The Cal Bears came up short in their bid to upset the No. 22 Northwestern Wildcats on Saturday, but gave Sonny Dykes plenty to build on as the season goes on. The biggest revelation might be the talent of true freshman quarterback Jared Goff who made his first start for the Bears. While he may have shown his age with some bad interceptions that cost Cal in a big way, Goff proved that he is the future of the program and that the future is going to be bright.
Goff became the first true freshman to ever start at quarterback for Cal when he went under center on Saturday and did plenty to show why he won the starting job during fall camp. He completed 38 of 63 passes for 445 yards and connected on a pair of touchdown passes from 52 and seven yards. He looked poised and confident, delivering strong and accurate passes from the pocket and on the run. He showed that he can make all the throws necessary to be successful in Dykes’ Bear Raid attack.
There were some unfortunate moments, however, that showed Goff’s age and lack of experience. He threw three interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. While those picks could be attributed to bad luck as the passes got batted straight up into the air and into the waiting arms of Northwestern linebacker Collin Ellis, there was more that Goff could have done to avoid some bad decisions with the ball.
There is still plenty of room for Goff to grow, and the road won’t get easier with a difficult Cal schedule in 2013. But there is undeniable talent that will be tempered this season through the fire of competition and make him a fantastic talent and undeniable leader of this Cal team as it grows under Sonny Dykes. Does he have the spark to take Cal back to the top of the Pac 12 down the line?