Cal beat UCLA 29-7 in the 40-minute culmination of the Dennis Storer Classic Sunday. The two-day tournament was hosted in the shadows of Pauley Pavillion on UCLA’s scenic campus, with Cal going 4-0 to claim the Dennis Storer Memorial Trophy.
The Bruins started the game with a lot of vitality, tackling, running and rucking hard. But Cal’s size and superior field position eventually wore UCLA down.
“UCLA is the perfect opponent because they really hold their structure really well,” said Cal Head Coach Jack Clark. “You’ve got to work hard to have an extra man somewhere on the field. They have a lot of speed, the can handle the ball, they can kick the ball, they play strong defense. It was perfect.”
All American Seamus Kelly, who watched from the sidelines Saturday, burst into the 2013 season with two first-half tries against UCLA.
His first came in the eighth minute. Following a UCLA penalty, Cal took a lineout near the attacking five-meter-line. The Bears recycled the ball through the forwards once and spun it wide to Kelly, who broke through one tackle and fended off another before scoring the opening try. Jake Anderson converted.
Cal’s scored again when UCLA flyhalf Ben Francis tried to clear his lines with a kick, but it sailed straight down the middle of the field and into the possession of Cal fullback Jake Anderson, who cut through the Bruin defense before dishing the ball off. Inside center Jared Braun was wrestled to the ground just short of the try line, and Kelly picked from the base of the ruck and dove over for his second try.
“These 20 minute halves sometimes can be harder than 40 minutes, because you want to get an 80 minute game in a 40 minute game and stuff like that,” said Kelly, “but it’s nice to get a good game in.”
UCLA nearly caught a break when wing Seb Sharp chip-kicked past the Cal defense. A teammate scooped up the ball and tried to pass back to Sharp, who would have been cleanly in for the try, but the pass fell to ground.
Cal reversed field and put the Bruins deep in their own end. Off of a UCLA set piece, Kelly shot up quickly in defense and made a tackle behind the gainline. He spun quickly to his feet to play the ball and drew a UCLA penalty, which he quick tapped, leading to a Braun try. The conversion attempt was missed, leaving the Bears up 17-0 at halftime.
UCLA missed out on its second golden try-scoring opportunity at the onset of the second half, but as several Bruins were celebrating, the referee pinged the home team for a double movement and gave the ball back to Cal.
The Bruins made another grave error, knocking on in their own try zone, to set up the Bears next try, scored by Alec Gletzer.
UCLA finally got on the board when Ray Snellner ripped the ball from a Cal ball carrier and streaked up the touchline with good support. The ball found its way into Sharp’s hands, and he grubbered it into the try zone for Francis to dot down for UCLA’s lone try.
Cal scored once more to win by the final score line of 29-7. The Bears made wholesale changes in the second half and left some tries on the field, but the first half was all positive.
“I think it’s a positive sign,” said Kelly. “Obviously there’s still a lot to be done, still a lot of little details to work out. But guys are pretty familiar with each other, which is really helpful and gives us a good base to build on.”