On the offensive end Cal had its worst performance to date. Any time you kick 5 field goals in a game you know your offense is in trouble. Still the Bears showed that they were capable of moving the ball fairly often so the "O" wasn't completely stagnant. However, with greater efficiency (read: catching passes) Cal would have won this game and covered the spread.
Things never look good when your QB goes 13-37 for 216 yards with a touchdown and a pick. However Kyle Boller was making great throws for the most part but his receivers couldn't catch the balls. Boller even showed poise to lead the Bears back by engineering a possible game tying drive only to fall short on the two-point conversion.
Not a banner day for Joe Igber or Terrell Williams. Unfortunately they weren't a great part of the offense that seemed to be the problem. Very few if any screens were thrown nullifying one of Cal's most dangerous open field runners. Igber needs to be isolated in space where he very difficult to bring down one on one.
The Offensive line was fairly solid but Boller did have some decent pressure. The offensive line seems to be the strong point for this year's version of the Golden Bears. Can't really complain when the O-line doesn't give up a sack and your starting Running back has above a 4.0 yards per carry average on the day (18-74).
Was going to give this group an F but the did redeem themselves toward the end of the game by making some clutch grabs. Overall this unit had a day that will hopefully be forgotten and never repeated. Cleary ha this group performed as it had I the first three games we would be talking about a ranked 4-0 Cal team.
Usually when you only give up 22 yards of passing you are talking a dominant effort and a defense that might be one of the best in the country. However, Air Force that number is virtually irrelevant since Air Force passes 7-10 games a game at most. Cal gave up 317 yards of total offense, which isn't a great or terrible number, but rather a decent number against a solid Air Force team.
The D-line played a very nice game for one half. Unfortunately a football game consists of two halves. The second half they seemed fatigued and unable to get the necessary push against Air Force. Option teams are never fun if you are a defensive lineman because you have to be extremely disciplined in your assignments.
Linebackers The Cal LB's were excellent for one half then porous for the second. Certainly, not a performance to remember but should be a great learning experience for stopping the run down the road. They stuck to their assignments in the first half but missed to many in the second.
Again it was a tale of two halves. The secondary provided excellent run stopping support in the first half but missed several assignments in the second. Tackling also seemed to be a problem with this group. If they can wrap up a bit better Air Force might not have had as much success.
For the most part special teams were again excellent except for the blocked field goal, which did end up being the difference in the game. However, Mark Jensen did hit 5 of 6 field goals on the day and he is quietly putting together an All-Pac-10 season. Kickoff returns again set the Bears with excellent field position on numerous occasions, and it seems like a matter of time before the Bears break a kickoff return for a touchdown.
An average performance by a good football team will get it done against mediocre competition but against a bowl caliber team it usually won't cut it. Despite the poor offensive performance Cal did show some key components, which should bring hope for future contests.
1) Kyle Boller demonstrated the ability to bring the Bears with his final drive.
2) Bears never quit despite being dominated in the second half.
3) The kicking game has become much more reliable. Gone are the days where fans are praying that a FG goes through the uprights.
4) Special teams have become a staple of the Bears, which should help them win 2-3 games down the road this season.
5) Cal won the turnover battle again 2-1 thus increasing their +/- to +11 on the season.
Not a great performance but a valiant one. Cal fans should be proud that their team fought bravely against a tough bowl caliber Air Force team despite a poor performance. This game clearly showed that the Bears should be in every game this year, and that each week the fans should be confident that Cal will go into that week with a good shot to win.
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