Both Cal and TCU saw their quarterbacks throw three interceptions in the first half, the first five coming in the first 17 minutes of play. For a long period of time, a Cal defender was the Frogs’ leading receiver, as redshirt senior Grayson Muehlstein completed two passes to Golden Bears before his first to a Frog.
As if that wasn’t enough, this is a real play that happened in a bowl game in 2018:
What is going on?!— Bleacher Report CFB (@BR_CFB) December 27, 2018
Though the TCU offense kept looking for new and exciting ways to give the Bears the ball, the Horned Frog defense showed up in a big way. Interceptions by Julius Lewis, Niko Small (in the TCU end zone), and Jeff Gladney (with time running down in the first half) controlled the California offense - who only scored when handed a short field and after completing a 30 yard pass that cost them their leading receiver, to injury.
The Frogs had four first half sacks, as Arico Evans, Ty Summers, Ben Banogu, and L.J. Collier made life miserable for Cal redshirt freshman QB Chase Garbers - who had just 93 yards passing on 12 completions, adding another 23 on the ground.
Meanwhile, Muehlstein struggled to get things going, as he was just 4-14 for ten yards in teh opening 30 minutes of play. Sewo Olonilua started strong with 70 yards on the ground, averaging 6.4 per on 11 touches. TCU’s most important offensive player, Jalen Reagor, was held to just four yards of offense on a rushing attempt. In all, the Frogs had just 83 total yards of offense while allowing 145 to the Golden Bears. Their best drive, one in which Olonilua was dominant, ended when Muehstein scrambled on a fourth and two play with less than a minute remaining in the half, a play that ended in a 12 yard sack.
The lone bright spot for TCU was the punting of Adam Nunez - the junior had struggled this season, but averaged 46 yards on three punts, keeping TCU in the field position game.
TCU will receive the opening kick-off of the second half, looking to right the ship and get back in this ball game.