An Ignominious End to Bears' Difficult Season

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By Jim McGill, Staff Writer
Posted Nov 17, 2012
If by BearInsider Staff or Contributor, this article is Copyright © 2014 BearInsider.com


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RESER STADIUM/CORVALLIS, OR -What could well be the ignominious finale of what had for years been a highly-successful tenure, Cal head coach Jeff Teford's Bears were completely overwhelmed in Saturday night's 62-14 pasting at the hands of 15th-ranked Oregon State in Corvallis.

By halftime, the game was all but over, with Oregon State leading 35-7, due largely to a succession of foolish penalties (7 for 88 yards in just 30 minutes), turnovers (two lost fumbles and an interception), an inability to convert 3rd down possessions (3-for-8) and a near-complete inability to cover the open man, with Oregon State†quarterback Sean Mannion returning from injury to torch the Bears to the tune of 18-for-24 for 239 yards and four touchdowns in the 1st half alone.

Nothing like the 2012 model of the Golden Bears to get an injured and struggling quarterback healthy in a hurry.

The 2nd half didn't get any better, as the Beavers continued to roll right over the Cal defense, helped by the continuance of unneccessary and untimely penalties helping OSU to two more touchdowns in their next three possessions to push their lead to an insurmountable 49-7 before the Bears would score again.

The performance was such that many observers wondered if Cal players' hearts were in their performance but anyone that knows what it's like to do battle on the field at this level of play knows in their hearts there's no quit in a player, no matter how rough the eventual outcome.

"I didn't see that in their eyes," said Tedford, of the idea of the team not giving their all. "We have a lot of guys banged up. We have guys playing through things and Oregon State was hitting on all cylinders.

"We had way too many penalties and turnovers. I really don't believe it's a lack of effort. I don't think they ever quit. They were just outmatched tonight" -as clearly was Tedford and†the Cal staff.

Oregon State head coach Mike Riley suffered through a similar†year to Tedford's 3-9 season with the Beavers last year, but the OSU ship has been righted quickly in a big way, with only close losses to Washington and Stanford tarnishing OSU's 9-2 record.

"I thought it (tonight's game) was a great reaction to losing last week's game (to Stanford)," said Oregon State head coach Mike Riley. "That was a hard-fought game and probably everyone understands now that Stanford is a pretty good football team. It was disappointing for our kids but they made a nice statement about bouncing back and being ready to play tonight and competed from the beginning. I was proud of our coaches and players for the preparation and they put it to work tonight."

After Oregon State took their 42-point lead, Cal quarterback Allan Bridgford (18-for-31, 132 yards and 1 interception) led an 8-play 65-yard scoring drive capped by a 1-yard touchdown run by Bridgford to momentarily bring the OSU lead to 49-14 before the Beavers added their final two td's in the 4th quarter to bring the final margin to 62-14.

The Cal running game was adequate, with senior tailback Isi Sofele adding his 15th 100 yard plus game of his career with 109 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries (5.8 ypc) and fellow senior C.J. Anderson adding 62 yards in just 11 carries (5.5 ypc) on the night.

The Bears beleagured offensive line also protected Bridgford fairly well, with the junior quarterback going down just once to a sack.

However, costly fumbles by redshirt frosh Daniel Lasco, soph running back Brendan Bigelow and frosh receiver Darius Powe as well as an interception by Bridgford, combined with an astounding 15 penalties for 172 yards -often of the careless and undisciplined variety- doomed the Bears to certain defeat on this miserably cold and rainy night.

The Bear defense's inability to stop OSU on either the ground (35 carries for 200 yards) or through the air (Mannion totals of 24-of-34 for 325 yards) combined with their inability to create turnovers or avoid costly, drive-extending penalties rendered any chance of an upset victory futile in the end.

"We had curtailed those (penalties) over the past few weeks," said Tedford. "Today was absolutely a situation of way too many penalties.

"We had some unfortunate things with some hands to the face when guys were inside. Some of them were lack of judgment in the open field or whatever. But most of them came with pass interferance calls and we had a couple crucial ones of guys rushing inside and getting their hands too high. We got called for that a couple of times and that really hurt us."

In the end, it leaves the Bears with by far the worst record of the Tedford Era at 3-9. It also marks the second time in three years that the Bears finished under .500 -the only two years in Tedford's 11-years at the helm at Cal.

However, the downturn comes at a critical time in the Cal program's history, with an expensive stadium remodel that requires heavy financial support and fans in the seats, and the downturn in the program couldn't come at a worse financial time.

All of these elements combine to make Tedford's position at the helm of the Cal program precarious, at best, leaving Cal Athletic Director Sandy Barbour no choice but to make a critical decision about the direction of the football program immediately, as the AD and head coach plan to meet at an unspecified time tomorrow to talk about the direction of the program†and it's immediate future.

"The season's over now," said Barber. "Jeff and I will sit down tomorrow and†start talking about what the answers are, what the solutions are that will put us on the right path."†

Regardless of tomorrow's decision, Bear fans are left trying to cope with the nearly inexplicable wreckage of a season that just three short months ago held so much promise as a talented squad returning many starters prepared to move back into their newly-renovated stadium, with a schedule much more favorable than last year's 7-win season.

The decisions in the upcoming days will do much to determine the direction of a currently-floundering program that should by most accounts be on an entirely different path right now.

Regardless of what decisions are made tomorrow, it's crystal clear that major changes are in order in Bear Territory.

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