Defining moments

One of the compelling things about Saturday’s game was there were a handful of plays that proved to be pivotal.

–Michigan State had an apparent touchdown overturned by instant replay after it was ruled that wide receiver Mark Dell trapped a pass in the end zone on 3rd-and-6 in the first quarter. Dell made a sensational play just to make it close, going out in an all-out dive with Darian Hagan defending. I actually was surprised the call was overturned because it appeared to be so very close. I figured it would be ruled as inconclusive.

–On Cal’s touchdown drive in the third quarter, Shane Vereen picked up a first down on 3rd-and-4 from the Bears’ own 30. It came on a screen pass and was very close. The chain gang came out to measure and Vereen just got past the marker.

–True freshman Mychal Kendricks made a play I’m sure he’d like to take back when he bowled over MSU punter Aaron Bates attempting to make a block. It may have been one of the more blatant roughing calls ever. It gave the Spartans another first down, and they scored a touchdown two plays later.

–The biggest play, as I mentioned in an previous post, was Kevin Riley’s pass to tight end Cameron Morrah on 3rd-and-13 from the 49 in the fourth quarter and the Bears hanging on to a 24-21 lead. MSU nose guard Ryan Wheat looked as though he had Riley sacked, but Riley somehow got the pass off and Morrah made a nice catch with Spartans safety Dan Fortener on him.

“It was one-on-one and the guy’s back was turned so I thought Cam had a good chance to make the play,” Riley said.

–Dell caught a 52-yard pass from quarterback Brian Hoyer with Cal defensive backs Brett Johnson and Darian Hagan all over him. It looked as though Dell was sharing possession, but the refs ruled it a catch.



Jonathan Okanes

Jonathan Okanes is in his fourth year covering Cal's football team. Previously, he covered Cal's men's basketball team for four years. He can also be followed on Twitter at twitter.com/OkanesonCal.

  • Jan K Oski

    JO! The Dell drop was obvious to me, even with our pathetic TV screen (when will our NFL stars put up money for a better one like Oregon’s?). Back to Dell, the ball bobbled out of his hands after he hit the groud.

    When someone finds a video of Riley’s pass, please post it! That was utterly amazing. I still can’t figure out how Morrah kept the safety from knocking that ball down.

    On the Dell-Johnson tie catch (ties always go to the offense), it looked like Dell caught it with his body, while Johnson used his hands. That was huge in getting Cal fans to yell. The place went nuts for the entire game after that. 55,000 strong! Go Bears!

  • MaddenDude

    I thought the Refs did a great job with everything. The vereen spot looked questionable at first but if you watched the replay, it was a great spot. There was one play in the whole game that I didnt think was good, it was a PI called on a cal player along the sideline, it was on the same drive as the Thompson pick.

  • Big D

    The refs messed up a few times. Hagen had that INT, but I understand the snap decision they had to make, however, Hagan was robbed on the one the refs reviewed. What ever happened to ‘indisputable evidence’ to over turn a call. There was not the indisputable evidence needed to reverse that call, yet they reversed it. You can always depend on 3 botched calls by Pac-10 refs per game, it just depends on which side of the screw up you are on.

  • Big D

    Overall, Cal played well. Freshmen had a few brain farts, but that’s what freshmen do. I think they’ll learn from those mistakes. Maryland, WSU, and Colorado St. all looked pretty sorry this weekend. I see CAL
    4-0 easily!

  • I came away optimistic that this team could gel into a pretty good team this season. Fortunately the schedule would seem to allow some growing up – with Maryland, WSU and CSU all very beatable looking teams.

    Unless one of those 3 teams plays a perfect game against us, we can probably still be learning on the job, work some kinks out, and get to 4-0.

    My guess is that there will be a few more ‘young mistakes’ making a couple of our next three games a little closer than we would like – but our talent should be able to get us to 4-0 before the heart of the conference season begins.

    Go Bears!