Garbers, Bears Roll Past Oregon State
BERKELEY – Chase Garbers threw three touchdown passes – including two to tailback Christopher Brooks – and the Cal football team knocked off Oregon State 39-25 on Saturday at FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium.
Garbers completed 17 of 25 passes for 262 yards without an interception while also rushing for 58 yards and a score, as the Bears (3-5, 2-3 Pac-12) won back-to-back games for the first time since winning three in a row to close out the 2019 season.
"We knew the team we had," Garbers said. "We knew what we were capable of. We lost some close games early in the season – one or two plays here or there and our record is a different story. We knew what we had talent-wise and scheme-wise. We just had to put it all together."
Brooks had 123 total yards from scrimmage while wide receiver Trevon Clark caught five passes for 90 yards and a touchdown. The Bears forced three Oregon State turnovers, including interceptions by linebacker Nate Rutchena and safety Elijah Hicks. It was Hicks' second straight game with an interception. Cal also got a blocked punt by special teams guru Nick Alftin.
"We're certainly improving," Travers Family Head Football Coach Justin Wilcox said. "There are some guys that are developing and making some big plays in the game and kind of coming into their own a little bit. The margins are so slim at this level of football and in our conference that there are going to be a handful of critical plays in the game that we have to find a way to make. There were some good ones today in every phase.
The Bears dominated for most of the first half before the Beavers scored a late touchdown to cut Cal's lead to 17-10 at halftime. The teams traded touchdowns in the second half, with Brooks' second scoring catch giving the Bears the final margin of victory with 5:36 to play.
On the opening series, the Bears stole the game's momentum immediately when linebacker Marqez Bimage forced and recovered a fumble on the first play from scrimmage, and Garbers scored on a 2-yard touchdown run six plays later. It was Garbers' 10th career rushing touchdown, a new school record for a quarterback.
Cal had an important scoring drive to begin the third quarter, converting two third downs and eventually scoring on Garbers' 38-yard pass to a wide-open Brooks down the right sideline. After the Beavers cut the Bears' lead to 24-17 with 2:55 left in the third, Alftin later blocked a punt by OSU's Luke Loecher and Cal took advantage immediately on Garbers' 38-yard touchdown pass to Clark.
Oregon St. crept within 31-25 on a touchdown and two-point conversion with 11:23 to play, but the Bears came up with the drive of the game – an 11-play, 75-yard possession that included three third-down conversions, the final resulting in Brooks' second touchdown catch from 2 yards out. Brooks ran in the two-point conversion, and Hicks came up with his second interception in as many games on the first play of the Beavers' ensuing drive.
"All I know today is that we showed out. I'm proud of my guys," Hicks said. "We are going to watch film and get back in the lab and get ready for Arizona (next week). That's just my mindset and my teammates mindset. We're just hungry for more. We're not satisfied and we're not done."
Sophomore Isaiah Young had four pass breakups for the Bears in the first extensive playing time of his career, including one tipped ball that led to Rutchena's interception.
The Bears scored their most points in a Pac-12 game since a 49-7 victory over Oregon State in 2018.
Cal is back on the road next week to take on Arizona on Saturday. Kickoff is set for noon on the Pac-12 Network.