We are going through the Top 10 Cal football moments of 2008. We are at #5. We are going slowly. Now, we are talking about Cal recovering the fumbled punt during the Oregon game.
TwistNHook: This was a key turning point in the Cal-Oregon game. Speaking of key turning points, I will now turn the floor over to my non-me compatriots and not talk for a while. And.................GO!
Avinash: Perfect moment to encapsulate that Duck game. They committed so many mental errors that they pretty much handed us the game. What was it, twelve-sixteen points off of turnovers, with two drives starting in their red zone? Can't remember the exact number.
Also, a Cal football moment to discuss!
Avinash: Wasn't ragnarok a viking?
But, in specific for this play, it is important to look at more than just its specific drive. The story here starts in the previous quarter:
We start with Oregon marching down the field in the 3rd quarter to score a TD. The score is 19-16 in Cal's favor. The following Cal drive occurs:
|California at 3:51||ORE||CAL|
|1st and 10 at CAL 30||Nate Longshore sacked by Nick Reed for a loss of 5 yards to the Cal 25.||16||19|
|2nd and 15 at CAL 25||Nate Longshore pass complete to Jahvid Best for a loss of 4 yards to the Cal 21.|
|3rd and 19 at CAL 21||Nate Longshore pass incomplete to Sean Young.|
|4th and 19 at CAL 21||Bryan Anger punt for 46 yards, returned by Jamere Holland for a loss of 2 yards to the Oregn 31.|
|DRIVE TOTALS: Cal drive: 3 plays -9 yards, 01:42 Cal PUNT|
|Oregon at 2:09||ORE||CAL|
|1st and 10 at ORE 31||Jeremiah Johnson rush for 7 yards to the Oregn 38.||16||19|
|2nd and 3 at ORE 38||Jeremiah Masoli rush for 14 yards to the Oregn 38 out-of-bounds, California penalty 15 yard personal foul accepted for a 1ST down.|
|1st and 10 at CAL 33||Jeremiah Johnson rush for 3 yards to the Cal 30.|
|2nd and 7 at CAL 30||Jeremiah Masoli rush for 4 yards to the Cal 26.|
|3rd and 3 at CAL 26||Jeremiah Masoli rush for 7 yards to the Cal 19 for a 1ST down.|
|1st and 10 at CAL 19||Jeremiah Johnson rush for 7 yards to the Cal 12.|
|End of 3rd Quarter|
Ok, so that is a fairly good drive there. They go from the Oregon 38 to the Cal 12 in a matter of plays. Nervousness at high level there. Only up by 3. Cal offense sputtering. Oregon offense marching. But here is where the elements came into play in a way that you might not have noticed. The 3rd quarter ended. Previously, in the 3rd quarter, Oregon was marching South, while Cal was marching (in the loosest sense of the word) North.
We now go to the 4th quarter:
|Oregon at 15:00||ORE||CAL|
|2nd and 3 at CAL 12||Jeremiah Johnson rush for 2 yards to the Cal 10.||16||19|
|3rd and 1 at CAL 10||Oregon penalty 5 yard false start accepted.|
|3rd and 6 at CAL 15||Jeremiah Masoli rush for 3 yards to the Cal 12.|
|4th and 3 at CAL 12||Matt Evensen 29 yard field goal MISSED.|
|DRIVE TOTALS: Oregn drive: 9 plays 57 yards, 03:39 Oregn FGA|
Their drive instantly and totally stalls. Their false start penalty certainly helped the situation right there. AND THEY MISS THE FIELD GOAL! Kicking in a lake is difficult. So, it goes from what could easily be a 23-19 Oregon lead to a 19-19 tie back to a 16-19 Cal lead. But the story isn't over yet, we haven't even gotten to the key moment that this post is, ostensibly, about that.
Cal has its own drive at this point, which is OK, but stalls.
|California at 13:30||ORE||CAL|
|1st and 10 at CAL 20||Jahvid Best rush for 1 yard to the Cal 21.||16||19|
|2nd and 9 at CAL 21||Nate Longshore pass complete to Shane Vereen for 4 yards to the Cal 25.|
|3rd and 5 at CAL 25||Nate Longshore pass complete to Verran Tucker for 14 yards to the Cal 39 out-of-bounds for a 1ST down.|
|1st and 10 at CAL 39||Shane Vereen rush for a loss of 1 yard to the Cal 38.|
|2nd and 11 at CAL 38||Nate Longshore pass incomplete to Shane Vereen.|
|3rd and 11 at CAL 38||Nate Longshore pass complete to Verran Tucker for 7 yards to the Cal 45.|
And then, the key punt of the game:
|4th and 4 at CAL 45||Bryan Anger punt for 44 yards, returned by Jairus Byrd for no gain, fumbled, recovered by Cal at the Oregn 6.|
|1st and Goal at ORE 6||California penalty 0 yard personal foul off-setting accepted, Oregon penalty 0 yard personal foul off-setting, NO PLAY, cloc accepted, no play.|
|1st and Goal at ORE 6||Jahvid Best rush for 4 yards to the Oregn 2.|
|2nd and Goal at ORE 2||Shane Vereen rush for 2 yards for a TOUCHDOWN.||16||25|
|Gior Tavecchio extra point GOOD.||16||26|
|Gior Tavecchio kickoff for 57 yards returned by Walter Thurmond for 19 yards to the Cal 30, California penalty 15 yard personal foul accepted.|
|DRIVE TOTALS: Cal drive: 2 plays 6 yards, 01:07 Cal TD|
So, firstly, yes, it was multi-year goat Jairus Byrd who flubbed the punt. Secondly, I love Gior Tavecchio. He's great!
Thirdly, by putting this moment into its proper context, you can get a stronger feel for how much it turned the game. Not only did it give 7 points to Cal pretty much, but it came right on the heels of a time when it looked like Oregon was taking over. Their offense was moving much better than ours and had Cal on its heels. Certainly, the missed field goal and the false start penalty all worked into the shift of momentum from potentially 23-19 to 26-16. But the fumbled punt was the key moment when Cal fans started to breath a little bit easier.