for this game

Oregon State adds to the chaos with upset of Cal

Oct 14, 2007 - 4:45 AM BERKELEY, California (Ticker) -- Quarterback Kevin Riley did not look like he was making his first start at all - right up until the last play.

Filling in for injured starter Nate Longshore, Riley nearly rallied second-ranked California to an improbable comeback before making a late mistake Saturday night in a 31-28 loss to Pac-10 Conference rival Oregon State.

A redshirt freshman, Riley started because Longshore was out with a sprained right ankle suffered in Cal's win at Oregon on September 29. One of the top quarterbacks in the country coming out of Portland, Oregon, two years ago, Riley played like it for most of the game against the Beavers.

Longshore, who threw for 1,137 yards and seven TDs in Cal's first five games, suited up and tried to give it a go in pre-game warmups.

But Cal coach Jeff Tedford did not see what he needed to from Longshore and gave Riley the start.

"It was a pre-game decision. Nate had a chance in pre-game to show if he was well enough to protect himself and run the offense and he wasn't," Tedford said. "Nate tried. He made a great effort to see if he could play."

Oregon State (4-3, 2-2 Pac-10) took a 28-21 lead on a one-yard TD plunge by Yvenson Bernard with 8:30 to play. Cal fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and the Beavers extended their lead to 31-21 on a 33-yard field goal by Alexis Serna.

Riley led the Bears back, connecting on a 65-yard TD pass to Lavelle Hawkins with 2:30 to play. He then led a desperation drive that started at the Cal 5 with 1:27 left and the Golden Bears out of timeouts.

Cal moved to the Oregon State 12-yard line with 14 seconds to play. Riley dropped back to pass and was flushed from the pocket. Instead of getting rid of the ball, he took off for the end zone but was dropped at the 10 - and time ran out as Cal tried to run the field goal unit on.

"He stepped up and tried to make a play, it's not his fault whatsoever," Tedford said. "He played his heart out down the stretch to get us in that situation. We didn't lose the game because of that play. There were a lot of plays. Give Oregon State credit."

The late mistake ruined an otherwise solid performance by Riley and cost the Golden Bears (5-1, 2-1) a shot at the No. 1 ranking. Top-ranked Louisiana State lost in overtime earlier in the day at Kentucky, but now Cal will have to see how far it slips instead of basking in a rise to the top.

"I found out I was going to start 10 minutes before the game," Riley said. "We had a good game plan and I thought there was a chance I could start. First series, I was pretty nervous out there, jittery, happy. After than it was like 'What am I doing? It's just football, let's play the game.'"

Riley completed 20-of-34 passes for 294 yards and two TDs with one interception. But it was not enough to give Cal a rare home win over Oregon State.

"I thought Riley played well," Hawkins said. "He shouldn't hang his head. There wasn't anyone open, so he made the decision to make a play with his feet. We just lost today, they were the better team."

For whatever reason, Cal has not had any success in recent years at home against Oregon State. The Golden Bears have not beaten Oregon State in Berkeley since 1997. The last time the teams met here, in 2005, the Beavers posted a 23-20 win.

The loss also kept the Bears from their first 6-0 start since 1950, when the team went 9-0-1 in the regular season before losing to Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

Bernard finished with 110 yards and two TDs on 33 carries for Oregon State, which has won four straight games in Memorial Stadium and snapped Cal's 10-game home winning streak.

"I'm real proud of our team and our coaches," Oregon State coach Mike Riley said. "Now we'll enjoy this victory, it's nice going into a bye, and then we'll just try and get better from here."