Cal ends disappointing season at No. 15 Beavers
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP)
The game could close the chapter on the 11-season tenure of Cal head coach Jeff Tedford, who has come under increasing scrutiny this season. It could also be the culmination of the wide receiver Keenan Allen's college career.
For certain it's the finale for senior quarterback Zach Maynard. But what's sadder is that Maynard and his half-brother Allen won't even play - both have been ruled out because of injuries.
It's almost a fitting end for a team that went just 3-8 overall this season and just 2-6 in the Pac-12 conference.
''Things haven't gone as we wanted. But this is one more chance to put that helmet on and go play for our group of guys, our coaches and fans and everybody. It's a great opportunity for us to try to go out on the right note,'' senior offensive lineman Tyler Rigsbee said.
Allen, who is sitting out of his third game with a left knee injury, is projected by some to be a first-round pick in the upcoming NFL draft. If so, he leaves Cal as the school's all-time leader in career receptions with 205. He's third on the career list with 2,570 receiving yards and he has 17 touchdowns. He's caught at least one pass in each of the 33 games he's played for the Bears.
Maynard, who is sitting out his second game with a left knee injury, will finish 10th on Cal's career list for passing yards (5,204 yards) and total offense (5,350 yards). One of the best games of his career came this season when he threw for 295 yards and four touchdowns and ran for another against UCLA.
Tedford is Cal's winningest coach ever, with an 82-56 record in 138 games. But the Bears are having their worst season since they finished 1-10 in 2001 and fired Tom Holmoe.
The Bears' season ends Saturday without a bowl appearance for the second straight year.
Tedford said he expects to meet next week with California athletic director Sandy Barbour. If Tedford is let go, Cal would owe him $6.9 million for the final three years of his contract.
''He's one of the hardest-working guys you'll ever be around,'' Rigsbee said. ''He's kept a great attitude and kept this team together, which is not easy to do, especially this year with some really tough losses. Teams will disintegrate or guys will start bickering at each other. He's done a good job keeping us as a family. He's going to go back to the drawing board and work as hard as he can to get us in the position to win games.''
With Maynard out, Cal will start Allan Bridgford, who passed for 113 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions last week in Cal's 59-17 loss to No. 1 Oregon.
The Beavers (7-2, 5-2) are also coming into Saturday's game on a down note. Their hopes for a shot at the Pac-12 championship game for a trip to the Rose Bowl were dashed last weekend with a 27-23 loss at Stanford.
But Oregon State is still going to a bowl game - a dramatic turnaround for a team that finished just 3-9 last season and was picked to finish at the bottom of the Pac-12 North. After Cal, the Beavers host No. 1 Oregon in the annual Civil War rivalry game over Thanksgiving weekend.
Against the Golden Bears, Oregon State's biggest issue is at quarterback. Junior Cody Vaz, who started last week against the Cardinal, injured his left ankle on the final drive of the game. He did not practice this week.
That means the Beavers will go with sophomore Sean Mannion, who started the first four games of the season, throwing for an average of 339 yards a game with seven touchdowns. Vaz took over when Mannion hurt his left knee and required surgery.
''You always have to be confident in yourself,'' Mannion said. ''I don't try to be arrogant, but I like to think when I'm out there I can make some plays. It's really all about working hard and practicing. That's all I try to do. I let my play take care of itself.'
Last season, Cal hosted the Beavers at AT&T Park while Memorial Stadium underwent renovations. The Golden Bears won that one, 23-6, with Isi Sofele rushing for a career-high 190 yards and a score.
This season, Sofele needs 109 yards for 10th place on the school's career list. Last week, he rushed for a season-best 134 yards against the top-ranked Ducks.
Oregon State will pose a challenge for him. The Beavers are allowing opponents an average of just 99.7 yards on the ground a game, 10th in the nation and second in the conference to Stanford.
''We'll attack this thing and finish strong,'' Tedford said. ''The mood was upbeat at practice. We worked hard. Looking forward to going and competing against a great team.''