By Morris Phillips
How could a blocked extra point be so costly?
For star-crossed Cal, it was just that: no overtime, no win over Stanford, no Axe and likely no postseason.
With under four-and-a-half minutes remaining, the Bears moved smartly and quickly down field culminating with Christopher Brown Jr.’s 3-yard touchdown to pull the Bears within 24-23 pending the extra point. But with 58 seconds remaining, Dario Longhetto’s kick was blocked, leaving Cal agonizingly short.
“We had multiple opportunities to win the game but we didn’t get it done,” coach Justin Wilcox said. “We can’t sit around feeling sorry for ourselves. We have to own it, starting with me. We have to coach better and individually have to own up to what we didn’t do well enough to win the game.”
Wilcox hinted at other problems, not just the blocked kick. There were several–a muffed punt, a blocked field goal attempt before the half, and two critical deficits, 17-10 and 24-17 with time running short–leading the Bears to a tough loss without any wins.
The Bears got another gritty effort from Chase Garbers, and a 121-yard rushing effort from true freshman Damien Moore. But missing three starters on the offensive line prevented the Bears from seizing momentum and keeping it. No consecutive scores and miscues kept the Bears locked in a close game.
Stanford–absent of the edge in physicality that propelled them to eight, consecutive wins in the series prior to last season–simply followed Cal’s miscues with opportunism.