EUGENE, Ore. -- The perfect storm?
Not for the Cal football team.
The Golden Bears, battling No. 2 Oregon and swirling rain at Autzen Stadium, fumbled the ball away on their first four possessions and the Ducks did their quick-strike thing on the way to a 55-16 victory on Saturday night.
It was 27-0 with 2:48 left in the first quarter when Cal coach Sonny Dykes pulled freshman quarterback Jared Goff -- the nation's total offense leader -- in favor of Zach Kline.
"Jared was having a really difficult time holding onto the football," Dykes explained. "Just felt like we weren't getting anything done. We needed to make a change."
But Dykes said he doesn't expect the change to carry over to next Saturday, when the Bears (1-3, 0-1 Pac-12) return home to face Washington State.
"I would think Jared would be our starting quarterback," he said.
Kline, a redshirt freshman from Danville, completed his first three attempts and finished 18 for 37 for 165 yards, including a 7-yard touchdown pass to James Grisom with 3 minutes left. He was the beneficiary of lighter rain beginning in the second quarter, but the switch didn't change much.
The Bears, who averaged 33.7 points in their first three games, did not score until Vincenzo D'Amato kicked a 46-yard field goal on the final play of the first half. That made it 41-3.
Oregon scored two touchdowns directly off Cal turnovers and two more on punt returns of 75 and 67 yards by sophomore Bralon Addison. The Bears had 11 penalties for 97 yards and converted just 5 of 18 third-down opportunities.
"It was just about as bad a performance as you could have in a lot of ways. That falls on me," Dykes said.
Adding to the disastrous evening were injuries to starting cornerback Kam Jackson (lower leg) and running back Khalfani Muhammad (head), who both left the field in the first half and did not return. X-rays of Jackson's leg were clear, but Dykes had no information on the status of either.
Cal's third game against a Top-25 opponent proved its least competitive of the season. The Ducks (4-0, 1-0) played all but the game's opening kickoff without star running back De'Anthony Thomas (sprained ankle), and didn't need him, scoring their first four touchdowns on drives that lasted less than 2 minutes.
Sophomore Byron Marshall of Valley Christian High in San Jose rushed for a career-high 130 yards and scored two touchdowns, and Oregon -- 36-point favorites -- seemed to lose interest by the third quarter.
Goff said he'd played in rain a couple times at Marin Catholic High, but nothing like this. "It was raining really hard, and there was a pretty good wind," he said. "That's no excuse. It's really disappointing. We were really trying to come out fast."
Goff, who averaged 435 passing yards his first three games, was 3 for 6 for 11 yards before being pulled.
"It was probably the best decision," Goff said of the switch. "(Kline) did a good job."
But Goff said the experience doesn't change his outlook. "The mindset is I'm the starter," he said. "I just had a hiccup."
Kline, who lost a fall camp battle to Goff for the starting job, came on for the Bears' sixth possession of the night, and immediately completed a 17-yard pass to Bryce Treggs. Later on the drive he hooked up with Richard Rodgers for a 33-yard gain.
But on second-and-6 from the 15, he was intercepted in the end zone by Ifo Ekpre-Olomu when receiver Drake Whitehurst broke off his route in a different direction.
"I thought I played well, but I definitely could play better. My job is to put the ball in the end zone," Kline said of his college debut. "We have a lot to work on as a team. We're disappointed. We want to win. It's definitely frustrating."
Kline said he will return to practice next week intent on competing for the job. "Every week's a quarterback battle," he said. "I don't see this week as being anything different."
Dykes was generally pleased with Kline's effort. "I thought he came in and competed at a good level. That was what we wanted to see," Dykes said. "Obviously he made some mistakes, but he gave us a chance."
-- Freshman running back Jeffrey Coprich scored Cal's first touchdown, converting a 1-yard burst with 6:48 left in the third quarter. He had 14 carries for 51 yards after getting the ball just once in the first three games.
-- Cal fell to 4-51 all-time vs. Top-5 opponents with just one win in their past 28 attempts dating back to 1976. The Bears are 0-4 against Oregon teams rated in the Top-5.
-- Oregon has scored 50 points in four consecutive games for the first time in school history. The Ducks entered play averaging 61.3 points, second-best in the nation.
-- The Ducks were the nation's only team without a turnover entering this weekend. They lost two fumbles, but Dykes they had four other fumbles the Bears could not recover.
-- Although some fans stayed home because of the weather -- and many left early -- Oregon again sold all its tickets for the game, making it the Ducks' 92nd consecutive sellout. The official crowd count: 56,987.
(3-2, 1-1 Pac-12) at Cal (1-3, 0-1),
1 p.m. FOX Sports 1