Oregon State football coach Mike Riley told his players to get over the loss to Stanford and move on to California, and they have.
The No. 15 Beavers came out to practice Monday focused on turning their fortunes around.
After starting the season 6-0 and high expectations, the second half has been more difficult. They head to the last quarter of the regular season having lost two of the last three games.
“We accept the loss and moved on,” cornerback Jordan Poyer said. “We have a lot of football left. We can’t let this loss affect us. We have to get back to work.”
Cal (3-8, 2-6), on a four-game losing streak, will play its final game of the season Saturday in Reser Stadium when the Golden Bears travel to Corvallis for the Pac-12 contest.
The Golden Bears have been ravaged by injuries. They have been without star wide receiver Keenan Allen for two games and were without starting quarterback Zach Maynard last week.
Both are questionable against the Beavers (7-2, 5-2), and the backups haven’t been close to their level.
“It’s going to be harder for them if Allen is still out, but they have some other talented receivers,” Poyer said.
Cal plays with a nothing-to-lose attitude and was very physical against Oregon on Saturday for a half. The lack of depth due to the injuries caught up to the Bears so the Ducks put them away easily.
“It’s hard for me to pinpoint,” Riley said of Cal’s issues. “I look at the players and they are good. I know how this conference is. Every game they are playing, we are playing and they are all tough. We have to expect their best, and I’ve seen them be pretty darn good.”
Both teams have wins over UCLA, the first-place team in the South Division.
That was also earlier in the year when both teams were playing at their peak.
“They are talented and they’ve had a very impressive win over UCLA,” Riley said. “They are capable. They ran the ball well in the Oregon game. They have a lot of good players. We have to expect another tough one.”
Allan Bridgford took over at quarterback for the Bears and had a rough night against Oregon. He completed 9 of 21 attempts for 113 yards, two interceptions and a touchdown.
The Beavers have their own quarterback issues after Cody Vaz sprained his left ankle against Stanford.
He didn’t practice Monday and Riley hopes he’s back Wednesday. Riley said he will hold off on naming a starter until later.
The Beavers have played eight straight weeks without a bye and have three more games before getting a break.
Nagging injuries and fatigue have mounted to complicate the stretch run.
“This time of year, that’s always a possibility,” Riley said. “I don’t note that with this year’s team. They’ve gotten ready and played hard in every game. I expect nothing different.”
Every game has been close for the Beavers, coming down to the fourth quarter.
The two losses were by a combined seven points, and all but one conference victory was within 10 points.
“It’s a positive we competed so well,” Riley said. “All the games have been winnable and lost in the fourth quarter. That’s our life this year with a nine games decided in the last few minutes. But our players know they can compete in every game and can win.”