Fernando Mendoza's Bears Come Up Short Against No. 16 Utah, Fall 14-34
Utah's defense succeeded in limiting Mendoza's offensive output Saturday
California quarterback Fernando Mendoza has been looking to make a statement.
The Miami native impressed in his first collegiate career start last week against a top-25 team. Mendoza ranked second among Pac-12 quarterbacks in week six, earning an offensive grade of “89.1” from the sports analytics firm Pro Football Focus. Perhaps most importantly, he secured his second career start as California’s signal caller.
Mendoza’s early play against the No. 16 Utah Utes seemed to indicate that he would do equally well this week. In California’s second possession, he showed off his penchant for big plays by finding running back Jaydn Ott on a pass to the right, resulting in a 48-yard touchdown and the game’s first score.
The redshirt first-year quarterback made another huge play in the third quarter, calling Taj Davis’ number in a deep pass up the middle, which the wide receiver brought home for a 24-yard score.
But absent those two scores, Mendoza came up short in California's (3-4, 1-3 Pac-12) 14-34 loss to Utah (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12). He finished Saturday afternoon with 149 passing yards, two touchdowns and one interception thrown, completing 10 out of 17 passing attempts.
As California head coach Justin Wilcox told reporters in the post-game press conference, the visiting team struggled in nearly all phases of the game. Utah capitalized on California’s challenges and ran away with the game in the second half.
“We haven’t capitalized on momentum well enough, and we haven’t played well enough when things have gotten tough,” Coach Wilcox said.
California’s head coach continued: “We need to play better everywhere so we can win.”
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