Cal inside linebacker Evan Weaver was on one Saturday afternoon in Oxford, Mississippi.
He was definitely in the building and absolutely feeling himself.
The Golden Bears pulled off an incredible 28-20 victory over the Rebels at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium Saturday in front of 46,850 fans, telling everyone that Jerry Hollingsworth Field was, in fact, Bear Territory.
But the only person Weaver wanted to tell was Ole Miss quarterback Matt Corral. And he got his chance when a reporter asked him after the game what the message to the defense was at halftime.
“I mean there wasn’t really a message. I’m just gonna say it, he’s not the greatest quarterback in the world,” said Weaver in his post-game interview. “So he talked trash to us, so I'm going to talk it right back. He obviously can’t put his money where his mouth is. We shut him up good.”Controversy sells. (Getty Images)
Sounds like shots fired right? But Weaver was responding to a quote from Corral earlier in the week about how the Bears would fair in the great state of Mississippi.
“They’re from California,” said Corral in a press conference Tuesday. “They’re used to the California lifestyle. They’re not used to the Mississippi heat, the weather, the humidity. The time zone is different, if that’s an excuse.”
Ole Miss QB Matt Corral earlier this week: "They're from #California. They're used to the California lifestyle. They're not used to the Mississippi heat, the weather, the humidity. The time zone is different, if that's an excuse."
FINAL: No. 23 @CalFootball 28, Ole Miss 20. pic.twitter.com/Hn1j8OntcN
— Ryan Maquiñana (@RMaq28) September 21, 2019
Fun fact: Matt Corral is a Ventura, California native. And after speaking with the reporter who asked the initial question of Corral, the quote wasn’t so much a commentary on players from California as it was on the ability for the weather to be a major factor in a game like this. But to be fair, Corral is notoriously chippy and was likely chipping during the game.
But Weaver & Co. clearly saw it as a diss. It was probably a locker room topic all week and could have been a motivating factor behind the Bears stellar performance – the first Pac-12 win at an SEC Stadium since 2010.
It also didn’t help that Jordan Rodgers, brother of notorious Cal alum Aaron Rodgers fired some shots of his own on SEC Network in a similar discussion about West Coasters playing in the southern heat.
“Those California boys like me, we’re soft – we don’t like that,” said Jordan Rodgers during an SEC Network preview of the Cal-Ole Miss game.
Bold, bold words from the former Vanderbilt quarterback. But then again he's never been one to shy away from hot takes.
Truth is, the weather in Oxford was surprisingly temperate, comfortable even, with temps in the high 80's throughout the game. And the humidity was manageable. Plus the early start time seemed to roust Cal rather than subdue them.
Certainly in Weaver's case - the senior linebacker finished with a career-high 22 tackles, moving him up to sixth on Cal's career tackles list, now with 293. This game was his 11th consecutive game with at least 10 stops. How does he do it?
"Just tackle the guy with the ball, keep it from crossing the white stripe - that was really the game plan right there," explained Weaver.
Bottom line - the Pac-12, and Cal, in particular, is feistier than you think this year. Tread, and Tweet, lightly.
Sports writer. Avid fan, former player, once-upon-a-time coach, reluctant referee. I do digital media things with my friends. I also jinx kickers. Bay Area born & raised.