Waiting for the Replay: Cal breaks losing streak vs USC, Warriors win without Steph

The wheels of NCAA-style justice are turning. Cal is going for their first win against USC in 15 years, and they’ve just turned the ball over. Or have they? Cal quarterback Chase Garbers was getting bent over backward and robbed of the ball simultaneously, his knee grazing the LA grass. So who knows what’ll happen? Point is, I’ve got some time.

The last time Cal beat USC, Jeff Tedford was in charge and Aaron Rodgers was his quarterback. But Rodgers didn’t lead the Bears’ 34-31 overtime win over Matt Leinart’s No. 3 ranked Trojans. Backup Reggie Robertson relieved an injured Rodgers, and kicker Tyler Fredrickson hit the game-winning 38-yard boot. Fans poured onto the Memorial Stadium turf — it was Cal’s first home win against a top-5 team in 28 years.

“Some girl grabbed me at midfield and gave me the biggest French kiss of my life,” Fredrickson recalled, according to the East Bay Times and Jeff Faraudo. “I have no idea who she is.”

There have been no kisses since. Cal has lost 14 in a row. Five times the boys from Berkeley entered the game with a top-25 record, including a Rodgers-led No. 7 team in 2004, the year after Cal’s aforementioned miracle victory. Problem was, USC still had Leinart and was ranked No. 1.

It’s been misery since. Cal hasn’t been to the Rose Bowl since 1959. Beating the Trojans would be a good start.

This year’s edition of the Bears includes a stout defense, a freshmen quarterback and a depleted wide receiver unit. Chase Garbers has wrestled the QB job away from Brandon McIlwain, but the wide receiver position lacks depth, largely due to player transfers.

Coach Justin Wilcox’s defense held Washington State’s high-powered attack to just 19 points a week ago though, so there’s a chance for the Golden Bears. Fifteen years and there’s still optimism. Not bad.

Also not bad: The Golden State Warriors, even without Steph Curry. Curry missed Saturdays’ game against the Nets to rest a strained adductor (groin) muscle. The Warriors still waxed Brooklyn, 116-100.

Kevin Durant had a double-double with 28 points and 11 assists. Curry’s stand-in, guard Quinn Cook, notched a season-high 27 points. Klay Thompson added 24 points of his own.

The Nets came to town off an impressive win in Denver and lost some steam at the end of the game. But the Warriors were determined. They didn’t just lose Curry when on the floor last, but they also lost the game. The Bucks had their way on Golden State’s home court, scoring an astonishing 84 points in the paint on the way to a 134-111 victory.

Curry’s MRI came back negative, so he should be back soon. But the win was an important one for Golden State. They were able to shake off a terrible loss, and they did so without the leader, Curry, as well as forward Draymond Green, who was out with a toe injury. The Warriors have the firepower necessary to overcome the absence of a couple All-Stars, but a win in the NBA is no sure thing, especially when missing such vital players.

Coach Steve Kerr just hopes the team is healthy come playoff time, like last season. The Warriors are going for their third straight NBA title, and they’ll need all they’ve got to accomplish the feat.

We’re back to action at the LA Coliseum. They say Garbers indeed fumbled. It was weird, though.

USC looked to have clearly stripped the ball after long QB run, and the Trojans had picked the ball up and started running as the official’s whistle started blowing. If anything, whether the recovering USC player was down or not should have been reviewed. The call on the field was a fumble. There was zero reason for a whistle.

USC went down the field and scored a TD. It’s 14-0 Trojans at the half and Cal is barely hanging on. It may be Cal’s fifteenth loss in a row to the Trojans when it’s all said and done tonight. But hey, I’m always grateful for the extra time I’m often given thanks to the marvel of modern technology.

Update: Cal won.

It was a sudden switch of momentum that led to the comeback, starting with a Cal safety early in the third quarter. Vic Wharton III had a touchdown catch from Garbers, who also ran for a score. Cal’s defense held on for a 15-14 win.

No word on any postgame kisses. But you can kiss Cal’s losing streak to USC goodbye.

Author: Luke Straub

Luke is a freelance sports reporter in the San Francisco Bay Area. A Petaluma native, he's covered sports in his hometown since 2017, writing for the local Argus-Courier. Luke also covers the Oakland Raiders for Raiders Wire of USA Today Sports Media Group and hosts The Raider Larry Show, a Raiders podcast.

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