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Cal drowns in fourth quarter woes vs. USC

Posted by Steve | November 14, 2007 at 12:26 am | In Games, Quarterback |

In what was once considered to be one of the biggest games of the season, the Bears found themselves once again in a close game entering the fourth quarter. And yet again, they fell short, losing 24-17 to the Trojans. Entering the fourth quarter tied, the Bears final three possessions resulted in a three-and-out, a fumble, and an interception, allowing the Trojans to escape with a victory. It’s been reported that QB Nate Longshore has taken full responsibility for the loss:

“I take the responsibility on myself,” Longshore said. “I need to play better down the stretch to give us a chance to win. It’s a culmination of this late season. I haven’t been playing well enough for us to win.

“That’s what it comes down to, and I’ll be the first to say it.”

Also of importance in the article is the injury to RB Jahvid Best. He was taken out of the game during the third quarter with an apparent hip injury. To those at the game, his injury was not pronounced, as he came off the field on his own and was briefly examined on the tables by staff before watching the rest of the game. Although he has been ruled out for Saturday’s game up in Washington, let’s hope it is just precautionary and nothing too serious.

It seems to be a recurring theme of poor fourth quarter play on the part of QB Nate Longshore. Since returning from his ankle injury earlier in the season, he has failed to deliver a dominant fourth quarter, despite some considerably strong first halves. Some would argue that he hasn’t put up even a decent fourth quarter, as in the fourth quarter of the previous four games he’s only been 9-of-28 with 0 TDs and 5 INTs. Many fans have been calling for him to be replaced with red-shirt freshman Kevin Riley, who showed great potential in several fourth quarter drives during the Bears’ loss to Oregon State earlier in the season.

In response to these critics, Ted Lee over at has done a breakdown of Longshore and Riley’s performances, analyzing their play game-by-game, quarter-by-quarter, and down-by-down. While I realize that Longshore’s play hasn’t been all that bad overall, it’s quite apparent that something is amiss and he has become incapable of playing a full four quarters to his full capacity. As Ted Lee says, “winning a game with a quarterback consistently putting up fourth quarter numbers like this is almost impossible.”


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  1. Nate ’s acknowledgement of his 4 th quarter ’s lack of performance is kind of lame , IMHO.
    His nonchalant and “just have fun” attitude seems to convince me that he ’s never dedicated as a student of the game .
    Thus the failure in recent games is very indicative of that.
    You can make the excuse for him due to his injury but I hope this message gets to him and make him work harder to earn his starting quarterback position. He needs to be more serious and diligent in his preparation for the game from now on.
    Then hopefully Cal will have a better year in 08.

    1. Comment by calbay — November 14, 2007 @ 3:33 pm #

  2. Maybe the guy just can’t keep playing on a hurt ankle for 4 full quarters. Playing injured can take a toll over the course of a game. Is the solution to play Riley for the 4th? That’s a lot of pressure at one time. How about Riley for some plays earlier in the game to rest Longshore? Cal hasn’t done a 2 QB system as long as I can remember- it would be tough on everyone. Riley for the full game? That seems to give up the benefit of Longshore’s strong starts.

    There’s no easy answer. Maybe just run up the score early- that’s always fun for Big Game.

    And Cal fans- Stanford has less seats than previous years- let’s see if we can outnumber the Stanford fans!

    2. Comment by MikeD — November 15, 2007 @ 10:48 am #

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