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Cal Football

Bears Come Up Two Yards Short at Oregon

October 15, 2021
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Cal came within two yards of upsetting No. 9 Oregon Friday night in Eugene, but could not traverse those final six feet and lost to the Ducks, 24-17.

The result dropped Cal to 1-5, and in none of the defeats was the margin more than a touchdown. The Ducks (5-1) are still in the picture for the national playoffs but know they were so close to being derailed.

Oregon had scored a tie-breaking touchdown with 4:50 left in the game. Quarterback Anthony Brown, who hurt the Bears with both his arm and his legs, scored from the 11 to break the tie for the last time. 

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Chase Garbers

The Bears had one more drive in them and it almost was good enough. Garbers, who finished the night  26-for-44 passing for 248 yards, directed a drive that began on the Cal 25 and Oregon offsidespenalty and some bulldozing runs by Christopher Brown Jr. 

The Bears started on their 25 and 

Inside of a minute the Bears were in the red zone. On a 4th-and-4 from the 8 the drive appeared to be done when Garbers was going down in the arms of an Oregon tackler. But he somehow flipped the ball forward to Kekoa Crawford for a 5-yard gain. 

However four downs later the Bears were at the 2, and on Cal’s final play he was under duress and had to throw an ineffectual pass in the direction of the goal line. When the ball landed the Autzen Stadium crowd erupted and the Ducks had their hard-earned victory.

“We competed,” head coach Justin Wilcox said afterward. “I thought they fought incredibly hard, just as we expect them to and just as they expect to themselves. It wasn’t a matter of not fighting. Very competitive. Ran to the ball, gave great effort. Responded to some bad situations. 

“It’s very frustrating. There is no other word to use.”

The Ducks were without ace running back CJ Verdell but he was hardly missed. Junior Travis Dye filled in and gashed the Bears for 145 yards on 19 carries.

Cal wide receiver Jeremiah Hunter, who was not on the field all that much, had three very important catches for 78 yards/

Trailing 10-7 in the third quarter, Cal’s offense which had been stagnant since the first quarter came to life again.

A nice pass from Garbers to Clark for 24 yards was the key in a drive that ultimately stalled and resulted in a 45-yard field goal that tied the score.

The Cal defense got the ball back and Garbers directed one of the Bears’ better drives of the year, 80 yards in 11 plays. The Cal QB was 4-for-4 for 57 yards on that march. The score was a 4-yard completion to Gavin Reinwald that gave the Bears a 17-10 lead.

But Oregon came right back. The echoes of the boos that had escorted Brown off the field following the previous drives were still audible but the Brown and Dye quieted them by seeing to it the Ducks got down the field quickly. The two got the Ducks to the Cal 20 in four plays and then Brown hit Jaylon Redd with a TD pass.

In what has become a depressingly familiar scenario, Cal’s offense opened with a crisp, imaginative and effective drive. Following an Oregon field goal that capped the Ducks’ opening drive, the Bears marched 75 yards in 13 plays.

Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
Travis Dye tackled by two Bears
 

The Bears converted three times on third down and on first down from the 9, Garbers hit tight end Jake Tonges on about the 3. In the grasp of an Oregon defender, Garbers extended the ball across the goal line as he was going down.

The PAT, which has been far from an automatic play for the Bears this year, made the score 7-3.

Under Brown’s direction the Ducks were able to move the ball relatively easily. Their failure to score more was as much their own doing as anything the Bears did.

That first drive to a field goal could have been more, but a penalty pushed the Ducks back out of the red zone after they had reached the 12. The successful field goal try was from 49 yards out.

On their next drive, Oregon got as far as the Cal 32 but turned the ball over on downs.

Oregon proceeded to lose a fumble on its ensuing drive. 

But while the Cal offense was going nowhere, the Ducks finally got their act together and put together a successful drive. The key play was a 44-yard diving reception by Johnnie Johnson III.

Dye, who would rush for more than 100 yards in the first half, found a hole in the right side of the line at the Cal 11 and scooted in for the TD that put the Ducks ahead.

Oregon had a promising drive underway just prior to halftime, but that one ended on the Ducks’ second lost fumble of the night. Oregon had turned the ball over on fumbles only twic in the first five games.

Oregon played the entire first half without All-American linebacker Keyvon Thibodeaux, who was serving the remainder of his penalty for a targeting infraction he committed at Stanford in the Ducks’ last game. He did not take long to make his presence known. On Cal’s first drive of the second half, he burst into the Cal backfield on third down and forced Garbers into an ineffective pass.

Later on, he was driving the Bears crazy, forcing Garbers to unload early and causing the offensive linemen to commit holding penalties.

 

Notes

  • Cal has now had a scoring drive of at least 63 yards in the first quarter of every game this season.
  • Garbers' TD pass to Tonges in the first quarter was the 42nd of his career.
  • Offensive guard McKade Mettauer left the game with an injury in the third quarter. 
  • Starting center Matthew Cindric replaced long snapper Jake Arguello on punts and placekicks.
  • There was considerable sideline speculation about what the Bears would do had they scored that final touchdown: Go for two points and decide the game right there or kick the PAT and take their chances in overtime?  Wilcox would not answer the question. “The game’s over, it doesn’t matter," he said.







 

Discussion from...

Bears Come Up Two Yards Short at Oregon

2,001 Views | 2 Replies | Last: 1 mo ago by Bears2thDoc
BearForce2
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Brooks would have gotten us those 2 yards.
Bears2thDoc
How long do you want to ignore this user?
Yo, Mr Bush.....
What's with the sensationalized first sentence?
At best, those 2 yds would have put the Bears 1 point down.
And we all know, the next three yards would likely be an attempt at a tie, and a win would only come from a very lucky busted play.
Dude, it's Cal.

Cheers!
Go Bears!!
Cal Band Great!!!
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