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Instant analysis/reaction: Cal falls short, loses final game against UCLA

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NOVEMBER 29, 2022

Key takeaways

Even with a losing season, Cal wanted to play chaos ball

The Bears were able to hang around with the Bruins all the way until the end of the game. UCLA’s lead was never larger than a touchdown, that alone speaks volumes to the high level of football Cal was playing. Even with seven losses on the season, the Bears seemed to spoil the Bruins’ hopes of playing in a top-tier postseason bowl game.

Jack Plummer played at a very high level in what could have been his final collegiate game. The redshirt senior posted a staggering 294 passing yard game alongside four touchdown passes, his most in a game since having transferred to Cal. Plummer was able to propel the Bears past UCLA, but in the end it was not enough to keep the red-hot Bruins down.

Run defense must be a focus in the offseason

Simply put, the Cal defense had zero answer for Zach Charbonnet. The senior transfer from Michigan ran circles around Cal all afternoon. Charbonnet posted 119 rushing yards on 24 carries alongside a touchdown run — one that would seal the game for the Bruins.

Alongside Charbonnet, fifth-year quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson put up 88 total rushing yards while breaking away from the Bears. It was in this case that Thompson-Robinson was taking advantage of the weaknesses in the Cal run defense. Easily picked up first downs absolutely killed any momentum Cal looked to build on the offensive side of the ball. Cal’s defense has been stellar all season, but it has a lot of work to do to improve its run-stopping abilities.

Cal’s game MVP

Jeremiah Hunter led the way for the Bears in this matchup, being the leading receiver for the team. His two touchdowns were the scores that opened up the  Bears 11-point lead against the Bruins. Hunter has been the leading receiver for Cal all season, and delivered all the way until the clock expired on Cal’s 2022 campaign. The two-touchdown performance was a career-first for the junior, as were his receptions and receiving yards.

Eye-opening stats

Career highs ran rampant in the contest against UCLA. From Hunter’s mega performance to a career high in tackles for both Oluwafemi Oladejo and Daniel Scott, the Bears left their hearts on the field.

Oladejo recorded 17 tackles, the most by a Cal defender since 2019, while Scott recorded 16 tackles in what would be his final game in a Cal uniform. Hunter’s 153 receiving yards, while being a career high, were also the most by a Cal player since Nikko Remigio’s performance at Stanford in 2019.

Looking forward

The Bears have finished their 2022 season at 4-8. “What could have been” is likely something that will be debated about this team for the coming weeks. However, the Bears will hope to work tirelessly to come back stronger, putting work and effort into the coming offseason.

Contact Emmanuel Macedo at 


NOVEMBER 29, 2022