San Luis Obispo, Calif. - California scored 13 tries to defeat the Cal Poly Mustangs 79-26 Saturday at the Cal Poly Sports Complex.
Wing James McTurk scored three tries and flanker Ryan Hodson notched a pair as the Golden Bears (24-0, 7-0) ended their regular season by clinching the top spot in the Pacific region.
Cal will face Life University, the No. 2 team from the Mid-South, May 7 in a national quarterfinal at a venue to be determined.
A mixed lineup took the pitch with all cylinders firing in the first half.
Sophomore hooker Jake Wrobel and reserve prop Lyall Davenport helped man the front row, the second row was a one-two punch of freshman Patrick Coleman and sophomore Brendan Daly, and the No. 8 position was filled by reserve Nick Westerman. Co-captain Jason Law played at flanker in his first full 80 minutes since returning from injury.
McTurk, whose final score came on a 96-meter interception return, was joined in the backline by sophomores Jared Braun and Brad Harrington in the centers and freshman Jake Anderson at fullback.
"We had a great mentality to work hard right from the kickoff and leave everything on the field," McTurk said of Cal's nine-try first half, after which Cal Poly battled to outscore the Bears in the second stanza. "We just need to keep striving to working hard all the way through until the game's over."
Sean Gallinger handled flyhalf responsibilities for the first time this season during the first half, giving James Bailes the day off. Gallinger converted 6-of-9 tries in addition to scoring one of his own as the Bears built a 57-0 lead at the break.
During the second half, by which time 11 underclassmen were on the field for the Bears, Cal Poly answered back with four tries, reminding Cal of the primary mission to play a full 80 minutes at maximum intensity.
"Pregame our primary goal was to play with 100 percent effort and if we did that, everything else would follow," said Law. "In the first half we did that but we need to keep working hard. That 80 minutes really is a personal battle to keep digging deep."
Following the First XV, the reserve-grade match ended with Cal defeating Cal Poly by the score of 77-0.
Cal will commence preparations for its May 7 meeting with Life University, which has clinched its Mid-South No. 2 slot with one regular-season match still remaining at winless Oklahoma.
Tries: Hodson 2, McTurk 3, Anderson, Wrobel, Gallinger, Coleman, Lombardo, Ring, Westerman, Braun
Convs: Gallinger 5, Harrington
Cal Poly 26
Tries: McNeal, Ferri, Nasser, Gersh
Convs: Ferri 3