited the number of times we could run the football. You can't run it on third down with no timeouts. It was a huge factor.

Utah Players

Brian Allen, DB

On what he saw from Cal: "I knew they were going to throw the ball. I wanted to come out and just play my best. I am hard on myself and it was not my best game. After all that, we still had a chance to win it and we didn't. I still love my offensive guys and I am going to go love all those guys just as much. We fell one play short and we lost. I give all the credit to Cal. Those guys are some fighters, and I give all the respect to them over there.

On Davis Webb: "He is a good quarterback. We knew he was not very mobile, but that he was good in the pocket. His receivers got open for him and he just made some plays."On the Pac-12:"This year is shaky. Anyone is going down. Look at last week alone. It is a competitive conference. Anyone can beat anyone on any given Saturday."

Raelon Singleton, WR

How are you feeling about this game: "Everyone is surprised, they don't expect a loss. We just have to correct the mistakes we made. We can't do anything about it now but continue on in the conference."

Most disappointing thing: "Not executing well. All the small things held us back."



•  With Saturday's 28-23 California win, the Bears have defeated multiple ranked teams for the first time since 2009 (No. 18 Arizona and No. 14 Stanford). Cal has now won seven of its last eight home games going back to last season, and the Bears also snapped a two-game losing streak against the Utes and now own a 6-5 advantage in the all-time series.
•  The 28 points scored by the Bears are the most Utah has allowed this season, with the previous being 27 against USC. Utah was allowing an average of 15.8 ppg (No. 17 in NCAA) coming into today's game. The 23 points scored by Utah are the fewest Cal has given up since holding Washington and Oregon State to 24 last year.

•  Hansen ended the night with five catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns, his third multi-receiving touchdown performance of the season. He now has eight receiving touchdowns this season, which ties him for ninth on Cal's single-season list.
•  Webb completed 22 of 35 passes for 306 yards and four touchdowns. Webb has now thrown 20 touchdown passes in his first five games at Cal.
•  Robertson caught his fourth and fifth touchdowns of the season today, good for his second-straight multi-TD performance. He ended the day with four catches for 97 yards and two touchdowns.
•  Cal's 14 rushing attempts were the fewest ever in a game by the Bears in school history. The previous record was 18 against Washington State in 2014. The four first downs gained by a rush are also the fewest in a game by Cal in school history.
•  Linebacker Devante Downs collected a career-high 13 tackles.
•  Cal entered the game averaging 89 plays per game, ranked third in the country. The Bears ended Saturday's game with 49 plays, the fewest since 61 plays against USC and San Diego State last year.
•  Cal has won its last three conference home openers.
•  Saturday was Cal's fourth-straight game decided by 10 or fewer points.
•  Utah was 4-for-4 on fourth downs until a fourth-quarter stop by Cal to protect a 21-17 lead, and the defense held the Utes again on a goal line stand for three plays to end the game.
•  Cornerback Josh Drayden earned his first career start, and broke up a two-point conversion.
•  Saturday's attendance was 46,618, including NFL wide receiver Trevor Davis, 2018 quarterback offeree Adrian Martinez, defensive line commit Gabe Cherry, official visitor Jordan Genmark-Heath and unofficial visitors Michael Saffell and Blake McDonald. More here.

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