Riley Injured in Cal Loss to Oregon State

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CORVALLIS, Ore. - As the Cal football team jogged back onto the field after halftime, their hearts must have been heavy for the man they left behind in the locker room.

Because although the Bears will live to fight another day, Kevin Riley's future is not so certain.

Cal started out slow and never recovered from the injury to its starting quarterback, falling 35-7 to Oregon State at Reser Stadium, adding the most heartbreaking chapter yet to its 0-4 away record.

Under the weight of a low take-down by Oregon State defensive tackle Brennan Olander, Riley's left knee buckled, leaving him crumpled in his own end zone. Riley lay on the ground in agony for a few minutes before being helped off the field, tears in his eyes.

There were about eight minutes remaining in the first quarter, but the game was over.

"The coaches did a great job of preparing us," wide receiver Keenan Allen said. "We just came out flat."

Offensively, even with Riley, Cal struggled mightily to move the ball. Much of that was self-inflicted.

Through three quarters of play, the Bears had 107 total yards of offense and 103 yards in penalties.

False starts and holding penalties made every step forward feel like two steps back. Tailback Shane Vereen finished the day with 53 yards rushing behind a porous offensive line that also gave up five sacks. As an offense, the Bears generated 206 total yards. Bryan Anger, in contrast, had 347 yards in punts.

"We didn't protect the passer very well. We didn't block very well," Tedford said. "Too many penalties. Just a poor effort."

There are few worse situations under which a second string player earns himself a starting spot, but Brock Mansion finished the game admirably, if not winningly. He threw mostly screen passes in what was more of a damage control role than anything else.

Mansion ended the day 14-of-24 for 138 yards and one touchdown, a 45-yard completion to tight end Anthony Miller in the final seconds of the game.

"It was exciting to play, but at the same time you feel for Kev," said Mansion, who was still visibly reeling after the game. "I was just trying to get the support and making sure everyone felt comfortable and confident and continue to move the football."

Because of the Bears' offensive ineptitude, Oregon State happily found itself working with a short field all afternoon. the Beavers' first four drives ended in touchdowns; two of those drives started at their own 43-yard line.

Running back Jacquizz Rodgers juked and jumped his way to 119 rushing yards and wide receiver Markus Wheaton, who Oregon State has been using in much the way it did with James Rodgers before his injury, added 73 more rushing and 57 receiving.

"That is not the most physical line they've had," defensive end Cameron Jordan said. "I expected a little bit more and for them to do as well as they did against us was really a pain. They didn't really fire off the ball like they used."

But the stats all ring hollow when compared to the specter of what could be an extended absence for Cal's senior starter. Riley will have an MRI as soon as possible so, until then, the damage done to his knee - and his career - remains to be seen.

Which means going forward, the Bears' future is more uncertain than ever.

"I said after the SC game, 'We can't have a hangover from something like that. We have to move forward,'" Tedford said. "I have confidence that we will. That we'll come back next week."


Katie Dowd covers football. Contact her at [email protected]

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