Behind Enemy Lines: Bucks Conquer Berkeley

Written September 16th, 2013 by MaliBuckeye
California Dreamin'

California Dreamin’

In lieu of “Shots From The ‘Shoe” this week, here’s what the day was like for Ohio State fans as the team was on the road. We’ve covered the ins and outs on the field, this is more of a travelogue from gameday.

Seemingly like the rest of Buckeye Nation, I made the trek north to the Bay Area for an amazing weekend of college football. I actually hesitate to call this “Behind Enemy Lines”, as Berkeley seemed to have turned into Columbus west for the better part of Friday and Saturday.

The atmosphere was energized… a gorgeous fall day, the fog burned off around 11:30 or so and we spent the afternoon in sun and temperatures around the high 70s. Even from blocks away, you could tell that Ohio State fans would be well represented in the newly renovated Memorial Stadium.

As you may have heard, Cal is not configured for much “tailgating” in the traditional sense. I guess they’d much rather have another organic chai shop than creating accessible parking that the pre-game festivities would require. Nevertheless, folks found a way.

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On Friday, I’d gone by famous Telegraph Avenue with the wife to do some shopping in Berkeley’s well known music and book stores. I chose to “blend in” by wearing my tie-dyed shirt… Buckeye specific, of course. It didn’t take long for me to get severa “O!H!” greetings, as well as a “F***the Buckeyes!” from a moron in blue and gold. Must have been a Michigan exchange students.

Saturday, it was good to see that someone else had my incredible fashion sense.

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On gameday, Telegraph now looked much different, with Ohio State fans pouring out of every bar and coffeeshop on the block. Even the places that advertised themselves as “Bear Bars” were filled with Buckeyes pregaming and watching the Alabama/Texas A&M game.

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Although, come to think of it, “Bear Bar” may have meant something different than I initially assumed… but the game was on, so it was difficult to tell.

Eventually, we headed past the Fox Sports One area and made the trek up toward Memorial stadium. While The ‘Shoe stands alone in the Columbus skyline, Cal’s stadium is nestled up against a hillside and is only approachable/open from one side. Cal has a beautiful campus, although Buckeye fans were making it clear whose team would own the day.

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At the Buckeye Bash alumni event, I was lucky enough to connect with our friend Mekka Don and his team… He was there not only celebrating the great day, but also doing some work with Ohio State for an upcoming event with the Athletic Department. We’ll have more details in the coming weeks, but we’re pretty juiced about this announcement.

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Even looking through the tunnel of the stadium, you could tell that Scarlet and Gray would dominate the stands this day.

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We were fortunate to have our seats among the players’ families, and right behind Dr. Waters and The Best Damn Band In The Land. Pregame, they joined Coach Mick and the team for Quick Cals… later, we would see how quickly Ohio State wanted to attack Cal.

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When the band took the field for pregame, including double Script Ohio, I talked with some of the folks around us about what I’d learned from Charles- that Cal’s band is heavily influenced by TBDBITL due to some shared history. While Cal’s musicians were fine enough if you’re into that type of thing, Ohio State’s band blew them away… as should be expected.

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We had seen that Braxton was not in uniform during pre-game work, but the general consensus was “It’s all good… Kenny G has got this”. The first minutes of the game would prove that to be correct- the Walter Camp Offensive Player of the Week took the “Quick Cal” mantra to heart and Ohio State scored twice in their first five plays.

By midway through the first quarter (hey, it’s California. That’s early) the student section had finally filled in and the stadium had mostly reached capacity. As you can see, Memorial Stadium puts them at midfield, and has even created a platform in front of them for the cheer squad to use. I was impressed with how coordinated they were for this big game, although this area was pretty much a ghost town mid-way through the third quarter.

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A highlight for me was connecting with the family of site favorite Bryce Haynes. I mentioned that I hoped we wouldn’t see much of him in this week’s game, but I think that we ended up with just the right amount of longsnapper and Aussie.

As you know from livechatting with me, I’m pretty pessimistic… a Cooper Years Survivor (I need to go to a meeting). Even up by two or three scores. I couldn’t find myself relaxing to enjoy the game.  That being said, Cal’s first two scores were pretty “fluky”- coverage confusion on a deep pass due to two receivers/DBs in the same area; A tunnel screen that was perfectly timed against pressure and included a crushing block.

While early on the Bears chipped away at Ohio State, I was pretty satisfied with the defense’s efforts to make big plays when they were needed. Goff will be a great player in the PAC12, and I’m glad that Cal’s now off of Ohio State’s schedule. That being said, the pressure that Ohio State’s front four got onto the QB stood out to me, particularly given their quick-release philosophy for the passing game.

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Plus, I never had a doubt that the Buckeyes would be able to score. While the playcalling seemed conservative at times, the offensive line, Jordan Hall, Dontre Wilson, and Kenny G were in command of the game from the first snap. Imagine if Jordan had kept his footing in the picture above…. it looked like that all afternoon.

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As the sun set, and Ohio State continued to grind out their 600+ yards of total offense, you could sense that the remaining, very partisan crowd was enjoying every moment. My wife and I had been chatting all evening with a fan who was seated behind us; I eventually told him that I had an online persona here at tBBC, and was humbled when he said that he was a reader.

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So, we enjoyed the rest of the win with tBBC partner West Coast Buckeye and his family; and we all stayed (along with 80% of the Ohio State faithful in the end zone) to sing Carmen Ohio with the team and band.

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As we left the stadium, we were able to enjoy an amazing California Sunset. While the sky had turned various shades of blue and gold, the tailgating, the fans, the band, and the scoreboard proved that the day belonged to the Scarlet and Gray.

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9 Comments

  1. KenNo Gravatar
    September 16th, 2013 at 1:45 pm

    Ah, a very nice read, Mali, thanks.

    “Online persona”? You mean that MaliBuckeye isn’t your real name? Saaaay, what in tarnation is going on here?

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    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    September 16th, 2013 at 2:29 pm

    Relax, Ken! It’s my middle name… my parents were omniscient, with a sense of humor.

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  2. KenNo Gravatar
    September 16th, 2013 at 4:47 pm

    I get sports blogs an all, and I think you had some good stuff in your post, but every compliment doesn’t need to be backhanded. You come off as sounding sort of needy, which you shouldn’t be. You should have the self confidence to just be able to compliment your opponent and leave it there. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    KenNo Gravatar
    September 16th, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Not sure if you do get sports blogs…

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    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    September 16th, 2013 at 5:10 pm

    Thanks, Ken… it was a great game, and if you’ve perused tBBC for a while, you’ll see that I’m incredibly bullish on the Cal program. Your punter quarterback (pretty sneaky, there!) is a perfect fit for Coach Dykes’ system; I can see the Bears challenging for the PAC12 title in a year or two.

    Thanks for being such great hosts as well- the folks from Ohio and around California had nothing to say about the facilities, fans, and overall experience.

    (Did you like that reply? ‘Cause I really really need you to like that reply)
    :)

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    NorCal BuckeyeNo Gravatar
    September 16th, 2013 at 11:47 pm

    Mali,

    Good seeing you on Saturday, glad you had fun in the Bay Area.

    It’s too bad the interloper-Ken doesn’t get your standard sense of humor and wit. It’s pretty indicative of the average Cal fan is out here, which is casual at best.

    I was disappointed to see the uninformed and/or ignorant fans run their mouth after they lost with comments about winning in life, much like the schmuck Al Saracevic from SFGate.com or Cal’s Athletic Director’s comment on twitter.

    It seemed these casual fans were soo let down and embarrassed about being shown up in their own stadium by our fanbase (2400 miles away at that) they had to resort to degrading comparisons and an attempt to justify losing (the game and general spirit) by reminding us that they’re far superior people (like it’s mutually exclusive).

    Favorite quote, from the waning moments of the game:
    “Yeah, well at least we’re not from Ohio” (in front of his Ohioan wife’s family).

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    MaliBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    September 17th, 2013 at 12:23 am

    “Yeah, at least we’re not from Ohio… where their taxes aren’t out of control, where their businesses aren’t fleeing in droves, where their traffic doesn’t suck, where their schools aren’t abysmal, and where they have actual seasons. Yeah, Ohio is awful”.

    As you can tell, I’m having one of those California days. :)

    Great to see you as well- let’s do it again in January!

    [Reply]

    KenNo Gravatar
    September 17th, 2013 at 2:03 am

    I FRICKIN LOVED THAT REPLY ;-)

    Let me take that stick out of my ass now.

    Even if the students left early, which apparently doesn’t happen anywhere else, it was a great college environment. I think we are all very impressed with the # of OSU fans there. I think the only school who brought more was Nebraska back in the low low low days of the Holmoecaust (or it might have been Gilbertson, they’re hard to tell apart).

    Glad you had a good time! I did a little write-up complimenting you folks here – http://iamfiatlux.com/2013/09/16/my-advice-to-cal-fans-just-enjoy-2013-we-have-something-good-going-on-here/

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  3. WestCoastBuckeyeNo Gravatar
    September 16th, 2013 at 5:26 pm

    What a great day this was. It was my son’s(In the hat next to Mali) first Buckeye game. Also the first major CFB for my freinds son(With the tasteful Scarlet face and grey Mohawk) whom I converted to Buckeye fandom upon moving out here. They got to see what it means to be a Buckeye. We cheered together and Chanted together. We all sang “Hang on Sloopy” We swam upstream with 30k+ other Scarlet faithful as we took the hill.

    As for meeting Mali and his lovely bride, that was MY particular highlight. After reading tBBC for 3+ years darn near every day and going through Countless live Blogs. God(and Woody) felt it necessary to complete my day with my own personal LIVE liveblog experience with Mali providing running commentary and analysis as the game went on. We had a blast the whole game and in short, you sir are good people. Anytime you find yourself in the Northern Half of the state look me up. I owe you a beverage or four. You’re Good People in my book!

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