Punter Reid Forrest was lights out in the first half. And why the heck was this guy doing that rugby style kick last season? Because he has a leg. On Saturday, he nailed a pair of 58-yarders and also had two downed inside the 3-yard line.
The Cougs maintained their scoring streak, albeit barely. The streak goes back to the 1984 season.
Given the utter unreliability of the Cougar kicking game the past few seasons, and including this one, it qualified as good news that Patrick Rooney drilled two touchbacks and Nico Grasu drilled his first FG attempt down the middle. His second, however, was low and the block was returned for a score.
And the Cougar special teams were not great, but they were considerably better than in Week 1. Chantz Staden and Chris Ivory each had a long kickoff return.
Safety Myron Beck had some nice plays in the first half, one a textbook open field, first down saving tackle and he forced a fumble on another play.
The defense had a rough day but after they finally settled down after the nightmare start, the Cougs held the Bears to three consecutive three and outs and it looked like they might get some momentum going. Cory Evans was all over the place over that stretch, both against the pass and the run.
But any wind left in the sails for either the offense or defense seemed to blow away after the Cougs failed to convert a fourth-and-one in the second quarter. From that point on, the rout, temporarily interrupted, was back on.
The Cougar offense could do little all day, unofficially gaining only 162 yards. The defense gave up two runs of 80- and 86-yards and the first came on Cal's first play from scrimmage.
It was no mystery what the problem was at the start of the game. The Cal offensive line simply dominated.
Cougar linebackers who were free to make the tackle last week had a big hoss in their lap instead this time around. The Cougs got it back a little bit when they shut down Cal on those three consecutive possessions but it was a short-lived moment.
Kevin Lopina replaced Gary Rogers at the start of the second half. On his first drive, Lopina moved the Cougs down the field while mixing things up, interspersing his passes with some QB runs for good yardage. But the drive ended when he threw an interception. Rogers never got in a rhythm, and had two costly interceptions in the first half. Marshall Lobbestael got his first college snaps but had a rough debut, with an interception and fumbled snap.
Unofficially, Cal had 504 yards of total offense.
"It's one of those things. You have to take it... And be mature about it. And find ways to get better," said Paul Wulff after the game.
According to a report by sideline radio man Bud Nameck, Wulff said at one point in his press conference he would open the quarterback job back up but then later indicated the staff would would need to evaluate before making any decisions. Stay tuned.
Lopina said his goal remains the same as it has been, to push Rogers for the starting job.
"Whatever the coaches do, I'll support that. If Gary's the starter next week, I'll support that," added Lopina.