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Live blogging for Wash. St

Posted by Eric | November 3, 2007 at 5:46 pm | In Games |

Washington State helmetCal helmet

Well, here we go. The Bears host Washington State (3-5, 1-4 Pac-10) tonight with an opportunity to get back on track after a three-game skid.

Cal should definitely win this one, but given the shaky state of the Bears the Cougars are not a team to be overlooked. They’re coming off a big 27-7 victory over UCLA. However, while they’re 3-1 at home, they have not won on the road this season. They also have an excellent QB in Alex Brink but they’ll be missing starting running back Dwight Tardy.

6:44p: Sidenote, ASU taking a shellacking from Oregon right now. It’s 35-16 and the Ducks don’t look like they’re slowing down at all.

7:15p: Ducks win 35-23 while #2 BC trails 7-0 to FSU. We may be seeing Oregon in the National Championship game come January.

7:21p: Nate Longshore is the quarterback and he looks fine for now. Not sure what’s up with the coverage, but the game just switched on a few minutes into the first quarter. The Bears are sporting the gold jerseys and the offense is moving down the field pretty well.

7:27p: Whoops, FB Brian Holley just dropped a touchdown pass. Still, it looks like the offense is clicking right now, especially the ground game. Justin Forsett and Jahvid Best just made some great runs.

7:31p: QB sneak with Longshore already busted up? Bad idea. The announcers are skeptical about it too. But Forsett takes in the touchdown and the Bears have a successful, efficient opening drive. Bears lead, 7-0. Now… the defense goes to work.

7:38p: I’ll say cautiously that the defense looks alright… Zach Follett makes a big hit, Thomas DeCoud makes a great play breaking up a long pass. Luckily, Brink overthrows a wide-open receiver — whoever was covering him fell down.

7:42p: As usual, Longshore botches the long ball and throws an interception. Lavelle Hawkins appeared to be in perfect position but Longshore simply could not get the ball to him. Luckily, the defense subsequently holds the Cougs to a three-and-out, but let’s see if Longshore can overcome the last setback and lead the Bears down the field from inside the 5 yard line.

7:47p: Forsett and the ground game are tearing up the Cougs right now. However, I feel like I’ll be holding my breath whenever Longshore delivers the ball.

7:56p: Longshore attempts the long ball and is ALMOST PICKED AGAIN on a crucial 3rd and 2! His throws look absolutely terrible right now. The announcers can’t stop talking about his form which is obviously hampered by the ankle injury — they highlight his footwork and repeat “he is really struggling with his feet.” Will we see Kevin Riley soon?

***

EDIT 11/4: Sadly, the internet went out at my apartment complex at this point, effectively killing my live blogging efforts.

The Bears’ drive kept going with a long march down the field. However, with only runs attempted inside the 10 yard line, Cal unsurprisingly settled for a field goal. The first half finished uneventfully besides a nice interception capped with a 37-yard run by Syd’Quan Thompson. Cal totally dominated the time of possession of the first half but only ended up with 10 points to show for it.

In the third quarter, defenses on both squads looked pretty decent — or, the offenses couldn’t execute. There were a few field goals, but nothing too spectacular. 13-6.

Forsett made a bad fumble in the fourth quarter in the Cougar red zone and ended a nice, methodical drive. After exchanging three-and-outs and Washington State registering another field goal, Forsett broke out for a much-needed 44-yard touchdown run opened up by center Alex Mack. 20-9.

Down by two scores, the Cougs made a desperation drive and managed to score a touchdown with a very close two-point conversion. However, the Hawk comes up with the onside kick attempt – game over, Cal wins it 20-17.

This game was much too close for comfort, but I’m pleased that the losing “streak” is over. Longshore performed adequately and looked good with short passes — meanwhile, his long passes continue to terrify me. Overall, the offense is missing something intangible… things really need to come together or there’s no way the Bears take down USC next week.

Despite the clear need for improvement, I can’t help but feel good about the much-needed win last night. Go Bears.

17 Comments »

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  1. Anybody else notice the WSU defenders ripping at Longshore’s head? Jerks.

    1. Comment by Bear Fan — November 3, 2007 @ 7:33 pm #

  2. God Longshore looks effing awful on that long ball. Get Riley in there now.

    2. Comment by Ryan — November 3, 2007 @ 7:46 pm #

  3. Are we going to hear Kevin Riley chants tonight?

    3. Comment by Go Bears — November 3, 2007 @ 7:46 pm #

  4. FSN San Diego is showing MLS instead of college football so it’s just me and Joe Starkey tonight. From the way it sounds like Longshore is playing, it might be best that I don’t see the visuals.

    4. Comment by Go Bears — November 3, 2007 @ 7:57 pm #

  5. you cant pull longshore i guess since were winning and he’s played pretty well. but he looks SO gimpy on his throws and i wouldnt throw a deep pass again..

    5. Comment by laughing — November 3, 2007 @ 8:30 pm #

  6. I think Tedford is continuing to do a horrible job with the play calling. I see nothing of the offenseive “genius” that he is supposed to be. Why are we always running the ball up the gut on 1st and goal? Does he have no faith in the rest of his offense? I hope we get something going before the end of the game so we have some momentum for next week.

    6. Comment by JC — November 3, 2007 @ 9:51 pm #

  7. Cal wins. Go Bears!

    7. Comment by B — November 3, 2007 @ 10:29 pm #

  8. It’s going to be an ugly day next Saturday.

    8. Comment by RC — November 3, 2007 @ 11:37 pm #

  9. I don’t understand the play calling inside the 10 yard line. 2 great drives last night and then Tedford runs 3 plays unsucessfully up the middle, not passing once, and we settle for 2 field goals. Nice high powered offense!

    Longshore is gimpy, slow and has no confidence. Note to Tedford: When you run the option play, it helps if your quarterback can actually RUN!

    Hawkins had a good game but dropped two very catchable passes while wide open. If Forset doesn’t bust the 42 yarder in the 4th it could have been a lot closer.

    Hopefully the BEARS get fired up for next week and play like they did against Oregon and Tennessee, not like they have over the last 4 wks!

    9. Comment by SB — November 4, 2007 @ 7:55 am #

  10. Defense definitely played better than usual, and despite the last desperation drive by the Cougs, they didn’t allow any touchdowns froma very good QB in Alex Brink.

    Defense had their best game of the season. The offesne was absolutely terrible. And can some find any stats for me on Ccal’s red zone offense? I think it has to be one of the worst in the country. Two times in this game, we were within 5 yards of the endzone, and we were never able to convert. Jordan Kay and our defense bailed out our offense that struggled finishing a drive.

    Like I’ve iterated before, our defense, while the easy squad to blame for our losses, has been much more consistent than our offense. They nearly gave up the same number of points per game on average in our first 5 wins than in the 3 subsequent losses. We cannot squander our key scoring opportunities like this if we want to beat USC. And unfortunately, this is becoming a terrible pattern–we remember the Oregon State game, where we could convert on the one. Arizona State and ULCA also posed opportunities in our opponts territories where we didn’t get the ball in the endzone, and then didn’t even get the Field Goal.

    Our offense is looking terrible–clearly, Longshore is not a 100%. With enough time in the pocket, he can make an accurate long ball throw. While that might be good enough for a Washington State, it won’t be for the USC defense who will apply more pressure on Longshore. I think the running game did get a little better this game, but still not where we should be. I am convinced that the running plays need to be amended to support Forsett’s strengths–Forsett is a much better ‘North-South’ runner than an ‘East-West’ runner. His body kinetics when changing direction are not quick enough to elude defenders. He is low to the ground and much more of a power runner who can muscle through traffic to pick up 4-8 yards per carry when things are going well. Of course, it helps to have the multi-dimensional offense and mix up the play calling to make sure Cal’s offense isn’t a predictable (like it was in the UCLA game).

    I thought the play calling was better–it was nice to see some play actions on First down–we don’t usually hit it, but it’s a good sign to show our play calling is getting less conservative. What I don’t like on the playcard are the dinky screen passes thrown with no protection around the balll carrier–we are getting eaten alive by that play.

    Craig Stevens has the magic hands–this guy is a 6′5 250-pound monster and he never drops the ball, always converting big plays (like 3rd and outs). I think incorporating this guy in a few plays is worth it. He is solid and hard to take down, and has a height, size, and power advantage over many defenders.

    Turnovers and general ball handling are still a problem. We are not taking care of the ball–but here, luckily, our defense bailed us out by not allowing WSU to score. With a bigger, better faster team like USC, if we had those kind of turnovers, they will capitalize and get some points off of it. Even in this game, imagine WSU got a touchdown instead of a FG on one of our stupid turnovers. That would change the whole dynamic of this game, given that it was only a three-point victory. Our defense is young–our offense is experienced. The D will get better over time, but the offense should eb good now and scoring big on these teams. Longshore, as he is not 100%, needs to control the ball better too to avoid getting picked off. It’s almost expected now that he will picked off once or twice a game–in the first 5 games, he had only 2–since then, he’s been struggling to find his groove on the long ball.

    Keys to beating USC are simple:

    1. Good ball handling.
    2. Build plays to open lanes for Forsett in the ‘North-South’ Barry Sanders-like style
    3. Accurate kicking game (Kay was good in this game, but the kicks were from shorter distances)
    4. Finishing drives in the red zone–our offense gets read like a book in the short field. Tedford needs to come up with some inventive plays to help us finish in these scenarios
    5. Longshore needs to rework the long ball and keep getting healthier.
    6. Defense needs to force turnovers by pressuring Booty and reading his plays to his favorite receivers.
    7. Defense needs to prevent even the smallest movement on the round from Washington. If they sense weakness during gametime, Carroll is good at adapting and exploting weaknesses.

    10. Comment by axbhalla — November 4, 2007 @ 10:25 am #

  11. Pre-game in the stadium was as dismal as you could hope for. There was 0% electricity from the field in warm-ups. I forgot to ask on the last thread; Has anyone else noticed how horrible Pac 10 officials are? We got a BS pass interference call and then the BS 2-point conversion that they handed to Washington State at the end of the game. If Carrol is up to his usual antics we are going to have a long Saturday on the 10th for sure. The one good thing, no false starts from Brian De La Puente. Good job 63. I am still dumbfounded as to why Mr. Conte (17) is playing. They will surely go after him hard next week. One last thing; did anyone notice that the (2) times Follet blitzed he broke the play up? Who’d a thought that actually blitzing a linebacker might break up plays? I was always under the impression that four D-Linemen could create a great deal of pressure against five O-Linemen and a back sometimes. Foolish me. Stay tough out there guys. Still here, still rootin’, Go Bears!

    11. Comment by fungmunkey — November 4, 2007 @ 12:58 pm #

  12. Great group of Bear faithful here. Some of you are happy with the win as am I. Yea there are still problems with the team but they won. For the first time in over a month. It just good to wake up this morning and not feel so crappy that they lost. Next Saturday is going to be diferent yes this game doesn’t have the magnitude that it could of had, but its still USC, and a game between two top 25 teams on primetime tv. There will be electricity in the stands and hopefully that will give the Bears of an advantage.

    12. Comment by poodayou100 — November 4, 2007 @ 6:48 pm #

  13. Cal won a close one but let’s be honest, tons of questions remained. It was still a very ugly and boring game from Cal’s end. That play option Longshore ran was mindbuggling, and for most of the game, our running game was pretty much nothing until Forsette got that TD in the 4th quarter. I am not that optimistic now, seems like the CAL lost the chemistry in the offense and we rely more on individual effort now, even though we probably are the only team that has so many great weapons. Tedford doesnt seem to change anything and I dont think it will next week.

    13. Comment by bearfaithful — November 4, 2007 @ 7:52 pm #

  14. Agree with commnet #10— Stevens needs to get more touches. Look at his stats this year, and remember how he seems to always carry two-three defenders on his back for part of his runs after the catch.

    14. Comment by Pete Maloney — November 5, 2007 @ 11:07 am #

  15. I wonder if Tedford has tricks ready for use against USC that nobody has seen. It’s Cal’s most challenging game remaining, so he might as well not hold anything back for future surprise.

    15. Comment by MikeD — November 5, 2007 @ 1:06 pm #

  16. LMAO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Tedford doesn’t have any trick plays for USC! Please! He couldn’t even beat UCLA!!! He is the most stubborn coach I have ever seen. This is no different than 2005 where we probably could have gone 11-1 had he played Levy! But no, he foolishly stuck with Ayoob, just like he is sticking with Nate this year! Way to go Tedford, you genius you!

    16. Comment by Ricardo — November 5, 2007 @ 4:35 pm #

  17. Comment 11 makes a good point. The stadium before the game was very empty with less fans than usual. Even during the game, the stadium wasn’t cheering nearly as loudly as usual. The fans definitely have to be motivated next week from the start of the game to give the team that extra push. It kills me to see such a group of talented players on the field that had an amazing showing beating Tennessee at home and then Oregon on the road! Now, we barely come off a win at home against Washington State. The play calling definitely worries me for next week especially since I think Forsett has been having trouble getting his running game going and they tend to use him a lot. Longshore needs to gain some confidence and trust his receivers and look for the open man. I think that if Longshore develops the confidence he needs, finds Jackson and Hawkins when they are open, we will be ok.

    17. Comment by KS — November 5, 2007 @ 10:23 pm #

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