Deja Vu: Cal Outcoached, Embarrassed Again

Sunday, Oct 4, 2009  |  Updated 3:55 AM PDT
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Deja Vu: Cal Outcoached, Embarrassed Again

AP

California offensive lineman Chet Teofilo watches the clock during the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against Southern California, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2009, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Jeff Tedford is officially on the hot seat for the first time since becoming Cal’s head football coach in 2002.

For the second straight week, Tedford’s Bears were seriously outcoached and seriously embarrassed. This time it was the USC Trojans dominating Cal, to the tune of 30-3.

Combine that with last week’s 42-3 beatdown in Oregon and the Bears have been outscored by a combined 72-6 in their first two conference games. Ouch.

Tonight’s game started off well for Cal, as Kevin Riley led the offense down the field to set up a first and goal at the USC 6 yard line. But on third and goal, Riley tried to force a ball into tight coverage, and USC star safety Taylor Mays came up with a huge interception in the endzone.

The Trojans proceeded to reel off an 80-yard drive, capped by a spectacular 38-yard touchdown run by Joe McKnight, and Cal could never respond.

The sellout crowd of nearly 72,000 at Memorial Stadium was often frustrated by Tedford’s decisions throughout the game.

With USC leading 20-0, the Bears had a 2nd and 10 at the Trojans 21 yard line with 12 seconds left in the first half. Rather than taking one last shot at the endzone, Tedford elected to kick a field goal right then.

Cal kicker Vince D’Amato missed the field goal, and the Bears went into halftime down 20-0.

Early in the 4th quarter with USC now leading 23-0, Cal was faced with a 4th and goal at the Trojans 12 yard line. Needing three touchdowns with two 2-point conversions to tie the game, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Cal had to go for it.

But once again Tedford sent out the field goal unit. This time D'Amato made the kick, cutting the Trojans’ lead back to 20 points...still three touchdowns.

Cal running back Jahvid Best struggled for the second straight year against USC, carrying the ball 14 times for just 47 yards. All the Heisman hype that surrounded Best just two weeks ago seems like a distant memory now.

Kevin Riley did not fare any better. The Bears quarterback completed just 15 out of 40 passes for 199 yards and an interception.

Cal heads into its bye week with a 0-2 conference record, facing some major questions about its character and leadership.

Will the Bears bounce back and have a respectable season or will the wheels completely fall off?

The answer might determine Jeff Tedford’s future.

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