Bears fork over loss to Sun Devils

First conference home game results in defeat for Bears and stymies bowl hopes.

Quarterback Zach Maynard took six sacks on the day in Cal's 27-17 loss to Arizona State.
Carli Baker/Staff
Quarterback Zach Maynard took six sacks on the day in Cal's 27-17 loss to Arizona State.

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Isi Sofele took a handoff from the Cal 31-yard line with three and a half minutes remaining in the second quarter.

A score would have given the Bears a halftime advantage and placed them in prime position to secure their first conference victory.

But Sofele fumbled the ball, and the Cal football team effectively fumbled away the rest of its season as the Sun Devils converted the turnover into a touchdown just before the halftime whistle.

Costly turnovers and excessive penalties killed the Bears (1-4) on Saturday afternoon in a 27-17 loss to Arizona State in the first conference home game of the season.

The loss brought Cal’s conference record to 0-2, virtually eliminating any chance of a bowl berth.

“We couldn’t get in a rhythm today,” coach Jeff Tedford said. “We got beat by a more physical team.”

As in last week’s loss to USC, the offensive line failed to provide sufficient protection for quarterback Zach Maynard on Saturday. Maynard was sacked six times and faced relentless pressure from the Sun Devils’ defensive line.

Maynard finished 9 for 28 for 124 yards, attempting to force throws between two defenders on multiple occasions and airmailing wide-open receivers in crucial situations.

“We have to get him more time to throw the football,” Tedford said. “He didn’t play his best game today, but getting stuck in third-and-long isn’t the best situation to be in.”

Arizona State’s offense utilized its balanced attack to execute methodical drives. Rather than predicating their offense on big plays, the Sun Devils put themselves in manageable third-down situations and converted those efficiently.

Arizona State struck first with a one-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Taylor Kelly midway through the first quarter. Kelly kept the drive alive with athletic scrambles and opportunistic conversions, culminating in a play-action fade.

The Bears responded with 13 minutes remaining in the second quarter on a 24-yard touchdown scamper from Sofele. Maynard hit wide receiver Keenan Allen on a 44-yard slant to set up the score and tie the game.

The momentum shifted dramatically toward the Sun Devils late in the second quarter. Down 10-7 with three and a half minutes remaining until halftime, Cal started its drive at its own 20 yard line. An 11-yard Sofele run brought the Bears to the 31 yard line, but on the next play Sofele fumbled and ASU recovered in Cal territory.

Kelly completed a couple of short passes to bring the Sun Devils into the red zone. He then found wideout Kevin Ozier over the middle on a nine-yard underneath route for a touchdown, giving Arizona State a 17-7 edge before half.

The Sun Devils defensive line continued its harassment of Maynard into the third quarter. On Cal’s first two drives of the period, sacks either brought up long third-down attempts or outright ended drives.

A nine play, 51 yard drive set Arizona State up for a 33-yard field goal with 4:35 remaining in the third quarter.

The Bears responded immediately with a drive of their own. Shifty runs by Sofele and running back C.J. Anderson and a pass interference call brought Cal to the Arizona State 36. Maynard hit tight end Richard Rodgers for a 12-yard completion, and Cal appeared to be turning the tide.

But the offense sputtered from there. Maynard made the mistake of kneeling on what he believed to be a neutral zone infraction, bringing up a 2nd and long frakas. He then tossed two erratic passes, forcing kicker Vince D’Amato to convert a 35-yard field goal to bring the Bears within 10.

A blocked field goal by Nick Forbes halted another scoring attempt and pumped up the previously lethargic Memorial Stadium crowd.

Cal took over at the Sun Devils 20 with just over 11 minutes remaining in the game. A 44-yard romp by Anderson down the sideline brought the Bears into the red zone, where Maynard found his brother Allen on a corner fade for his only touchdown pass of the game to bring the score to 20-17.

But Arizona State squashed the comeback on the subsequent drive. Kelly completed a 22-yard pass on 2nd and 11 to bring the Sun Devils into the Bears’ territory. Three plays later, Kelly found Ozier again for a 22-yard touchdown. The score put ASU up 10 with just over six minutes remaining, effectively placing the game out of reach.

“What do you expect me to reassess and hope for?” Tedford said. “We just got to get better.

“I don’t know about reassessing. I don’t know what that means.”

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  • cal fan

    Get a more expensive coach and move more funds into sports from academics. Cal fans deserve better!

    • I_h8_disqus

      While I agree that we should get a more expensive coach, I don’t agree with moving more funds from academics to sports. A good coach will generate much more revenue than the increased expenditure for his salary. We should get a more expensive coach so that athletics can be self sustaining and can generate more alumni interest in the university, which would generate more donations to academics.

  • unbearble

    I think San Jose State can beat Cal, at this point……….De La Salle can too.
    Fire Tedfraud and Pretendergra$$!!!

  • Disheartened

    Tedford post game press conference. A good coach should show some passion and take some responsibility for poor, unimaginative play calling and an inability develop a competent quarterback despite having multiple Rivals 3 and 4 star recruits collecting dust on the bench. Tedford does neither, and quite frankly, looks like he’d rather be napping. Taking nothing away from what Tedford has done to our program since the days of Holmoe, but I think both the Bears and Tedford both need a change of scenery. I wouldn’t complain if we put Barbour out to pasture as well.

  • Concerned Cal fan

    Tedford is an awful coach and Maynard is the worst quarterback I’ve seen at Cal going back to late 80’s. I never thought, I’d miss Kevin Riley but I do. Even Joe Ayoub was better than Maynard. I would never criticize a student athlete. It’s not his fault that he doesn’t have the strength or the skills to be an effective quarterback in Pac-12. But it is Tedford’s fault not to give the opportunity to another quarterback who could to develop into a decent player. I can’t wait until Tedford is gone.

    • MondayQB57

      At least Ayoob had some talent. In deference to Maynard, he was never a pocket-passing QB. Tedford insist on making him a pocket-passing QB even though he has worked with many QBs with Maynard’s talent while at Oregon. So a majority of the plays called are doomed to fail because we don’t have the right personnel on the field. Tedford finally learned that Anderson should be in on the short yardage goal situation instead of Isi. For such an intellectual environment, Tedford is sure a numbskull.

  • Oski

    Tedford and Barbour must go. This is a joke.

  • MondayQB57

    I guess interim head coach Tedford did not anticipate the heat ASU would bring onto Maynard so he did not develop any game strategy to take off some of that heat. Surely he could have seen the speed of ASU defense had he watched some tapes. I guess half time was not long enough for the interim head coach to make a change in game plan to counter the aggressiveness of ASU defense.

    Stick-to-my-program Tedford could care less about the fans. All we wanted was for Bigelow to have a few – not many- but a few touches. Maybe he could put a little fire into the team.

    When a team continues to shoot itself in the foot with mistakes, there is a lack of discipline and we’re not playing smart. But it all starts from the top. I don’t believe our guys have any confidence in Tedford’s playbook. They look like they’re going through the motion.

    Sandy Barbour, when you get over your brain freeze, interim head coach Tedford will be former head coach. As I’ve said since 2007, we didn’t need a new house. We need to clean house.

  • loverpoint

    Cal is officially at the bottom of the Pac-12 ( 1-4, 0-2 ), fear not fans Uncle Tedford has declared that Cal will be invited to a bowl game. To bad there is nothing in Tedfords contract that allows him to be fired for being delusional. This year Tedford collected a $500,000.00 bonus on top of his $2,000,000.00+ salary. If the University fires Tedford at the end of the season they will have to pay him $5,000,000.00 as a buy out of his existing contract. Thank you Sandy Barbour, during your time as athletic director Cal almost lost its Baseball team and Rugby team, and you and Uncle Tedford collaborated on a contract that even the Devil himself would admire.

    • I_h8_disqus

      People talk about firing Tedford, but I think Sandy needs to go also. You brought up how we almost lost a number of athletic programs last year. That alone should have gotten Sandy canned. Baseball and the other sports only got reprieves because of alumni efforts. Sandy wasn’t capable of doing it.

    • MondayQB57

      We all have skeletons in our closet and Tedford has his. Let’s get the dirt on the guy and the walk away will be free.

    • libsrclowns

      As Cali slides down the shitter, Tedfurd collects his dinero.

  • loverpoint

    I Arizona St. had a decent FG kicker, the score would have been much worse.

    What kind of egotistical coward ( Tedford ) allows his team to be booed off the field at halftime and think that the problem is always with someone else except himself. Tedford is the target of the boo’s, but he will not tear up his contract and walk away, Not Jeff, no he is going to make The University of California and its fans suffer due to his selfish ineptitude. Maynard is 9 for 28 and I can guarantee you that not once did Tedfords little mind ever entertain the thought of replacing him with another QB. Tedford if asked by the press would only resort to his stand by answer which is; “No other QB is capable of running the Offense”, end of story the press shuts up and cowers out of the locker room with their tail between their legs and back to there little cubicle where they will declare Tedford is Cals best Head Coach ever.

    • MondayQB57

      Replacing Maynard is not the answer when you have Bridgeford. I can’t believe Bridgeford has been with us three years and doesn’t seem to have gotten any better with our interim head coach and self annointed QB guru.

      • 74Bear

        Not sure it is Bridgeford’s fault. Remember back to the first game when Bridgeford started, but hadn’t been given sufficient practice time with the 1st team?
        And, what QB has improved under Tedford?

        • MondayQB57

          I agree. That’s the reason I made it a point to mention of our so-called QB guru without mentioning names.

      • loverpoint

        I think some of these QB recruits just give up. They come to Cal for the education and to play against quality Pac-12 teams but after their Redshirt freshman years they pretty much understand that Tedford has his favorites and Tedford is lying when he talks about competition. I doubt that the other QB’s ever get the attention of his favorites. Tedford may allow Bridgeford to start the final 2 games of the season, next year Bridgeford will be the starter not because of skill level but because of senority- that is the Tedford way.

        • MondayQB57

          Agree. Unlike Pete Carroll, Tedford (a) does not play his best player and (b) quite often does not have the right personnel on the field.

  • Guest

    ““What do you expect me to reassess and hope for?” Tedford said.” ??

    We no longer hope for anything from you, Coach. Except your timely departure. As soon as possible.

    Some men couldn’t live with taking the amount of money that you have for the quality of job you have performed for the last at least 6 years. They have pride in themselves, pride in their name. Those men would have spared the University the agony of these last years by taking their multi-millions at the time and resigning.

    Those men are not you. No, Coach, we hold no such illusions about you because we know EXACTLY what you are: a 1%’r with a sense of entitlement. Notice the empty stands, today, Coach? There will be more.