Oregon State struggles in 23-6 loss to Cal
Oregon State's defense had an unforgettable game but not for the reasons the Beavers had hoped.
It wasn't a much better night for the offense, either.
That's about par for the course for Mike Riley's team in a season everyone in Corvallis is ready to put behind them.
''We turned the ball over with opportunities to score and they rushed for (296) yards. That pretty much tells the tale,'' said Riley after the Beavers lost to California 23-6 on Saturday. ''It just didn't feel like a good football team. I thought this would and could have been a good football game.''
It was - for the Bears.
Cal outgained Oregon State 296-27 on the ground and held the ball for more than 36 minutes while beating the Beavers for the first time since Sept. 30, 2006.
The Bears also forced three second-half turnovers, including two inside their own 5-yard line to halt any chance Oregon State had of gaining momentum.
''No one is going to quit,'' said freshman quarterback Sean Mannion, who completed 25 of 39 throws for 247 yards. ''As an offense, we need to take pride in getting points whenever we are in the red zone. We had some nice drives. (We) just need to finish them.''
Mannion, who has passed for more than 200 yards in nine consecutive games, played well but got little help from the rest of Oregon State's offense. Several of his passes were dropped, while the 27 rushing yards were the second-fewest by the Beavers this season.
The Bears had not won at home in this 106-year-old rivalry since 1997 but easily handled the Beavers (2-8, 2-5 Pac-12), who have dropped three straight.
Isi Sofele rushed for a career-high 190 yards and one touchdown, quarterback Zach Maynard threw for one score and ran for another, and California ended a four-game losing streak against the Beavers to become bowl eligible.
C.J. Anderson ran for 96 yards and wide receiver Michael Calvin, a fifth-year senior, caught his first career touchdown for the Bears, who overcame a season-high 15 penalties in their final game at AT&T Park. Cal (6-4, 3-4) will move back home to Memorial Stadium, which underwent a $321 million facelift, for the 2012 season.
Oregon State wide receiver James Rodgers caught six passes for 76 yards. He needs three receptions over the next two games to break the school's single-season record held by Mike Hass.
''It's always frustrating for an offense to get in the red zone and not score,'' Rodgers said. ''At some point we have to score. We can't settle for field goals.''
Sofele, whose previous high of 138 yards was set in last week's win over Washington State, easily eclipsed that mark while anchoring a ground game that dominated the last-place Beavers.
It could have been worse.
Sofele had a 29-yard touchdown run negated by a holding penalty, and Anderson had scoring runs of 44 and 19 yards wiped out by yellow flags.
Cal's defense made sure it didn't matter by forcing three turnovers in the second half.
Cornerback D.J. Campbell intercepted a deflected pass by Mannion at the Bears 4-yard line to stop one drive, safety Sean Cattouse recovered a fumble at the 3 and linebacker Mychal Kendricks picked off a Mannion pass with 32 seconds left to end the Beavers' night.
Maynard got off to a shaky start before he got the Bears rolling with a pair of long scoring drives.
Cal's junior quarterback, who was knocked out of last week's win over Washington State after getting hit in the head while trying to recover a fumble, was intercepted by Oregon State safety Lance Mitchell on an underthrown pass early in the first quarter.
After they punted and pinned the Bears at their own 9-yard line, Sofele got them out of the hole quickly with a 56-yard burst up the middle on a trap play. Sofele ran twice more for 13 yards and Maynard completed one pass and took a sack before finding Calvin for a 19-yard touchdown.
Maynard later directed a 96-yard scoring march that took nearly nine minutes off the clock.
Cal overcame three penalties on the drive, including back-to-back holding calls inside the Beavers 10-yard line, but got a big break when Oregon State linebacker Rusty Fernando hit Keenan Allen in the back of the head with his forearm after Allen had been stopped well short of the end zone on a third-and-goal play.
That gave the Bears an automatic first down, and Maynard made it pay off when he scampered into the end zone on a keeper around the left side to make it 14-3.
The Beavers cut the gap to 14-6 on Trevor Romaine's second field goal of the game, a 46-yarder with 2 seconds left in the half.