Football: Notes from a trainwreck

Utah 49, Cal 27, and it wasn’t nearly that close. Why was this game so one-sided?

Utah transformed three Cal turnovers into three touchdowns and returned two kicks for touchdowns. That’s 35 points of opportunity, and far more than the Bears could overcome.

Utah’s Reggie Dunn became the 16th player in NCAA history to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in the same game. Officials were unable to determine whether any player has had two 100-yard KORs in a game.

*** Three of Cal’s six losses this season have been by at least 18 points. Since a 42-10 loss to Washington on Dec. 5, 2009, the Bears are 15-21, and 11 of those defeats were by 17 points or more.

*** Keenan Allen could not enjoy the stage on the night he broke Cal’s career receptions record.

“It’s a great accomplishment, but at the end of the day it all comes down to win,” he said. “It was cool to get the record but I’d rather have a win.”

Allen bumped his total to 205 receptions, eclipsing the mark of 202 set by Geoff McArthur from 2000-2004.

“Geoff McArthur was a great player and it was great that he set a goal for me,” Allen said. “Ever since I was in high school, it was one of my goals to become the best receiver at whatever college I went to.”

*** Cal finished with a 441 to 344 edge in total yardage, but that’s misleading to say the least. The Bears had 242 of those yards in the final 16 minutes of the game, after Utah had forged its 42-6 lead.

*** Sophomore RB Brendan Bigelow’s 57-yard touchdown run on the final play of the third quarter was his third scoring dash of at least 50 yards. He’s the first Cal player to do that since Jahvid Best in 2009.

There’s a sense that Bigelow is just a sprinter, but here’s a statistic that suggested unexpected toughness: He has not lost yardage on any of his 27 carries this season. Bigelow is now averaging 12.7 yards per carry.

When asked Saturday night how he can afford to not give Bigelow the ball more, coach Jeff Tedford somewhat unconvincingly suggested the Bears did that in the second half. Bigelow got the ball twice.

*** Bigelow’s TD on the final play of the third quarter ended Cal’s touchdown drought of 115 minutes, 27 seconds, dating back to the Washington State game. That’s 4 1/2 minutes shy of two full games.

*** Sophomore TE Richard Rodgers had a career-long 51-yard reception, then caught his first touchdown pass at Cal, a 7-yarder in the fourth quarter.

*** Remember all the early-season hand-wringing over PK Vincenzo D’Amato? The guy who made just four of his first nine field-goal tries has made hislast nine in a row. D’Amato is now the least of the Bears’ problems.

Jeff Faraudo