Tim Brewster believed Cal should have drawn a penalty on the hit Eric Decker took during his first touchdown reception.
By KENT YOUNGBLOOD
Two Gophers players took massive hits to the head in Saturday's 35-21 loss to California at TCF Bank Stadium. Both plays resulted in Gophers scores, one directly. But only one was flagged. And Gophers coach Tim Brewster believes that was a mistake. The first hit came on Adam Weber's 26-yard TD pass to Eric Decker in the second quarter that pulled the Gophers to 14-7. Decker went up to catch the ball in the end zone and was walloped in the chin by Cal safety Sean Cattouse. That Decker held on to the ball was amazing. As the play ended, Decker, bleeding from the chin, writhed on the sideline. He needed stitches. The second came late in the first half on a Cal punt. Bryan Anger's punt was short. Just as Bryant Allen went to field the ball he was hit, helmet-to-helmet, by Isi Sofele, who was whistled for a personal foul. Taking the ball on the Cal 29, the Gophers scored in the final minute and made it 21-14.
Cal coach Jeff Tedford apologized for one hit but not the other. "Well, the hit in the end zone [on Decker] was a football play," Tedford said. "I felt terrible about the punt return. ... [Sofele] got downfield and he got caught in the situation. It was not intentional by any means. I apologized to Coach Brewster about it because it is not what we are about.'' Brewster thought Cattouse's hit should have been flagged as well. "I thought they missed a call there," he said. "I thought there was helmet-to-helmet contact there. I'm just surprised they didn't see it. The side judge told me he was looking at his feet and didn't see anything up above.''
The Gophers continue to struggle to establish a reliable running game. They ran the ball for 37 yards on 21 attempts, a 1.8-yard average. At least partially because of this the Bears were able to tee off on Weber on passing downs. Weber was sacked three times.