Ducks take flight in second half to crush Bears
Anna Vinget/File

EUGENE, Ore. — After being obliterated 48-14 at USC last season, a beleaguered Jeff Tedford told reporters that he was proud that his team “won the second half” after trailing by 42 points at halftime.

While Tedford did not proclaim a first-half victory in Thursday night’s 43-15 loss at the hands of No. 9 Oregon, the Cal head coach could hardly explain his team’s total collapse in the second half after a 15-14 halftime lead evaporated into the drizzly Eugene evening at Autzen Stadium.

Riding another stellar performance from Heisman hopeful LaMichael James and wicked second halves from both Darron and De’Anthony Thomas, the Ducks (4-1, 2-0 in the Pac-12) extinguished any of Cal’s upset hopes with a blistering offensive barrage in the second half, annihilating the Bears (3-2, 0-2) on both sides of the ball and outscoring them 29-0 in the final 30 minutes.

“We couldn’t cover them in the secondary,” Tedford said. “We tried to play some man and the quarterback played really well. They dialed up some stuff in the second half that got after our man-to-man coverage and they made some big plays.”

The Thomas-to-Thomas connection — De’Anthony caught six passes for 114 yards and two scores — was often at the expense of freshman defensive back Stefan McClure, who filled in for starter Marc Anthony. Anthony left the game in the first half with a separated shoulder.

“They went to that side a few times,” Tedford said. “Other guys still got stuck in man and they’ve got a lot of speed.”

After scoring 14 points in the first half, the Ducks scored touchdowns on their first four second-half possessions, displaying tremendous balance in both their running and passing game.

It was a relatively clunky first half for the Ducks’ offense, but they showcased their speed in the second half anchored by the splendid James, who rushed for over 200 yards in his third consecutive game, and was spelled strongly by backup Kenjon Barner. With markedly improved play from Darron Thomas and stellar performances from both running backs, Oregon executed its offense as soon as the whistle blew in the second half.

Starting on its own 12-yard line to start the second half, the Ducks ran on the first seven plays of their opening series which appeared to stabilize the previously shaky Thomas, who was 8-for-19 in the first half and ended his half with a woeful interception to Cal safety D.J. Campbell.

Aided by a pass interference penalty and consistent gains by his running backs, Thomas found De’Anthony Thomas for a 23-yard touchdown pass at the right pylon and the Ducks never looked back after taking the lead with 9:59 left in the third quarter.

The Ducks received a significant blow when James went out with an arm injury early in the fourth quarter. James, who rushed for 239 yards on 30 carries, said that his arm “got knocked out of place,” but that he will “definitely wear an Oregon uniform again this year.”

While Oregon finally found its compsure, the Bears completely lost theirs. Quarterback Zach Maynard’s feet kept dancing in the pocket and his throws kept sailing away from frequently open receivers all night after his subpar play was salvaged by running back Isi Sofele and kicker Giorgio Tavecchio in the first half. Maynard ended up completing just 20 of his 41 passes for 218 yards, while Sofele gained 119 yards on the ground on just 12 carries.

“The offensive line did a great job, I just need to get the ball out faster,” Maynard said. “I need to set my feet and give the receivers balls they can catch.”

Tavecchio seemed to exorcise whatever demons existed from last season, knocking through two early field goals and then connecting on a stunning 54-yard try that brought Cal to within five points. Tavecchio’s night was far from perfect, though, as his 40-yard attempt at the end of the first half was blocked by Napa, Calif., product John Boyett.

Before Anthony exited with his injury, Thomas was 5-for-10 for 36 yards and no touchdowns. After Anthony exited and McClure entered, Thomas began to click with both Josh Huff and his fellow Thomas, De’Anthony, to finish the game 13-of-25 for 198 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.

James made the types of big plays that he has all season, with many of them occurring while buried in his own territory. The junior burst down the sideline for a 53-yard touchdown run just 30 seconds after Cal took an early 3-0 lead.

Two possessions later, Thomas barked out an intelligent audible that would free up James on the weak side, who galloped 47 yards to set up the Ducks’ second touchdown of the quarter.

The Bears won the first half, but even Tedford conveyed the pain of the lost opportunity.

“There were good things, sure,” Tedford said. “But we didn’t win the football game.”

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  • Anonymous

    Cal is officially in last place of the Pac-12 North. The only team in the North without a Pac win. Out of all 12 teams they are sitting at #9 ahead of only Colorado, Utah and Arizona. If it were not for the lose to Washington I would probably say things are looking good. If they cannot beat USC then it will be difficult to believe that Cal can muster up more than 2 more wins during the season. If they were to beat USC it is not unrealistic that they could win all 7 of there remaining Pac games. Many College Football Magazines had Tedford on the hot seat with a very real possibility that he may lose his job if he doesn’t have a winning record and get Cal into a bowl game. 

    It was known that Cal would be playing against some high caliber QB’s. So far they have shown that they are futile against the pass. Even with a secondary that is comprised of players that were highly touted recruits. 

  • Oracle

    Per his contract, Tedford will get a half million dollar bonus next year simply for being the current coach when the new facilities open. Cal can’t afford to throw a half million dollars in the garbage, especially in this economy. It would be reckless. Tedford is stale and it’s time to look for someone fresh and new.

    Maynard’s completion percentage is worse than Ayoob. People say he’s a dual-threat QB yet he hardly ever runs and usually takes losses. Play Bridgford. Cal maybe has a chance to win three games the rest of the year and maybe get to a bowl (the Presbyterian game might screw Cal). If Cal has another losing season Tedford must go.

    • Anonymous

      I agree on Tedford.  The problem with Maynard is jittery feet.  You can see he is dancing on his toes.  He’s not a pocket passer and all the passing plays are pocket passing.  Very few rollouts that gives him the chance to tuck the ball and run.

      Defense gave up big plays due to poor coaching.  We recruited the best D-lineman in the country – why aren’t we playing him?  He’s 325 and benches 500 lbs or more.  He brings a load.  I’d give up one of our linebackers to get him on the field with a 4-3 alignment.

      Tedford’s game plan and schemes are not allowing the talent of our players to surface.  He is under utilizing some of our players.  That’s a failure in coaching.

      DeSean Jackson made Tedford look good.  Then Tedford started throwing nothing but quick tosses to him and DeSean never became a deep threat.  Look at what DJ has done for the Eagles.

      • Anonymous

        Tedford’s offense is dependent on big play scoring. He gets lost in the RED ZONE, Why?, because it requires precision, deception and imagination. If Tedford was a poker player he would only play ” all in” when he had a Royal Flush, and every other player at the table would know his hand, if he were a poker player he’d be broke.

  • unbearable

    Horrible play calling the whole game, especially on third downs. They need to use Allen the way U$C uses Robert Woods. Get him the ball and good things happen. Cal has all those weapons but the coaches don’t know how to use them. Not a mark of a good coach.
    Very, very disappointing.

    • Anonymous

      The most disappointing has been the third or fourth and one or the third or fourth and goal at the one yard line.  Tedford’s teams has more often than not failed on those critical occasions.  Tedford can’t buy a yard.

      • Anonymous

        For a guy getting paid millions every year and he can’t buy a yard. Wow! His GOAL LINE / RED ZONE futility carries over from the game against Washington.

        I used to think Tedford made Aaron Rodgers, The truth is Tedford got lucky and stubbled upon Rodgers and because of Rodgers playing abilities he made Tedford a very rich man. Should Tedford receive credit for the great recruiting class of late or should that credit go to assistants Ron Gould, Tosh Lupoi and others?

        • Anonymous

          Remember, it was Rodgers’ 29 straight completion that kept us in the game at USC but Geoff MacArthur who dropped that pass in the end zone to end the game.  We would have won that game if Tedford had a short yardage offense that has a 90% success rate instead of a 90% failure rate.  Has he heard of the Angus formation or the “Refrigerator”?  Certainly they have cows down at Fresno State where he learned all his football.

    • Anonymous

      Next week all Cal will have to do to beat USC is contain Robert Woods, he is their big threat play maker, double team him with Campbell ( he has better speed than Cattouse) and whomever the corner is he lines up against. Cal has 2 big play makers in Allen and Jones and we have seen that the running game does a decent job. The only way for both to be productive is by having the passing game open up the running game. Maynard is not the scrambler Tedford made him out to be before the season started. Cal has the players to beat USC, if Maynard isn’t showing any consistency then I say bring in Bridgeford. 

  • guest

    Cal sports are generally pretty competitive.  Swimming, Rugby, Volleyball, hell…Baseball.  Was a good week for UCB in general…with a Nobel Prize to boot.  For whatever reason, the football program can’t reach the same heights.  It’s time to shake things up.  The football team has been mediocre since 2006 and that’s no longer acceptable.  With the new facilities coming online it shouldn’t be too difficult to find a replacement for Tedford, even with Berkeley’s piss poor football reputation. 

  • old bear

    Cal got beat by a deeper, more talented team on away game.
    As we all know, current Cal team not experienced, but there is lots of hope.

    I thought Cal played well, but just got out matched the second half.

    Rather than calling for Tedford’s head, we should be supporting him.

    (my bet: last night’s win by Oregon will be vacated when NCAA finishes the investigation.  see? we actually won because we have a level headed coach who cares about the integrity of the team)

    • Sshafikh

      We’ve been supporting Tedford for 10 years. I appreciate what he did for the program early after he took over but now has has lost the team. The team is not responding to him and is on a downward spiral. It needs to be saved.
      The best way to do it is by infusing a new blood and the best time to do it is at the end of this year when a new head coach combined with new facilities can jump start the program in a positive way.

      • Anonymous

        Tedford has made a name for himself at Cal. He brought Cal up from a level they had wallowed in for years. The problem is that Tedford has shown that he can’t take Cal to the next level of competition and the fans for the first time in decades want to go to that next level, they want national attention. I encourage all the Cal fans to show up for the next game against USC and if Cal doesn’t win, then fans should boycott the rest of the season or until Tedford is replaced.

    • Oracle

      Old Bear, the “we should be supporting him” argument could be used for any stale coach on a downward spiral in the country. Considering the ungodly amount of cash Tedford gets it’s finally time for him to hang up his Oakleys. Of course, if he took a pay cut of 50-60% it might be worth keeping him around for a couple more years.

      In 10 years Cal has no Rose Bowl appearances, no outright conference championship, and no BCS bowl appearances. Sorry, but it’s time.

      Farewell, Tedford.

  • Sshafikh

    Tedford, please go and take Pendegast with you. I and the rest of Cal fans are begging you to spare us.

    Lack of fundamentals and conditioning was so glaringly obvious at all levels. It’s coaching. I couldn’t believe the number of the big plays that Cal defense has allowed this year. The second half performance by defense was simply awful and very uninspired. They just surrendered. Tedford also has no imagination in his play-calling. Let me tell you something. If you see your quarterback missing the simplest throws, you shouldn’t put the responsibility on his shoulder, specially after you see that Sofele had the best night of his career. Tedford could’ve learned a thing or two from Chip Kelly last night. 

    Let’s face it, if Zack Maynard were good, he would’ve had scholarship offers from good schools. You can’t ask him to do what he’s not capable of doing. He has no arm, he’s extremely inexperienced , and I don’t buy his athleticism being a plus because I haven’t seen any designed plays for that or every time  he tried, he didn’t have the vision to recognize the whole in Oregon defense to be able to exploit them. He was the most inaccurate player I have ever seen at any level. I don’t mean to belittle a student-athlete but HE JUST ISN”T CUT FOR THIS JOB.

    I’d say let Allan Bridgford, who at least has the tools, to develop.

    • Anonymous

      Last year I liked Pendergasts aggressive approach towards the opposition. This year he seems to be recycling the Bob Gregory approach of bend but don’t break. Either Cals outside linebackers are slow as molasses or dumb as doorknobs. They were always out of position and could not keep up with Oregons speed. Is this due to coaching or players lack of football instincts?

      What’s up with Ashley Ambrose and that secondary that stinks. This secondary coach was supposed to be some kind of steal for Cal, producing NFL ready DB’s at Colorado. This group has been embarrassed way to often in only 5 games. I blame coaching.

      I used to think Anthony Miller was going to be a good TE and maybe pro material, this guy has either lost his desire to play because of constant blocking assignments or maybe his sluggardly play is due to lack of physical training?

      Michael Calvin- the reason your QB doesn’t throw to you is because you keep dropping those easy passes. We see those alligator arms of yours when you have to go over the middle. 

      5 years ago Cal looked like it was on the brink of becoming a powerful team, instead they have rapidly declined. 5 years ago the only team that really stood in the way of Cal was USC. Since then  USC has remained a constant hurdle, as has Oregon and now Stanford. Other teams that have moved up and either have or are on the verge of surpassing Cal are  Arizona St., Arizona, Washington and even Washington St.. Newcomers Utah and Colorado aren’t the pansies some expected. Many coordinators have come and gone now only Tedford remains.

      • Anonymous

        The last time we had a physical team was under Bruce Snyder.  USC used to fear playing us because, win or lose, they were not looking forward to getting out of bed the next day.  I heard a lot of our guys are eating Thai food.  I’m sorry but that doesn’t cut it. 

  • Anonymous

    I hope all you Oregonian fans rot in hell for booing Marc Anthony when he was injured. 

    • heynow

      Can you really blame Duck fans when you have such a reputation???…

      You can feel free to visit us in hell if you like….we’ll even let you look at our Pac-10 titles while you’re down there

      • Anonymous

        LOL, love it..GO DUCKS!

      • Sshafikh

        At least we have education at UC Berkeley to fall back on.

        • Guest Duck

          If this were a conversation about academics your point would make perfect sense, but we are talking about football.

          No sane Duck fan would refute Cal’s prowess in the academic arena, as it truly is a world-class instituiton.  So how about you save your sour grapes for a column that isn’t located in the SPORTS section.

        • Susrtan

          UC Berkeley is still a great research university.  But it is clear to all academics that such excellence is not being maintained.  The end result is that at nearly any institution (UC Berkeley or U of Oregon) there are students getting a wonderful education, and others coming out with mediocre training.  So you had better not coast thinking such generalizations as “we have education at UC Berkeley” will mean much as the funding and quality at Berkeley continues to decline.  

      • Anonymous

        Reputation would mean that it was something that occurs regularly through out one or more seasons. You know like the criminal temperament  that permeates Oregon. 

    • Guest Duck

      Seriously?!?!?!  You have no one to blame but your coaching staff for the reaction of the Oregon masses.  I personally wish fellow Duck fans would get over the lack of class Cal demonstrated last year as well, but the masses don’t always behave rationally.

      • Anonymous

        Last years game had nothing to do with class. It was a strategy. Your fans reaction was classless. Just like your apology has nothing to do with being apologetic for Oregon fans ignorance. It was only an attempt to deny that you are one of them.  

        • Guest Duck

          Actually friend, during the injury the first thing I said to my buddy was, “I wish people didn’t boo, I hate it.”

          And for the record, according to the NCAA Coaching Ethics…

          “Feigning an injury for any reason is unethical. An injured player must begiven full protection under the rules, but feigning injury is dishonest, unsportsmanlike and contrary to the spirit of the rules. Such tactics cannot be tolerated among sportsmen of integrity.”

          It may not be against the rules per se, but it is dishonest and suggests a team devoid of integrity.  So, if your strategy is to play with little to no class, then I agree with your statement entirely.
          Sir, you have been weighed, you have been measured, and you have been found wanting.

  • Anonymous

    You know what is really sad ? When everyone in football knows that Cal can do some fancy things between the 20 yard lines but they have no playbook for the RED ZONE. This is a reoccurring problem. Tedford has no inventiveness in the RED ZONE, and Maynard goes all haywire.  The only thing that was surprising about this game was that Tedford actually allowed Bridgeford to play. Even though Cal was ahead by a point at halftime, everyone I was watching the game with knew Cal would blow it. For the second game in a row Cal forgot that there are 2 halves to a football game. 

    • Anonymous

      I thought we abandoned the run too quickly in the second half and things started to snowball because our D has been a problem all year.  If you take away 21 points on those runs, we would not have been such bad shape.  There is no gang tackling.  Oregon ran up the middle to keep us honest but their strength is their speed and they used it effectively around the outside.  That’s smart coaching.  In contrast, …..

  • stonelove

    Pack your bags Tedford! You suck. Cal is an embarrassment. Tedford gets paid way too much for the team to be this bad for so long. Maynard was pretty awful. Very poor accuracy on passes. Red zone offense is laughable. GET RID OF TEDFORD DAMMIT!!!!

    • Anonymous

      Didn’t Teddyfurd coach at Duck U before coming to Cal?

      Face it Cal kiddies, he is secretly a Duck fan.

      Go Ducks!

      • Anonymous

        He left his heart in Eugene.