New coach, new offensive philosophy, and new true freshman quarterback Jared Goff, there was much hype for many looking to witness the “Bear Raid” offense in “live” in action, and the Golden Bears’ first attempt at the start of this new era just so happened to be against No. 22 ranked Northwestern Saturday night at Memorial Stadium. Northwestern coming off a 10-3 season that included a Gator Bowl victory over Mississippi State, studied film from Dykes and offensive coordinator Tony Franklin’s days at Louisiana Tech, where their team led the nation in scoring and total offense. A challenge for Northwestern Head Coach Pat Fitzgerald and his staff as his team rarely before faced such an up-tempo spread offense, but his team seemed up to the challenge on Saturday, defeating the Golden Bears 44-30 on the road securing their top 25 ranking.
The young Cal Bears team seemed up for the challenge to start off, scoring on a fake field goal on the opening drive, hoping to take some pressure off the shoulders of true freshman quarterback Jared Goff, but Northwestern soon answered with a score of their own, as Treyvon Green rush 33 yards for a touchdown. The game remained locked at 7-7 until the 2nd quarter when Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian hooked up with Tony Jones for a 19 yard touchdown. Both teams exchanged field goals heading into the half with Northwestern leading 17-10. It wasn’t until the 3rd quarter when Cal’s offense seemingly came to life when Jared Goff connected with Chris Harper on two scores, one a 52 yard bomb, and the other a 7 yard score and Cal finally regained the lead. It wasn’t until Jared Goff had his pass intercepted by Collin Ellis 56 yards for a touchdown that the tide began to swing back towards Northwestern, as they regained the lead 27-24.
After exchanging field goals and trailing only 30-27, Collin Ellis struck again and took a tipped pass 40 yards for his second score of the game, silencing the crowd at Berkeley, and giving Northwestern a 10mpoint lead at 37-27. After adding another field goal Cal seemed destined to get back on top of this game, as Alex Logan intercepted Trevor Siemian at the 50 yard line. Immediately after Cal quarterback Jared Goff was intercepted by Ibraheim Campbell at the Northwestern 9 yard line. Northwestern then ran right through the heart of the Cal defense for another score, securing a victory and placing the dagger in the hearts of Cal Berkeley players, coaches, and fans.
Jared Goff finished 38 for 63 for 445 yards, two touchdowns, and two key turnovers for scores. Expected mistakes from a true freshman quarterback, and a disappointing opening day loss for new head coach Sonny Dykes. Being young has its advantages and its susceptibilities, and Saturday night it was the turnovers that killed this game for the young Bears, I guess you live and you learn. With all the bright spots, dynamic “bear raid” shown on offense, this young Golden Bears team must suffer through the growing pains today, to build towards a better tomorrow.