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Football: Offense can’t deliver in loss to Bruins

The Cal offense took the heat for this one.

After a 37-10 loss to No. 11 UCLA in front of 84,272 fans at the Rose Bowl, Cal quarterback Jared Goff called the performance of the defense “stellar.”

And if that was perhaps generous, certainly it was an improved effort by a unit that has been one of the nation’s worst.

The offense, meanwhile, scored 10 points in a second-quarter burst but otherwise was quiet.

“They gave us a chance to win and we didn’t capitalize on it,” Goff said of the defense’s work. “That’s probably mainly on me. If the offense doesn’t play well, it’s my fault.”

Sonny Dykes, the first Cal coach to start 1-5 in his debut season since Mike White in 1972, was disappointed the offense couldn’t get much done.

“We haven’t put a solid football game together all year where we played well on both sides of the ball,” Dykes said.

The Bears (1-5, 0-3 Pac-12) still haven’t beaten a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent since a 31-17 win at Washington State a year ago Sunday.

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Football: UCLA game thread

FINAL SCORE: UCLA 37, Cal 1o. The Bears (1-5, 0-3 Pac-12) remain winless against FBS teams since a year ago Sunday, when they won 31-17 at Washington State. No. 11 UCLA, which got a career-high 410 passing yards and 3 TDs from Brett Hundley, improved to 5-0, 2-0 in the Pac-12. Goff was 26 for 43 for 215 yards, by far his least-productive full-game performance.

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7

Football: Bears won’t turn yards into points until running game in the red zone clicks

In senior Vincenzo D’Amato, Cal has one of the nation’s most accurate field goal kickers. But the Golden Bears are finding that you don’t win in the Pac-12 Conference by scoring three points at a time.

Cal (1-4, 0-2) takes on No. 11 UCLA (4-0, 1-0) at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night, and maximizing opportunities in the red zone will be paramount against a team averaging 48 points a game.

In order to turn yards into touchdowns, the Bears must finish drives inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. And to do that, they need to run the ball better.

Through five games, Cal has called 38 runs in the red zone and those plays have netted an average of 1.7 yards. “That’s not good,” first-year Sonny Dykes said.

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*****

 CAL VS. UCLA

RECORDS: Cal 1-4, 0-2 Pac-12; UCLA is 4-0, 1-0.

KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Rose Bowl, Pasadena.

TV: ESPN2

RADIO: 810-AM

SERIES HISTORY: UCLA leads 50-32-1. Cal won 43-17 last season and has won nine of the past 14 meetings, but just one of the past six in Pasadena.

STORYLINES: Playing its fourth Top-25 team this season, the Bears hope to recapture the magic of a year ago against the Bruins when they rode four touchdown passes from Zach Maynard and 151 rushing yards from C.J. Anderson to their best victory of the season. … UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, who had a touchdown passing, running and receiving last week at Utah, had his worst career game against the Bears last season, intercepted four times and sacked five times. Cal’s Kam Jackson had three of the picks. … Three more defensive players are out due to injuries this week, including starters Stefan McClure and Jalen Jefferson. McClure is done for the season after knee surgery this week.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal – CB Stefan McClure (knee), LB Jalen Jefferson (head), CB Joel Willis (head), OG Matt Cochran (ankle), C Chris Adcock (knee) are out. UCLA – DT Ellis McCarthy (head) and RB James Jordon (ankle) are doubtful. OT Torian White (leg) is out.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal left tackle Freddie Tagaloa vs. UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr. Tagaloa’s job is to protect quarterback Jared Goff’s backside, but the super-quick Barr, a second-team All-American a year ago, has 15.5 sacks the past two seasons.

STATS THAT MATTER: Cal has been outscored 86-31 in the first quarter and allowed the opposing team to score a touchdown on its first possession in every game. … The Bears have 10 turnovers the past two games and rank 118th nationally in giveaways at 3.2 per game. … A 25 1/2-point underdog, Cal has failed to cover the spread in 11 straight games. … UCLA ranks last in the nation in penalties with 10.75 per game. … UCLA is the fifth opponent in six games with an unbeaten record entering its game vs. Cal. Those six teams were a combined 13-2 at the time they faced the Bears.

12

Football: Injured Joel Willis has full movement

UPDATED

Cal sophomore cornerback Joel Willis was resting comfortably at Oakland’s
Highland Hospital on Saturday with movement in all his extremities after being injured on the second-half kickoff against Washington State.

Willis was expected to be held at the hospital overnight, Cal said, and released soon.

A Cal spokesperson confirmed that Willis was released from the hospital on Sunday.

10

Football notebook: Would desperate Golden Bears really resort to using receivers on defense?

As if Cal receiver Chris Harper wasn’t busy enough Saturday against Washington State — catching 13 passes for 217 yards — now he’s a candidate to perhaps play defense?

After injuries continued to strip down the Bears’ ranks at cornerback, coach Sonny Dykes said Harper and fellow receiver Bryce Treggs already have been given some practice reps on defense and will get more.

“We considered both today. We just didn’t feel like they had enough practice,” said Dykes, stressing that they would be used in a game only in an emergency situation.

Dykes also said a couple running backs could get the chance to work at linebacker.

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17

Football: Dykes acknowledges after WSU loss, `We have no confidence right now’

For four minutes Saturday afternoon, the monsoon rain and crucial mistakes of the week before at Oregon were forgotten. The Cal football team took the opening kickoff and moved quickly to the Washington State 5-yard line.

Then running back Daniel Lasco fumbled the ball away, and even the sunny skies above Memorial Stadium couldn’t help the Golden Bears in what became a 44-22 blowout loss in front of 44,682 fans.

“When you are a very fragile team that doesn’t have a lot of confidence, it probably has an impact on you,” coach Sonny Dykes said of the first of five Cal turnovers. “We have no confidence right now.”

A season that began with so much optimism now seems hopelessly headed in the wrong direction.

The Bears (1-4, 0-2 Pac-12) lost their ninth consecutive game to an FBS opponent, with the much-improved Cougars (4-2, 2-1) snapping an eight-game losing streak in the series.

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7

Football: Adcock out for season, Logan retires

Cal announced before its game against Washington State on Saturday afternoon that starting center Chris Adcock is out for the season because of a knee injury.

The Bears also said senior safety Alex Logan has retired from football, effective immediately, because of recurring injuries.

The losses are the latest on a Cal team beset by injuries this season.

Adcock is the third starter on the offensive line to suffer an injury in the past three weeks. He suffered the injury during practice Wednesday, Cal said.

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232

Football: Cal-WSU game thread

FINAL SCORE: WSU 44, Cal 22. Bears (1-4, 0-2) have now lost nine straight games to FBS opponents, and in four games this season vs. FBS teams are surrendering 48.8 points per outing. Goff finished with a career-high 489 yards — making him the first Cal QB to have three 400-yard games for his career. Harper had 13 catches for 216 yards. Halliday had 521 yards passing and three TDs for the Cougars (4-2, , 2-1).

THIRD QUARTER: WSU 35, Cal 22. Ridiculous passing numbers and almost no discernable defense by either team. Halliday has 478 passing yards, Goff has 438. Chris Harper with 11 catches for 202 yards.

HALFTIME: WSU 21, Cal 15. The Bears’ defense actually had stopped the Cougars without scoring on five consecutive possessions before Halliday’s screen pass to Marcus Mason turned into a 68-yard TD romp. Goff has 345 passing yards at halftime, including his 89-yard TD throw to Chris Harper, the second-longest pass play in Cal history. But the Bears netted three points from three early trips into the WSU red zone — not good enough. A big part of the problem, the continuing sad state of the run game, which has netted 11 yards in the first half. D’Amato has made both his FG attempts and is 11 for 12 for the season. Still virtually no pass rush by Cal. Also no CB Stefan McClure (knee) or LB Jalen Jefferson (head), both sidelined by injuries. Neither will return.

Still every reason Cal could win this game, but can’t keep settling for FGs.

FIRST QUARTER: Cal opens with promising drive that included Goff hitting 6 straight passes. Threat ended with Daniel Lasco loses handle on exchange and fumbles to WSU. Cougars go 92 yards to score on 35-yard pass from Connor Halliday to Vince Mayle, who easily beat Isaac Lapite with 9:26 left in qtr. WSU 7-0.

Injury tolls continues to mount: CB Stefan McClure goes out with 6:23 left in 1st Q with apparent right knee injuury. Now LB Jalen Jefferson down with 4:21 left.  No word on nature of his injury. WSU lead is 14-0.

Quarter ends with Cal on doorstep of touchdown following 38-yard pass from Goff to Richard Rodgers to the wSU 1. Goff 14 for 17 for 137 yards in the quarter.

Cal has now been outscored 86-31 in the first quarter of its first five games.

WELCOME: Back here at Memorial Stadium and . . . it’s not raining. A welcome change from a week ago at rainy Eugene.

A few Cal players are on the field, beginning warmups for their 1 p.m. kickoff vs. WSU.

An announcement is due before game time on the retirement of senior safety Alex Logan because of injury. He reportedly made the decision on Friday, but still awaiting official word through Cal.

 

6

Football: Bears hope WSU game is fresh start

External elements won’t gang up on the Cal football team Saturday. There will be no rain and no Top-25 opponent at Memorial Stadium.

The rest is up to the Golden Bears (1-3, 0-1 Pac-12), who will try to beat an FBS opponent for the first time since last Oct. 13 when they take on Washington State (3-2, 1-1) in a 1 p.m. kickoff. That last FBS victory came against the Cougars.

“You’re always happy when there’s no rain as a football player,” said freshman quarterback Jared Goff. “That’s why I went to Cal.”

Goff was pulled late in the first quarter at Oregon last week, with Cal trailing 27-0 in a spectacular downpour. The Bears lost 55-16, but Goff held off Zach Kline in practice this week to retain his starting job.

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*****

CAL VS. WASHINGTON STATE

RECORDS: Cal 1-3, 0-1 Pac-12; Washington State 3-2, 1-1.

KICKOFF: 1 p.m., Memorial Stadium, Berkeley.

TV: Fox Sports 1

RADIO: 810-AM

SERIES HISTORY: Cal leads 44-25-5. The Bears have eight in a row, including 31-17 last season. WSU’s most recent victory in the series was by a 48-38 margin in Berkeley in 2002.

STORYLINES: The Bears hope to kick-start their season after a killer four-game opening stretch that included three games vs. Top-25 opponents. … Freshman Jared Goff is back as the starting quarterback after being pulled late in the first quarter of the Bears’ 55-16 loss at Oregon when he fumbled twice in the rain. … WSU quarterback Connor Halliday was injured against Stanford last week, but practiced all week and is expected to start. … Cal coach Sonny Dykes spent seven years on WSU coach Mike Leach’s staff at Texas Tech. Cal’s Bear Raid offense is a descendent of Leach’s Air Raid, one of the main differences being the Bears’ faster pace. Cal is averaging 95.0 plays per game, WSU just 69.8.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal — OT Steven Moore (head) and CB Kam Jackson (ankle) are questionable. RB/KOR Khalfani Muhammad (head) and WR Maurice Harris (shoulder) are doubtful. OG Matt Cochran (ankle), DE Brennan Scarlett (hand) and DT Mustafa Jalil (knee) are out. Washington State — None reported.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s offense vs. WSU’s defense. The Bears hope sunny Bay Area skies prompt the revival of the Bear Raid offense after a rainstorm contributed to five turnovers in the loss at Oregon. Look for Cal to try revving its ground game. Brendan Bigelow has looked more comfortable in practice this week, and WSU ranks 10th in the Pac-12 against the run.

STATS THAT MATTER: Cal has been outscored 72-31 in the first quarter, and opponents are averaging 9.9 yards per snap in the opening period. … WSU (13) and Cal (11) have the most turnovers in the Pac-12. Five of the Cougars’ giveaways have occurred in the red zone. … WSU ranks 121st out of 123 teams nationally in rushing offense (60.6 yards per game) and has fewer rush attempts than any team in the country.

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Football: Cal-Oregon game thread

FINAL SCORE: Oregon 55, Cal 16. Click here for my final game story.

END OF 3RD QTR: Oregon leads 55-10. Cal is saying that Khalfani Muhammad left the game with a head injury and Kameron Jackson suffered an injury to his lower leg. No other details, including their status for next week.

Cal also confirmed that Goff was not removed from the game because of an injury.

BTW: Oregon’s 55 points through three quarters is not the most the Ducks have scored against Cal. That was 59 — last year.

My apologies for not providing more details of this train wreck while battling deadline issues brought on by the late start.

END OF 1ST QTR: Oregon 27-0. Cal four lost fumbles, two of them by Jared Goff, who is replaced at QB by Zach Kline. Kline completes 1st three attempts for 58 yards, then is intercepted in end zone on an apparent miscommunication with WR Bryce McGovern. Cal outgained just 205-91 in the quarter, but four TOs were too much. Goff was 3 for 6 for 11 yards and 2 lost fumbles when he came out. Khalfani Muhammad and Kameron Jackson both injured and have not returned.

WELCOME: Arrived here at Autzen Stadium at 4:30 p.m., after driving 2 hours from Portland, and the rain and wind were minimal.

But it doesn’t look like that’s going to last. Very cloudy here and the bad weather is on its way.

The Bears and Ducks are on the field, beginning warmups. Will keep you posted as things evolve here.

 CAPTAINS: Senior DE Dan Camporeale was named a game captain for tonigiht to go with the Bears’ four season captains: Freddie Tagaloa, Jackson Bouza, Stefan McClure and Deandre Coleman.

CAL WINS the coin toss . . . defers to get the ball in the second half.