Game 6 wrap-up: The blueprint for a Bear Trap

USC 30, Cal 9

Football is a game of match-ups, some favorable, and others not so much. You can’t find a better example of this fact than Cal football and its performances in the last two weeks. In consecutive Thursday night appearances, Jeff Tedford’s Bears have swallowed losses. And against two different opponents, Cal took on the appearance of two different teams.

Cal led Oregon 15-14 at the break a week ago, sticking to a script that nearly guided it to victory over the conference champs in 2010. That same Bears team failed to score through two quarters against USC on Thursday night, again falling into a pattern that is now three years running.

In terms of preparation, and regardless of coaching staff, USC has built the better bear trap. The Trojans have outscored Cal 82-0 in the first half of the last three ballgames, which includes a 20-0 performance last night. In the three games, the hibernating Bears have scored just three touchdowns in twelve quarters of play, while committing nine turnovers in the losses.

The blueprint for snaring the Bear isn’t complicated, and requires just one simple step.—Stifle the run and force Tedford to lean on a quarterback situation that has progressively worsened since the departure of Aaron Rodgers in 2004.

Cal has rushed for an average of 57 yards over the pass three games against USC, and contributed a team total of just 35 rushing yards on Thursday.

Pieces were perfectly aligned for a domino effect, and quarterback Zach Maynard responded with four turnovers, three by way of interceptions. Linebacker Dion Bailey was the recipient of two Maynard passes, with Chris Galippo picking the other. The lone bright spot for the Golden Bears was wide receiver Keenan Allen, who recorded a career high 13 receptions for 160 yards. The Cal offense outgained USC by the sum of 329 to 313, but multiple errors allowed the Trojans to cruise to another victory. The Bears committed 5 turnovers on the night, and was penalized 7 times for a loss of 68 yards.

Damage Assessment

USC posted an easy victory to move to a 5-1 mark on the season, but it certainly didn’t escape the bay area clean. The team lost three important members to injury during the course of the game, and statuses remain questionable for next week’s trip to South Bend.

Wide receiver Marqise Lee rose to his feet in obvious pain, after hauling in a second quarter scoring pass from Matt Barkley. The diagnosis is a sprained AC joint, and the freshman says he’ll be able to go against the Irish in eight days.

Running back Marc Tyler also rose with shoulder troubles, only more severe. The early report is a separation, with x-rays coming back negative for additional damage. The timeline for the senior’s return remains unknown, with his status pending on a week-by-week basis.

Cornerback Anthony Brown suffered a broken ankle that may very well end his season. Brown was pegged to replace the injured Torin Harris and will now join him on the sideline. Isaiah Wiley finished the game in the corner spot and will be the likely starter against Notre Dame.

~ by Anthony on October 14, 2011.

One Response to “Game 6 wrap-up: The blueprint for a Bear Trap”

  1. […] Home › NCAA Football › Game 6 wrap-up: The blueprint for a Bear Trap […]

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