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Any fears that Cal would take a step back offensively by losing quarterback Jared Goff were assuaged Friday as new starter Davis Webb threw for more than 400 yards in his Bears’ debut.
Cal defeated Hawaii 51-31 in front of 61,247 fans in the inaugural Sydney Cup in Australia, which marked the official start to the college football season. The game was the first collegiate contest for the city and an attempt to show Sydney had the ability to host a major college football bowl game in the future.
And Webb did his best to give the fans a good show.
Webb, a Texas Tech transfer, didn’t have much of a learning curve since he ran a similar offense in Lubbock, and his Air Raid acumen showed up early. He made several first-half connections with receiver Chad Hansen, who had 14 catches for 160 yards and two first-half touchdowns.
Webb, who surprisingly played the entire game, never stopped throwing even as the Bears were up by 20 with a minute remaining. He hit 10 different receivers and completed 37 of 53 passes for 441 yards and four touchdowns. Webb also rushed for a score. What’s more, the Bears didn’t turn the ball over and that’s really what tilted the game in Cal’s favor.
The Rainbow Warriors had three turnovers, including a costly fumble on a kickoff toward the end of the first half, which helped turn a six-point Hawaii deficit with five minutes remaining in the first half into a 17-point Cal halftime lead.
While Cal’s offense looked like it picked up where it left off last season, unfortunately so did the defense. Hawaii’s 31 points were the most the Rainbow Warriors had scored since 2014 and they averaged 6.5 yards per rush. Had it not been for the turnovers, this game could have been much closer.
With this game in the books, there’s just one week until the rest of the college football season gets underway.
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