Photo by Al Seremeno - KLC Fotos
Cal Football

No. 13 Ducks Come Back To Beat Cal

October 5, 2019
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EUGENE, OREGON – The Takers returned Saturday night, but it wasn't quite enough on the road against one of the nation's top teams.

The Cal football team forced three turnovers and had No. 13 Oregon on the ropes late in the game but ultimately fell to the Ducks 17-7 at Autzen Stadium.

Cal's opportunistic and aggressive defense hadn't quite lived up to its nickname of the "Takers" so far this season with just six forced turnovers after recording 28 last season. But the Bears (4-2, 1-2 Pac-12) got an interception by safety Ashtyn Davis and forced a pair of lost fumbles to put a scare into Oregon.

"The guys were making a conscious effort to get the ball out," Cal head coach Justin Wilcox said.

Davis' interception stunned the home crowd after the Ducks forced Cal into a three-and-out on its first offensive possession and Oregon then marched 54 yards to the Bears' 25. Davis returned the interception 31 yards, and Cal took advantage with a 63-yard scoring drive that culminated with a 22-yard touchdown pass from Devon Modster to running back Christopher Brown Jr. for a 7-0 advantage midway through the first quarter.

"We needed someone to play a play and it happened to be me," Davis said. "We haven't been taking the ball away as much as we've wanted to, and that got us going."

The touchdown was the first Oregon, which entered the night ranked seventh nationally in scoring defense (10.5 ppg), has allowed in the first half all season. It was also the first the Ducks' had surrendered since its season-opening loss to Auburn.

Oregon went for it on 4th-and-inches on its second possession and running back Travis Dye fumbled, and it was recovered by Cal's Kuony Deng. Dye fumbled again on the Ducks' third possession, this time getting stripped by Trey Turner III and it was recovered by Lone Toailoa.

"I love our team," Wilcox said. "We competed like crazy. We just didn't quite get it done."

The Bears, who played without running back Marcel Dancy and lost starting center Michael Saffell and left tackle Valentino Daltoso to injuries during the game, couldn't take advantage of their other takeaways. But their defense continued to limit Oregon's explosive offense until the Ducks finally got a short field goal midway through the third quarter and a 1-yard touchdown run with 1:38 left in the period to go in front 10-7.

Cal forced the Ducks to turn the ball over on downs early in the fourth quarter but Modster was intercepted and Oregon turned it into points on a touchdown pass by star quarterback Justin Herbert.

"There are no moral victories, but we showed a lot of effort and toughness," Wilcox said. "We gave them short fields and it's tough to stop them that many times with an offense like theirs. But I'm really proud of how hard our guys competed and kept fighting."

Modster, in his first start at Cal after replacing injured starter Chase Garbers, was 17-for-34 for 190 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions.

The Bears will enjoy a bye next week before returning home to host Oregon State on Oct. 19.

 
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