Attention-grabbing trophy claimed by Cal & "Boy, he'd look good in a Cowboy uniform"
By Phil Collin, www.armedforcesbowl.com
First, it was the attention-grabbing trophy of the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl. Not only was it heavy, as California coach Sonny Dykes would soon find out, it was unique.
It was cast out of parts from the battlefield of all five branches of the United States armed forces, so it is an enduring reminder that we can’t have enough tributes to go their way.
On Dec. 29, with the Air Force Academy in Amon G. Carter Stadium to face Cal, a crowd of 38,915 and six interlopers who made their way in by parachute got to see a record-setting performance by Golden Bears quarterback Jared Goff.
All the hometown viewers of Goff’s 467-yard, six-touchdown performance muttered throughout the game that “Boy, he’d look good in a Cowboys uniform.” It just may happen if Goff decides to pass on his senior season and Dallas lands in the right spot in the NFL Draft order.
The game, a 55-36 victory for the Golden Bears, was marred on Cal’s third play from scrimmage, when Air Force safety Weston Steelhammer was ejected for targeting on what appeared to be a simple football collision with receiver Bryce Treggs on a pass that was thrown a tad behind him,
Air Force coach Troy Calhoun was combative - of course, it’s the Armed Forces Bowl - when answering questions about the play. Treggs was even more straightforward.
“I’m not a huge fan of the targeting rule, because it’s not like he was literally aiming for my head,” Treggs said. “It happened to match up like that. I wish he could have finished the game.”
Instead, the Cal passing attack finished off the Falcons, with Treggs accounting for 143 yards in receptions, including a 30-yard scoring catch that was Cal’s longest scoring play of the game.
But while Air Force needed to play catch-up with its triple-option ground attack, the Falcons never backed down. In fact, both teams scored in every quarter.
Cal has a re-emerging program only two seasons after a 1-11 campaign. Air Force, of course, will continue to produce quality football played by those who will graduate as officers and fight to protect freedom.
“Probably what makes these guys so special is they don’t think they’re special,” Calhoun said. “They’re driven.”