The 11th ranked Texas Longhorns stepped into Berkeley, California looking to continue building their resume with a big win against a Pac-12 foe. The only problem, nobody told the Golden Bears. Cal quarterback Davis Webb became the story of the night, as Sonny Dykes’ air raid outlasted a balanced attack from Texas to secure a 50-43 victory for the Bears.
The game featured some impressive offensive play from both teams, with the two gunslinger dropping dimes over the opposing defense all night. The Longhorn running backs shined in primetime with D’Onta Foreman and Chris Waren III combining for 276 yards and four touchdowns. However, it was Cal’s Chad Hansen who stole the show and burst on the national stage, grabbing 12 balls for 196 yards and 2 scores. Webb and Hansen proved quite the formidable pair, and the Bears’ potent attack left a handful of reactionary Longhorn fans calling for defensive coordinator Vance Bedford’s job once the evening was all said and done.
The defining drive of the came after Trent Domingue’s 35 yard field goal attempt split the uprights, tying the ballgame at 43. With five minutes left in the final period, Davis Webb and company trotted onto the field looking to delight the home crowd of 50,448 with some late game heroics. The Texas secondary was again picked apart as California drove deep into Longhorn territory in a heartbeat. With just under 4 minutes to play, Chad Hansen absorbed a punishing blow from UT’s Jason Hall and held on for his second touchdown of the night on a 12 yard slant over the middle.
As many Big 12 fans will know by now, a controversial play late in the fourth quarter overshadowed the outcome of the game, at least for Texas. With time winding down, the UT defense desperately needed a stop, down 50-43. Then Golden Bear running back Vic Enwere broke through the middle for a 55 yard scamper, making the score 56-43 and effectively putting the game away. So we thought.
With no defenders close enough to catch him, Enwere dropped the ball at the 1 yard line, earning the junior a serious earful from the California coaching staff. The replay officials ruled that the play was whistled dead and there was no imminent recovery from the Texas defense, so it would be Cal ball at the 2 yard line. With Charlie Strong out of time outs, the Cal offense simply kneeled out the remainder of the clock. Could Shane Buechele have led a game-tying drive in the final minute and a half of regulation? I guess we’ll never know.
What does this loss mean for the Longhorns? The pass defense could be a concern moving forward and must be cleaned up before facing pass-happy Big 12 competition. On offense, the Texas ground game was stellar, but the passing game left a bit to be desired. Buechele took on more of a game-manager role than in the past two weeks, finishing with 196 yards on 63% passing with a touchdown and an interception. The freshman was sacked three times and was knocked around more than he had been all season, at one point leaving the game temporarily with a chest injury after taking a big hit from Cal’s Devante Wilson.
It’s way too early to panic for the Longhorns. This team is still easily one of the most talented in the Big 12, and other contenders across the conference have underwhelmed thus far. It might be a long bye week for Texas, but the break gives the coaching staff the opportunity to shore up any holes before conference play begins. Next time out, the Longhorns face Oklahoma State in an 11:00 AM kickoff in Stillwater on October 1st.
|3rd Down Eff.||7-15||7-15|
|4th Down Eff.||0-0||1-2|
|Yards Per Pass||6.7||9.9|
|Yards Per Rush||6.0||2.8|
|Time of Poss||31:47||28:13|
Emptying the Notebook
The Cal yards per rush statistic was skewed by the sack yards forced by the Texas defense. Cal RB Vic Enwere had 110 yards on 6.1 yards per carry, but the defensive line got to Davis Webb 3 times for a total loss of 30 yards.
Texas actually outgained Cal-Berkeley 568 to 507. The turnovers were game-changers.
Senior Tyrone Swoopes had a few opportunities at quarterback, especially when Buechele was sidelined due to injury concerns in the first half. Swoopes went 4 of 6 for 65 yards and one interception. He actually had a higher total QBR tonight with 69.2 to Buechele’s 35.5.
The two interceptions by the quarterbacks wearing burnt orange proved costly, but the Longhorns barely even needed to throw the ball in the first place. Foreman totaled 157 yards on 7.5 yards per carry, and Warren went for 119, averaging 6.6 a carry. Swoopes chipped in another 32 yards himself. If you take out Buechele’s 6 rushing attempts, the ‘Horns ran for 6.84 yards per carry. Feed those ball carriers all day.
So much for the Big 12’s playoff hopes.
If Texas does not pull this out in Cal, Big 12 playoff hopes probably DOA after three weeks. https://t.co/puvue0xYcD
— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) September 18, 2016
Cal WR Chad Hansen was one of the Pac-12 players of the week.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network) September 19, 2016
A nice little milestone for D’Onta Foreman.
— Texas Football (@Longhorn_FB) September 18, 2016
— Hookem Football (@hornsfootball) September 18, 2016