Wednesday, April 23, 2008 Cal Quarterback Riley's Popularity Rebounds

In times of despair, comfort can be found from a parent's sympathetic ear or words of encouragement.   And if there was ever a time that California quarterback Kevin Riley needed compassion, it was after the second-ranked Bears lost 31-28 to Oregon State on Oct. 13.   With Cal in range of a short field goal that would've forced overtime, Riley – then a redshirt freshman making his first career start in place of injured Nate Longshore – ran from the pocket rather than throw a clock -stopping incompletion in the game's final seconds. He was tackled at Oregon State's 9, and time ran out before Cal could line up for a field-goal attempt.

Cal's hopes of an undefeated season were over, and the chance to ascend to No. 1 in the nation (top-ranked LSU had lost to Kentucky earlier that day) for the first time since 1951 was gone. Disappointed fans in Berkeley blamed him for the loss. They blamed him for ruining the season. They blamed him for killing their buzz.   A few minutes later, Faustin Riley - a football coach at Beaverton (Ore.) High School who had proudly watched the youngest of his four children grow from a 5-foot-5, 107-pound eighth-grade overachiever into a 6-3, 215-pound college quarterback - met with his son outside Cal's locker room.  "The first thing he said to me was, 'You really messed up,' " Kevin said.

Read the entire article here.


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