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Cal Football: Bears Defense Now Worst in School History

Nov 9, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA; USC Trojans running back Javorius Allen (37) escapes the California Golden Bears defenders to run for a touchdown during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium. The USC Trojans defeated the California Golden Bears 62-28. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Kevin LeeCorrespondent INovember 11, 2013

It's safe to say that a 62-28 loss to the USC Trojans was not what Sonny Dykes wanted for his birthday. The Cal Bears are now 1-9 and have no wins over FBS teams. A leaky defense has been the issue all season long, and allowing the Trojans to score 62 points epitomized the Bears' struggles. 

The last time USC scored more than 60 points was in 2008, when Pete Carroll's team put up 69 against Washington State. With the loss to the Trojans, Cal has now allowed opponents to score a total of 447 points this season.  

Since the 1916 season, the unofficial beginning of Cal football, no Cal team had given up more than 431 points in a season. The former record was held by the 2001 Cal Bears team, which finished their season with a 1-10 record. Now, having played only 10 games so far, the 2013 Cal Bears have already broken that record. Sonny Dykes' team still must face Colorado and Stanford to finish off the season.

Nov 9, 2013; Berkeley, CA, USA; Southern California Trojans tailback Silas Redd (25) hurdles California Golden Bears cornerback Cedric Dozier (37) at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Throughout Sonny Dykes' first season as head coach of Cal, the Bears have consistently allowed opponents to score more than their season average. The only exceptions are Arizona and Portland State, an FCS team that still managed to put 30 points on the board. 

Cal's Scoring Defense
OpponentPoints Against CalSeason Average
Northwestern4428.0
Portland State (FCS)3033.6
Ohio State5248.2
@ Oregon5551.7
Washington State4429.8
@ UCLA3736.6
Oregon State4937.2
@ Washington4137.2
Arizona3334.8
USC6229.0
ESPN

It doesn't stop there for the woeful Cal defense. Out of 125 Division I FBS football programs, the Bears rank among the worst in the nation in several defensive categories.

Cal's Defensive Rankings (Out of 125 Teams)
CategoryRank
Scoring Defense44.7 Points/Game123rd
Rushing Defense195.60 Yards/Game96th
Passing Defense331.1 Yards/Game125th
Total Defense526.7 Yards/Game123rd
Opponent First Downs24.9 First Downs/Game120th
Opponent 4th Down Conversion Rate60.00%93rd
Opponent Red Zone Touchdown Rate67.44%96th
Opponent Red Zone Scoring Rate86.05%90th
Opponent Rushing Plays of 20+ Yards25 Plays122nd
Opponent Passing Plays of 50+ Yards9 Plays123rd
cfbstats.com

Cal's 2013 schedule is filled with tough opponents, such as Oregon, Ohio State, Stanford, UCLA and Washington.
Cal's 2013 schedule is filled with tough opponents, such as Oregon, Ohio State, Stanford, UCLA and Washington.Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Statistically, this year's Bears team may be the worst in school history; however, injuries have plagued the defense. Furthermore, having an extremely difficult schedule doesn't help their cause. According to Jeff Sagarin's strength of schedule rankings, Cal's schedule is currently the fifth toughest in the nation.

Despite the historical low that Cal reached against USC, the Bears have one last chance to salvage their 2013 season. As unlikely as it seems, an upset over what will likely be a Top Five Stanford team in the Big Game on November 23 would turn a forgettable season into one of the most memorable in school history.

 

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