The Golden Bears rode the feet of backup tailback Justin Forsett, who rushed for 193 yards and two touchdowns on just seventeen carries. When Cal scored on the first drive of the game, they did it on the feet of Forsett, but they seemed to have forgotten him in the rest of the half. He only carried the ball three times outside of that drive in the first half, and Cal's offense sputtered. In the first half, Cal had five offensive series, and three of them were three and outs. After halftime, Cal had five offensive drives with the shortest drive being a four-play 38 yard touchdown drive that put Cal in the lead for good.
In the first half, it really looked like the Illini were going to be able to pull off the upset of the 15th ranked Golden Bears. Illinois' offense had two scoring drives of 77 and 80 yards, and the defense was forcing Cal to three and outs. Illinois was dominating the ball game, and the mantra of "I Believe" could probably be heard throughout the Illini Nation, but it was just not to be for the Fighting Illini. In the second half, the Illini defense wore down for whatever reason, there were special teams miscues for the second straight game, and the offense sputtered in the second half with four consecutive drives resulting in punts.
- Freshman Derrick McPhearson saw his first action of the season and caught one pass for one yard. McPhearson is expected to be a deep threat for the Illini football team, and he is coming back from a broken leg that he sustained this summer.
- California quarterback Joe Ayoob was held to 1-9 passing in the first half. In the second half he went 7-8 passing the ball. He finished the game with 121 yards passing.