The Cal Bears had a puncher’s chance going into their game on Saturday with the Ohio State Buckeyes thanks to the prolific offense Sonny Dykes had unleashed under quarterback Jared Goff. The true freshman led the nation in passing after two weeks and was looking to extend his 400-yard passing streat to three games against the No. 4 ranked Buckeyes. He came close but the Bears couldn’t keep Ohio State close as early mistakes doomed Cal in their 52-34 loss.
Goff has been electric in the Cal passing game through the first two games, but the pressure of the Ohio State defense forced him into a pair of costly mistakes early. The first came when the Ohio State pass rush got to Goff as he was preparing to let a pass go and forced a fumble that the Buckeyes recovered. The second one came after Cal forced a turnover and Goff forced a pass up into double coverage that was easily intercepted by the Ohio State safety.
Those missteps helped OSU build a 21-0 lead that they never relinquished. The closest Cal get was 10 points with a touchdown late in the first quarter that closed the gap to 24-14. The Bears’ defense couldn’t slow the Buckeyes down enough, however, for the offense to mount much more of a rally. The one-dimensional Cal offense, getting no help from the running game yet again, also didn’t help their cause.
When trying to mount a major upset, a team needs its leaders to be nearly perfect. They have to make big plays while avoiding the big mistakes to give their team any shot on knocking off Goliath. While Goff made some big plays, throwing for 371 yards and three touchdowns, his early mistakes were all the opening that the superior Ohio State roster needed to blow the game open and end any shot that the Bears had of shocking the world.