Well, I might as well get this out of the way while I’m still angry so that I don’t have to think about it later. Simply stated, the better team lost today. I don’t say that just because I’m a Bears fan but because the statistics back me up. Cal far outgained UCLA and played better for 85% of the game. But when you spot the opposition 21 points from special teams mistakes you’re going to lose. Let’s count them:
1. Punt return sets up a 1st and goal.
2. Punt return for a touchdown.
3. Punt team gives up a first down on a pathetic fake on the drive that gives up the go ahead score.
Add to the that the fact that Tedford seemed to completely forget what was working for him when he was in the redzone and in the 4th quarter. I’ve never been as disappointed with Tedford as I am right now because the keys to success should have been clear to him. His 2nd half play calling was pathetic.
Simply stated, the key to success was to force UCLA to respect the pass. In the redzone Cal didn’t do anything to force the UCLA defense to respect the pass. In the fourth quarter, Cal didn’t do anything to force UCLA to respect the pass. They didn’t air it out. They didn’t run any hitches or come-backers to the outside even though they had been working for them the rest of the game. What few passing attempts they did do were over the middle where the box was full of defenders waiting for a run play.
And that redzone part is particularly important. 4 field goals just isn’t going to get it done. At least one of those should have been a touchdown, a touchdown that would have given them the extra score to hold on to the win.
Finally, I can’t believe that Tedford called all passing plays on that final drive. Clearly he didn’t have confidence in Ayoob earlier in the quarter, why put the game in his hands at the most difficult time? This is particularly true because UCLA was in a prevent defense and both Lynch and Forsett could do a lot of damage getting into the secondary. They had two timeouts plus they’d be getting lots of first downs on running plays. You can definitely make that work with 1:35 left. The alternative is to let a player who’s never run a two minute drill throw an interception into a prevent defense.