Oregon at Cal

Cal head coach Jeff Tedford and Oregon head coach Chip Kelly share a
word before kickoff.
© Matt Cohen 2010

When I drove down to Pasadena to shoot the Rose Bowl earlier this
year, nearly every car on the road had Oregon stickers, so it's not
surprising that there were more fans in the visiting sections as Cal hosted
the top-ranked Oregon Ducks at Memorial Stadium. It was however a
little surprising that one of them was dressed as a Teletubby.
© Matt Cohen 2010

Despite shooting something like 15 Cal home games, over three seasons,
I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I never knew where the visitors
locker room was. But after shooting Laa-Laa the Teletubby, I saw the
Oregon players headed off the field, and had a chance to get this picture
of Oregon offensive lineman Jordan Holmes shaking hands with fans.
© Matt Cohen 2010

Cal Junior quarterback Brock Mansion got the start after in place of the
injured Kevin Riley who is done for the season and thus his career. Mansion
played about as well as can be expected, but his lack of experience and
reps in practice showed as his passing was fairly erratic.
© Matt Cohen 2010

Speaking of inexperienced quarterbacks, sophomore Darron Thomas took
over the Ducks offense when Jeremiah Masoli was expelled for burglary
and drug use. You could add murder to the list because Masoli's subsequent
transfer to Ole Miss killed the value of my pictures of him playing in this
year's Rose Bowl. Bitter much?

© Matt Cohen 2010

Anyway, Thomas is as dynamic a player as Masoli, and Kelly has him
running the option...

© Matt Cohen 2010

...as well as slinging the ball around the field. © Matt Cohen 2010

There's no shortage of other good athletes playing for the Ducks
including LaMichael James, here dragging Mychal Kendricks along for
the ride.

And Josh Huff slipping through the Cal defense. © Matt Cohen 2010

Here's Jeff Maehl making a circus catch over Cal cornerback Steve Williams... © Matt Cohen 2010

...and holding off Cal cornerback Josh Hill on his way to a third-quarter touchdown. © Matt Cohen 2010

Cal's defense really stepped up their game, making Oregon's offense
look like anything but a number one team. Here Cal linebacker D.J. Holt
forces Thomas to fumble.
© Matt Cohen 2010

On a later fumble, defensive tackle Derrick Hill jumped on the ball in the
end zone for a defensive score. He was then mobbed by teammates who
seemed to be genuinely shocked.
© Matt Cohen 2010

Cal running back Shane Vereen continued a quietly great season, adding
another 112 yards and a touchdown.
© Matt Cohen 2010

Marvin Jones turned it on late, making a great catch in traffic... © Matt Cohen 2010

...but was not quite able to catch up to this pass from Mansion, under
pressure from Oregon safety safety John Boyett:

© Matt Cohen 2010

© Matt Cohen 2010

On the strangest play of the game, Cal lined up for a 24-yard field goal
at the start of the fourth quarter, down 15-13. Cal kicker Giorgio Tavecchio
took a stutter step before the ball was snapped, and as soon as his kick
went through the uprights, it was taken off the board for illegal
procedure. Backed up 5 yards, Tavecchio then missed from 29.
Speaking as a former high school and college kicker, I've never seen that
happen.

© Matt Cohen 2010

Neither team scored in the fourth, but Oregon did take a knee at the
end of the game, well within field goal range. Cold comfort for Tavecchio
for sure. Cal gave Oregon all they could handle, but just couldn't take
charge of the game. They should have some extra confidence heading
into Saturday's Big Game at home against Stanford.