Saturday, September 12, 2009

Daily Cal: Bears Blow Out Eagles, Improve to 2-0

Matt Kawahara

Kevin Riley dropped back, was enveloped by two Eastern Washington rushers and flipped the ball backward onto the ground. Jahvid Best picked it up, found some open field and turned the play into a 15-yard gain.  Like the rest of the Cal football team's 59-7 win over the Eagles, the play didn't start off pretty, but it got the job done.  The Bears came out sluggish in the first half, then turned it on after halftime to post their second blowout in as many games this season. Eastern Washington actually outgained Cal by a total of 193 yards to 192 in the first half, but the Bears tightened up in the second, allowing just 42 yards while their offense piled on 35 more points to make the final score more indicative of the lopsided matchup.

"I wasn't very happy (at halftime) so they heard a little about that," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "But I think they understood that we hadn't done everything we wanted to do.  "I was happy to see the focus in the second half. They were able to really put it together."  The Eagles hung around early thanks to the poise and strong-enough arm of quarterback Matt Nichols. Nichols threw mostly short and intermediate passes, but he consistently found holes in the Bears' zone defense and completed 22 of 30 attempts in the first half for 187 yards and a touchdown.

After Cal struck first on a Riley keeper for a touchdown, Nichols orchestrated a steady 11-play touchdown drive that included a 36-yard completion and 4-yard scoring pass to tie the game. The first quarter ended that way, tied 7-7. Eastern Washington wouldn't come within 20 yards of the end zone again.  The Eagles were again moving methodically on their opening drive of the second quarter until linebacker Mike Mohamed sacked Nichols and forced a fumble that Mychal Kendricks returned 45 yards to set up a field goal. Vince D'Amato's kick made it 17-7.

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