Cal Football: Winners and Losers from Week 2 Game vs. Southern Utah
Obviously, Cal's Week 2 game against the Southern Utah Thunderbirds wasn't one of the most important contests of its season.
Rather, the matchup against Division 1-AA Southern Utah was the Golden Bears' easiest game of the year, on paper.
Despite that, this game still showed a few important things about Cal football and how certain things may play out this year for both sides.
This article will go through six winners and losers from Cal's Week 2 contest with the Thunderbirds.
Winner: Isi Sofele, Running Back
Things weren't looking so good for Isi Sofele after Cal's first game against Nevada. Sofele was given only five carries and totaled 21 yards for the game.
While 4.2 yards per carry is solid, he wasn't the featured back. This was a surprise to Cal fans, as Isi was one of the top offensive weapons coming into the season.
Fortunately, Sofele was featured as the team's top back in Week 2. He was given 19 carries and went for 104 yards and a touchdown.
Isi Sofele was a winner in this game because he re-established himself as one of the team's premier offensive players just a week after being at risk of losing his starting spot.
Loser: C.J. Anderson, Running Back
The same thing that made Isi Sofele a winner in Week 2 made C.J. Anderson a loser.
Anderson was the featured back against Nevada. He was given 14 carries and went for 66 yards. While those aren't outstanding numbers, he was still given nine more carries than Sofele, which is important to look at.
Unfortunately for Anderson, his time in the spotlight was short lived.
This week, Anderson was only given the ball five times compared to 19 carries for Sofele.
That is a pretty big step back for Anderson, who was looking at a more prominent role in the Golden Bear's attack. Instead, he finds himself in a fight for the backup role.
Winner: Brad Sorensen, Quarterback
Okay, Brad Sorensen isn't a part of Cal football. Also, his team lost the game. Still, Sorensen can be considered a winner because of how well he played in this one.
For those of you who don't know, Sorenson is probably the best quarterback in Division I-AA and is being scouted heavily by the NFL. He was even named the second-best small-school prospect by Dane Brugler.
Sorensen struggled in Week 1 against Division I opponent Utah State. He only completed 38 percent of his passes for 153 yards and an interception.
This week against Cal was different. Sorenson managed to complete 68.8 percent of his passes for 292 yards, four touchdowns and only one interception.
This performance was important for Sorensen because it proves that he can play well against higher-level talent. Week 1 definitely brought that question to light as he struggled against an average Division I team, but Sorensen's Week 2 performance should silence any questions about his talent.
Loser: Cal's Secondary
With the success of Southern Utah's quarterback comes the scrutiny of Cal's defense.
The Golden Bears' secondary struggled against Sorensen, allowing him to complete 68.8 percent of his passes while netting four touchdowns.
Cal ended up winning the game, in part because Sorensen had very little run support, but the questions are still there. Mostly, what will happen when Berkeley faces a team with a capable quarterback and running backs?
Marc Anthony did make a big play for the defense when he returned an interception 61 yards for a touchdown.
Besides that play, however, the secondary was shredded by Sorenson in the short passing game. Sorensen averaged 6.8 yards per passing play, much less than the 10.0 average that Cal quarterback Zach Maynard managed.
Cal's secondary was a loser in Week 2 because its play brought up a lot of question marks for the future.
Winner: Chris Harper, Wide Receiver
Against Southern Utah, Cal's freshman receiver Chris Harper built on his strong Week 1 performance, in which he caught five balls for 58 yards and a touchdown.
Against the Thunderbirds, Harper upped those numbers to seven receptions for 94 yards.
This was an important step for Harper because it establishes him as the Golden Bears' second receiver behind Keenan Allen.
Currently, Harper has more yards and catches than Allen while tying the star receiver for touchdowns.
Chris Harper can be considered a winner in Cal's Week 2 game because he proved that his performance against Nevada was simply standard. He can now be relied on to provide another offensive threat alongside Allen.
Loser: Southern Utah Thunderbirds
Obviously, Southern Utah was the actual loser of this game, falling 50-31 to a much more talented opponent.
The Thunderbirds, however, should be considered the losers because of how they lost the game.
Going into the fourth quarter, Southern Utah was only down three points to the Division I Golden Bears. They held Cal to zero points in both the first and third quarter, while scoring at least a field goal in each.
Instead of continuing the strong defense that had held Cal to 20 points through three quarters, Southern Utah collapsed. They allowed 30 points in the fourth quarter alone, more than Cal had scored in the rest of the game combined.
The Thunderbirds even scored 14 points in the fourth, but it wasn't enough. They dropped the ball during a game they easily could have won.
Southern Utah lost the game and its one chance to prove that they can compete with big and bad Division I opponents.