CAL-OREGON GAME TRACK
- Jason Vondersmith
- Portland Tribune - Sports
EUGENE - Former Ducks and current NFL players Haloti Ngata, A.J. Feeley and Ed Dickson were among the spectators as Oregon played Cal on Thursday at Autzen Stadium.
The Ducks (3-1) hoped to continue their momentum with quarterback Darron Thomas and running back LaMichael James. The Bears (3-1) hoped to pull off an upset on national television, led by quarterback Zach Maynard.
Linebacker Michael Clay, who missed the past two games (lower leg), suited up.
Here's a quarter-by-quarter game track:
The Bears drove downfield, as Isi Sofele ran for 20 yards and Maynard and Keenan Allen connected on a 25-yard pass-and-run play. The Ducks jumped offsides on a third-down play, and Cal picked up another first down to the UO 12.
But the UO defense tightened, and Maynard's third-down pass wasn't close. Giorgio Tavecchio's 27-yard field goal opened the scoring.
The Ducks struck quickly. Thomas threw 11 yards to De'Anthony Thomas, and then James took a carry around left end and sprinted up the sideline for a 53-yard TD run. It was his third rushing TD of 50-plus yards this season.
Sofele ran for 34 yards, and Cal moved closer to scoring position when Anthony Gildon got whistled for pass interference on Marvin Jones.
But UO stopped Cal again, and Tavecchio's 38-yard field goal made it 7-6.
It started raining a lot harder, and Cal made a defensive stop.
The Ducks got their own stop and went up 14-6, helped by a gutsy fourth-down call. James ran for four yards on fourth-and-1 from the UO 39.
James ran for 47 yards. On a reverse, De'Anthony Thomas ran for a 17-yard TD.
Cliff Harris made an appearance on punt return, but didn't get a chance to return.
Thomas got called for intentionally grounding on third down and UO punted.
Another Maynard errant throw, another Cal punt. Harris returned six yards, his first punt return of the season.
James hobbled off the field after a carry, favoring his right leg, as the Ducks went nowhere.
Cal again moved into UO territory. Again Maynard sailed a third-down pass. But, with the wind at his back, Tavecchio booted a 54-yard field goal, and it was 14-9, Ducks.
Obviously not hurt, James ripped off a 39-yard run to the Cal 43, becoming the sixth player in conference history with 4,000 yards rushing.
UO fans booed a Cal player down on the ground with an apparent injury. On fourth-and-8 at the Cal 41, Ernest Owusu batted down Thomas' pass.
Sofele ran for 25 yards. On third-and-19, Maynard threw 28 yards to Allen.
Maynard struck again, threading a 13-yard touchdown pass to Allen. The Bears went for two points on the conversion, with Maynard throwing incomplete. Score: Cal 15, UO 14.
On a day of big runs or nothing, James went for 30. A penalty and two James losses followed, but Thomas hit Josh Huff for 18 yards to the Cal 35. But the Ducks sputtered: Kenjon Barner zero run, Thomas' pass batted, Thomas threw incomplete.
Alejandro Maldonado's 52-yard field goal attempt was short.
Cal's possession went nowhere, with Maynard throwing another incompletion on third down.
The Ducks went on the move in the last couple minutes of the half, with Thomas throwing 27 yards to Josh Huff. Thomas threw 12 yards to De'Anthony Thomas to the Cal 26. But, on second down, Thomas sailed a pass and D.J. Campbell picked him off, returning 29 yards into UO territory.
Maynard threw 17 yards to Allen to the UO 30, then 7 to Spencer Hagan to the UO 23. After an incompletion with one second left, Tavecchio lined up for another field goal try from 40 yards out. It was partially blocked by John Boyett, and Cal led 15-14 at halftime.
UO had 271 yards offense to Cal's 240 in the first half. James had 166 yards on 14 carries, four of the carries going for the bulk of the yardage - 53, 47, 39, 30 and yards.
Thomas was 8 of 19 for 101 yards. Maynard was 11 of 24 for 131 yards and Sofele had 93 yards rushing.
The Ducks scored after an impressive opening drive, helped by a Cal pass interference: 13 plays, 88 yards, 5:01 clock time. Thomas threw a 23-yard TD pass to De'Anthony Thomas to put UO ahead 21-15.
The Ducks got a defensive stop, and James continued to rush well, topping 200 yards for the third consecutive game.
With James out taking a breather, his running partner, Barner, ran for 68 yards for the touchdown. Thomas' conversion pass to De'Anthony Thomas put Oregon comfortably ahead, 29-15.
The Ducks drove for more points, and Thomas and Thomas connected again. The quarterback threw a 21-yard TD pass to De'Anthony Thomas on third-and-12, and Oregon led 36-15.
Thomas hit De'Anthony Thomas for 31 yards as UO threatened to score again.
James ran 15 yards to the Cal 3. But, something bad happened on the next play, as the Bears stopped James, and the UO running back appeared to hurt his arm badly. He was helped from the field.
Thomas threw a 3-yard TD pass to Lavasier Tuinei, and it was 43-15.
The Ducks stopped another Cal drive into UO territory, but failed to add to their lead.
Allen caught a pass with three Duck defenders around him to give Cal first-and-goal at the 8. The Bears got to the 2 when Oregon committed pass interference in the end zone. Oregon forced a fourth-down play from the 4, and Cal threw incomplete with 5:56 remaining.
Darron Thomas stayed in the game, and the Ducks ran to use up time and get away from their goal line for an eventual punt. The boot went out of bounds at Cal's 23 with 1:39 left.
The Bears ran for a first down to their 40, then threw for two more firsts before time ran out.
Oregon 43, California 15.