Turnovers doom Cal in Holiday Bowl defeat

California is held to 195 yards of total offense in 21-10 Holiday Bowl loss to Texas.

SAN DIEGO – Sometimes football can be a really simple game.

California turned the ball over. Texas didn't.

That was the difference Wednesday night.

The Golden Bears lost four fumbles and quarterback Zach Maynard threw an interception in a 21-10 loss to the Longhorns in the Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium in front of 56,313 fans, wasting a solid effort by their own defense in the process.

"You can't go into a game like that and expect to turn the football over and win a game," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "We were definitely on the wrong end today with five of them."

Cal (7-6) limited Texas to 255 yards of total offense, shutting down the Longhorns' vaunted power running game. Freshman running back Malcolm Brown was held to 35 yards on 13 carries, while freshman quarterback David Ash managed 142 yards passing and a touchdown.

But Texas was able to strike on a series of trick plays, despite the reputation of co-offensive coordinator Bryan Harsin going back to his time at Boise State.

It had been a point of emphasis all throughout preparations leading up to the game, but Texas was able to catch Cal off-guard with a series of misdirection plays. Tight end Blaine Irby released late and came free for a 30-yard reception to set up a reverse pass by wide receiver Jaxon Shipley to Ash for a four-yard touchdown.

Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin also took an end around 37 yards to set up another touchdown for Texas (8-5).

"We knew that any big plays that they were going to have was going to come off gimmicks and I think some guys got too caught up in knowing it was coming to stop it," defensive end Trevor Guyton said. "That's exactly what happened."

It didn't help that the offense returned to its error-prone ways, something they had managed to avoid late in the season.

After committing five turnovers in an ugly 31-14 meltdown at UCLA, California committed five turnovers total in November, winning three of four to return to the postseason and secure Tedford's ninth winning season in 10 years.

But that formula of ball security and an efficient Maynard backed by a strong running game was no match for the stout Texas defense.

Maynard, wide receiver Marvin Jones and running backs Isi Sofele and C.J. Anderson each lost fumbles, while the offense was never able to get on track when they did hold on to the ball.

Sofele managed just 52 yards on 20 carries, scoring on a six-yard run in the third quarter to cap the night's one effective drive.

Standout wide receiver Keenan Allen caught three passes on that possession, all on third down to move the chain. The rest of the night he was limited to catching quick hitters and screens, never able to show off his trademark elusiveness in the open field.

Allen finished with a game-high 82 yards on nine receptions, but keeping him under control was part of the game plan for Texas, bracketing the All-Pac-12 receiver and rolling coverage his way throughout.

"Every offense has tendencies," safety Blake Gideon said. "We knew he was the guy. That was definitely key for us to limit those two guys (Allen and his half-brother Maynard)."

Maynard was sacked six times, completing just 19 of 33 passes for 188 yards.

Jones had 88 yards on eight catches, extending his streak of games with a reception to 38 in his final appearance for the Bears.

Senior kicker Giorgio Tavecchio added a 47-yard field goal, longest ever in a Cal bowl game.

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