GRR on X  GRR on Facebook GRR in Instagram GRR Vimeo Library GRR on YouTube RuggaMatrix America Podcasts Support GRR on Patreon

BYU Shocks Cal 53-26

irish rugby tours

BYU Shocks Cal 53-26

David Barpal photo.

BYU defeated Cal in impressive fashion 59-26 Saturday in Berkeley.

The Cougars played a very accurate and fast game, showcasing some impressive catch-pass skills and minimizing mistakes that can be so damaging to a Cal opponent.

Cal struck first in the contest with co-captain Will Shankland carrying in a ball beneath the posts in the third minute to kick things off. Kealan O’Connell converted to make it 7-0 in favor of the Bears.

But a yellow card soon thereafter put Cal a man down and BYU capitalized to score. With the score 7-5 Cal, BYU intercepted a pass to take the lead at 12-7. Back replied Cal with a run from Caleb Tomasin and O'Connell's conversion made it 14-12 for the Bears.

That would be the last time Cal had the lead.

BYU's defense in their own 22 was solid and once they got on the front foot and started to run in the tries. Through the second half of the first 40 the Cougars ran in three tries to take a fairly commanding 29-14 lead.

They kept it up right after the break and 51 minutes in it was 41-14 BYU and Cal was in real trouble.

Cal did have some opportunities, and a key goalline stand for the Cougars halted what could have been a momentum-shifting try. Cal scored twice in the second half but the mountain was too steep to climb and BYU's quick-strike attack was too fast to contain.

BYU scored at the end of the game to nudge themselves above 50.

“BYU was really good today, certainly better than us,” said Cal Head Coach Jack Clark. “Specifically, their attack asked questions of us. We had plenty of our own offensive chances inside the BYU 22, but must have turned over half a dozen good opportunities. Credit BYU for some of that, but our own inaccuracy was a factor as well. We also struggled with the referee team which was somewhat expected, however we need to learn to compete without giving the officials marginal or even irrelevant reasons for penalties and cards. We just need to get better, we have more in us than we demonstrated today.”

"Our guys were really focused on this game," said BYU Head Coach Steve St. Pierre. "We know how good a team and program they are and the guys just saw this as an opporthnity to show where we are."

Limiting silly mistakes and playing tough defense with their backs against the wall were crucial for the Cougars.

"We have tended to cause ourselves a lot of problems with penalties and unforced errors and we knew that we needed to clean those up when we are facing Cal because they will punish you," St. Pierre explained. "But the defense is a hallmark of this team and we take pride in it."

Wyatt Parry had a huge game running the BYU attack and if he wasn't on-form then they would not have been able to play so fast. Jake Barker at lock had a standout game in the breakdown and led a strong forward effort.

"I’m not surprised that when we play to our potential that we get a good result," said St. Pierre. "Wee expected it would be a good game and we would have to fight to the final whistle. I am really happy with the effort the guys put in."

Cal now embarks upon a four-game road swing, first traveling to Arizona to take on the Wildcats in Tucson on Feb. 17. The Bears then head to Phoenix for a matchup with Grand Canyon on Feb. 19.Meanwhile, BYU has a couple of weeks off before visiting Central Washington.