‘Not a lot of silver linings’ after Cal Golden Bears let another one get away in 14-10 loss to Auburn

Cal suffers 13th loss of seven points or fewer since 2020 and heads into this week unsure of the status of star running back Jaydn Ott

BERKELEY, CA — Cal’s road ahead became more difficult after it reverted to a recent trend in a 14-10 loss to Auburn in front of 44,141 fans at Memorial Stadium and an ESPN national audience on Saturday night.

The Bears are incapable of winning close games.

They have lost 19 games since the start of the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, with 13 of those losses coming by seven points or less.

“There’s not a lot of silver linings,” coach Justin Wilcox said after this one. “We had plenty of chances, but we didn’t take them.”

The Bears are unsure of the status of star running back Jaydn Ott, who tried leaping over a defender late in the third quarter and hit the ground hard, staying there for at least two minutes before walking off. He never returned.

“He was talking to us, trying to get us riled up,” said quarterback Sam Jackson V. “But you could feel a shift in the game and momentum, and it just kind of went downhill from there.”

Cal finishes its non-conference schedule next Saturday at home against FCS-level Idaho before entering the Pac-12, where it will face five opponents ranked in the top-16 of the AP Top-25.

The Bears (1-1) need five more victories to become bowl-eligible, and they believe they threw one back after hooking it on Saturday night.

Cal missed three field goals, turned the ball over three times, and lost despite outgaining the Tigers in yards (273-230), plays (78-55), first downs (19-12), and turnovers (4-3). And they still couldn’t do it.

“We’re all just sick right now that we let a game like that slip away from us when we know we should have beaten that team easily,” senior safety Craig Woodson said.

The key takeaways:

OTT’S INJURY: Ott rushed for 78 yards and scored Cal’s only touchdown on a 14-yard run up the middle with 4:47 left in the first half, giving the Bears a 10-7 lead.

Wilcox stated that he had no information on Ott’s injury or his future status. Jackson’s prediction: “I think he’s going to be fine.”

QUARTERBACK PICTURE: Ben Finley started against Auburn because he came off the bench well in the Bears’ 58-21 win over North Texas and because Jackson was limited in practice, particularly early in the week, after injuring his left (non-throwing) arm.

But, with Cal trailing 7-3 in the second quarter, Jackson was given the call. “I was just looking to give the team a spark,” Jackson explained.

He accomplished this by directing a six-play, 65-yard drive that resulted in Ott’s touchdown. The TCU transfer completed 14 of 27 passes for 126 yards and two interceptions, one on a Hail Mary play to end the first half and the other on a fourth-down play from the Auburn 19 in the final two minutes.

KICKING TROUBLE: Cal Hall of Famer Mick Luckhurst’s son, sophomore Michael Luckhurst, continues to struggle. He made a 39-yard field goal but missed from 42, 42, and 44 yards, and a 51-yarder was nullified by a penalty. Through two games, he is 2 for 7 on field goals.

“I think Michael’s a very talented young man,” Wilcox said. “We’ll see where that goes this week.”

CINDRIC IS OUT: Sixth-year starting center Matthew Cindric, who returned after overcoming a torn biceps muscle that sidelined him for the second half of last season, is out for the season after suffering an upper-body injury last week.

“He’s been through a lot,” Wilcox said, “and he’s one of our best players.” “My heart breaks for him.”

GRADING THE DEFENSE: The Bears forced four turnovers and limited the Tigers to 142 yards in the first three quarters. They did, however, allow Auburn to convert a third-and-17 play midway through the fourth quarter, leading to Payton Thorne’s game-winning 5-yard TD pass to Rivaldo Fairweather with 6:31 remaining.

UP NEXT: Idaho at home on Saturday was supposed to be a soft spot in the schedule, but the Big Sky Conference Vandals are 2-0 after a 33-6 road victory over Nevada, an FBS team.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply