On September 27, 2019, the California Golden Bears (4-1) and Arizona State Sundevils (4-1) squared off for the Pac 12 Conference showdown. With 4:41 remaining in the contest, Arizona State running back Eno Benjamin sealed the 24-17 victory with his third touchdown of the evening. Cal entered the game as a 4 point favorite after beating Ole Miss and providing the Pac 12 with its first win against a SEC opponent since 2010.
This was a highly contested and close battle throughout the evening. Cal quarterback Chase Garbers injured his shoulder in the second quarter and did not return. Prior to the injury, Garbers completed 9 of 12 passes for 117 yards, and 1 touchdown. Garbers was replaced by back-up quarterback Devon Modster who only completed 5 of 14 passes for 23 yards and 1 interception.
The score was tied 7-7 at halftime.
The Cal defense was led by Linebacker Evan Weaver who entered the game leading the NCAA in solo tackles (10) and total tackles per game (15.8). Weaver lived up to the billing and finished the game with 15 total tackles. However, the Sun Devils started freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels who made all the necessary plays. Daniels ran the zone read offense, which compliments his attributes as an effective runner and passer. Daniels finished the evening with 174 passing yards and ran for 84 more on an injured ankle.
Despite the injuries and the effectiveness of Daniels, Cal still had a chance to win the game. The Bears led 17-14 when Joseph Ogunbanio recovered a fumble by Daniels. Cal settled for a 47-yard field goal from Greg Thomas. On the ensuing possession, the Sun Devils took a 21-17 lead with a 15-play, 75-yard touchdown scoring drive. Cal was on a game winning drive. The Bears drove down to the 29 yard line, but Modster threw an incomplete pass on 4th down. Later, the Sun Devils kicked a 43-yard field goal to make it 24-17 for the final score.
Sun Devil’s second year Head Coach Herm Edwards returned to his Alma Mater and led his team to its second win against a ranked opponent after upsetting Michigan two weeks ago. After the game, Edwards said, “We knew it was going to be tough sledding but we kept trying to run it…We didn’t give up on it and eventually we punched it in.”
Cal Linebacker Evan Weaver summed up the game, “They outplayed us in every facet of the game. Can’t play very well and can’t win games when you’re not even making the simple plays, and we didn’t today. That was it.”