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In a dominant performance Cal blanked Michigan 31-0 to advance to the Cup semi-finals of the Penn Mutual CRC. The Bears monopolized possession all game and after five scores went into cruise control.
“We got on a bit of a roll with our kickoffs, we won four five kickoffs in a row," said Cal head Coach Jack Clark. “That enabled us to have most of the possession in the first half and score some points. It’s a precarious game, but if you win those kickoffs as you know, it makes it tough on the opposition.”
Cal controlled most of the ball possession thanks to dominant play on kickoffs in the first half. The Golden Bears won all five of the restarts and spent the entirety of the half in Michigan territory.
Anthony Salabar was the recipient of the first Golden Bear try as Cal won the opening kickoff and crisply swung the ball left on the Wolverine defense. Salabar stepped inside on a Michigan defender to take a 5-0 lead.
Andrew Battaglia fended off a defender on the right sideline to double the lead and the Bears almost garnered a third with two minutes to play in the half. However, Michigan earned a failure to release penalty on its five-meter line to get out of pressure momentarily.
Cal dominated the scrum blowing up several of Michigan’s put-ins and scoring off its own. After holding up a player in a maul, the Golden Bears outflanked the Michigan defense, and Battaglia cruised into the try zone to extend the advantage to 19-0.
With no time remaining in the half, Cal was awarded a penalty in the scrum. Nicholas Boyer took the quick tap, and darted through the center of the defense for the 26-0 lead at halftime.
Things started the same for Michigan in the second half with the opening kickoff not going 10 meters. Jake Anderson took the quick tap and caught the Wolverines napping. After a few phases, Miles Honens slipped by his opposite number to score the final try of the game.
Cal started bringing on some substitutes with several minutes to play, managing the clock and avoiding contact. With the game in hand, the Bears are looking towards a matchup with Life in the semi-finals. Cal will take on Life at 3PM ET, live on NBC.
“I just think they played a little too much defense,” Clark added. “ It is now on to the semis where undoubtedly things get harder.”