CORVALLIS, Ore. — All season, Jared Goff has looked otherworldly. But Saturday night, Goff struggled, and it was his teammate running back Daniel Lasco who looked like the superstar. Lasco’s 188 rushing yards and three touchdowns carried the Cal football team to a 45-31 victory over the Beavers.
Coming into the game, Lasco’s career-best rushing game was 123 yards. In the first half alone, he had 127. The Bears almost had more rushing yards (269) than passing yards (277), and Lasco’s three rushing touchdowns were the most for a Cal player since 2009, and his 188 rushing yards were the most since 2011.
Lasco did have some huge help from an incredibly strong blocking performance by the offensive line. But the OSU defense — one that entered the game as the 55th-best run defense in the country, allowing a little more than 152 yards a game — was no match for Lasco’s strong, powerful style of running.
“Once they started to stop Jared, we just had to ground and pound” Lasco said. “And that’s what we did.”
And even after the Bears went up 27-10, Lasco said he kept telling the team it was 0-0 and the team needed to put some points on the board.
“He’s a stud,” Goff said. “It just helps our team so much to be able to have a different look.”
The run game came as a huge help to the Bears as Goff struggled, especially in the first half. At the end of the first quarter, the stat sheet looked a little bit lonely. Under “receiving,” only one name was listed: Stephen Anderson, who had five catches for 59 yards. Goff overthrew a wide-open Chris Harper for what could have been an easy touchdown and then underthrew Bryce Treggs on the next play. In the first quarter alone, Goff had nine incompletions.
At the end of the half, Goff had thrown for just 158 yards. He finished the game 24-47 with 277 yards and one touchdown.
“Give credit to their defense, they did a great job today,” Goff said. “Sometimes that happens, first half, first quarter, takes a bit to get into a rhythm. … Getting a ‘W,’ it doesn’t matter how it’s done.”
Head coach Sonny Dykes said he thought the Beavers were able to get pressure on Goff early.
“I think they made him a little uncomfortable,” Dykes said. “They made him miss. … When your quarterback can put up the numbers he did and not have his best game, that says a lot.”
And while the defense started the game by forcing two three-and-outs, in the second half, Beavers quarterback Sean Mannion and running backs Storm Woods and Terron Ward started to pick the Bears apart.
While in the first half, the Bears’ defense held Mannion to 91 yards — several of those yards coming on two catches longer than 20 yards — Mannion was able to get 94 more yards in the third quarter and 135 more yards in the fourth quarter.
Mannion gave the Bears a different look than they’ve had recently. After facing a string of teams with very mobile quarterbacks, Mannion — who now holds the Pac-12 record for career passing yards — is much more a pro-style quarterback, lining up under center often. But coming into the game, OSU was last in the Pac-12 in terms of points per game.
“I think the key was that (at the end of the game), we got a little bit of pass rush on him,” Dykes said.
In the end, Cal’s defense was able to hold on, coming up with a couple of key plays in big moments. Redshirt freshman Caleb Coleman had his first career pick with a little less than eight minutes left in the game. The interception came as Cal lead by three, but OSU’s offense was threatening to score. The pick — on the OSU 28 — resulted in a field goal, which helped seal the victory for the Bears.
“It felt great,” Coleman said of his interception. “One of the things we talked about in halftime was the storm was going to come. We knew they were going to get some momentum at some point, and we knew we had to come up with some big plays.”
Article originally appeared in The Daily Californian.