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Photo by Jerome Miron -- USA Today
Cal Football

Missed Conversion Haunts Bears in Loss to TCU

September 11, 2021

Cal and TCU combined for 940 total yards and 66 points, but the difference in TCU’s victory Saturday was a low snap on a PAT that holder Jamieson Sheahan could not handle following the Bears’ first touchdown.

“We were chasing that point the whole game,” head coach Justin Wilcox said after the defeat in Fort Worth, Texas.

  For the second time in their two games, Cal (0-2) took a two-touchdown lead. For the second time, the Bears couldn’t hold it. Each team scored five touchdowns, but the Bears failed to convert on their first one and that set up two other PAT failures.  

Cal quarterback Chase Garbers (16-for-27, 307 yards, 2 TDs) had a good afternoon, and for the first time in a while, was able to get the ball downfield. The Bears had several long pass plays

But TCU quarterback Max Duggan was a bit more effective, he had some crucial runs and hit some key passes. That was a big reason TCU was 10-for-18 on third downs. TCU had 264 yards rushing, many of them after the Bears had made initial contact with the ball carrier.

Jerome Miron -- USA Today
Max Duggan ​​​​

Cal was up 12-0 and 19-7 in the first half but leaked a score late in the second quarter that cut the lead to 19-14.

Riding that momentum TCC came out and scored on its first possession of the third quarter to take the lead for the first time. Cal would come back with a touchdown of its own to reassume the lead, 26-21. Again, chasing the missed extra point and wanting to go up bv 7, Cal went for 2 and couldn’t convert.

Then the relentless Frogs put together two long fourth-quarter scoring drives, missing on a 2-point try themselves. Garbers rallied the Bears for a final TD drive, with Moore scoring from the 1 after Garbers barely missed going in. However, the play that worked for the score failed on what would have been the tying 2-pointer.

There was still 4:09 left in the game, but Cal never got the ball back as TCU converted a couple of 3rd downs and ran out the clock.

Cal played much of the game without star linebacker Kuony Deng, who was on crutches from the first quarter on. There was no immediate word on the extent of his injury. The Bears were also without linebacker Trey Paster, who did not make the trip

The game started to turn late in the first half, when the Bears leaked a late touchdown that cut their lead to 19-14. TCU came out and scored on its first possession of the second half to go ahead 21-19.

The “chunk” plays were prominent in the Bears’ early success. On the fifth play from scrimmage Garbers hit Trevon Clark for a 49-yarder that put the Bears in the red zone.

That drive stalled and the Bears turned the ball over on downs. TCU was able to move the ball to near midfield but was forced to punt. Two players later Garbers found Kekoa Crawford running behind the TCU secondary and hit him for a 54-yard score. Jamieson Sheahan couldn’t handle the snap on the PAT and the Bears were unable to convert.

After an exchange of punts, the Bears had TCU pinned inside its ten. Duggan tried to throw a pass into the flat, but Cal’s Daniel Scott got in the way. The Bears’ safety easily strode into the end zone. Unfortunately the Bears didn’t get the conversion again. Obviously caught by surprise by the sudden touchdown, Cal was so indecisive it drew a delay of game penalty. That convinced the Bears to kick the PAT, which they did successfully. But TCU was offside and Wilcox chose to erase the point and try for two. Garbers pass was incomplete and it was 12-0.

Duggan got the TCU offense going, and finished the 75-yard drive with a 30-yard scoring toss to Blair Conright.

The Bears came right back with a 68-yard Garbers to Clark effort that put the ball on the TCU 7. Garbers hit Rimigio in the end zone. 

TCU finished the half with a touchdown that obviously deflated the Bears.

Cal had the ball on its 20 with just 1:39 left. The Bears could not move but pinned the Frogs back to their 35 with less than a minute left. 

However, on the second play from scrimmage, with the Bears convinced a pass was coming. But TCU totally fooled them and handed the ball to Zach Evans, who dashed through the defense designed to stop the pass. Fifty one yards later he was in the end zone and the lead was cut to 19-14.



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