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If Cal coach Sonny Dykes believes Northwestern defenders were faking injuries in the second half of Saturday night's game to slow down his offense, he wasn't willing to say so postgame, but he came close.
Northwestern beat Cal 44-30 in a game that featured Cal running 99 offensive plays in its up-tempo offense.
At times, Dykes appeared visibly frustrated on the sidelines as Northwestern players were tended to on the field by the Northwestern medical staff.
“It affected it a lot,” Dykes said of how the rash of Northwestern injuries affected his offense. “It was just unusual. It seemed like every time we got a first down they had an injury. I hadn’t seen that, wasn’t expecting to see that, was disappointed that I saw that. But that’s the way it goes sometimes.”
A reporter suggested that Cal fans in the stands seemed to believe Northwestern was faking injuries and asked the first-year Cal coach if he believed that was true.
“It’s probably better that I don’t say," Dykes said.
That probably won't go over well with Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald who bristled at the notion his players were faking injuries to slow down the Bears.
“If anybody were to question the integrity of myself, our program or our players, I question theirs,” Fitzgerald told the Chicago Sun-Times. “So that’s all I say. Our guys get dinged up. They get dinged up, they’re instructed to go down. You’ve never walked in and heard me say that ever, have you? I have a hard time with that. But if our guys get dinged up, they’re instructed to go down not hobble of to the sideline.”
Dykes didn't make a big deal out of the situation and gave Northwestern plenty of credit in his postgame comments. He didn't address the topic until he was asked about it 7 minutes into his press conference.
Meanwhile, Cal fans shared their disapproval on Twitter.
The odd thing about all this is that Cal, under former coach Jeff Tedford, was accused of doing the same thing three years ago in a low-scoring game against Oregon.