#1 Are the San Francisco 49ers an optical illusion or are they for real? People are pinching themselves over the Niners at 5-0 and their amazing performance on both sides of the football.
#2 The Oakland Raiders continue their long strange trip this time against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday. The Raiders play their fourth game out of the last five weeks out on the road and they’ve won their last two games.
#3 MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said for the Oakland City Council to get its act together soon or the Oakland A’s will move to Vegas. Some question if Manfred was more on the hasty and demanding side, while the city has put a legal hold on the A’s ability to buy the Coliseum property. In the meantime, CA Gov. Gavin Newsom said he will try to expedite the construction of the A’s new stadium at the Howard Terminal.
#4 The Cal Bears are coming off a tough loss to Oregon October 5th and host OSU at Cal this is expected to be a much better game this Saturday than their last game in Oregon.
#5 No one would have thought that San Jose Sharks’ Patrick Marleau would be the difference in turning things around after the Sharks went 0-4 and now they’re up to 2-4 and could close in on .500 on Wednesday night with a win over the Carolina Hurricanes at SAP Center.
#6 Calls went against the Detroit Lions Trey Flowers for hand to the face on Monday Night Football on the second hands to the face call it forced the Lions into their own red zone and the Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rogers took a knee twice and with just a little over a minute left the Packers kicker Mason Crosby kicked a 23 yard field goal for the 23-22.
photo from calbears.com: The Cal Bears Deandae Johnson sacks Oregon QB Justin Herbert in the October 5th
On the Cal Bears (4-2) Football podcast with Morris:
#1 Morris, Cal head coach Justin Wilcox reflected on the tough loss in their last game October 5th at Oregon (4-1) saying “It’s not one person, the way we meet, the extra work they do” referring to the work ethic of the team was that element lacking referring to the loss to the Ducks on the 5th?
#2 Morris, talk about Cal’s defensive backfield: Ashtyn Davis, Jaylinn Hawkins, Trey Turner III, Treyvon Beck, Josh Drayden, Camryn Bynum, and Elijah Hicks. How much of a percentage you would put on the game in Oregon that defense was there or not there?
#3 How much pressure will be on David Modster to get it done this coming Saturday. He just wasn’t able to get some of the passes he wanted in Oregon last game.
#4 Modster will get a chance to throw against Oregon State (2-4). Oregon State had their heads handed to them in their last game by the Utah Utes (5-1) 52-7 nearly getting shutout. Could Modster have a game like that throwing for scores all day?
#5 Lastly, talk about coach Wilcox’s game plan the Bears need a lot more offense than they got in Oregon and how sore is the wounded Golden Bear that wants to come out with a vengeance on Saturday?
After lopsided losses at USC and UCF, the Stanford defense made positive strides in Saturday’s 21-6 setback to No. 16 Oregon.
Led by Heisman Trophy contender Justin Herbert, the Ducks (3-1, 1-0 Pac-12) entered Saturday averaging 44.3 points and 505 yards on offense. The Cardinal (1-3, 0-2 Pac-12) allowed three touchdowns and 320 yards and sacked Herbert four times.
“Our focus was to execute and play fast and physical,” said fifth-year senior outside linebacker Casey Toohill, who recorded a career-high two sacks. “I think we did a decent job of that, but again, we left a lot on the table and gave them too many points.”
David Shaw, the Bradford M. Freeman Director of Football, was especially pleased with his front seven, which limited Oregon to 61 yards rushing on 30 attempts. Despite the sacks and two hurries, Herbert completed 19-of-24 passes for 259 yards and three scores.
“We’re a really talented defense … I still believe that,” Toohill said. “I missed two sacks and that can’t happen. Too many opportunities where we had third-and-long and let them get a big play. We took some steps, but we’re still not where we need to be.”
Toohill, senior inside linebacker Andrew Pryts and senior outside linebacker Jordan Fox shared team-high tackling honors with eight. Sophomore strong safety Kendall Williamson added seven. The Cardinal recorded seven tackles for loss.
Afterward, senior free safety Malik Antoine implored his teammates to raise their level.
“It’s always frustrating when you leave a little meat on the bone,” Antoine said. “I’m always confident in this team. You really have to look at yourself and this is no time to start pointing fingers. Our backs are up against the wall.”
Toohill added, “You look for the little details you are missing. Once you do that, you just focus on your next opponent. We need to build off some of the good we did. You can’t be depressed and get stuck looking in the rearview mirror. We really have to look ahead.”
RUNNING HARD: Fifth-year senior running back Cameron Scarlett matched the career-high he set against Northwestern in the season opener by slashing for 97 yards on 19 carries.
“He probably broke between eight and 10 tackles,” Shaw said. “He showed what kind of back he can be, physical, quick, tough, did a good job in pass protection.”
STILL SEARCHING: The offense ran nine more plays and finished with a nearly nine-minute advantage in time of possession, but could only muster two field goals by senior kicker Jet Toner.
“Sloppy play,” said Shaw of the unit’s performance, which had two big plays negated by costly penalties. “There’s so much more on this football team, and we’ve got to get it out of us.”
Senior quarterback K.J. Costello never found his rhythm and finished 16-of-30 for 120 yards and was intercepted once. He was sacked five times and hurried four but praised his offensive line.
“They did a helluva job,” Costello said.
Costello banged his throwing thumb on an Oregon helmet early in the game.
“I could grip it well enough to throw it,” said Costello. “The same thing happened last year. Everybody is banged up this time of year.”
Poor field position didn’t help. Stanford started five drives from its own 12 or worse.
“It was definitely execution,” said Scarlett. “We know we all the talent in the locker room that we need.
We know we have what it takes to right the ship and turn it around.”
In four games, the Cardinal offense has produced four touchdowns.
FIRST CATCH: Junior tight end Tucker Fisk, known more as a blocker, made his first reception since his senior year at Davis High in Davis, Calif. As a prep, he caught 92 passes for 1,116 yards and 13 touchdowns.
“It definitely felt good to get it,” Fisk said of his eight-yard grab. “Honestly, I was almost confused when I caught it. I almost didn’t remember what to do with it.”
Fisk said Stanford’s inability to find the end zone was mostly due to self-inflicted wounds. The last time Stanford failed to score a touchdown on home turf was against Colorado during a 10-5 win in 2016.
“It was mostly us,” Fisk said. “We just need to execute better and play better as a team. It’s definitely an internal issue.”
UP NEXT: Stanford hits the road for the third time in four weeks on Saturday when it plays Oregon State (1-2, 0-0) in Corvallis at 4 p.m. The Beavers had a bye this week.
The Cardinal leads the series, 57-25-3, and has won the last nine meetings. A year ago, Stanford rolled to a 48-17 home win behind four touchdown throws from Costello to tight end Colby Parkinson.
NOTES: Stanford has dropped three straight games for the first time in Shaw’s nine-year tenure. “I’m not going to hit the panic button,” he said. “I don’t have a panic button.” … Junior Foster Sarell returned to the starting lineup at right tackle … Junior wide receiver Osiris St. Brown received his first career start … Freshman cornerback Kyu Blu Kelly made his first college start and posted four tackles. “He played extremely well,” said Shaw. “Very competitive young man. He has a high football IQ. It was great to see him go out there and make some plays.” … Freshman Jonathan McGill earned his first start at nickel back … The Cardinal has used 12 first-time starters this season … Toner is now tied for seventh in program history with 42 field goals … Freshman Ryan Sanborn’s 57-yard punt in the third quarter was a career-long … Oregon still hasn’t allowed a first-half touchdown this season … Former Cardinal swimmer Katie Ledecky, a five-time Olympic gold medalist, served as Stanford’s honorary captain … Ex-Cardinal running back Brad Muster tooted the pregame train whistle and was recognized in the second quarter to help celebrate the 125th year of Stanford Football. The Novato, Calif. native was the 1986 Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year and a Consensus All-American … John Ralston, the only coach in program history to guide Stanford to back-to-back Rose Bowl wins in 1971 and 1972, was recognized. He passed away last week at age 92 … The newly inducted 2019 Stanford Athletics Hall of Fame Class was introduced on the field. The eight-member group includes the late Bill Tarr ’55, a two-way standout at running back and linebacker, who was represented by his widow, Deanna, and son, Bill Tarr Jr. … Autumn quarter classes start Monday.
QUOTE: “Too many errors against a good football team makes it hard to win.” — David Shaw
By Daniel Dullum
Sports Radio Service
Sunday, February 10, 2019
Leading from wire-to-wire, Oregon cruised to a 69-46 Pac-12 men’s basketball victory over visiting Stanford Sunday in Eugene, Ore., as the Ducks have won four of their last five games.
Payton Pritchard’s 20 points led the Ducks (15-9 overall, 6-5 Pac-12), along with 16 points from Louis King and Victor Bailey’s 11 points off the bench. Defensively, Kenny Wooten matched his career high with seven blocks. King also had seven rebounds.
Bryce Wills, a freshman who is the Pac-12’s youngest player, paced the Cardinal (12-11, 5-6) with 13 points. KZ Okpala was held to 10 points – nearly eight below his average. Josh Sharma scored eight points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
In an overall miserable night for the Cardinal, Stanford was held to 46 points for the second time this season, making 15 of 55 field goal attempts (27 percent), its second-worst shooting night of the season.
Meanwhile, Oregon hit 44 percent from the field (26 of 59) and held a 41-37 rebounding edge.
The Cardinal opened the game by missing 21 of their first 22 shots – five of them blocked by Wooten – and Oregon led 16-2 13 minutes into the game. Oregon led 30-20 at halftime.
The Cardinal were without the services of point guard Daejon Davis, who sat out Sunday’s game after suffering a head-to-head injury on Thursday against Oregon State. A Stanford official would only comment that Davis was unavailable due to an unspecified injury.
Stanford returns home on Wednesday night to host Southern California. Tipoff set for 8:00 pm PT.
In case you missed it, Stanford Cardinal men’s basketball throttled the Oregon State Beavers 83-60 for its third win in a row. Oscar da Silva matched his career-high with 23 points in the throttle. da Silva also recorded nine rebounds and a career-high seven assists.
da Silva told the media: “I tried to be aggressive right from the get-go. I tried to take it at their bigs, get into their zone from the high post, and that worked really well.”
Aside from da Silva, the Cardinal’s leading scorers featured the likes of Josh Sharma, who had 20 points and eight rebounds, and Daejon Davis, who added 11 points on three three-pointers. The Cardinal (12-10, 5-5 Pac-12) have won four of their last five games. The Ducks (14-9, 5-5 Pac-12) are just one step ahead of the Cardinal in the Pac-12 conference, but they’re carrying one win to the home court inside the Matthew Knight Arena, so the Cardinal should prepare for the conference matchup if they haven’t already done so.
The Ducks’ last win came at home versus the California Golden Bears, a rival of the Cardinal, on Wednesday, February 6 by a final score of 73-62.
As you can see from the two tweets above, da Silva’s a crucial part of the Cardinal roster. The 6’9″ German sophomore forward has room for growth, but he has been destroying it on the hardwood, like, say, at Oregon State, where he shamelessly attacked the Beavers defense along with the nation’s leading shot blocker, Kylor Kelly. Kelly had 17 points before the break.
I’d also like to note that the Cardinal went on a whopping 11-2 run that put them in the driver’s seat with a far-fetched lead 71-52 with 4:28 left in the game. That run, my friends, was capped off by a three-pointer from Marcus Sheffield, a junior guard and forward from Alpharetta, Ga.
“We’re growing up. Slowly but surely,” said Stanford head coach Jerod Haase. “Overall, we’re trending the right way. The guys are playing hard, they’re playing together, and they believe in what we’re doing.”
With that said, Stanford will stick around the Beaver State for a few more days before they travel to Eugene, Ore. to take on the Ducks, who will likely be a tough customer. But we’ll see what happens next, okay?
Cal’s high point was also the beginning of the end for the Bears on Wednesday at Oregon’s Matthew Knight Arena.
A 7-0 run capped by Justice Sueing’s three-point play gave the Bears a 15-13 lead with 9:32 remaining in the first half. It would be the final lead for the Bears on the evening, one they would have two opportunities to extend. But like Cal’s two previous, early leads, the Duck responded with a 3-pointer to regain an advantage.
This time–after Payton Pritchard’s 3-pointer– the Ducks took off.
A 17-2 Oregon run put Cal in a double-digit hole at the half. And Oregon methodically maintained their advantage after the break in a 73-62 win.
The Ducks shot 65 percent from the floor after the break, on their way to becoming the 14th Cal opponent to shoot better than 50 percent from the floor. And while lack of defense was Cal’s biggest issue, it wasn’t their only one.
The Bears got outrebounded 33-23, and while they got to the foul line, and converted (16 of 19), that wasn’t nearly enough to overcome horrid 39 percent shooting from the floor.
The result? Another loss, just not one stuffed with embarrassment. The Bears never let the Ducks run away, but they never caught up either, trailing for the game’s final 30 minutes. Now with an 0-10 record in conference play, the Bears must remain vigilant or confront being the first Pac-12 team to go winless in league play since Oregon State in 2008, a year before Utah and Colorado joined the conference.
Without looking ahead, the Bears don’t want to look back either: they’ve dropped 13 consecutive, conference road games and 18 overall dating back to last season.
Pritchard paced Oregon with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and three other starters scored in double figures led by Louis King with 12.
“I liked our pace in this game,” Pritchard said. “Defensively, we got some steals to easy looks. We were running it up. Guys were attacking in the seams and it allowed everyone else to get open.”
Justice Sueing led Cal with 17 points, and Paris Austin and Connor Vanover added 12 each.
The Bears continue their Northwest swing on Saturday at Oregon State with the tipoff at 2:30 pm.
SANTA CLARA – 24 hours ago, the future of the Oregon football program was in limbo. With Mark Richt’s surprising retirement from Miami on Sunday, rumors swirled around Mario Cristobal returning to coach at his alma mater.
Would he spurn the Ducks, hours before they were to play in the Redbox Bowl — and, more importantly, leave a program after bringing in the nation’s sixth-ranked recruiting class in 2019?
The answer was clear to Cristobal. On the bus on the way to practice on Sunday, he heard the chatters.
“It got a little bit noisy,” he said. “Felt it was good to address it before it became noisy.”
So he called a team meeting, and told his players in no uncertain terms: “This is where I want to be. There was no waffling. It was put to bed quickly.”
Coupled with a 7-6 win over Michigan State on Monday at Levi’s Stadium, the 24-hour period went from potentially catastrophic to one worth celebrating. Tack on quarterback Justin Herbert’s announcement last week that he would return for his senior season, and 2018 could not have ended on a higher note for Oregon.
“Games like that typically have not gone in our way over the last few years,” Cristobal said. “This culture has changed the program. I feel like we’re just getting started.”
The game itself was nothing to write home about.
For three quarters, Herbert and the high-powered Oregon offense was stymied: 11 drives, 10 punts.
But for one drive early in the fourth, it came together. There were two first-down passes to Jaylon Redd. Then, two strikes to Herbert’s favorite target, Dillon Mitchell — the latter a 28-yard perfect throw in the back of the end zone.
Six plays, 77 yards, a minute and 40 seconds. Paydirt, and a 7-6 lead.
That drive wiped out a frustrating offensive performance for the Ducks. They managed just 203 yards of total offense. Their run game was stifled by the Spartans’ No. 1 rushing defense, which held Oregon to 37 yards on 27 carries. They did not cross midfield until the fourth quarter. They held the ball for nearly 15 fewer minutes than Michigan State.
Herbert, too, was rattled by the Spartans’ defense. He completed 19-of-33 passes for 166 yards, his second-lowest total of the season. But the projected top selection in the 2019 NFL Draft before his decision found a way on that one key drive.
“Things haven’t always gone our way this year, but we battled through together,” Herbert said. “We won our championship today.”
Oregon, which finishes its season with a 9-4 record, is a program on the rise. According to Cristobal, it starts with the culture change on the team.
“I can’t speak enough about these guys and what they represent as competitors,” Cristobal said. “I’m not an old man but I’m not a young man. You’re not going to find guys like this. It’s great to see them achieve that next-level success and continue elevating the program.”
Cristobal continued: “If they showed up on the bus by themselves without a coaching staff, they could get the job done.”
On the field, in a nationally-televised interview, Cristobal affirmed his commitment to Oregon.
“I’m a Duck,” he said, to rousing cheers.
The players followed with a chant: “Cristo-bal, Cristo-bal, Cristo-bal.”
Cristobal is back. Herbert is back. The incoming recruiting class is tops in the Pac-12.
SAN FRANCISCO – Sitting in front of the assembled media at the Redbox Bowl press conference on Friday, Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal was asked a question about his incoming recruiting class in 2019, which is ranked sixth nationally by 247Sports.
He mentioned his previous employer, Alabama, where he spent four seasons as an assistant coach under Nick Saban.
“That needs to be the expectation,” Cristobal said. “One of those classes is fine, but you need to put two, three, four together to make the team what you want it to be. At the previous place I worked, people often asked, ‘What’s the secret sauce?’ The secret sauce was stacking six No. 1 classes together.”
Then, unprompted, he talked about the challenge of taking on Michigan State’s top-ranked run defense ahead of Monday’s bowl game at Levi’s Stadium.
“This is not a top-5 or top-10 defense,” Cristobal said. “This is the No. 1 run stopping defense in America. They’re one of the top defenses in America, period.”
He continued with a breakdown of the Michigan State defense and what makes it so good — the Spartans allow just 81 yards per game on the ground.
“They did it to everybody they played against, whether it be Ohio State or Penn State,” Cristobal said. “We understand that this is certainly a different type of test that we’re facing.”
Offensive lineman Shane Lemieux said Michigan State’s tape lines up with the statistics.
“A couple of weeks ago, I compared [their defensive front] to [Washington] but they’re a lot better,” Lemieux said.
Cristobal and Lemieux may not have said it explicitly, but by namedropping other programs, their statements underscored the importance of how Oregon performs on Monday not just for itself, but also for the sake of the Pac-12. The conference — reeling from a woeful 1-8 record in bowl games in 2017 — is already off to an 0-2 postseason start in 2018, with Arizona State losing in the Las Vegas Bowl and Cal falling in the Cheez-It Bowl. Washington State takes on Iowa State in the Alamo Bowl later Friday.
Ignore the fact that Oregon and Michigan State enter the Redbox Bowl with identical 5-4 conference records, and the Ducks having one more win than the Spartans — Oregon has more to prove in this game.
Sure, bowl games have become increasingly tossed aside as unimportant, with more and more players sitting out as to not risk injury. And the Redbox Bowl hardly qualifies as a bowl game worth gushing over. But bowl games remain one of the few opportunities for cross-conference matchups, to compare and contrast styles of play, to see how one established program from one part of the country fares against another.
In that context, to say the Pac-12 has hurt its brand nationally in postseason play would be an understatement. Last year, USC, the conference’s marquee program, was embarrassed by Ohio State in the Cotton Bowl. It did not matter that the Trojans had future NFL lottery pick Sam Darnold at quarterback; the Buckeyes seemed on a completely different level.
This year, USC didn’t even make a bowl game. That, in and of itself, is indicative of the state of the Pac-12.
Meanwhile, Michigan State enters Monday’s game unsatisfied with a 7-5 season. Several players volunteered that they had underachieved.
“Some other teams are excited about getting six wins,” head coach Mark Dantonio said. “That’s not really where this program is right now.”
The Spartans finished in the middle of the pack in a conference that includes Ohio State, Michigan and Penn State, arguably the toughest division in college football. Finishing above .500 in conference play in the Big Ten is far more impressive than a similar clip in the Pac-12, which did not even come close to placing a team in the College Football Playoff.
If the Pac-12 is to change its perception and reputation, Oregon might be the program to begin the turnaround. The Ducks will be a team to watch next season with its loaded recruiting class and crop of returning veterans, including quarterback Justin Herbert, who was projected to be the top pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
“The sky’s the limit for these guys,” said senior safety Ugochukwu Amadi. “I give it 2-3 years, these guys could win the national championship.”
A win over a Big Ten program in the Redbox Bowl would be a strong start toward that end.
SAN FRANCISCO — With bowl preparations all but done, it is time for the game for the 17th annual Redbox Bowl between the Michigan State Spartans and the Oregon Ducks.
The Spartans, coached by Mark Dantonio are looking to end the 2018 with a two-game winning streak, as they look for their second consecutive win in a bowl game.
It was on this date last year, the Spartans ended their 2017 season on a high note, as they defeated the Washington State Cougars 42-17 in the Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.
This is the third time that the Spartans have finished their season in the state of California since the 2013 season.
It was on January 1, 2014 that the Spartans won their first Rose Bowl since 1988, when they came up with a huge defensive stop in defeating the Stanford Cardinal by the final score of 24-20.
Overall, this is the seventh time that the Spartans have made a bowl appearance in the State of California.
The Spartans are a perfect 6-0 in their previous bowl games in the Golden State, as they are 4-0 in the Rose Bowl, 1-0 in the aforementioned Holiday Bowl and 1-0 in the now defunct Silicon Valley Bowl.
In those six games, the Spartans are 4-0 against Pac-12 teams and 1-0 against teams from the Mountain West Conference.
This is the 10th time that the Spartans have played in the Bay Area, and the first since facing the CAL Golden Bears on August 30, 2008, where the Golden Bears defeated the Spartans 38-31 at Memorial Stadium.
The Spartans made their Bay Area debut against the University of San Francisco Dons, and went back to East Lansing with a 14-0 victory on November 27, 1937.
Almost two years later, the Spartans returned to the Bay Area, to face the Santa Clara Broncos; however, the Broncos defeated the Spartans 6- 0 on November 11, 1939.
On October 18, 1941, the Spartans once again faced the Broncos, and once again, the Broncos defeated the Spartans 7-0.
Seven years later, on November 27, 1948, the Spartans faced the Broncos for the final time and the game ended in a 21-21 tie.
Almost eight years later, on September 29, 1956, the 3rd ranked Spartans defeated the 12th ranked Stanford Indians (now Cardinal) 21-7 at Stanford Stadium.
Three hundred seventy-two days later, on October 5, 1957, the second ranked Spartans defeated the CAL Golden Bears 19-0 at Memorial Stadium.
In the next meeting between the Spartans and then Indians, Stanford upset the then sixth-ranked Spartans 16-13 on September 28, 1962.
The Spartans would not return to the Bay Area until they faced the Fresno State Bulldogs in the Silicon Valley Bowl on December 31, 2001 and lost to the Bulldogs 28-21 at Spartan Stadium on the campus of San Jose State University.
In their last trip to the Bay Area, the Golden Bears defeated the Spartans 38-31 under the lights at Memorial Stadium.
This season, the Spartans ended the regular season with a 7-5 record under Dantonio and are coming off a 14-10 victory over the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Spartan Stadium on November 24.
Eleven members of the Spartans team earned All-Big Ten honors, including first-team members in Junior Linebacker Joe Bachie, Sophomore Placekicker Matt Coghlin and Junior Defensive End Kenny Willekes.
The Spartans defense under Defensive Coordinator Mark Tressel, are ranked number one in the country in total rush defense, as they allow only 81.3 yards per game on the ground.
Brian Lewerke leads the Spartans offense, as the quarterback played in 10 games this season, as the redshirt Junior went 162-for-299 for 1,868 yards passing and also threw eight touchdowns, while he was picked off 10 times.
Senior Running back L.J. Scott will be playing in his final game for the Spartans, as he played in just four games and carried the ball 55 times for 180 yards.
Lewerke’s top target at wide receiver was Junior Wide Receiver Darrell Stewart, who hauled in 39 catches on the season. Cody White picked up the most yards thru the air, as he gained 491 yards.
Bachie was the team leader in tackles, as he picked up 94 tackles on the season and also intercepted one pass. Andrew Dowell was not far behind Bachie, as he ended the season with 90 tackles. Willekes led the Spartans in sacks, as he picked up 8.5 sacks in 12 games.