California Golden Bears Lose Home Opener 31-24 To Nevada Wolfpack
Today marked a difficult task for the California Golden Bears, facing the Nevada Wolfpack in the newly renovated Memorial Stadium. Yet, for the most part it was mistakes that hurt, including an unsportsmanlike penalty, being twice penalized for having too many men in the huddle and a big drop.
Allan Bridgford started the game due to Zach Maynard being punished for missing a tutoring session during the summer. On the first four possessions of the game, the offense didn’t pick up a first down and punted each time.
There was a glimmer of hope during the third possession, when a perfectly thrown ball to wide receiver Keenan Allen got dropped and if he had held on, it would have been first and goal for the Bears and a scoring opportunity.
Nevada’s offense got going and Stefphon Jefferson scored on a two yard run and quarterback Cody Fajardo scored on a 49 yard run for a 14-0 lead.
Without much success offensively, Maynard came into the game and found Jacob Wark for a 20 yard reception, yet the drive stalled. On his second series, he looked better and Isi Sofele started off the drive with a four yard run, a pass to Allen for 15 yards plus an extra 15 yards tacked on after a late hit. It finally looked like the offense was going to get going and that didn’t happen after a five yard loss when C.J. Anderson fumbled the ball away.
A defensive stop forced Nevada to punt the ball away again and on the punt return, a fair catch interference penalty got called as the special teams played interfered with the making of the catch. After two straight runs, Maynard found Chris Harper for a 14 yard gain and after another run, running back Sofele made an incredible catch on a 17 yard pass. The very next play led to the first score of the year for the Bears as Bryce Treggs found himself in one-on-one coverage and a beautiful throw from Maynard became a 37 yards touchdown.
There wasn’t any more scoring in the first half.
Neither offense got anything going at the start of the second half and on the second series of the second half for Nevada ,it looked like the Bears had all the momentum as the defense caused a fumble yet weren’t able to recover it. Turned out it was only a temporary setback as Jefferson capped off the drive with a touchdown.
After a nice return and another 15 yards tacked on at the end of the play, it took only two plays for the Bears to score their second touchdown of the game this time on a reverse to Allen for 39 yards.
A fumble on the ensuing kickoff gave the opportunity for the Bears to tie the game up and they ended up settling for a field goal.
The Bears defense forced another punt and again another opportunity this time to take the lead didn’t happen as Maynard fumbled. The resulting drive by Nevada ended up in a field goal and a 24-17 lead.
With no time being wasted, the Bears were able to get the offense going as Allen had a 32 yard reception and Anderson had two big runs of 12 and nine yards, which resulted in a 13 yard touchdown pass to Harper to tie up the game.
Back-to-back punts by both teams led to the game winning touchdown drive by Nevada. The Bears had an opportunity to force a field goal after Nevada had been penalized for 12 men in the huddle, yet weren’t able to get any pressure on Fajardo, who found Brandon Wimberly for a 21 yard gain which gave Jefferson an opportunity for his third touchdown of the game.
The Bears had one more chance to tie the game up yet after a completion to Anderson, but Harper fumbled with the Bears losing 31-24.