Cal Can't Get Out of Own Way in SDSU Loss

SAN DIEGO -- Cal can't get out of its own way, turning the ball over four times to San Diego State, as Aztecs running back Donnel Pumphrey makes up for a lackluster effort last year in Berkeley with an historic night in San Diego.

Game Thread: Live Analysis (members)

SAN DIEGO -- With 38 seconds left on the clock in the first half against San Diego State on Saturday, California shot itself in the foot with several loads of buckshot, dropping two passes, allowing four crucial seconds to bleed off the clock before calling a time out, and allowing quarterback Davis Webb to get his feet tangled in his offensive line for a sack.

Webb looked to be making up for that drive with 47 seconds left and the Bears down by five, finding a sliding Vic Wharton for 12, then Demetris Robertson for seven, getting the Bears to the Aztecs' 22, but with 13 seconds left, reigning Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year Damontae Kazee jumped a route by Wharton, hauling in San Diego State's third interception of the night, and sealing the 45-40 win. 

"We just made too many mistakes," said Bears head coach Sonny Dykes. "You can turn the ball over four times and give up a kickoff return and beat some bad teams, but you can't do it against a good team. San Diego State's a good football team. Just too many mistakes."

I http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1705306-sonny-dykes-san-di... Bears fumbled two kickoffs and a punt. They allowed a 100-yard kickoff return and a pick-six. The offensive line and Webb got their feet tangled on a crucial drive at the end of the first half.. Webb threw an interception on an end zone fade to his favorite target Chad Hansen with 9:51 left in the third quarter, leaving a 12-play drive with nothing to show for it.

At every turn, Cal failed to execute.

The only execution, seemingly, on the night, came at the Bears' expense, as San Diego State scored 21 points off of four turnovers, while Cal scored three.

"We can't win if we have four turnovers," Hansen said. "All the coaches know that, and that's something we can fix. We know how to fix that, and we can."

Webb overthrew a wide-open Hansen by about two feet, as Hansen flashed up the seam on first-and-10 at the San Diego State 43 with 47 seconds left. A catch there wins the game.

"I told the guys after the game that I was proud of their effort, and proud of the fact that they hung in there and played hard," Dykes said, "but there was play after play after play that we're going to look at and say, 'Wow, we had an opportunity to win the game here.' We had Hansen running through the middle of the field at the end of the game, and just missed him. There will be lots of those, maybe 20, 25 plays for us in the ballgame that we'll look back and say, 'Wow, if we made this one play or did this one thing, played it the way we were supposed to, we make that play."

Hansen -- who caught 14 balls for a career-high 190 yards and a touchdown -- was the lone true offensive bright spot for the Bears, while Aztecs running back Donnel Pumphrey made history.

Pumphrey rushed for just 85 yards on 21 carries last year in Berkeley, but by halftime, he had that eclipsed, and finished with 281 yards on 29 carries, good for his 23rd career 100-yard game, tying Marshall Faulk for the Aztecs school record.

"The numbers he put up speak for themselves," Hansen said. "He's a great player, a great, great player. We knew that coming in. We knew he was going to be a force we were going to have to reckon with, and he made a few more plays than we could afford."

Pumphrey also ran for three touchdowns, the 14th game in his career that he's had multiple scores on the ground. Pumphrey finished the game with 4,651 total rushing yards for his career, surpassing Faulk's San Diego State program record, breaking the mark with 6:04 left in the game.

"Look, we gave up a bunch of yards rushing. They ran the ball a bunch," said Dykes. "I don't know how many times they ran it, but they ran it a lot, and it's one of those games. We throw the ball, they run the ball. They ran it. We threw it. We threw for a lot of yards (522), and they ran for a lot of yards (352). That's the way football goes sometimes. It's two contrasting styles, and you can't turn the ball over four times and give up a kickoff return for a touchdown and expect to beat a good football team."

Webb completed 20 of 29 first-half passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns in the first half, but a nine-yard pick-six by Ronie Lakalaka (the first of his career) with 6:22 left in the first half negated the first career touchdown for redshirt junior Ray Hudson. So it went for the Bears. For every step forward, there were three steps back, as Cal played catch-up from the start.

"It was a screen pass to a running back, and the defensive end started to rush and peeled back around, and he didn't see him," Dykes said of the Lakalaka interception.

http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1705318-fifth-quarter-cal-...The Aztecs drew first blood when a flip pass from Webb to Jordan Veasy was stripped after five yards by Randy Ricks (fourth career forced fumble), and recovered by Na'im McGee (first career fumble recovery). That set up a four-second, one-play scoring drive, as Christian Chapman to hit running back Rashaad Penny with a 25-yard touchdown pass with 6:11 to go in the first quarter.

Cal came right back on the ensuing drive, and engineered a six-play, 81-yard drive. After underthrowing speedy Hansen, Webb hit a third-and-nine heave to Wharton and a 12-yard comeback to Patrick Worstell setting up a diving 33-yard touchdown grab by former University of San Diego running back and current Cal walk-on receiver Bug Rivera, who was turned down by San Diego State when looking to transfer.

The touchdown strike from Webb to Rivera broke a 72:04 stretch where San Diego State had held its opponents scoreless, dating back to last season.

That feeling of retribution, though, was short-lived. Less than a minute, in fact.

Rashaad Penny broke two tackles at the 10-yard line and took his fourth career kickoff to the end zone, giving San Diego State the 14-7 lead with 4:03 left in the first stanza. The touchdown by Penny set a school record for most career kickoffs returned for a touchdown.

Between tackling, special teams -- the Bears had two fumbled kickoffs in the first half alone, and a punt to start the third quarter -- and the run game (Cal had just 21 rushing yards in the entire first half, and 82 on the game) Cal hardly distinguished itself anywhere, save for the passing game.

After a 49-yard touchdown to Hansen, Pumphrey started the second quarter with a 33-yard touchdown run, where he darted through the left A gap, then cut back under the safeties and to the right pylon for the score with 14:22 left in the half.

Pumphrey would later rip off a 57-yard touchdown run to put San Diego State up, 31-21, by popping through the right B gap and pulling away for the Aztecs' third score off of a turnover, thanks to an end-zone interception on a fade from Webb to his favorite target Hansen by Kameron Kelly.

http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1705315-cal-quarterback-da... Robertson answered that play by the reigning Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year by blowing past Kazee, on the next drive, reeling in a 59-yard strike for his first career touchdown.

The Bears crept to within a score with a 45-yard field goal from Matt Anderson with 2:56 left in the third. Following a flying interception by safety Evan Rambo -- the first of his career, which snapped a streak of 254 San Diego State passes without a pick, and 404 offensive snaps without a turnover -- Anderson hit another try with 13:27 to go, bringing Cal to within four, down 38-34.

With 11:34 left, and the Aztecs having just converted their fourth third down out of 11 attempts, safety Luke Rubenzer recovered a fumbled snap from Chapman, giving the Bears new life at the an Diego State 37. But, whereas San Diego State capitalized on turnovers, Cal came away empty-handed with a pass off the fingers of Veasy, and another, intended for Robertson, broken up by Derek Babiash.

That was as close as the Bears would get, as the Aztecs engineered an eight-play, 73 yard drive to grind 3:28 off the clock, ending with an eight-yard touchdown run by Pumphrey.

The Bears have now given up 600 rushing yards over the past two games, with Texas on the horizon for next week. The Longhorns have rushed for 408 yards in their two games this season. That game will be at 7 p.m., next Saturday on ESPN.

Notebook

  • Jeremiah Stuckey (right guard) and Rivera (Y-receiver) made their first career starts for Cal tonight, as did fullback Malik McMorris.
  • Defensive end Evan Weaver got in with a minute left in the first half, for his first collegiate appearance.
  • Anderson's field goal was his 14th straight make, and 19th in his last 20 attempts.
  • With 12:04 left in the first half, Pumphrey tore off a 10-yard run to give him 112 for the night. After that play, freshman defensive end Cameron Saffle -- who had two tackles up to that point, and two pressures -- left the field, favoring his right leg. He came back with 7:52 in the third, and promptly made three more tackles on his first drive back.
  • Hudson, after catching his first career touchdown pass with 11:20 left in the first half, hauled in his second with 56 seconds left in the game, a two-yard toss. Cal's two-point conversion failed.
  • The Bears are now winless in their last three trips to Qualcomm Stadium.
  • San Diego State had not allowed over 400 yards to any opponent since losing to Cal, 35-7, last year in Berkeley. The Bears allowed 464 total yards to the Aztecs, but posted 573 themselves.
  • Webb finished 37-of-64 for 491 yards and five touchdowns, with two interceptions.
  • Chapman finished 14-of-23 for 129 yards and one touchdown.
  • Webb finished 41-for-72 for 522 yards and five touchdowns, with three interceptions.

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