California Golden Bears Can't Stop No. 8 Oregon Ducks' Bo Nix
Oregon puts up 28 unanswered points after trailing to Cal in the second quarter
Despite their best efforts, the California Golden Bears (3-5, 1-4 Pac-12) failed to upset No. 8 Oregon Ducks (7-1, 5-0 Pac-12), giving up six touchdowns to Ducks quarterback Bo Nix in a 24-42 defeat.
California and Oregon had some early-game jitters to work through. The Ducks’ defense picked off quarterback Jack Plummer in the game’s first possession. But the Golden Bears’ defense and special teams kept the home team in the game, blanking Oregon in the first period.
Dario Longhetto scored the game's first points with a 28-yard boot for Cal.
California and Oregon then traded touchdowns. Bo Nix ran into the end zone on a short Ducks drive to start the second quarter, and Plummer found his wide receiver Michael Sturdivant on the following possession with a six-yard touchdown pass to retake the lead.
Then, the Ducks pulled away and never looked back.
Oregon put up 28 unanswered points beginning in the second quarter, including two one-yard rushes from Nix in the second and fourth quarters, to bring the score to 35-10.
Nix scorched the California defense, finishing the afternoon with 412 passing yards and three passing touchdowns, plus 66 rushing yards and three scores on the ground.
“There are some things that happened at the end of the first half and the start of the second that if we would have performed a bit better, we could have made that game very competitive,” said California head coach Justin Wilcox in the post-game press conference. “We didn’t do that, and the game finished like it did.”
Coach Wilcox added: “And at this point, nobody feels sorry for us. We’re not going to feel sorry for ourselves. We have to focus on our individual improvement and play through it.”
California backup quarterback Kai Millner entered the game in the fourth quarter and helped make the final scoreline look less of a blowout.
The redshirt first-year earned his first two passing touchdowns as a Golden Bear, including a 55-yard connection with junior wide receiver Justin Baker with 2:21 remaining in the game.
Millner completed eight out of 11 passes for 114 passing yards and two touchdowns, while Plummer went 20-for-33 and threw one score and two picks.
After the game, Coach Wilcox quickly pointed out there was no quarterback battle and that Plummer would remain the starting signal caller for the offense.
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"[N]o quarterback battle."
Gee, not from where I sit.
Oregon's second string defense is likely as good or better than our first string. Moreover, do we know for certain it was second-stringers Kai was up against? Oregon desperately needs to make a case for the CFP, why would they take their foot off the gas?
Either way, maybe Kai does not have a long ball and, maybe, an opponent is usually caught off guard when up against a new, untested QB, but Kai sure as Hell looked good out there!
There is precedent for a two QB rotation. Why not? Honestly, at this point, what do we have to lose?
JFC. We know we will lose with Plummer behind center. Not entirely his fault but he is a statue, and that is less than ideal with a porous line. Also not the greatest decision maker. Let’s play the guy with the bigger upside who we recruited out of high school.