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Short-handed Bears Done In By Mistakes at OSU

November 21, 2020
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Severely short-handed before the game even started, Cal battled Oregon State down to the end but ultimately could not overcome some big mistakes and fell, 31-27, Saturday afternoon at Reiser Stadium.

Even with three offensive linemen making their first career starts, the Bears piled up 317 yards of total offense in the first half to take a six-point halftime lead, The offense sputtered after halftime and the Bears fell behind in the fourth quarter only to go ahead again.

The Bears special teams had problems all afternoon committing ill-timed penalties to negate dynamic returns and leaking two long punt runbacks. The final error was a crushed one, a missed block allowed OSU Jesiah Irish to block Jameson Sheahan’s punt late in the fourth quarter. That gave the Beavers the ball at the Cal 14. Two plays later they scored to go ahead 31-27..

The determined Bears mounted one final drive and were well inside OSU territory in the final minute. They were given a temporary reprieve after a fourth-down pass was incomplete in the Oregon State end zone but negated by a defensive holding penalty. But on first down Chase Garbers’ pass was deflected and intercepted and OSU ran out the clock.

Garbers, who had struggled last week against UCLA last week, was on target most of the day. He wound up completing 28 of 42 passes for 352 yards and three touchdowns. Kekopa Crawford caught ten of them for 141 yards.

“There were stretches where we had critical errors,” said head coach, “ Justin Wilcox,. “They were too much to overcome.”

The day could not have started any worse for the Bears. Before the game it was announced that starting offensive linemen Valentino Daltoso, Jake Curhan and Will Craig and tight end Collin Moore had not made the trip, presumably because of COVID issues. On the second quarter starting center Michael Saffell left with a foot injury.  Also unavailable was lead running back Chris Brown.

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Jermar Jefferson pursued by Daniel Scott

Before even the cardboard cutouts had settled into their seats Cal was down by a touchdown. On the Beavers’ first play from scrimmage on their own 25, heralded running back Jermar Jefferson burst through a hole in the line of scrimmage. Cal had jammed seven defenders close the line and once Jefferson got through it, virtually no one was left to tackle him. He churned 75 yards and OSU had a touchdown. The conversion made it 7-0 with just 18 seconds gone.

But the Bears showed the character -- and skill -- that would serve them well most of the day. Garbers hit Crawford in stride for a 44-yard gain to the OSU 7. Two plays later Garbers threaded the needle to Makai Polk for a tying touchdown.

Later in the quarter a fluttery 24-yard punt by Jamieson Sheahan set the Beavers up at the Cal 35. One play later OSU quarterback Tristan Gebbia hit tight end Teagan Quitoriano who was open behind the defense for a touchdown.

A 33-yard sideline pass to Jake Tonges helped the Bears move to the Beavers 9, but the drive stalled and Dario Longhetto kicked a 26-yard field goal.

Garbers had the Bears on the move later in the quarter, but when they got inside the 3, they couldn’t punch it in on a trio of running plays. On fourth down under pressure Garbers threw an end-zone interception. 

Three minutes later the Bears had the ball back and this time they scored, Garbers connecting with Crawford on a 21-yard TD pass.

A Josh Drayden interception got the ball for the Bears inside the final two minutes of the half. A nice return was negated by a dubious holding call and Cal had to start from its 35. The Bears took it to the Beavers 35, which was close enough for Longhetto to sneak across a 52-yard field goal to put the Bears up 20-14 as the half ended.

The Beavers were able to bottle up the Cal offense for much of the second half while scoring ten unanswered points themselves. 

Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports
Jesiah Irish (13) is congratulated for his punt block

Elijah Hicks’ interception set Cal up on the OSU 32, and Garbers hit Jake Tonges for the go-ahead touchdown.

Momentum seemed to be swinging Cal’s way when the defense forced a three-and-out. However Cal’s possession ended in the blocked punt, and an easy OSU touchdown drive.

Jefferson finished with 196 yards rushing on 18 carries, but 140 of those yards came on two runs, the first play and a 65-yarder on the final drive. Other than that he was pretty much bottled up.

Wilcox said the Bears learned only Friday that the offensive stalwarts would be unavailable. So Matthew Cindrice, Colin Moroney and Brayden Rohme filled in, the latter two starting for the first time. Then when Saffell went out with what appeared to be an ankle injury Brian Driscoll played center. They all acquitted themselves well most of the afternoon.

Cal has just five days off before taking on Stanford Friday afternoon in the Big Game. 

Discussion from...

Short-handed Bears Done In By Mistakes at OSU

722 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 2 days ago by BearoutEast67
chazzed
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The end of the game was tough to take, but the experience that the youngsters got should end up being very valuable.
BearoutEast67
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Heartbreaker! Roll on you Bears!
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