Bears outshoot Devils in desert duel

Quarterback Zach Maynard had two touchdowns — a 74-yard pass and a 16-yard run — in Cal's victory over Arizona State on Friday night.
Anna Vignet/Senior Staff
Quarterback Zach Maynard had two touchdowns — a 74-yard pass and a 16-yard run — in Cal's victory over Arizona State on Friday night.

TEMPE, Ariz. — It was a shootout in the West, a desert duel to end the regular season.

Back and forth it went on Friday night at Sun Devil Stadium. Brock Osweiler matching Zach Maynard, Isi Sofele and C.J. Anderson matching Cameron Marshall. Close to 1,000 yards of total offense.

And it ended with a kick, Cal upending Arizona State, 47-38.

Marshall had been piercing through the Bears’ defense for 150-plus rushing yards, but his fourth-quarter fumble gave Cal the ball with a six-point lead. The Bears (7-5, 4-5 in the Pac-12) took their time, running the ball on all eight plays before Giorgio Tavecchio kicked a 30-yard field goal.

When the smoke cleared, the Sun Devils were down by nine points with 3:32 to go. Osweiler’s interception moments later sealed the final score.

“We stiffened up when we needed to in the fourth quarter and kept them out of the end zone,” head coach Jeff Tedford said. “The guys just kept believing and kept battling and competing hard.”

In the first 30 minutes, the Bears had 10 points off turnovers to ASU’s seven, but their penchant for field goals led to their one-point halftime deficit. Maynard opened the game with two screen passes to Keenan Allen, first to the left side, then to the right. On the second one, the sophomore wide receiver hurdled the first defender and juked the second for a 34-yard gain.

A short run, an incompletion and a four-yard pass on third-and-seven led to a Giorgio Tavecchio field goal, his first of four.

The Bears’ next three scores were all touchdowns: Sofele on an 18-yard run, Maynard on a 16-yard run and Anderson — after a 22-yard gain — on a one-yard run. Sofele finished with 145 yards on 21 carries, while Anderson, who rushed for 48, scored three touchdowns.

“C.J. came in when I needed a break, I came in when C.J. needed a break,” Sofele said. “So that kept us out there 100 percent each time.”

Marc Anthony intercepted Osweiler at the ASU 30, and with a 24-14 lead, the Bears seemed poised to break the game open. Osweiler, on target up to that point, had just handed the ball over to a thriving Cal offense.

Despite an offsides call to begin the series, the Bears were forced to kick another field goal after gaining one yard on three plays but took a commanding 13-point lead.

“We depend on Giorgio,” Maynard said. “He’s a great kicker.”

The Sun Devils came storming back to close the half. At around the one-minute mark, Osweiler threw a 35-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to bring the Sun Devils (6-6, 4-5) within six. Cal tight end Richard Rodgers fumbled on the ensuing kickoff return, and Osweiler had himself another touchdown pass just moments later to take a 28-27 lead.

The scoring sprees continued in the third quarter. An 11-yard sack by Mychal Kendricks forced the Sun Devils to kick a field goal to open the half. The Bears countered with a balanced drive, aided by an unnecessary roughness penalty that brought Cal up to the 16. After a timeout, Sofele ran right, backtracked left and took a nice block from Maynard to gain 11 yards and the first down. Anderson took it in for his second touchdown and Cal reclaimed a 34-31 lead.

Then came the cannon. After the Bears forced the Sun Devils to punt for the second and final time in the contest, Cal looked short but ended up with the bomb. An ASU defender came in, thinking Maynard was going to run it, and Anderson slipped by and caught the soft lob on the run for 74 yards, stretching the lead to 10 points.

“He made big plays both with his legs and his arm,” Tedford said of Maynard, who was 20-for-27 for 241 yards with two touchdowns, one passing and one running. “His maturation throughout the season has been great. His growth and development has been tremendous.”

The squad traded scores — the Sun Devils a touchdown, Cal a field goal — to set up what was a game-changing drive. Down six, ASU could have taken the lead, but Marshall’s miscue made all the difference. The Bears took nearly five and a half minutes to go 47 yards and clinch their first regular season finale victory since 2008.

Please keep our community civil. Comments should remain on topic and be respectful.
Read our full comment policy
  • loverspoint

    So now Cal must wait for another week and a half or so before it will be determined what bowl game they will be invited to and what team they will play. They seem as happy as squirrel chock-full of nuts when they play in the Emerald Bowl. The need to travel, and show the NCAA that they can win outside the confines of the Bay Area and beat a reputable team.

  • Sshafikh

    The offensive playcalling was much improved. Tedford suddenly remembered how he used to call offensive plays in the beginning when he was considered one of the best coaches in the country. I was also extremely pleased with Maynard’s play. His accuracy was improved dramatically. But Cal still has huge problems on defense and special teams. Pendergast just doesn’t seem to be able to create mismatches to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks and consequently Cal’s porous secondary gets exposed time and time again.

    I’m still hopeful that Cal will be improved significantly next year. Let’s see what happens in the bowl game.

    • loverspoint

      Maynard had his best game against Arizona St.. Cal was ahead by 10 points gave up the lead and came back to win the game. Lets see how well Maynard does next year, I’m sure Tedford has penciled him in as the starter for next season. Next year the Cal offensive line will be diminished, they will get Stevenson back from injury at FB, they will lose Anthony Miller TE and Marvin Jones WR, without Jones or a player of his caliber to draw attention away from Allen then Cals offense will be in bad shape. One thing Cal has a hard time doing in transitioning from year to year. Unless they find replacements that can step in and improve on the play of the previous players then Cal will be in worse shape next year. Cal will also have a big void to fill at Safety, will they have Allen playing WR, and S ? Pendergasts defense didn’t seem as aggressive as last years defense and Ashley Ambrose was supposed to fix our secondary, I guess we can give him a few years. I hope that Cal is still #1 on Shaq Thompsons list of recruiting schools, and that Jim Michalczik can do a better job at recruiting offensive linemen, it sure would be nice to see Cal recruiting some 4 and 5 star linemen, or is that the job of the training facility? Having Shaq Thompson and Keenan Allen playing at the same time would be a joy to watch. 

  • MondayQB57

    What a nice way to end a season of disappointments.  There’s hope for next season.  But last night’s W masks our lack of short yardage success.  For a second week, we failed to score twice when the ball was near the goal line.  We won because ASU is not Stanford.

    • loverspoint

      Cal has shown that they have fallen behind Washington. They still can’t get by Oregon, USC, or Stanford. And this years all time disappointment was losing to UCLA.

      • MondayQB57

        Tedford has never beaten Sarkesian regardless of whether he was an asst. or head coach.

  • old, old bear

    Cal went 5-5 against league opponents, 7-5 overall.  It is just only 4 wins counted towards league play.  (It sounds better, at least to me)

    We are all proud of this year’s team.  So much improvement.  Too bad the season ends soon.

    Go bears.  Here’s to hoping we spank Mac Brown team in the bowl game, and beating Ohio State in 2012.

    • loverspoint

      What improvement? they only beat 2 teams with winning records- Utah and Arizona St. and of those 2 probably the most significant was Arizona St. ( even though AZ St. was banged up) because it was a road game. Cal still sucks on the road. The only other road victory was at Colorado in OT. Of their 5 loses 4 of the games were on the road. They still showed no improvements against Oregon or USC again Cal got hammered by both. 

      • MondayQB57

        Face it, Tedford doesn’t have the personality to get his team jacked up for a game.  He’s too laid back.  He treats L’s like W’s and vice-a-versa.  We’re not a physical team.  Hence, that is the reason it took him years before he won a game in LA.  Another reason we can’t win on the road – no short yardage gimmes.  Hey Tedford, check out Green Bay.  They use their nose tackle B. J. Raji on short yardage missions.  You throw in a 185 lb’er (and that might be stretching it).