FINAL SCORE: Cal 50, Southern Utah 31. The Bears score 30 fourth-quarter points to put away an FCS opponent playing a Pac-12 team for the first time. Cal (1-1) has one week to sharpen things before facing No. 14 Ohio State in front of 100,000 screaming football lunatics in Columbus. Big plays in the fourth quarter and superior athletic ability made the difference here, but Cal cannot count on that a week from now. More later.
10:47 4th Q: Maybe it’s now over. Marc Anthony returns Sorensen INT 61 yards, getting nice block along the way from Todd Barr. Anthony’s TD makes it 34-17.
14:54 4th Q: Maynard’s 19-yard TD pass to Keenan Allen pushes Cal lead to 27-17. Caps eight-play, 60-yard drive in which Maynard was 4 for 4 for 47 yards. TE Richard Rodgers on sidelines after limping off following 1st career reception during drive.
8:27 3rd Q: Sorensen passes 5 yards to Henna Brown, capping 12-play, 75-yard drive that gets Southern Utah within 20-17. Will all those mistakes come back to haunt the Bears? Thunderbirds moved the ball with confidence on that drive and come most of the way back from what seemed a deep hole at 20-3.
THE BREAKDOWN: Cal has a 353 to 83 edge in yards at halftime, a 15 to 4 edge in first downs. But two turnovers and 10 penalties for 96 yards keeping it closer than it should be. Maynard is 12 for 17 for 173, but missed wide-open Eric Stevens on what should have been a 1-yard TD pass. Sofele has 14 carries for 92 of Cal’s 180 rushing yards. SoUtah has 19 carries fo 23 rushing yards.
HALFTIME: Calamitous end of half for Bears. An offside penalty on kickoff (their second of the game!) and a pass interference in the end zone (against Steve Williams), gives Southern Utah final untimed play from 37. Sorensen completes TD pass to Cameron Morgan, who outleaps Marc Anthony and Michael Lowe, tips ball and catches it while falling to ground in back of end zone. Cal challenges ruling — it stands. Cal’s 20-3 lead is trimmed to 20-10.
0:25 2nd Q: D’Amato kicks 27-yard FG and Cal leads 20-3. Once again, a mistake derails what could have been more: a fumble on 2nd-and-1 from the SoUtah 16 leads backward march, ending in FG.
5:22 2nd Q: Sofele runs 12 yards for TD, capping 37-yard drive set up by 25-yard punt return by Keenan Allen. Maynard had 23-yard pass to Bryce Treggs to the 12 to set stage for TD. Even their own mistakes (a holding penalty and an illegal snap on the 5-play drive) cannot stop the Bears. Cal leads 17-3.
9:40 2Q: Bears go 94-yards in seven plays for 10-3 lead. Sofele had a 22-yard run and a 14-yard receptions and Anderson a 35-yard run on the drive. Total yards: Cal 252, SoUtah 35.
1st Q stats: Cal 108 yards, Southern Utah 26. But two turnovers and 50 yards in penalties allowed Thunderbirds to forge 3-0 lead.
0:22 1st Q: Colton Cook kicks 40-yard FG to give SoUtah a 3-0 lead. Cal already has 50 yards in penalties and two turnovers.
COIN TOSS: Cal captains: Kendrick Payne, Robert Mullins, Tyler Rigsbee, Eric Stevens. Southern Utah wins toss — will defer. Cal gets ball first.
ORDER IN UNIVERSE: Drum major catches pre-game baton and Bears are wearing all blue, including helmets. Now they just have to play well.
WELCOME: Back at Memorial Stadium this morning with, frankly, less hoopla surrounding the stadium renovation and the Bears. Cal lost 31-24 to Nevada last week and almost nothing the Bears do against FCS foe So Utah will tell us much . . . provided they don’t lose again. No chance.
Word is Bears will wear blue pants, blue jerseys and blue helmets, although they are in pants and T-shirts right now. Cannot imagine we will see white helmets again anytime soon.