Turnovers kill Cal’s chances against UCLA

David Herschorn/Staff

PASADENA, Calif — Down 31-14 with only 54 seconds remaining, Zach Maynard lofted a pass downfield to a streaking Michael Calvin. It was a meaningless pass in a meaningless situation in an otherwise meaningless game.

As the ball fell through Calvin’s open hands and hit the turf to end Cal’s dreadful evening at the Rose Bowl, the Bears sideline let out its final groan on a day that caused too many, a fitting end to an interminable 60 minutes that rendered Cal’s season functionally meaningless.

It was an open opportunity to take advantage of a reeling team, and the Bears let it slide right through their hands.

Playing a UCLA team coming off a 36-point loss on national television and with six players suspended because of a halftime brawl, the Cal football team (4-4, 1-4 in the Pac-12) turned in a horrid performance in a season of already low expectations. Anchored by quarterback Kevin Prince’s legs and safety Tevin McDonald’s anticipation, UCLA (4-4, 3-2) knocked off Cal, 31-14, in a game rife with dysfunctional offense, confused defense and enough turnovers to remind the audience that this was indeed low-level Pac-12 football.

“We took a step back today,” Cal head coach Jeff Tedford said. “I’m not going to bury my head in the sand. We didn’t play as well as we need to play. I have confidence in this team that we’ll come back with great ethic and be ready to play next week.”

Maynard threw for a season-low 199 yards with no touchdowns and four interceptions, three of which landed in the arms of McDonald, who commanded the UCLA secondary with tangible presence. Maynard was the most glaring problem in an offense that failed to find any semblance of rhythm all afternoon.

“I felt like we were a little off as an offense,” he said. “I’ve got to get better. I’ve got to stop making mistakes. I need to look at the film and analyze my gameplay.”

When Tedford was asked whether or not the quarterback situation would be evaluated before next week’s home tilt against Washington State, the visibly worn coach leaned against the podium and took a long pause. The faint crackle of his stale gum effectively answered the question he’d wanted to avoid for the whole season.

“We’ll look at the tape and make a determination with that,” Tedford said.

Outside of some determined but not game-breaking running from Isi Sofele, Cal’s offense was nothing short of pitiful. Maynard’s passes routinely sailed into the arms of UCLA defenders and his botched handoff to Sofele one play after the Bruins tied the game put UCLA on the Cal 15-yard line. The Bruins would not gain a single yard on that offensive drive, but the 32-yard field goal from Tyler Gonzalez gave them a lead that they would never surrender.

Cal had a chance to tie that game with 40 seconds left in the third quarter after its most impressive offensive drive of the game, but Giorgio Tavecchio failed to make the key 42-yard kick.

Much maligned UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince has spent most of the season either injured on the sideline or as a primary target of the vitriolic criticism surrounding Bruin football all year.

Against Cal, he was the best player on the field, rushing for 163 yards and throwing for 92 more. Prince haunted the Cal defense on Halloween weekend with visions of Colin Kaepernick, breaking off elusive runs for big gains and misdirection plays that left the Bears visibly fooled on multiple occasions.

“We did a poor job on the perimeter of making tackles,” defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast said. “It’s assignment football. Somebody’s got the dive, somebody’s got the pitch, somebody’s got the quarterback.”

When asked if UCLA’s offense was any different than the ineffective one that Cal smothered last year, Pendergast was terse in his response.

“Identical,” he said. “They did nothing different.”

Powerful running back Derrick Coleman attacked the Cal front seven with brute force, taking 16 carries for 81 yards and three touchdowns. Down 7-0 and faced with a third-and-three at the Cal 14, Coleman resisted an initial hit and barged through the Bears and delivered a punishing hit that sent Cal linebacker Robert Mullins to the sidelines to give the Bruins a first down.

Running back Johnathan Franklin would rush for an 11-yard touchdown on the next play. Coleman’s second effort gave the Bruins a chance to tie the game and a new life. From that point forward, UCLA was the better team on both sides of the ball.

“Maybe we got too high on ourselves after the Utah win,” defensive lineman Trevor Guyton said. “It hurts to get embarrassed by a team like this. It was a game that we definitely should have won … We are a better team than what showed up today.”

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  • cslc42

    ONE word…COACHING…Tedford has to go sooner rather than later

  • Kennedy12

    I watched the game with friends and once I saw the white clownish helmets the shame and embarrassment began… and that was before there was even a snap. The jokes started flying but  I thought I would have the last laugh. That didn’t happen.

    There is a difference between Chip Kelly and Jeff Tedford. The former has balls. The former will go for it on 4th and inches. The former will pull his QB if he throws just two picks (like he did on Saturday). The former took his team to a BCS game.

    Watching Tedford stick with Maynard through 4 picks and 0 touchdowns made me suspect the worst from Tedford. I guess Keenan Allen is calling the shots on the team. I would say the Cal AD needs to clean house with the football program, but Barbour is part of the problem.

    If Tedford loves Cal, he will resign and forfeit his salary.

    • cslc42

      So well said…I could not agree more….WTF are those white helmets????

  • Anonymous

    You would think Tedfords futility would be more noticeable to people in the Bay Area. They saw Jim Harbaugh take a Stanford team that had been routinely been beaten by Cal and turn that team around having them win a major BCS Bowl game last year. Cal wasn’t invited to a bowl game last year and won’t be invited unless they miraculously be Stanford.  So far this year Stanford is 8-0, the 49ers under Harbaugh are 6-1 their only loss to Dallas in OT. What has Tedford done? Well he improved his golf handicap when he should have been figuring out how to improve his team, he did run up the score on a helpless Presbyterian. 

  • Bill Bolton

    Two actions need to happen to improve Cal’s football program.    Fire Jeff Tedford and bench Maynard.    Tedford has lost it, and Maynard is a great athlete, but not a QB.   Makes too many poor decisions in heat of the moment.

  • Darthvader

    I attended this game with five of my family members. We sat in the Cal (visiting) section.

    I was thoroughly embarrassed by our game play. Much of the offensive playcalling was ridiculous. And to quote the radio commentator I heard on the way home from the Rose Bowl: “Shame on this veteran Cal defense for not picking up on that play (Kevin Prince keeping the ball and rushing wide right or left) after the first quarter, let alone in the fourth.”

  • unbearable

    Another golden opportunity blown by Maynard (throwing ints) then Tedfurd (not benching Maynard) then Pendergast (no adjustments on qb Prince) geez!
    When does basketball start?!!!

  • Anonymous

    For all those that are a part of “Occupy Wall Street”. Here in Berkeley we have something similar, it mirrors the injustice and corruption of Wall Street. It is about Barbour and Tedford who have raped the University of all dignity and assets. Through smoke and mirrors, Barbour has proclaimed Tedford a God Coach, lavished him with anything his heart desired, retrofitting a stadium, new training facilities, an enormous paycheck with a big fat bonus if Tedford is still around next year, yet she neglected the Rugby, Baseball and Gymnastics. Lets face it the only way Tedford became the winningest coach in Cal history is because of longer seasons, most of those  wins came against a weakened Pac-10, pitiful 1-A, and 1-AA teams. She used to polish his brass bald head and say look at all the bowl games Tedford has won. What she forgot to mention was that the opponents in these bowl games were teams like Cal that had finished 5th or 6th in their conference. 

    • Anonymous

      Just what we need – more government regulations – a truth-in-coaching bill.

  • pissed off

    No more football for me.  I’m tired of Tedford and tired of really bad football.  This is UC Berkeley for frick’s sake!  The football transfer thugs from JC need to step up or step out.  This school is too good for the likes of Maynard and his little whiny thug brother.  Tedford should just leave and be done with it.   Thanks for the new facilities Ted, now piss off.

    • Sshafikh

      As a Cal alum, I feel offended that you used profanity to describe Keenan Alan.
      Keenan Alan has never said or done anything wrong and has been a model student/athlete. I wouldn’t let my dislike for Tedford and his coaching staff blur my judgement for student athletes. It’s not Maynard’s fault that he’s not good enough to perform as a division 1 quarterback. It’s Tedford’s fault for not trying to give other quarterbacks a chance. Lets not forget that these are student/athletes.

      • Meh

        you obviously haven’t seen his lame twitter posts.  Alan is an athlete, yes.  Student?  don’t make me laugh.

    • Anonymous

      I’ll see you at tomorrow night’s season opener for Cal Basketball??  You’ll see a real coach coaching at Haas.

    • Anonymous

      The last time I had fun watching Cal football was before Tedford started to call those short horizontal throws to DeSean Jackson.  Had he continued to air it out and sent Jackson long, DeSean would have been a first round pick anointed as Air Jackson.

  • Anonymous

    The lament of the loser coach; “We didn’t play as well as we need to play”. What about coaching?   When is this going to be about Jeff Tedford and his many coaching foibles. It’s never about him is it ? The Bay Area Press Corp is to blame for that, they don’t care about Cal, they are enamored with Stanford , Shaw Luck, Harbaugh, 49ers, and the memorial season to Al Davis. In all this bliss and sorrow, reporters continue to write the same old  columns week to week only changing some of the characters slightly. Not once has there been a rag that has come out an demanded Tedfords resignation at the end of the season. 

  • Blue95

    The title of this article should be “Maynard kills Cal’s chances against UCLA”

  • jamrock

    OK so I get it: Tedford made a deal with KA that his brother Zach would start at QB if KA committed to Cal. That much is obvious. However, considering how horrible Zach is at QB, KA would have to score about 7 touchdowns per game to offset his brother’s poor abilities and make the deal worthwhile. That’s obviously not happening, so Tedford should bench Zach and not care if KA scores another touchdown the rest of the season or even tries to catch any balls when playing. Bench Maynard and breach the contract with KA. Play Bridgford and just concentrate on throwing to Jones, Miller, Calvin, and Sofele. Forget about KA and his brother.

    • Anonymous

      Allen will stay at Cal, it does not benefit him to switch colleges, he will go on and be drafted into the NFL. Other QB’s would throw to him maybe not as much as his brother but in their short time together Riley and Allen showed promise. Jones is just as good a receiver and he too will be drafted into the NFL.  Other QB’s would be throwing to Miller more often, if nothing else Tedford needs to replace Maynard so Miller can show his stuff with a more generous QB. Maynard got what he wanted; a scholarship to a higher university, no offense Buffalo. He might of thought he was NFL capable, but he is now making Longshore and Riley look like gems, and neither of them is in the NFL.

  • Cal needs help

    1 – Ditch the white helments & wannabe Oregon uniform combinations. They look goofy and are embarrassing. Go back to classic Cal uniforms with modern fitting.

    2 – Fire Tedford and replace him with a young, up and coming head coach who will implement a tuff West Coast offense. Have him bring in an old school DC who will implement a risk-taking 4-3. Sandy must not pay Tedford his half million dollar bonus for being the head coach when the facilities open. It would be truly reckless for her to do so.

    3 – Bench Maynard NOW. Why this guy is still starting we will never know. It looks REALLY bad because of the whole Keenan Allen brother thing. Whether it’s true or not, it looks like Tedford made a deal with the devil when nabbing Keenan. Continuing to play Maynard will have a devastating morale effect on all the other QBs.

  • Anonymous

    Cal is learning a lesson – never trust any name that has a root of “ford” or “furd”.

  • Guest

    Think basketball

  • guest

    Will the real Cal Bears please stand up!!! How stubborn is Tedfurd for sticking with Maynard?! Even Keenan Allen has to admit his brother is not the guy to lead this team. Why wait till it gets worse before they fire Tedfurd?

  • Silverblack2323

    Tedford says guiltlessly, ‘I’m not going to stick my head in the sand.’ Well, he should stick it SOMEplace … and resign … Cal football has gone steadily downhill now for about three years,  and that should be enough for even the loyal Tedford-supporters … the NCAA is not going to institute one-quarter football just for the sake of Tedford’s teams … time for a new coach

  • stonelove

    I’m running out of synonyms for “suck” when it comes to Tedford and his team. The only good thing is that, with each embarrassing loss,  there are more and more people calling for his head.

    • Anonymous

      Sandy Barbour had no problem seeing Cal’s Baseball and Rugby teams almost be lost forever. But she sure as hell won’t let Tedford go.

      • william oakley

        Amen!! You hit it the nail on the head 

  • Sshafikh

    Can some one ask Tedford why he  chose to throw twice (second time the pass was  intercepted) when  it’s 2end down and 1?  The running game was being effective and you have a quarter back who’s the most inaccurate quarterback I’ve ever seen at division one football.

    You can’t continue to  keep playing Maynard because you’re afraid that Keenan Alan may get upset if you benched Maynard. Team comes first.

    Fire Tedford.

    • Anonymous

      Have you notice Tedford’s middle name: “Can’t Buy a Yard”???  That’s been the story of Tedford’s career at Cal.  With DeSean, Tedford never had to buy a yard.  When the times came in critical games such against OSU, USC, Oregon, and UW, Tedford’s teams can’t seem to get that yard to sustain a drive or to score.  Part of it is poor play calling and part of it is lack of execution.  That leads me to ask, what the f— to they do in practice???

    • Obiwan

      As inaccurate as your quarterback was on that day, I guarantee that UCLA’s Kevin Prince as a LOT WORSE! He frequently misses his receivers when they’re wide open, makes bad decisions and even worse, ANY DEFENSIVE BACK would be able to follow his plays since he only looks at one receiver on any passing play. All you have to do is follow his eyes to know to whom he’s DETERMINED to throw to.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know what looks worse, a Greek haircut or our football team.

    • Anonymous

      Cal football team.

      Quit going to the games Cal kiddies. If/when Tedfurd is fired, it will be 2-3 years before the bears can put a solid team on the field.

      The big game will be a total joke this year.

  • Anonymous

    Where do I start?  OK, let’s keep it simple.  It was a total failure on everybody’s part on our side except for Brian Anger.  It was an ass whipping by a team without six of its starters.  We were a step or two slow every where on the field.  Could it be a lack of motivation – a just another game attitude? 

    Our D-linemen had their head handed to them; UCLA was ripping 5+ yards per carry and it didn’t matter whether they ran it up the middle, off tackle or to the weak side.  If we don’t play a 4-3 against Stanford and ASU, it will be two more old fashion ass whipping.  Our TE can’t block worth poop (poor Bigelow).  Steve Williams can’t tackle.  There’s been no gang tackling. 

    Our O-line has been shameful all year and they looked bad today.  I don’t understand why we let Maynard pass from the pocket because the only way he knows how to make plays is on the run.  Let’s play Bridgeford if we are going to pass from the pocket.  Other than Keenan, nobody else can catch the ball.

    Too much white wine has done something funny to Tedford’s head.  Football is all about power – smash mouth.  We haven’t seen much of that in the past few years.  I don’t remember our last O-lineman who was drafted into the NFL.  Maybe we should swap out our rugby team for our football team.  At minimum, we will see a physical game.

    • Anonymous

      When you show favoritism you breed resentment. Cal’s team is underperforming because of their resentment towards Tedford. If you have ever worked for a company that promoted people out of favoritism , not because they were the best employee, then you see how it ruins the company and the product they sell.

      • Anonymous

        Point well taken.  After all, people have been saying that Tedford is a dick.  But that doesn’t explain the lousy play calling and the poor tackling of the defense and all the other symptoms of a program in decline in spite of talented recruits.  The only guy on our team who has improved over the years has been Anger for obvious reasons!!!  Yet, we are next to last in the graduation rate of all Pac-12 football programs.  Let’s face it.  Aaron Rodgers, Marshawn Lynch and DeSean Jackson, and some of our defensive stars like Desmond Bishop and Mebane, made Tedford look good.  The facts speak for themselves: Oregon did not make it to the Rose Bowl until Tedford left the program.  We need to hire somebody who has (a) made it to a BCS venue, (b) who can take us to the promised land and (c) who can sustain a meager 54% graduation rate.

        • Julian

          Hire Mike Leech formerly of Texas Tech and watch the fireworks at the Rose Bowm1

          • Anonymous

            I used to think that was a bad idea but I do remember Leach’s team beat the then 4th ranked team, Cal, in the Holiday Bowl coached by Tedford.  However, I am not sure I want to replace a dick with another possible dick.  More thought and investigation has to take place before I am convinced Leach is the right candidate.  The jury is still out on Leach.  Give me a no-brainer because it’s Monday!!!

  • Mike P

    If Tedford had any respect for Cal football (and the fans), he would resign or change. For someone who was a good QB coach a decade ago, he has lost his abilities. First it was with Longshore, and now Maynard. Even the UCLA fans I was sitting next to this evening were questioning why Maynard was in at all late in the 3rd and into the 4th quarter. Tedford must learn not to confuse stubborness with commitment. He looks like he is committed to Maynard…while from the stands and the couch we see it as a stubborn coach who should be giving that Bridgeford QB a shot or two. “we’ll look at the tape” …Tedford should look in the mirror too.

    • Anonymous

      Relax, the Monty show is around the corner.

      • Silverblack23

        and will that too turn out to be disappointing? will Cal basketball be able to play complete games and not fold after one quarter as does our football team? Cal could/should win the Pac12 basketball title this year …

        • Anonymous

          We’re slotted behind UCLA.  Show up at the game on Dec. 31 and let’s raise the roof with “Beat LA”.  Monty is a proven product.  He’s won championships.  Monty did for us in second year what Cal couldn’t do in 50 years – Pac 10 Championship.  Tedford hasn’t won anything but second rated bowl games.

    • Anonymous

      Tedford should be committed. 

  • Guest

    Fire Tedford !

    • Anonymous

      The only way to get Tedford fired is by the fans not buying tickets to the games. Boycott Cal home games.

      • Anonymous

        Yea, what if nobody showed up for the big game?  We’re gonna lose anyways so that will send a message to Sandra.

    • Anonymous

      Much too expensive to fire him.  Relax, the Monty show is around the corner.

  • Truth

    4 picks and another horrific performance by Maynard. Tedford is obviously starting him to keep Keenan happy. There’s just no other explanation. The season is over so boycott the games. All backup QBs should transfer since nothing will change for the rest of the season or next year.

    • Anonymous

      Rick Neuheisel needs to thank Tedford for saving his job at least for another year. As for Tedford?, he knows Cal doesn’t have the guts to fire him.  Or could it be that he signed a contract that has the university over a barrel?

    • Anonymous

      Agree but that puts us in the hole for the next few years.  Let’s hire another coach and make Tedford the QB coach so we don’t have to pay his severance.

  • Sshafikh

    Atrocious play calling on offense. Terrible defense preparation and adjustment. A quarterback that belongs to FCS not division one.

    How can you lose to a team that was dominated a week earlier and had 6 players suspended so badly?


    • Anonymous

      You would think this was the straw that would have broke the camels back. Sandy Barbours love for Tedford will bring him back. If he comes back, Cal needs to get rid of both Tedford and Barbour.