The California Golden Bears came up just short in their bid for a monumental upset of the No. 1 Oregon Ducks, falling 15-13. Cal had a shot to take the lead late on a field goal attempt by Giorgio Tavecchio, but a huge mental error cost him five yards and he missed a re-kick. The two teams gave the ball back and forth a couple times after that before Oregon ran out the final 9:25 with a punishing drive.
Oregon operates a high flying hurry-up offense, but the Cal defense did as good a job as anybody has done this season in containing them. They held Oregon to one offensive touchdown and a season low in points. Almost every time Oregon got going with the ball Cal found a way to stop them short of a touchdown. Unfortunately, all the hard work caught up with them as they were worn down by the time Oregon took over on the final drive.
Oregon showed they can win ugly with a grind it out drive at the end of the game. Oregon drove 60 yards over nine-plus minutes and basically imposed their will on the Cal defense at that point. Cal had four different opportunities to force a fourth down but was unable to end the drive. Oregon wrapped things up with a pair of knees and escaped Memorial Stadium with a 15-13 victory.
Cal certainly should be proud of their defensive effort, given how explosive the Oregon offense has been all season. However, the Cal offense was about as bad as could be for a vast majority of the game. Aside from the first quarter touchdown drive and the drive that led to Tavecchio’s miss, they could get virtually nothing going. Oregon has a lot of speedy athletes on defense but Brock Mansion spent most of the game looking like he couldn’t have done much against anybody in the Pac-10.
Cal gets no respite as they get another crack at a top team when Stanford comes up the Bay for The Big Game next Saturday. The Golden Bears have had a disappointing season but an upset of a strong Stanford squad would certainly ease that pain a little bit. The two teams will meet up next Saturday at 12:30 pacific time.