Updated 1: 54 a.m ET: Talk about your quick turnaround.
There were a handful of reasons why Cal was able to keep it close with Oregon through one half. The Ducks were wounded, so to speak, with injuries on both sides of the ball, and the Bears were playing mistake-free football. Despite being a heavily-penalized team, Oregon’s dangerous because they make opposing teams pay for their mistakes. In the second half, Cal turned the ball over three times and Oregon took advantage.
The result was a 59-17 win for the second-ranked team in the country. Looking at the box score alone, it’s hard to tell that Cal was very much in this game for a half.
Oregon’s faces the toughest remaining regular season schedule of the three undefeated teams at the top of the BCS rankings. Up next: No. 16 Stanford. The Cardinal’s run game could be problematic after watching the depleted Ducks defense get gashed on the ground at times against the Bears. The Ducks finish the season at No. 11 (for now) Oregon State.
There’s something about road games against Cal that has been a pain in the rear for Oregon the past couple of trips. The Ducks are leading the Bears 24-10 at the half, but there’s some concern for the second-ranked team in the country.
Cal’s done a decent job keeping Oregon from racking up points early and often. The Ducks are easily among the best — if not the best — first-half team in the country. Being down two scores at the half definitely isn’t all that bad for Cal.
Injuries have taken a bit of a toll on Oregon too. Running back Kenjon Barner had to leave the field briefly to deal with a hand injury and quarterback Marcus Mariota looked to have a shoulder injury after a 16-yard scramble in the red zone. The QB came up favoring his left arm and jogged off the field. It looked a little like Colt McCoy‘s injury for Texas in the 2010 BCS championship game against Alabama.
Both players have returned to the game, however. Defensive back Avery Patterson is banged up as well.