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Bears Drop Opener To Nevada

Sep 4, 2021
Damien Moore rushed for 79 yards for the Bears.

BERKELEY – A season-opener that began with so much promise ended in disappointment for the Cal football team Saturday evening, as the Golden Bears fell to Nevada 22-17 at FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium.

Cal scored on each of its first two possessions of the game to establish a 14-0 advantage just before the end of the first quarter, but could only manage a 24-yard field goal by Dario Longhetto the rest of the way.

"Things stared off well, but after that it didn't go so well," Cal head coach Justin Wilcox said. "We had two very efficient drives on offense and were able to get off the field on defense. But in the second quarter, for one reason or another, we struggled to stay in rhythm on offense and defense. We had some guys in position to make some plays but just didn't make them. The rhythm after the first quarter wasn't anywhere close where it needs to be."

The Bears played their first game in front of their home fans since Nov. 16, 2019, and gave the crowd of 35,117 a reason to celebrate with two sustained drives early.

Cal took the opening kickoff and forged a 15-play, 63-yard drive that ate up over nine minutes of the clock and ended on Damien Moore's 1-yard touchdown run.

The Wolf Pack promptly went three-and-out on its first possession of the game, and Cal's offense went right to work again. The Bears put together a nine-play, 72-yard drive, with Nikko Remigio scoring on a 2-yard pass from quarterback Chase Garbers.

But Cal's offense suddenly went silent, and Nevada started to climb back in it. The Wolf Pack cut it to 14-13 by halftime, and the Bears didn't register another first down until the 5:15 mark of the third quarter. Meanwhile, Nevada scored a touchdown on its first possession of the third quarter to take a 19-14 lead.

The Wolf Pack added another field goal with 6:26 remaining in the third quarter, and didn't score again. It turned out that was enough.

Longhetto's field goal cut Nevada's advantage to 22-17 with 12:59 left, and after Cal safety Miles Williams recorded an interception at the Golden Bear 1-yard line, Cal put together a promising 77-yard drive that ultimately stalled at the Wolf Pack 22. Longhetto missed a 40-yard field goal attempt with 7:11 to play.

Cal had two late possessions with chances to come back, but Garbers was intercepted and the Bears ultimately turned the ball over on downs with 47 seconds remaining.

Moore finished with 79 yards rushing and a touchdown while Garbers was 25-for-38 for 177 yards with a touchdown and interception.

The Bears take to the road for the first time this season next Saturday when they travel to TCU for a 12:30 p.m. PT start. The game will air on ESPNU.