Jeff Tedford might be fired . Cal’s performance against Oregon State Saturday night left no mystery as to why.
In a rain-drenched contest highlighted by broken coverages, needless personal foul penalties and inexcusable turnovers, the Bears fell on their collective faces in a 62-14 blowout Saturday night.
“I don’t know,” Tedford responded, when asked if he expected to return next season. “We go back to work tomorrow.”
Beavers quarterback Sean Mannion led the offensive charge for Oregon State. In the first half alone, Mannion completed 18 of 23 passes for four touchdowns and 239 yards. The Beavers’ receivers repeatedly found giant holes in the Cal secondary, who sorely missed injured safety Avery Sebastian.
Sebastian wasn’t the only wounded starter. Quarterback Zach Maynard, wide receivers Keenan Allen and Bryce Treggs, and right tackle Matt Summers-Gavin all sat out with various afflictions.
Starting in Maynard’s place for the second consecutive week was redshirt junior Allan Bridgford. Bridgford struggled mightily, completing 16 of 29 passes for 119 yards and throwing a momentum-halting interception just four minutes into the game.
“(Bridgford) needs some more experience,” Tedford said. “But he did what he could.”
On the subsequent drive, several precise Mannion tosses, paired with Cal’s first personal foul, brought the Beavers to the Bears’ 11-yard line. On the next play Mannion found wideout Markus Wheaton on an underneath slant, and Wheaton darted into the endzone to put Oregon State up, 7-0, with 10 minutes remaining in the first quarter.
The Bears struck back three minutes later with a nine-play, 82-yard drive. The senior running back tandem of CJ Anderson and Isi Sofele led the way with bruising runs and the drive culminated in a Sofele touchdown run from nine yards out.
But that was the closest Cal would come to knocking off the talented Beavers squad.
Oregon State running back Storm Woods stormed through the Bears’ front seven for a 38-yard run on the next drive, and another Cal personal foul brought the Beavers inside the 10 yard line. Two plays later, fullback Tyler Anderson punched it in from one yard out to make it 14-7, Oregon State.
Mannion and self-inflicted wounds continued to burn the Bears throughout the remainder of the first half. In total, Cal accumulated 88 penalty yards in the half. Most of those yards came in the form of 15-yard personal foul penalties on defense, shortening the field almost every drive for Mannion and his crew of fast and physical receivers.
And Mannion certainly made the Bears pay.
After a Daniel Lasco fumble gave the Beavers possession early in the second quarter, Mannion threw a bomb from the Cal 48 to a wide-open Brandin Cooks downfield. Cooks caught the underthrown pass and slipped past the last line of Cal defense to put Oregon State up two scores.
Mannion still wasn’t done. The Beavers took possession with nine minutes remaining in the second quarter after a Bears three-and-out. A 12-yard completion to Cooks, combined with an illegal hit by Josh Hill, brought Oregon State to the Cal 43. Two more Mannion first-down throws and a personal foul on Deandre Coleman had the Beavers in the Cal red zone once more.
And for the third time in the half, Mannion found one of his receivers open in the endzone to make the score 28-7, Oregon State.
Mannion cemented the fate of the contest in the final seconds of the second half with a 6-yard touchdown throw to Micah Hatfield. The four-touchdown halftime deficit felt appropriate as the season dissolved into a pathetic whimper.
“We obviously have a lot of work to do,” Tedford said. “It was unfortunate for the seniors that they had a year like this.”