When asked to sum up his performance against Oregon, quarterback Allan Bridgford had only a one-word answer.
And that’s about right. Bridgford wasn’t great, but he wasn’t terrible.
His stat line was pretty subpar. The redshirt junior completed just nine of his 21 passes for 113 yards, a touchdown and two picks.
For the most part, Bridgford’s offensive line gave him plenty of protection, as he was only sacked once. He also had the luxury of a functioning running game that provided 253 yards on the ground and rarely forced Bridgford into third and longs.
Multiple times, he took all of that and showed flashes of brilliance, or at least competency. His 10-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Darius Powe — the first career touchdown for both players — was a gem of a throw, as Bridgford looked off the safety and then found his man wide open in the corner of the end zone in stride.
But there were also plenty of times where Bridgford proved that quarterback Zach Maynard was rightfully the starting quarterback for most of the year.
In the third quarter, Bridgford got flustered by pressure up the middle, and threw off his back foot into a crowded area, trying to hit his running back on a screen. The result was a pick — and the first turnover of the game.
On the next play, Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota found wide receiver Josh Huff for a 35-yard touchdown, putting his squad up 31-17 and jamming a giant dagger into the collective heart of Cal.
Bridgford showed good pocket presence and command of the offense, but his mechanics leave plenty to be desired. His release is far too slow to be a big time quarterback, and once teams get a chance to see him on tape, the results might get ugly.
Cal’s chances next week against Oregon State are slim. Cal will be playing a better team on the road, which in all likelihood will result in the squad’s ninth loss.
Bridgford will likely get outplayed by Oregon State quarterback Sean Mannion. But, as he showed against Oregon, he at least won’t be the only reason his team loses.
Connor Byrne covers football. Contact him at [email protected]