The California Golden Bears have managed to hang tight with the Oregon Ducks after one half of football, trailing 8-7. The Bears defense has been incredibly stout and has yet to give up any points to the normally prolific Oregon offense. The lone Ducks touchdown came courtesy of a punt return for a touchdown by Cliff Harris followed by a two point conversion for the one point lead.
The Cal defense has been throwing out everything but the kitchen sink in an attempt to slow down the Ducks offense. They brought down Darron Thomas with one sack but have made a couple big hits as he released the ball. The pressure has been on reason Oregon has yet to completely establish their offense.
Additionally, the Cal defense has seen several players “cramp up” throughout the half. In a strategy often used against Peyton Manning in the NFL, cramps force trainers on to the field and stop the offense. Considering how quickly the Ducks move from play to play, I’d suspect some of the cramps might not be as bad as the players would indicate. Of course, when you’re going up against the best team in the country, sometimes you have to do whatever it takes.
Cal is hanging tough thus far, but one has to wonder if the defense will be able to keep up with the Oregon offense. The Ducks offense closed into field goal range late in the half but missed a 37-yard attempt. The Ducks figure to get more opportunities to score. Additionally, the Cal offense has stalled out as Brock Mansion is struggling immensely with his accuracy. You can’t win if you don’t score and Cal is barely moving the ball at this point. They need to step up in a big way if they want to spring this upset.