Bears fall at UCLA 31-14

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Bears fall at UCLA 31-14

BOX SCORE
PASADENA (AP) -- Freshman safety Tevin McDonald made the first three interceptions of his college career, Derrick Coleman scored three touchdowns, and UCLA bounced back from one of its most embarrassing losses in years to beat California 31-14 on Saturday.McDonald's interceptions set up two touchdowns and a field goal for the Bruins (4-4, 3-2 Pac-12), who took the heat off much-maligned coach Rick Neuheisel, at least for the time being, with their most impressive performance of the season.Neuheisel, who has one year remaining on the five-year contract he signed before the 2007 season, has a 19-26 record at UCLA and has led his team to just one bowl game.The Bruins scored 24 of their 31 points after turnovers in handing Cal (4-4, 1-4) its fourth loss in five games. The Golden Bears committed five turnovers, four on interceptions thrown by Zach Maynard, who was 14 of 30 for 199 yards.Coleman scored on a 2-yard run in the second quarter and runs of 20 and 24 yards in the final period. He finished with 80 yards on 16 carries. Kevin Prince gained a career-high 163 yards on 19 carries and completed 9 of 18 passes for 92 yards.Isi Sofele gained 74 yards on 15 carries and Keenan Allen caught seven passes for 83 yards for Cal. Allen entered the game averaging 129.4 receiving yards - tops in the nation.UCLA gained 386 yards to Cal's 333. The Bruins were shredded for 573 yards by Arizona in a 48-12 loss Oct. 20. The Wildcats scored touchdowns on each of their six first-half possessions for a 42-7 lead.The Bears needed less than two minutes of the third quarter to trim UCLA's 17-7 halftime lead to three points, getting a 1-yard touchdown run from C.J. Anderson two plays after Jordon James muffed a punt and D.J. Campbell recovered at the Bruins' 15.Cal had a chance to tie the game late in the third quarter, but Giorgio Tavecchio was wide left on a 42-yard field goal attempt.McDonald made his second interception early in the fourth quarter, picking off Maynard's errant third-down pass and returning it 15 yards to the Cal 20. Coleman scored on the next play to make it 24-14 with 12:45 remaining.The Bears then moved to the UCLA 22-yard line before McDonald made his third pick, setting up an 83-yard scoring drive that clinched the victory.The Bears took a 7-0 lead on their second possession, scoring on a 1-yard run by Sofele that completed a 30-yard, five-play drive after Dan Camporeale recovered a fumble by Prince, who gained 21 yards before a jarring tackle by Steve Williams shook the ball loose.That would be the only time the Bears had the ball in UCLA territory during the first half.UCLA tied it with 6:37 left in the second quarter on an 11-yard run by Johnathan Franklin, capping a 64-yard, seven-play drive highlighted by Prince's 32-yard run.The Bruins scored 10 points in a span of 82 seconds later in the period for a 17-7 lead after Cal committed turnovers on back-to-back offensive plays. First, Tyler Gonzalez kicked a 32-yard field goal three plays after McDonald's first 15-yard interception return to the Cal 15. Then, Coleman scored his first TD four plays after Donovan Carter recovered a botched handoff from Maynard to Sofele at the Bears' 20.UCLA played without wide receivers Randall Carroll, Taylor Embree, Shaquille Evans and Ricky Marvray, suspended one game each for their part in an on-field brawl late in the first half of the Bruins' loss at Arizona. In addition, defensive tackle Cassius March served the first of his two-game suspension and guard Albert Cid was suspended for the first half.The suspensions left Nelson Rosario and Josh Smith as the only available UCLA wide receivers who had played this season. Jerry Rice Jr., a non-scholarship redshirt sophomore, made his collegiate debut for the Bruins and caught two passes for 17 yards. Rice's father had an NFL-record 1,549 receptions during his Hall of Fame career.The younger Rice made his first reception for 7 yards early in the second quarter and received a polite round of applause from the homecoming crowd of 55,604 at the Rose Bowl.The game was held up for over five minutes early in the fourth quarter when Dietrich Riley was injured. The UCLA safety waved to the cheering fans as he was carted off the field. Neuheisel said afterward that Riley injured his neck, but added that it appeared the injury wasn't serious.

2017 spring practice important for Cal, Stanford for different reasons

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AP

2017 spring practice important for Cal, Stanford for different reasons

It’s only February, but this week marks the beginning of the 2017 football season in the Bay Area. Spring practice has arrived.

Most schools now begin “spring” practice in the winter. In the Pac-12, for example, Oregon State began on February 17, Arizona on Feb. 18 and Colorado on Feb. 22. Stanford’s drills start this Tuesday, while Cal’s kick off on March 15.

Schools are limited to a total of 15 sessions, and safety concerns have led the NCAA to strongly recommend that only eight involve full-contact drills. Indeed, if you ask most head coaches what they hope to gain from spring ball, the first thing most of them say is, “I hope no one gets hurt.”

There’s more to it than that, of course. Typically, spring is the time teams look to fill spots lost to graduation, resolve competition for starting spots, move players to new positions, and evaluate redshirts and early-admit freshmen. It also can be a time to find a quarterback and install a new system, which is the case at Cal this spring.

In certain parts of the country, spring practice is a much bigger deal than it is here in the Bay Area. As longtime Texas sports information director Jones Ramsey used to say, “we only have two major sports at Texas—football and spring football.”

In the SEC and Big Ten, huge crowds are commonplace for the spring intra-squad game. Last year for example, Ohio State drew 100,129 fans to its spring game. Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Penn State and Nebraska routinely draw 75,000 to 90,000. Cal and Stanford are thrilled if 3,000 fans show up.

Perhaps the most significant spring practice in the history of Bay Area football took place in 1968 at Stanford. Head coach John Ralston had been recruited from Utah State in 1963 to turn around a moribund program that had won 14 games in five years, low-lighted by an 0-10 record in 1960.

But Ralston’s run-oriented attack wasn’t producing the kind of results Athletic Director Chuck Taylor had hoped for when he hired him. Taylor, a member of Stanford’s 1941 Rose Bowl championship team that introduced the T-formation to college football, and coach of Stanford’s ‘52 Rose Bowl team that lived and died by the forward pass, made a not-so-gentle suggestion to Ralston after three middling seasons: throw the football.

So Ralston recruited a couple of local quarterbacks who could sling it—Jim Plunkett from San Jose’s James Lick High School and Don Bunce from Woodside—and announced that he would switch to a pro-style passing game for the ’68 season. Spring practice would serve as the test kitchen for Ralston’s new offense.

Back in those days I was a wet-behind-the-ears sports editor of the Stanford Daily. My timing was good, as I was fortunate enough to cover the ’68 spring practice and football season. In the spring game, Plunkett completed 22 of 39 passes for 335 yards and two touchdowns to solidify his hold on the starting job.

That fall, Stanford opened with San Jose State and Plunkett made his debut by throwing for four touchdowns—including three bombs to quarterback-turned-wide receiver Gene Washington—in a 68-20 rout. No one who was in the stadium that day will ever forget it…it was the beginning of a new era in Stanford football and, in many ways, a new era in college football.

Two years later, Plunkett led Stanford to the conference title and an upset win over Ohio State’s team of the decade in the Rose Bowl. He also won the Heisman Trophy over Notre Dame’s Joe (don’t call me THEES-man) Theisman.

Bunce, the forgotten quarterback, backed up Plunkett for two years before red-shirting his senior year (1970) so he’d have the job to himself in 1971. All he did was win another Pac-8 championship and Rose Bowl.

This spring has the potential to be another important milestone for Stanford and Cal with a new coaching staff at one school and major holes to fill at both.

Cal: New coach Justin Wilcox and his team open spring ball on Wednesday, March 15. The Bears will have three open practices—Friday March 24 at 3:30, Saturday, April 8 at 11 a.m., and the spring game on Saturday, April 22, also at 11. The Pac-12 network will televise the spring game and admission is free. Cal’s March 24 practice will be preceded by “Pro Day” (also open to the public) at 10 a.m., when selected graduating players will work out before NFL scouts and coaches.

In addition to installing a new system and introducing a new coaching staff, Wilcox must find a replacement for record-setting quarterback Davis Webb (a key attraction on Pro Day). Wide receiver Chad Hansen, last season’s breakthrough star, returns to make the new QB’s job easier.

Stanford: The Cardinal divides spring practice into two sessions—February 28-March 12 and April 3-15, separated by a three-week break for dead week, finals and spring break. Four practices will be open to the public—Saturday, March 4 at 10 a.m., Sunday, March 12 at 11:45, Saturday, April 8 (time tbd), and the spring game on Saturday, April 15 at 1:00 p.m., which also will be televised on Pac-12 network.

Stanford’s “Pro Timing Day” on Thursday, March 23 is open to the public at 11:15. The main attractions will be running back Christian McCaffrey and defensive lineman Solomon Thomas, both of whom are turning pro after their junior seasons. Unlike McCaffrey, Thomas played in the Sun Bowl and elevated his pro stock with several game-changing plays.

Coach David Shaw has a quality replacement for McCaffrey in junior Bryce Love, who averaged 7.4 yards per carry during the season and broke two long plays in the bowl game. But he will have to replace Thomas, record-setting kicker Conrad Ukropina, and possibly quarterback Keller Chryst, who is rehabbing from knee surgery.

We’ll be back with a roundup after the conclusion of spring ball. In the meantime, let's hope both Cal and Stanford unearth a few nuggets and that no one gets injured.

No. 20 Saint Mary's holds off Santa Clara in WCC finale

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USATSI

No. 20 Saint Mary's holds off Santa Clara in WCC finale

BOX SCORE

MORAGA — Jock Landale scored 17 points and No. 20 Saint Mary's beat Santa Clara 70-56 on Saturday night in the West Coast Conference regular season finale for both teams.

Emmett Naar and Calvin Hermanson scored 13 points apiece and Dane Pineau added 10 points to help the Gaels (26-3, 15-3) complete a season sweep of the Broncos.

Saint Mary's will get a week off before playing in the WCC tournament as the No. 2 seed in Las Vegas next week.

The Gaels will go in at full strength after suffering a brief scare midway through the second half. Joe Rahon, the team's emotional leader and workhorse in the backcourt, limped off the court with an apparent knee injury and was taken into a tunnel to be examined. He returned to the court a few minutes later wearing tape around his right leg below the knee. He then later got his entire knee wrapped.

Saint Mary's led by as many as 20 in the second half despite coming out of halftime missing six of seven shots with two turnovers.

Landale, as he has much of the season, got the Gaels back on track with a short hook over Henrik Jadersten to start a 10-0 run. Landale later scored on consecutive trips down the floor to push Saint Mary's lead to 66-47.

Jared Brownridge and Matt Hauser scored 15 points apiece for Santa Clara. The Broncos (16-15, 10-8 WCC) lost for only the second time in the last five games.

The Gaels led nearly the entire way.

Saint Mary's came out strong from the perimeter, making five of seven shots beyond the arc in the first half. Naar had two of the 3s and was one of six Gaels players to score as part of an 11-2 run that pushed their lead to 41-29 at halftime.

BIG PICTURE

Santa Clara: Another tough night for the Broncos, who couldn't get much going despite Saint Mary's going through a pair of lulls on offense. Brownridge scored nine of his team's first 11 points, a pattern that played out much of the game. Jadersten gave Santa Clara an early lift with two 3s but picked up three fouls over a span of 1:41 minutes during the first half.

Saint Mary's: With four straight wins the Gaels have regained some of the momentum they lost after falling to No. 1 Gonzaga on Feb. 11 for the second time this season. A third showdown between the conference's two best teams appears likely.

UP NEXT

Santa Clara: The Broncos are the fourth seed for the WCC tournament and will have a bye in the first round.

Saint Mary's: The Gaels also receive a first-round bye and won't play until March 4.