NCAAF Game Recap - California at Illinois
Mon Dec 30, 2019 4:00 PM EST

Okla
28
LSU
63
F
Clem
29
OHSt
23
F
Fla
36
UVA
28
F
Mem
39
PSU
53
F
ND
33
IASt
9
F
USC
24
Iowa
49
F
AF
31
WaSt
21
F
OkSt
21
TxAM
24
F
BYU
34
Hawaii
38
F
LaTec
14
MiaFL
0
F
Pitt
34
E Mi
30
F
UNC
55
Temp
13
F
MSU
27
Wake
21
F
W Ky
23
WestMI
20
F
Cal
35
Ill
20
F
MisSt
28
Lou
38
F

Dec 30, 2019, 4:00 PM EST

Final

1

2

3

4

T

California (8-5)

7

14

7

7

35

Illinois (6-7)

10

3

0

7

20

Garbers big day leads Cal past Illinois in Redbox Bowl
Mon Dec 30, 2019 8:58 PM

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) As a freshman a year ago, Chase Garbers was benched at halftime for ineffectiveness during his first trip to a bowl game. The California quarterback made his second appearance in the postseason much more memorable for both himself and the Golden Bears.

Garbers threw four touchdown passes and ran for another score, leading California to a 35-20 win over Illinois on Monday in the Redbox Bowl.

"He's taken that next step and he's worked at it, whether it's the weight room, meetings, practice" Golden Bears coach Justin Wilcox said. "He has just continued to work at it and guys respect him because of how hard he works. It really showed today."

Garbers, who had been in and out of the lineup all season because of a shoulder injury, got going after being sacked on the first play from scrimmage and throwing an incomplete pass on the second. The offensive MVP of the game, Garbers completed 22 of 31 passes for 272 yards with TD passes of 4, 3, 2 and 6 yards. He also scored on quarterback sneak from the 1 early in the second quarter while helping the Bears set a season-high for scoring.

It was significantly different than 2018, when Garbers threw three first-half interceptions against TCU in the Cheez-It Bowl and spent the remainder of the game on the sidelines.

"It went a lot better today than last year," Garbers said. "It just speaks to the guys in our offensive room and the team and how hard we work. We knew playing Illinois there would be shots we needed to take. You just have to execute those shot plays."

The Bears won all seven games this season when the oft-injured Garbers played more than one half.

Christopher Brown Jr. ran for 120 yards on 20 carries, and Makai Polk caught five passes for a season-high 105 yards as Cal (8-5) won its first bowl game since 2015.

Brandon Peters passed for 273 yards and one touchdown for Illinois (6-7) in his return after sitting out the regular-season finale with a concussion. Peters, who was shaken up again after diving out of bounds following a scramble late in the fourth quarter, completed 22 of 37 passes and added a team-high 68 rushing yards.

The Illini lost despite outgaining the Bears in total yards 450-395.

"We didn't play well enough. You have to give Cal credit for that," Illinois coach Lovie Smith said. "Sometimes yards can be a little misleading. They got in the end zone more than we did."

The strong showing by Garbers offset an uneven day by California's defense.

The Bears allowed a field goal and touchdown on the Fighting Illini's first two drives, then surrendered a late field goal before halftime.

Illinois' offense was mostly stagnant after that, while California pulled away.

The Bears had lost three of their previous four bowl games.

California led 14-10 late in the second quarter before the teams combined for 10 points in the final 25 seconds.

After Wilcox made the decision to go for it on a 4th-and-goal, Garbers threw a short swing pass to Brown, who stiff-armed Illinois linebacker Tolson Khalan before reaching the end zone.

Peters helped the Illini answer quickly. He completed three consecutive passes for 58 yards, setting up a 30-yard field goal by James McCourt.

THE TAKEAWAY

California: The Bears put a nice ending on their roller-coaster season with their third consecutive win. Linebacker Evan Weaver was stopped short in his bid to set the NCAA single-season record for tackles, but that was one of the few things that didn't go Cal's way. Garbers might have needed this game as much as anybody and it bodes well for the entire offense heading into next year.

Illinois: There was never much consistency to the offense and the secondary was repeatedly beaten for big gains, a bad combination on a day when California's quarterback had a career game. Smith acknowledged before the game that he felt the Illini were already a year ahead of schedule, so in a way, they were playing with house money. But with three consecutive losses to end the year, much of that progress will be overshadowed.

NO RECORD FOR WEAVER

Weaver had nine tackles against Illinois, giving him 182 on the season. The record of 193 was set by Texas Tech's Lawrence Flugence in 2002.

DELAY, DELAY, DELAY

Illinois' offense continually put itself in bad position with three delay of game penalties. "Two of them were my fault," Peters said. "I just wasn't paying attention to the play clock."

TWICE IN TEN

This is Cal's second eight-win season in the past decade. The Bears also went 8-5 in 2015 under then-coach Sonny Dykes.

UP NEXT

California: The Bears will lose Weaver to graduation but return 18 other starters on offense and defense. They open the 2020 season against UNLV at Allegiant Stadium, the future home of the NFL's Las Vegas Raiders.

Illinois: With almost the entire starting unit on both sides of the ball expected back next season, Smith's team has high expectations heading into 2020. The Illini will host Illinois State in the season opener on Sept. 4.

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Passing

Cal Att Cmp % TD-Pa Yds-Pa LgPa Int Rat
C. Garbers 31 22 71.0 4 272 38 0 137.4
Ill Att Cmp % TD-Pa Yds-Pa LgPa Int Rat
B. Peters 37 22 59.5 1 273 40 1 80.1
C. Miller 1 1 100.0 0 12 12 0 116.7

Rushing

Cal Att Yds-Ru Avg LgRu TD-Ru
C. Brown Jr. 20 120 6.0 54 0
M. Dancy 2 11 5.5 6 0
Ill Att Yds-Ru Avg LgRu TD-Ru
B. Peters 8 68 8.5 30 0
R. Corbin 14 41 2.9 12 1

Receiving

Cal Rec Yds-Rc Avg LgRc TD-Rc
M. Polk 5 105 21.0 38 0
J. Tonges 3 65 21.7 25 0
Ill Rec Yds-Rc Avg LgRc TD-Rc
D. Navarro 6 77 12.8 29 0
D. Barker 3 55 18.3 40 1

Fumbles

Ill F FL
B. Peters 1 0

Returning

Cal KR Avg KRTD LgKR PR Avg TD LgPR
D. Collins 3 16.7 0 18 0 - 0 0
N. Remigio 0 - 0 0 2 9.5 0 11
Ill KR Avg KRTD LgKR PR Avg TD LgPR
D. Brown 3 18.3 0 20 0 - 0 0
D. Navarro 0 - 0 0 1 3.0 0 3

Punting

Cal Punt Yds Avg LgPu
S. Coutts 6 271 45.2 50
Ill Punt Yds Avg LgPu
B. Hayes 5 208 41.6 55

Takeaways

Cal Int Yds InTD
J. Hawkins 1 12 0

Team Stats Comparison

Cal Ill
Points For 35 20
Total Yards 395 450
Rushing Yards 123 165
Passing Yards 272 285
Passing Completions / Attempts 22/31 23/39
Turnovers 0 1
Interceptions Thrown 0 1
Fumbles - Lost 0/0 2/0
First Downs 24 24
Penalties - Yards 5/45 10/89
Time Of Possession 53:53 7:07
Third Down Conversions/Attempts 6/13 8/15
Fourth Down Conversions/Attempts 1/1 0/1
Punts - Average Yards 6/45 5/42

Scoring Summary

1st Quarter Cal Ill
Ill 4:40 FG James McCourt 25 yd FG 0 3
Cal 7:51 TD Collin Moore 4 yd pass from Chase Garbers (Greg Thomas kick) 7 3
Ill 14:50 TD Daniel Barker 5 yd pass from Brandon Peters (James McCourt kick) 7 10
2nd Quarter Cal Ill
Cal 2:48 TD Chase Garbers 1 yd run (Greg Thomas kick) 14 10
Cal 14:35 TD Christopher Brown Jr. 3 yd pass from Chase Garbers (Greg Thomas kick) 21 10
Ill 15:00 FG James McCourt 30 yd FG 21 13
3rd Quarter Cal Ill
Cal 4:15 TD Gavin Reinwald 2 yd pass from Chase Garbers (Greg Thomas kick) 28 13
4th Quarter Cal Ill
Cal 3:54 TD Nikko Remigio 6 yd pass from Chase Garbers (Greg Thomas kick) 35 13
Ill 6:59 TD Reggie Corbin 6 yd run (James McCourt kick) 35 20

Game Information

Stadium: Levi's Stadium, Santa Clara, California
Attendance: 34,177
Game Time:
Weather: