Searching for first win, Cal hosts Sacramento State
Sacramento State coach Troy Taylor will get a chance to beat his old school when the Hornets visit California for a nonconference game Saturday afternoon in Berkeley, Calif.
Both teams are coming off mistake-filled losses, with turnovers playing a big role in Sacramento State’s 34-16 blowout at the hands of visiting Northern Iowa, while Cal lamented three missed point-after attempts in a 34-32 defeat at Texas Christian.
After a stellar prep career at Rancho Cordova High in the Sacramento suburbs, Taylor set career passing and total-offense records at Cal in the late 1980s before graduating to the New York Jets. The records were later surpassed by Jared Goff.
He returned to the Golden Bears as an assistant coach for six seasons from 1995-2000, and nine years later got his first head-coaching opportunity at the college level when hired by Sacramento State.
The Hornets (1-1) beat Dixie State of Utah, a first-year Division I football program, 19-7 in the opener, before six turnovers doomed an otherwise powerful offensive performance in the loss last week to Northern Iowa, a fellow FCS program.
“We will respond,” Taylor assured as he turned his attention to his alma mater. “We’ll be ready to go against Cal, I promise you. We talk about being mindful and having to move on to the next game, and we will play better.”
For the third consecutive week, Cal will encounter a big-numbers quarterback in Asher O’Hara, who threw for 338 yards last week.
The Golden Bears (0-2) felt good about limiting Nevada’s highly regarded Carson Strong to 312 yards and two touchdowns in a 22-17 loss in the opener but were kicking themselves after TCU’s Max Duggan torched them with 71 rushing yards and a touchdown, and another 234 yards and three scores through the air in a 34-32 defeat.
Cal also was bothered by the points that got away in the two-point loss — a bad snap that botched a PAT attempt, a failed two-point pass as it tried to make up for the earlier failure, and a rushing attempt that fell just short of the goal line on another two-point conversion attempt that could have tied the score with 4:09 remaining.
Three successful extra-point kicks in those situations might have resulted in a win.
The Golden Bears did improve offensively from Nevada to TCU, with Chase Garbers effectively throwing deep for a pair of touchdowns and 309 yards against the Horned Frogs.
“The way we respond is we learn from this tape and get better next week,” Garbers said at the beginning of the week. “We did that with the Nevada film. We learned from it and we got a whole lot better from Week 1 to Week 2. That’s what we plan to do from Week 2 to Week 3. You’re not a finished product.”
The Northern California rivals have met twice since 2005, both times in Berkeley. Cal won those games 41-3 and 55-14, with the most recent head-to-head having been in 2014.
–Field Level Media