You could not have asked for a better start to the season for the California Golden Bears. Cal opened the season with a decisively explosive 73-14 victory over visiting Grambling State by showing off all of its offensive arsenal. Quarterback Jared Goff threw for 309 yards, three touchdowns, and 13 different wide receivers caught a pass. It was a fine preview of things to come, though fans shouldn’t quite be expecting Cal to put up 70 points with regularity.
Goff could not have gotten off to a much better start, although he was intercepted once by the Grambling State defense. The QB was in more than long enough to put up some good numbers with his first 300-yard game of the season (there will be more, for sure). Bryce Treggs was on the receiving end of 81 of those yards to get his breakout year started, and Kenny Lawler led the team with three touchdown receptions.READ MORE: Wild Fan Celebration Erupts Following San Francisco 49ers Last-Second Playoff Win
Cal’s defense even had some fun, too. Cameron Walker scored a touchdown on a 14-yard interception return midway through the first quarter. Goff and Lawler then connected on two of their three touchdown combos in the first half to give the Bears a 28-0 lead in the first quarter. The first quarter of the season closed with Cal leading Grambling State 35-0. Goff and Lawler hooked up one more time in the second quarter before Cal started to do more damage on the ground out of mercy for their visitors. There would be another touchdown pass later in the game when Chase Forrest tossed a pass to Bug Rivera for a 63-yard touchdown play in the fourth quarter. That was the last score of the game.
Cal showed an ability to convert points off of turnovers, which is always encouraging, regardless of the opponent. Grambling State lost one fumble and was intercepted four times by the Cal defense. The Bears took advantage with 28 points off of those turnovers. Two were returned for a touchdown.
As expected, this game was a good opportunity to give Cal a chance to play a bunch of players on the roster without risking injury to key players. That is exactly what Cal head coach Sonny Dykes did.
Game Ball: QB Jared Goff
It almost feels cheap handing out a game ball to any one player when Cal dominated and destroyed a clearly inferior opponent the way they did. Alas, Goff went over the 300-yard mark and had three touchdowns to show for his effort in limited play. He’ll take the season’s first game ball as a result.READ MORE: San Francisco 49ers Special Teams Spark 13-10 Upset Of Green Bay Packers To Advance To NFC Championship Game
Around the Pac-12 North
Cal’s offensive explosion was a welcomed sight to see around the Pac-12 North. Rival Stanford went down in a 16-6 loss on the road at Northwestern of the Big Ten. Even worse was Washington State’s meltdown at home against FCS Portland State, a 24-17 setback in Pullman. Throw in Washington’s tough loss on the road at Boise State on Friday night and it was not a great start for the division. Oregon and Oregon State both managed to win games though.
Oddly enough, Cal may be in the best position for a 2-0 start to the new season. Oregon will visit Michigan State next week, which will be a tough draw for the Ducks considering the strength of the Spartans defense. Oregon State will also be in the state of Michigan in Week 2, with the Beavers visiting Michigan. The Wolverines are coming off a road loss at Utah on Thursday night, but put up a respectable battle in Jim Harbaugh’s first game as head coach of Michigan.
Cal will stay home next weekend to host San Diego State, a team that is going to rely on the ground game and be a potential challenger in the Mountain West Conference. The Aztecs will not be a pushover for Cal, but their defense may have trouble keeping up with what cal is expected to throw their way, literally. The game is set for 2 p.m. PST.MORE NEWS: UPDATE: Wind-Whipped Wildfire Near Big Sur Forces Evacuations; 'Some Pretty Surreal Fire Behavior'
Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.