BERKELEY, Calif. — Last year, Oregon State ran all over California and wound up with a win over the Golden Bears in Reser Stadium.
On Saturday, Cal got its run game rolling and handed the Beavers a 37-23 Pac-12 loss at Memorial Stadium.
Patrick Laird did the damage, finishing with 216 yards and a touchdown. The team had 216 yards and two scores.
Laird tore away chunks of yardage consistently, but never broke a big one. He had a long run of 20 yards.
OSU interim coach Cory Hall said Cal did not show anything different offensively to get Laird on track.
“It’s the same offense,” Hall said. “It’s nothing that’s different. Just again, we’ve got to make our plays. The boys were prepared, nothing caught us off-guard. So what I’ll do is as a staff we’ll go, we’ll reassess, we’ll grade it and then we’ll continue to coach them for it. We’ve got to coach them better.”
The Beavers could not match the performance. They ran for 104 yards and a score. OSU finished with 299 total yards and Cal had 475.
“They did a really good job up front, their front seven,” OSU quarterback Darell Garretson said. “They didn’t bring anything I hadn’t seen before, that I didn’t see on film or anything like that. A different defense than they were last year, obviously, but I knew that coming in, so hats off to them.”
Cal came up with what looked like a back-breaking 53-yard touchdown drive to go up 37-20 with 10 minutes, 30 seconds left.
OSU put together a 10-play, 73-yard drive but had to go with the field goal when it stalled out at the Cal 13.
The Bears took a 23-13 lead with 6:35 to go in the third on a field goal after a nine-play drive netted just 27 yards.
Cal was set up by a poor punt by Nick Porebski, who was plagued with inconsistency. He was eventually replaced by Alex Bland, who came in for one punt for 40 yards.
The Beavers came back with a big drive, moving 75 yards in nine plays to cut the deficit to 23-20. The key was a 33-yard completion to Trevon Bradford over the middle on second-and-20. Not only did Bradford get the first down, but a roughing the passer penalty moved the ball to the Cal 13.
Garretson hit Noah Togiai for eight and then Thomas Tyner scored from the 5.
The momentum lasted a moment. It took Cal 1:41 to respond by driving 74 yards to take a 30-20 lead, which held into the start of the fourth.
Cal was able to get the run going early against the Beavers with strong and precise blocking blowing out gaps in OSU’s defensive front.
The Beavers were able to come up with a few key stops in the second quarter but allowed 115 yards and a touchdown to Laird through the first half.
Targeting was costly for the Beavers, who lost Kyle White in the first half on what looked to be an accurate call and then Bright Ugwoegbu on a very questionable decision by replay in the second.
“Things happen. Once those rulings are made, you have to live with it,” Hall said. “It’s not just Oregon State, it’s happened all over the country. Questionable targeting calls. It’s real controversial this season and any other season in both leagues. It’s the same way in the NFL. What are the parameters?”
The Beavers struggled with penalties in general, getting flagged for everything from offensive pass interference to illegal substitution for too many men on the field.
OSU was hit for nine penalties for 99 yards.
“We’ve got some things we need to clean up,” Hall said, “We had some administrative penalties and there was some aggressive penalties that have to be channeled in the right way. And we will, we’ll clean that up.”
Inside linebacker Manase Hungalu led the team with 20 total tackles.
The Bears won the toss but decided to defer and the Beavers took advantage, marching 75 yards on eight plays to take a 7-0 lead.
Tyner started it off with a 21-yard run with a backwards pass from Garretson. The Beavers converted on two third downs, the second a keeper by Garretson for 11 yards to the Cal 26.
OSU then went with some trickery. Garretson tossed a backwards pass to Tuli Wily-Matagi, who then hit Ryan Nall down the sideline for the score.
The Bears responded with a 75-yard scoring drive of their own, helped along with a personal foul and targeting call on White, who was ejected after the replay.
Cal made it 14-7 with 1:12 left in the first. The Bears drove to the OSU 2, but the Beavers backed them up when Ugwoegbu sacked Ross Bowers for a loss of 12 to set up third-and-14. Bowers was unfazed and dropped a perfect throw to the end zone for the lead.
Cal went 36 yards in seven plays and hit a field goal at the start of the second.
The Beavers had a chance on the next drive to make a deep cut into the lead, but had to settle for a 49-yard field goal by Jordan Choukair and a 17-10 deficit. It took OSU 13 plays to go 46 yards.
OSU got the ball back after a little bit of a stand by the defense. Hungalu stopped Vic Enwere for no gain on third-and-1 and the Beavers dumped Laird well short of the line to gain on fourth down.
The Beavers moved 29 yards in five plays, sparked by a 25-yard pass to Togiai. The drive set up Choukair for his second 49-yarder.
Cal completed a couple of clutch throws in the final moments of the half to get within field goal range and Matt Anderson knocked it through from 49 for a 20-13 halftime score.