BERKELEY -- As the high-paced Bear Raid offense caught fire in the second half of Cal’s 44-30 loss to Northwestern on Saturday, player after player on the Northwestern defense went down with seemingly minor injuries.
For Cal, that meant it wasn’t able to get to the line and snap the ball as fast as it would have liked. And for an offense predicated on pace and the effect it has on a defense, the constant delays were game-changing.
"It affected it a lot," Dykes said. "You know it was just unusual, it seemed like every time we had a first down they would have an injury. I hadn't seen that, didn't expect to see that, was disappointed that I saw that but that's the way it goes sometimes."
For Cal fans, it was clear: Northwestern’s players were faking injuries. It happened a few times before the booing began and eventually progressed to a point where they would continue to boo when Northwestern players got up and walked to the sideline.
Did Dykes share the fans’ sentiment?
"You know, probably better if I don't say,” he said.
Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald was asked about it too and he vehemently denied any faking was going on.
“If anybody were to question the integrity of myself, our program or our players, I question theirs,” he said, according to the Chicago Tribune.
In a 2010 game against Oregon, also at Memorial Stadium, Cal’s role was reversed in a similar situation. It was the Bears who faked injuries to slow down Oregon’s up-tempo offense, which led to a one-game suspension of then defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi, who admitted to coaching the strategy.
There is nothing in the NCAA rule book that allows officials to penalize a team for what is becoming a more common trend in college football. It is not within the parameters of the officials’ power to judge whether or not an injury is real. The only rule is that the injured player must sit out the next play.
The NCAA football rules book states: "Feigning an injury for any reason is unethical. An injured player must be given full protection under the rules, but feigning injury is dishonest, unsportsmanlike, and contrary to the spirit of the rules. Such tactics cannot be tolerated among sportsmen of integrity."