Cal Football: Bears Defense Now Worst in School History

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Cal Football: Bears Defense Now Worst in School History
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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
Opponent Points Against Cal Season Average
Northwestern 44 28.0
Portland State (FCS) 30 33.6
Ohio State 52 48.2
@ Oregon 55 51.7
Washington State 44 29.8
@ UCLA 37 36.6
Oregon State 49 37.2
@ Washington 41 37.2
Arizona 33 34.8
USC 62 29.0


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)
Category Rank
Scoring Defense 44.7 Points/Game 123rd
Rushing Defense 195.60 Yards/Game 96th
Passing Defense 331.1 Yards/Game 125th
Total Defense 526.7 Yards/Game 123rd
Opponent First Downs 24.9 First Downs/Game 120th
Opponent 4th Down Conversion Rate 60.00% 93rd
Opponent Red Zone Touchdown Rate 67.44% 96th
Opponent Red Zone Scoring Rate 86.05% 90th
Opponent Rushing Plays of 20+ Yards 25 Plays 122nd
Opponent Passing Plays of 50+ Yards 9 Plays 123rd

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

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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