Monday, October 23, 2006

Oakland Tribune: Cal discovers it can win one the hard way

Column by Art Spander

BERKELEY — They were 22-point favorites and trailed by 10 in the second quarter. “But we won, didn't we?" Jeff Tedford asked, knowing full well the answer.  They had set a Cal record by scoring 40 points or more in five straight games, but this one they had only three at halftime. "Nobody plays perfectly every week," Tedford reminded.  They allowed a ricochet 40-yard Hail Mary pass with 0:00 on the clock to tie the game.  "Things like that happen from time to time," Tedford allowed, "you have to overcome adversity."  If this wasn't what we'd come to expect, it was enough for us to come to accept.  Another Cal victory, if a difficult one, 31-24, in overtime over Washington.

The Bears could have lost this game.  The Bears perhaps should have lost this game. For the most part, they were outplayed by the Huskies, who were relying on a second-team quarterback and a defense that was ninth in the Pac-10, meaning next-to-last.  The Bears didn't lose this game.

Which tells you more than those five straight games in which Cal scored at least 40 points.  Which tells you Cal, now 7-1 and with seven straight victories, can play from behind as well as from ahead, can give up 446 yards to the opponent but not give away the game.  "When the other team scores 10 points, we're usually ahead 35-10," said linebacker Zack Follett. "We're not behind 10-0. This was gut-check time. This is what the team needed. It will make us stronger down the road. We know we can pull wins out."

Read the entire article here.

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