Three things have been Kryptonite to Cal head coach Jeff Tedford’s program during his nine years at the helm: road games, ranked opponents, and the month of November.
Clinging to a six-point lead with 2:47 and the ball, last night would have been the perfect elixir for the first two ailments, especially with the sting from a three-touchdown loss on national television to Nevada still only eight days fresh.
Unfortunately, the Bears snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
A 27-carry, 109-yard performance by Shane Vereen was excruciatingly wasted in a 10-9 loss at Arizona where the Wildcats never led until 1:26 was left in the game.
However, before you assume that I’m going to criticize our defense and kicker Giorgio Tavecchio for what transpired over the last two drives, think again.
In a resilient effort after giving up six touchdowns and 497 total yards to Nevada last Friday in Reno, the Bear defense conceded only 10 points on the road against an attack led by one of the top quarterbacks in the conference. I would even go as far to say that Mike Mohamed and Co. dominated the game for almost 58 minutes. They were outstanding.
Yes, Tavecchio’s gaffe was absolutely crucial. This article would not exist but for him missing a 40-yard field goal to put the Bears ahead by two scores, which would have iced the game and given the Bears a much needed pick-me-up in the form of a win over a ranked conference foe.
But for Cal head coach Jeff Tedford to put the game in the hands of a walk-on kicker—one who had already missed a field goal only a quarter earlier—the questionable decision definitely falls in the category of “Buyer Beware.”
Where am I going with this? Here it goes: While there were plenty of factors that led to the Bears’ second loss in two games, the main reason for this loss falls squarely on the shoulders of the man in charge.
I’m talking about Tedford. His “play not to lose” mentality finally came back to bite his team in the worst way.
Overall, to go into detail, I thought there were six aspects of the game that exemplified the Bears’ troubles in Tuscon.