Oregon offensive strategy surprises Bears
EUGENE, Ore. — Cal's success against Oregon's spread option offense in recent years was supposed to give the Bears' defensive players confidence. Instead, they walked away from Autzen Stadium humiliated.
Cal gave up 524 yards of offense in its 42-3 loss on Saturday. The Ducks moved the ball easily on the ground and through the air, and the Bears had no answers.
"We felt pretty confident coming in," Cal linebacker Mike Mohamed said. "We thought we were going to come in here and play our usual game. We just didn't show up today. They dominated us, and it showed in the final score."
Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory said even though his unit had success recently, Oregon's offense is always potentially explosive. He also said the Ducks did some things the Bears hadn't scouted.
"They can move the ball against anybody," Gregory said. "Certainly, we didn't think they'd move the ball that well against us. They did a few wrinkles, as far as what they were doing runningwise, that were a little different from what we practiced. We always expect to play better than we did today. It was a major struggle."
Oregon quarterback Jeremiah Masoli was 21-for-25 for 253 yards and three touchdowns. He entered the game averaging just 126.3 passing yards per game and completing only 45 percent of his throws.
As a result, Best's surging Heisman candidacy was slowed considerably. He had just 55 yards on 16 carries, and the lopsided loss won't help, either.
"It was not so much what they were doing, but we weren't executing as an offense," Best said. "When you don't execute, you're going to struggle. They did load up the box a little bit, but we were ready for that. We were making a lot of mental mistakes — mistakes we hadn't made this year before."
The Bears had driven to the Ducks' 29, and Oregon cornerback Talmadge Jackson III was flagged for pass interference. It would have moved the ball to the Ducks' 14, but Tucker was called for taunting Jackson, and the penalties offset.
"It was undisciplined, and you can't do things like that," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "It was going to be a play for us to get us closer to the end zone, and it turned out we didn't get any yards on it."
— JONATHAN OKANES