No. 8-ranked Cardinal hold off Oregon State

By Daniel Dullum

No. 8-ranked Stanford traveled to Corvallis, Ore., to face Oregon State, holding off a late Beavers scare to emerge with a 20-12 Pac-12 football victory.

Tyler Gaffney carried the ball 22 times for 145 yards and all three Cardinal touchdowns on runs of 4, 9 and 32 yards. Stanford improved to 7-1 overall, 5-1 in the conference, while OSU slipped to 6-2 overall, 4-1 Pac-12.

Cardinal quarterback Kevin Hogan completed 8 of 18 passes for 88 yards, as Stanford totaled just 276 yards on offense. At the same time, the Cardinal defense held the Beavers to 288 total yards, well below the OSU season average of 515 yards per game.

Beavers quarterback Sean Mannion, who leads the nation in passing yards and touchdown passes, completed 41 of 57 for 271 yards and one TD.

Stanford held a 20-9 lead with less than four minutes left in the fourth quarter. After Trevor Romaine booted a 39-yard field goal with 3:57 to pull the Beavers to within 20-12, OSU drove to the Cardinal 7 with 30 seconds remaining. Four straight incompletions ended the drive, and the Beavers’ six-game winning streak.

The Cardinal defense stopped the Beavers on downs four times inside the Stanford 35 yard line, and sacked Mannion eight times.

Earlier, Romaine gave OSU a 3-0 lead in the second quarter with a career-long 50-yard field goal.

Next week, the Cardinal return home to host No. 2 Oregon.

Michael Duca on Cal football

by Michael Duca

BERKELEY–One reason why the students at Cal Berkeley are walking around here with their mouths open after the loss to Oregon State which is not very polite by the way they were completely unprepared for the fact that Oregon State plays pretty good football in their 49-17 win.

Sean Mannion the Beavers starting quarterback was another reason why the students left with their mouths open he’s the leading quarterback not only in the Pac 12 he basically the FBS 1-19 highest rated quarterback in the country he came in the Cal game with the top quarterback rating.

Mannion could deliver the long ball, he can deliver the short ball, he’s got a nice touch, I’m sure that somewhere in between stacking poker chips and just saying how high three million dollars is former Bears head coach Jeff Tedford has to wondering how he missed this kid.

Mannion put in a good day’s work considering he was not paid for it, we can sit here and rag on the Bears all you want, you have to remember this is a team that has lost seven of the 11 original starters on defense, six to injuries, and one due to dismissal from the team. The Bears lost their best defensive end, they lost their best linebacker, they lost their best cover cornerback, they lost their best safety, and they lost their best defensive tackle.

Not only have they lost a ton of players and of course if you lose seven your going to lose some tough games automatically. On the defensive line if your rated the players one, two, three and four they manage to lose one player. It’s been a very hard season for the Bears over at Strawberry Canyon.

Bears quarterback Jared Goff couldn’t find the handle on the football a couple of times he got separated from the ball after a couple nasty hits. They took him out in the fourth quarter as much as anything else to make sure that his confidence didn’t get destroyed by being out there and being punished.

Honestly for the rest of the year I just see only one game out of the remaining six on the schedule that they have that they might have a shot at to compete and have a fighting chance to win it and it’s against Colorado. The Bears are going up to Washington against the Huskies a team that’s jockeying for position in the Pac 12 and will be overladen with emotion because long time head coach Don James who passed away at the age of 90 on Monday morning.

James’ entire family will be out on the field at Husky Stadium Saturday as part of the opening coin toss and you know that stadium is just going to be rocking.

Michael Duca covers Cal Bears football each week for Sportstalk radio

Cal ran over again by Oregon State, falls to 1-6

By Morris Phillips

With California football stuck in a rut deep enough to ruin consecutive seasons, the last opponent the Bears needed to see on Saturday night was Oregon State.   So when Sean Mannion looked like Sean Canfield and Brandin Cooks approximated Jacquizz Rodgers, you didn’t need to answer a quiz to know the Bears were cooked, falling 49-17 to the Beavers.

Mannion completed 35 of 45 for a whopping 481 yards while Cooks ran and caught to his heart’s content, finishing with 13 catches for 231 yards as Cal’s deficiencies in the secondary and linebacker corps compromised the entire Cal defense as OSU jumped to a 28-3 halftime lead.

“We didn’t play well, didn’t coach well,” a frustrated Coach Sonny Dykes said.  “I’d like to be able to say something happened other than what did.    You saw what happened, I don’t need to say much about it.”

The loss was Cal’s 11th consecutive over two seasons against Division I competition.  The losing streak now stands as the longest of any team in a BCS conference with the Bears last win coming against Washington State over a year ago.  And Cal hasn’t much success with OSU in any state, losing to the Beavers for the 12th time in their last 15 meetings.

Much of that streak coincides with Mike Riley’s arrival in Corvallis in 1997 and his quick-twitch passing game that has given Cal fits.   Just as Canfield and Yvenson Bernard were hard to contain in OSU monumental 2007 upset of No. 2 Cal, Mannion and Cooks were a lethal combination on Saturday.  While Mannion flawlessly executed the quick screens and occasional downfield strikes, Cooks did the rest, scoring twice—first on an end-around run and then on a 34-yard pass play– in OSU’s first half explosion.

“He is a heck of a football player,” Dykes said when asked what tactics Cal used to attempt to slow Cooks.  “That is what good players do, make plays when they have an opportunity to do so.  He did it over and over again.”

The Bears lost their lone experienced corner Stefan McClure for the season two weeks ago, and their youthful secondary paid dearly without him as the Beavers’ quicker playmakers had their way throughout.   The Bears got back corner Joel Willis and linebacker Jalen Jefferson but the result was a hodge podge of poor tackling, inability to engage and shed OSU blockers as the Beavers and Mannion made play after play.

With the Bears trailing 35-3 in the third quarter, Dykes replaced starting quarterback Jared Goff with Zach Kline, and the redshirt freshman from Danville provided a spark, leading the Bears on their only two touchdown drives of the night.  Kline finished 11 of 16 for 71 yards and the two scores while Goff was 21 of 31 for 220 yards.  Dykes said along with the lopsided numbers on the scoreboard, he felt that Goff was having trouble holding on to the football, similar to his three fumble performance at Oregon in the rain.

“I’m extremely upset with myself,” Goff said.  “I need to play better to give us a chance to win.”

Statistically, Cal didn’t display many warts between the 20’s, but once again bogged down in scoring range due to penalties and a Vincenzo D’Amato missed field goal attempt.   Primary playmakers Chris Harper, Richard Rodgers and Brendan Bigelow combined for 18 catches but none of three could put the ball in the end zone.   On the night, the Bears ran 77 offensive plays—below the 90 plays Dykes would prefer–and amassed 366 yards in offense.

The Bears (1-6, 0-4) visit the refurbished Husky Stadium in Seattle next Saturday in a meeting with Washington.  Oregon State—already winners of three Pac-12 road contests—returns to Corvallis for a showdown with Stanford.