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Cal Beats Colorado in Dominating Fashion for First Win Over FBS Team

Chase Garbers sets Cal record for career rushing in win over mediocre Colorado team

Being called one of the best 1-5 teams in the nation sounds sort of like a compliment, but it's not for the team that owns that label.

Cal began to work its way out of that category with a convincing 26-3 victory over Colorado before a sparse crowd at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley on Saturday afternoon.

Granted, Colorado is not a very good team, and the Golden Bears were 9-point favorites coming in. So the Golden Bears’ first win over an FBS team this season and first conference win did not come as a surprise, nor did it make Cal’s season.

“We don’t want it to be the highlight of the season,” Cal coach Justin Wilcox said after his team improved to 2-5 overall and 1-3 in the Pac-12.

If this game turns out to be the highlight of the Bears' season, bad times lie ahead.

---Click here for the key plays and summary of Cal's win---

But a bunch of things happened Saturday that made this Cal performance worth noting.

---Cal had 438 yards of offense. Colorado had just 104 yards, including just 13 yards and one first down in the second half. That’s domination, even against team that entered the game ranked 127th of 130 FBS teams in total offense.

Game highlights:

---Chase Garbers had a big day – in fact, a record setting day. He entered the day just two yards shy of Joe Kapp’s Cal record for career rushing yards by a quarterback (921). Garbers blew by that with a key 38-yard run on Cal’s opening drive (see video above), which resulted in a field goal. He finished with 96 rushing yards to go over 1,000 yards rushing for his career, currently sitting at 1,025 yards.

The game plan did not necessarily call for Garbers to run the ball a lot, it just sort of worked out that way, as he notes in the video below.

His ground game combined with his passing excellence (22-for-29, 225 yards, two touchdown, no interceptions) to produce his best game of the season. When it mattered in the first half, he was outstanding, completing 12-for-15 passes for 161 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions, and he also rushed for 82 yards before halftime, which ended with Cal holding a 23-3 lead. Cal scored on all five possessions of the first half.

---Garbers completed passes to four different tight ends, and it would have been five if Collin Moore hadn’t been called for a debatable offensive pass interference penalty on his catch. Both touchdown passes were to tight ends, and freshman Keleki Latu’s 24-yard reception for Cal’s first touchdown was also the first reception of his career.

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“It was one of the big moments of my life,” Latu said of the touchdown.

Garbers’ last four touchdown passes the past two games have all been to tight ends, and the Bears started the game a three-tight end alignment. So you see why Cal is recruiting so many tight ends.

---Kicker Dario Longhetto booted four field goals, including a season-long 51-yarder, which is one yard shy of his career record. And he says he can make them from up to 60 yards out.

---Cal’s defense recorded a season-high six sacks, and it held a Colorado team that had scored 34 points in last week’s win over Arizona without a touchdown for the first time in Pac-12 action.

---Safety Elijah Hicks had perhaps the best game of his five-year Cal career with six tackles, one sack, 2.5 tackles for loss, one interception, and he was a key tackler on a Cal stop on Colorado’s fourth-and-1 play in the first quarter.

So does Cal now have to wear the label of being of one the best 2-5 teams in the country?

Well, over the first seven games, Cal has considerably more yards of total offense than its opponents (2,872 to 2,550). It has fewer turnovers than its opponents (nine takeaways to six turnovers). Cal has more sacks than its foes (15 to 14). Cal has a higher time of possession than its opponents, and it would have more first downs than its opponents if it we just counted rushing and passing first downs and discarded first downs achieved through penalties.

And, last of all, Cal has scored just one fewer point than its opponents, scoring 164 points to its foes’ 165.

But the one meaningful stat sits there in bold: 2-5.

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Cover photo of Chris Street is by Neville E. Guard, USA TODAY Sports

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Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53

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