Blue and Gold Illustrated

Sept. 17, 2022

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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Page 34 of 55 SEPT. 17, 2022 35 GAME PREVIEW: CALIFORNIA BY TYLER HORKA D on't blame Jack Plummer if he gets a case of déjà vu. On Sept. 18, 2021, Plum- mer suited up to play against the Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Sta- dium. On Sept. 17, 2022, Plummer will suit up to play against the Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium. Two years, two games at one of the most historic venues in college football. That's something he won't ever forget. Something he'll tell his children and grandchildren about someday. He might have to include the part in which he quarterbacked the Pur- due Boilermakers to a 27-13 loss to the Irish in the first go around. He com- pleted 25 of 36 passes for 187 yards with a touchdown. His fate in matchup No. 2 is yet to be determined. Plummer returns to South Bend as the starting quarterback for the Cali- fornia Golden Bears. He transferred to Berkeley not with playing Notre Dame for a second time in mind but with the aspiration of finishing his college ca- reer the right way. He started the first four games of the 2021 season and led Purdue to a 3-1 record, but he was re- placed by Aidan O'Connell in Week 5. Plummer decided to transfer as soon as the season ended. He an- nounced he'd be going elsewhere on Nov. 30. Reports of his new destina- tion surfaced less than a month later. On Jan. 11, he tweeted his "next chap- ter" with a photo of him throwing in a Cal uniform. The tweet also said "let's get it" with a Bear emoji. That's it. He's a man of few words. He said his goals for the 2022 season are to not leave any throws on the field and to finish every game with no regrets. He gets a second chance to do that at Notre Dame Stadium. Most college quarterbacks who do not play for the Irish never get one. Plummer connected on 23 of 35 throws for 268 yards with 3 touch- downs and an interception in his Cal debut, a 34-13 victory over UC Da- vis. Cal will go against a common op- ponent of Notre Dame's in UNLV on Sept. 10, then it's on to the Irish. Plummer is in the full swing of things as a Golden Bear. "In the spring I just wanted to come in and show everyone I could play," Plummer said. "I didn't want to be a loudmouth and be the new guy who comes in and tries to talk when it's other people's team. "But building relationships with the guys, now I feel I can be a bit more vocal." MAKING PLAYS Plummer is replacing Chase Gar- bers, who is currently on the Las Vegas Raiders' practice squad in the NFL. Garbers threw for 6,580 yards with 50 touchdowns and 24 intercep- tions in his Cal career. The Bears had a 21-21 record in his four years in Berke- ley, but Garbers did all he could. The hope for Cal is there are finally some weapons around the signal- caller to help turn the program into more of a prolific offensive threat. The Bears ranked a mediocre No. 76 in passing offense in 2021 at 221.1 yards per game. Garbers only had 16 touch- down passes in 11 games last fall. He had 3 touchdown tosses in a single game just once. Plummer did it in his first game with the program. "Granted, I wasn't here last year. But I think the guys we have are good players," Plummer said. "They can make good plays." Eleven different players caught at least one pass for the Bears in the sea- son opener. The touchdowns went to three different players, too. Junior wide receiver Jeremiah Hunter led the way with 6 receptions for 78 yards and a score. Redshirt freshman J. Mi- chael Sturdivant had 4 catches for 55 yards. Hunter is 6-foot-2 and Stur- divant is 6-foot-3, so Notre Dame has some sizable targets to contend with in the secondary. Freshman running back Jaydn Ott had an impressive debut. He carried 17 times for a team-high 104 yards. He broke a long carry of 18 yards and added 2 catches for 26 yards. He's a back without much of a scouting re- port but one Notre Dame defensive BEARING DOWN The Golden Bears have a new quarter- back and plenty of fresh faces ready to compete with the Fighting Irish Facts & Figures CALIFORNIA AT NOTRE DAME Date: Sept. 10, 2022 Site: Notre Dame Stadium Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. ET Television: NBC Streaming: Peacock Radio: This game can be heard on Notre Dame IMG affiliates. Series Facts: This is the fifth meeting in series history. Notre Dame owns the all-time series lead 4-0 and won the last meeting 41-8 on Sept. 23, 1967. Head coaches: California — Justin Wilcox (28-28, sixth season); Notre Dame — Marcus Freeman (0-3, first season). Noting Cal: Prior to Week 2, the Golden Bears had 58 players on the 113-man roster (including walk-ons) who had never appeared in a college football game … 35 of those play- ers are new to the program, including nine transfers … Cal went 4-2 in the second half of the 2021 season … The UC Davis win improved Cal's nonconference record to 11-3 during the Wilcox era … Cal's 10 turnovers in 2021 was an all-time program record; the Bears only lost 2 fumbles all year … None of the six quarter- backs on Cal's roster had taken a single snap for the Bears going into the 2022 season … Cal had at least one victory over a ranked team in Wilcox's first four seasons but failed to register one in 2021; the only ranked team Cal played last year was No. 9 Oregon, and the Ducks won 24-17 in Eugene. California graduate student quarterback Jack Plummer started and completed 25 of 36 passes for 187 yards with a touchdown for Purdue in a 27-13 loss at Notre Dame in 2021. PHOTO COURTESY CAL ATHLETICS/AL SERMENO

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