Oregon points finger at itself

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

BERKELEY, Calif. -- They played sloppy. They failed to take advantage of opportunities. They are no longer tied atop the Pac-10. Their national ranking is likely gone.

And they were soaking wet, which somehow didn't feel as good as it usually does for the Oregon Ducks.

Fair to say they were pretty grumpy after losing 26-16 at California.

"I think we are a really good football team that beat itself today," coach Mike Bellotti said.

Perhaps. Or perhaps Cal just did a better job of not beating itself.

Cal lost the turnover battle 4-3 (another credited fumble came on a botched field goal). Cal almost never wins when it loses the turnover battle. Under Tedford, the Bears were 6-16 before Saturday in Pac-10 games when they've had more turnovers than their opponents.

But Oregon had two problems: 1. Its turnovers were really bad ones; 2. They didn't do much of anything with Cal's miscues.

An interception and fumbled punt set up Cal touchdown drives of 3 and 6 yards. An errant snap on a punt gave the Bears a safety.

Meanwhile, Cal quarterback Kevin Riley threw an interception on the game's first possession, and the Ducks turned that into an easy 46-yard touchdown drive (the Ducks then muffed the PAT).

Yet that was it. The Bears kept fumbling, and the Ducks kept bumbling.

Cal gets 16 points from Oregon mistakes. Oregon gets just six.

The Ducks offense also couldn't maintain its rushing rhythm, and it produced almost no passing game -- see 84 yards through the air. Quarterback Jeremiah Masoli rushed for 110 yards, but he completed only 7 of 21 passes with a pair of interceptions.

"I think we played very poorly in our passing game," Bellotti said. "We did not do a very good job of recognizing zone and how to defeat zone."

As for the running game, the Ducks did have 206 yards -- though that's well bellow their 279 yards per game average -- but nearly all of that came in the third quarter, when they rushed for 141 yards.

The Ducks were 0-7 on third downs at halftime, were 2 of 4 in the third and were 2 of 7 in the fourth.

It wasn't the conditions. It was Cal's defense making adjustments to whatever started working for Oregon.

"The weather wasn't that big of a deal," running back Jeremiah Johnson said. "We are Ducks, we are used to that kind of weather."

Turnovers weren't the only critical mistakes.

Kicker Matt Evensen missed a 29-yard field goal that would have tied the score at 19-19 early in the fourth quarter.

Evensen was only kicking a field goal because, on a third-and-1 from the Bears' 10-yard line, the Ducks were flagged for a false start.

"I don't know what to say about that," Johnson said. "Penalties and things like that ruin an offense's momentum."

But what about the season's momentum?

There are no gimmes remaining on the Ducks schedule, starting with a visit from Stanford next Saturday.

The Ducks didn't seem ready to move on and consider what's next just yet.

"I don't know," center Max Unger said. "Everything is pretty crazy in the Pac-10."