CORVALLIS, Ore. – If Saturday night’s 62-14 loss to Oregon State was the last game for California head coach Jeff Tedford, it was his final season in microcosm.
After an ugly start, the Golden Bears (3-9, 2-7 Pac-12) showed the briefest moment of promise before it all fell apart in horrific fashion, giving up 50 or more points in back-to-back games for the first time in 39 years.
Beavers quarterback Sean Mannion completed 24-of-34 passes for 325 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception to lead the rout, the final blow in Tedford’s worst season since taking over in 2002.
Injury-riddled Cal, playing without starting outside linebacker Brennan Scarlett (infection in his surgically-repaired right hand), and safety Avery Sebastian (knee) after quarterback Zach Maynard (knee), wide receiver Keenan Allen (knee) and right tackle Matt Summers-Gavin (knee) had been ruled out Thursday, did itself no favors by committing six personal fouls and turning the ball over three times in the first half, not that Oregon State (8-2, 6-2 Pac-12) needed the help.
“Oregon State was hitting on all cylinders,” Tedford said. “I really don’t believe it was a lack of effort. I don’t think they ever quit. They were just outmatched tonight.”
Wide receiver Markus Wheaton caught seven passes for 99 yards and one touchdown, while sophomore Brandin Cooks’ first catch went 48 yards for a score. Running backs Storm Woods and Terron Ward added 192 yards and three touchdown on 25 carries on a cold, rainy night where the biggest cheers were reserved for the announcement that No. 1 Oregon had lost to No. 14 Stanford in overtime.
For the embattled Tedford, there was nothing to celebrate. He will meet with athletic director Sandy Barbour on Sunday to decide his future with the program going forward.
Barbour said the goal of her meeting will be figure out how to improve the program, and has not made any decision regarding Tedford’s status yet.
“Jeff and I will sit down tomorrow and start looking at how we get better, what the answers are, what the solutions are to put us on the right path to be a better football program,” she said.
Asked if he thought he would return for his 12th season, Tedford said, “I don’t know.
“My job is to develop players. Got work to do, and we’ll get back to work tomorrow and get ready to keep going.”
By that standard, there is plenty of work to do, as the 62 points allowed is the third-highest total in school history. The defense allowed 559 yards of offense, while Cal almost had as many yards in penalties (172 on 15 flags) as it did rushing offense (190 on 40 carries). Quarterback Allan Bridgford threw for just 132 yards while completing 18-of-31 attempts.
Tedford said he was most disappointed for the seniors that their final year ended on such a dismal note, but was quick to praise their resilience.
“Through tough times, they kept it together, and I appreciate that,” he said, before adding, “It’s absolutely not something that we are used to and don’t ever want to be used to.”
Whether Tedford will get that chance is now out of his hands.
Dan Greenspan is the publisher of Cal Sports Digest and writes about the Pac-12 for Fox Sports Next. Follow him on Twitter @DanGreenspan.