2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 8 - California at UCLA
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Oct. 29 at UCLA 31 … California 14
CFN Analysis: UCLA keeps on teasing. Just when it seemed like the team was ready to go into the tank – with the Arizona loss a brutally painful blowout – then it came up with a terrific, dominant game. Bruin defensive back Tevin McDonald became Cal’s best receiver, picking off three passes, while the offense did what it could with a depleted receiving corps coming up with just enough plays to keep the chains moving to offset a huge day from Kevin Prince. He only threw for 92 yards, but he ran wild, taking off for 163 yards and 19 carries, while Derrick Coleman ran for 80 yards and three scores. At 4-4, the next four weeks will determine the direction of the program. The team is just good enough to beat Utah and Colorado to get to a bowl, but beating Arizona State and USC is a must to create a buzz and to instill confidence in the Rich Neuheisel era. To have any shot against the Sun Devils, the takeaways have to keep on coming.
Cal should be much, much better. The Bears now have lost four of their last five games and are a disastrous 1-4 in Pac-12 play. Zach Maynard isn’t playing well, giving up four picks and only completing 14-of-30 passes, and while he ran relatively well and Isi Sofele got loose a little bit, the offense didn’t move well enough to balance out the five turnovers. The defensive front did a great job of getting into the backfield with nine tackles for loss and two sacks, but it didn’t slow down the UCLA ground game and couldn’t keep QB Kevin Prince from taking off for big run after big run. The points aren’t coming, even though the offense is cranking out yards, and the defense ranks third in the Pac-12, even though it got run over this week. There’s still time to get to a bowl game with Washington State and Oregon State up next, but there’s no margin for error with Stanford and Arizona State on the road to close out the regular season.
(AP) PASADENA, Calif. -- Freshman safety Tevin McDonald made the first three interceptions of his college career, Derrick Coleman scored three touchdowns, and UCLA bounced back from one of its most embarrassing losses in years to beat California 31-14 on Saturday.
McDonald's interceptions set up two touchdowns and a field goal for the Bruins (4-4, 3-2 Pac-12), who took the heat off much-maligned coach Rick Neuheisel, at least for the time being, with their most impressive performance of the season.
Neuheisel, who has one year remaining on the five-year contract he signed before the 2007 season, has a 19-26 record at UCLA and has led his team to just one bowl game.
The Bruins scored 24 of their 31 points after turnovers in handing Cal (4-4, 1-4) its fourth loss in five games. The Golden Bears committed five turnovers, four on interceptions thrown by Zach Maynard, who was 14 of 30 for 199 yards.
Coleman scored on a 2-yard run in the second quarter and runs of 20 and 24 yards in the final period. He finished with 80 yards on 16 carries. Kevin Prince gained a career-high 163 yards on 19 carries and completed 9 of 18 passes for 92 yards.
Isi Sofele gained 74 yards on 15 carries and Keenan Allen caught seven passes for 83 yards for Cal. Allen entered the game averaging 129.4 receiving yards -- tops in the nation.
UCLA gained 386 yards to Cal's 333. The Bruins were shredded for 573 yards by Arizona in a 48-12 loss Oct. 20. The Wildcats scored touchdowns on each of their six first-half possessions for a 42-7 lead.
The Bears needed less than two minutes of the third quarter to trim UCLA's 17-7 halftime lead to three points, getting a 1-yard touchdown run from C.J. Anderson two plays after Jordon James muffed a punt and D.J. Campbell recovered at the Bruins' 15.
Cal had a chance to tie the game late in the third quarter, but Giorgio Tavecchio was wide left on a 42-yard field goal attempt.
McDonald made his second interception early in the fourth quarter, picking off Maynard's errant third-down pass and returning it 15 yards to the Cal 20. Coleman scored on the next play to make it 24-14 with 12:45 remaining.
The Bears then moved to the UCLA 22-yard line before McDonald made his third pick, setting up an 83-yard scoring drive that clinched the victory.
The Bears took a 7-0 lead on their second possession, scoring on a 1-yard run by Sofele that completed a 30-yard, five-play drive after Dan Camporeale recovered a fumble by Prince, who gained 21 yards before a jarring tackle by Steve Williams shook the ball loose.
That would be the only time the Bears had the ball in UCLA territory during the first half.
UCLA tied it with 6:37 left in the second quarter on an 11-yard run by Johnathan Franklin, capping a 64-yard, seven-play drive highlighted by Prince's 32-yard run.
The Bruins scored 10 points in a span of 82 seconds later in the period for a 17-7 lead after Cal committed turnovers on back-to-back offensive plays. First, Tyler Gonzalez kicked a 32-yard field goal three plays after McDonald's first 15-yard interception return to the Cal 15. Then, Coleman scored his first TD four plays after Donovan Carter recovered a botched handoff from Maynard to Sofele at the Bears' 20.
UCLA played without wide receivers Randall Carroll, Taylor Embree, Shaquille Evans and Ricky Marvray, suspended one game each for their part in an on-field brawl late in the first half of the Bruins' loss at Arizona. In addition, defensive tackle Cassius March served the first of his two-game suspension and guard Albert Cid was suspended for the first half.
The suspensions left Nelson Rosario and Josh Smith as the only available UCLA wide receivers who had played this season. Jerry Rice Jr., a non-scholarship redshirt sophomore, made his collegiate debut for the Bruins and caught two passes for 17 yards. Rice's father had an NFL-record 1,549 receptions during his Hall of Fame career.
The younger Rice made his first reception for 7 yards early in the second quarter and received a polite round of applause from the homecoming crowd of 55,604 at the Rose Bowl.
The game was held up for over five minutes early in the fourth quarter when Dietrich Riley was injured. The UCLA safety waved to the cheering fans as he was carted off the field. Neuheisel said afterward that Riley injured his neck, but added that it appeared the injury wasn't serious.
California(4-3) at UCLA (3-4) Oct. 29, 7:00, Prime Ticket/CSNBA
Here’s The Deal … Go ahead and try to make sense out of Cal, but do it at your own peril. The Bears continue to be a riddle, the kind that leaves observers rolling their eyes and shaking their heads. After failing to measure up against three of the Pac-12’s better squads in consecutive games, they ran circles around Utah, 34-10, in a game of apparent equals. Go figure. The program will spend the next five games attempting to lock down a spot in the postseason, and improve the job security of head coach Jeff Tedford.
Do not mention the topic of job security around UCLA head man Rick Neuheisel. It’s a touchy subject. The Bruins dipped back below .500 on Thursday night with a historically embarrassing loss on national TV to Arizona, 48-12, that included a brawl and subsequent suspensions. The psyche of this dejected team, as much as anything else, will be under the microscope as it enters the final stretch of yet another disappointing campaign.
Why Cal Might Win: Of the four units on the field Saturday evening, the Bears defense will be the most consistent of the quartet. Yeah, it’s had its share of ups-and-downs, but this is still a solid group of defenders that ranks fourth in the Pac-12 against the run, third in sacks and second in total D. Cal’s 3-4 set, with gifted linebackers Mychal Kendricks, David Wilkerson and D.J. Holt, can frustrate an offense, such as UCLA’s, which relies so heavily on the ground game.
Where do the Bruins turn if backs Johnathan Franklin and Derrick Coleman are being stuffed at the line? The starting quarterback, now Kevin Prince, has been wildly inconsistent, and four of UCLA’s suspended players are wide receivers.
Why UCLA Might Win: For the past couple of seasons, Cal has been a different team on the road; a far worse team on the road. This fall, they needed overtime to escape Colorado in Boulder, and were beaten by Washington and Oregon. The Bruins, on the other hand, have been somewhat crisper at the Rose Bowl, with wins over San Jose State and Washington State. They’ll look to control the line of scrimmage against the Bears front wall, leveraging an offensive line that’s overachieved this season. From left to right, Jeff Baca, Greg Capella, Kai Maiava, Chris Ward and Mike Harris have allowed just six sacks, while blocking for a ground game averaging 4.7 yards a carry.
What To Watch Out For: Cal got a solid performance out of QB Zach Maynard last week. The coaching staff is hoping that it wasn’t fleeting. The lefty went a crisp 19-of-29 for 255 yards and a touchdown, adding 36 yards and another score on the ground. The Bears will need more performances like that in order to bring a sense of stability to the attack. A consistent Maynard, especially when he’s rolling out, also means more production for Keenan Allen, one of the country’s most underrated wide receivers.
What Will Happen: While it’s anyone’s guess which Cal—or UCLA—team shows up this week, there’s little doubt that the Bears are the more reliable squad these days. They’ve got the better talent on both sides of the ball, which should be enough to overcome the inevitable decline in performance outside of Berkeley. Plus, the Bruins are mired in a nasty free-fall that shows no end in sight. Cal will take another stride toward a postseason bid, exploiting a tattered UCLA defense, and keeping the one-note host offense in check long enough to get out of the Rose Bowl with a second straight win.
CFN Prediction: California 31 … UCLA 20
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California -5.5 O/U: 50
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