Coach: Justin Wilcox
California Players to watch:
Senior MLB Evan Weaver (6-3/245)
One of three team season captains, Weaver was recently named Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. “This award means a lot to me,” Weaver said. “It’s really special when the coaches of the teams you play against recognize what you are doing on the football field.”
Weaver has earned multiple first-team All-American honors including a spot on the prestigious Walter Camp Football All-American team. The Walter Camp All-American team is one of five on a list that are recognized to be a consensus All-American with the others (American Football Coaches Association, Associated Press, Football Writers Association, Sporting News) yet to be released. Players on at least three of the five teams are considered to be consensus All-Americans.
Senior FS/RS Ashtyn Davis (6-1/195)
Davis recorded a career-high 57 tackles to rank fourth on the team. he had two interceptions, four pass breakups, six passes defended, two fumble recoveries and two forced fumbles. Davis also handled some kick return and punt return duties during the year.
**Sophomore RB Christopher Brown (6-1/230)
Brown leads the team with 794 rushing yards. He started the year by piling up 197 yards on the ground against UC Davis. He ended the year by racking up 111 against UCLA. Brown added 149 yards receiving and scored 11 total touchdowns.
*Junior RT Jake Curhan (6-6/330)
Curhan served as one of three season captains as voted on by his teammates. Playing right tackle for the last two and a half years, Curhan has started each of Cal’s last 37 games. He has been a nominee for CoSIDA Academic All-America honors as both a sophomore and junior.
*Junior LB Cameron Goode (6-3/233)
Goode posted career totals of 98 tackles, 18.5 tackles-for-loss, 10.0 sacks, two interceptions that he has returned for 70 yards and a pair of touchdowns, five pass breakups, seven passes defended, two forced fumbles and six quarterback hurries. In 2019, Goode had a career highs of 49 tackles, 13.0 tackles-for-loss, 8.5 sacks and six quarterback hurries.
Coach: Lovie Smith
Illinois Players to watch:
*Junior P Blake Hayes (6-6/230)
Hayes came to the Illinois football team through ProKick Australia, a program designed to turn Australian rules footballers into American football kickers. It has helped several to make their way to the States to play college football with a few moving on to the NFL.
This year, Hayes was named the Big Ten Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year. His 27 punts inside the 20 are the most in an Illinois single season since the stat began being kept in 1998 and his punting average of 44.8 yards per punt is second behind Steve Weatherford’s 45.4 in the school record books.
Senior LB Dele Harding (6-1/230)
Dele has had an outstanding senior campaign. He was the Big Ten leader, and second in FBS, in tackles per game (12.3 tpg). He racked up an impressive 147 tackles, 13.0 tackles-for-loss, three interceptions, forced three fumbles while recovering two. He also found the endzone two times this season. Harding was honored for his breakout senior season by being named First Team All-Big Ten by the conference media.
**Sophomore SS Sydney Brown (6-0/195)
In his first two years at Illinois, Brown has started 19 games at safety. In the process, he has recorded 135 tackles, 4 interceptions, and 9 pass breakups. Brown finished first among Big Ten safeties in interceptions and tackles.
*Junior OC Doug Kramer (6-2/305)
Kramer anchored an offensive line that helped the Illini put up 319 yards per game. One of five team captains, he has 27 straight starts entering the bowl game.
“You got to work with what you got,” Kramer said. “When I first initially got here, (former Illini offensive line coach Luke) Butkus told me, ‘I don’t care how tall you are. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care how long you are, it doesn’t matter. All that matters is what’s up top, what’s upstairs in your brain. Can you read the defense? Can you understand what’s going on? Can you execute your fundamentals.’ Every lineman at the end of the day to drive someone off the ball is going to have to get low, so I guess I have a bit of advantage because I’m starting a bit lower than everyone else.”
Senior DE Oluwole Betiku, Jr. (6-3/250)
Betiku, a graduate transfer from USC, will have one year of eligibility remaining after the Redbox Bowl. In his first season with the Fighting Illini, Betiku tallied eight sacks and 11.5 tackles-for-loss.
California 35, Illinois 20
Santa Clara, CA
Dec 30, 2019 | 4 p.m. | FOX
2018 Redbox Bowl
Oregon 7, Michigan State 6