There may have been some who questioned why No. 8 Cal was wasting its time with a Football Championship Subdivision opponent Saturday. Don't include the Bears defensive players among that group. Cal's defense was forced to make some dramatic early adjustments before the Bears rolled to a 59-7 victory over Eastern Washington in front of 58,083 at Memorial Stadium. The Eagles hung around for most of the first half, putting together sustained drives with a short passing game that gave the Old Blues in attendance some nervous moments.
But the Bears tinkered with their defensive scheme, dropping more players into coverage and silencing the Eagles the rest of the way. "I feel like we learned a lot," said Cal linebacker Mychal Kendricks, who led the Bears in tackles for the second straight game to open the season with 14. "Eastern Washington is not a team to be taken lightly. We might have come out a little slow in the first quarter. We had to make those adjustments."
Eastern Washington (1-1) forged an 11-play, 83-yard drive midway through the first quarter that culminated in a 4-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mike Nichols to fullback Grant Williams, tying the game at 7-7. The Bears (2-0) were forced to punt on their ensuing possession, and when the Eagles registered a couple of first downs on their next drive, the thought of them making the game competitive started becoming less and less absurd.