Huskies Win! Failed Fourth-Down Gambles Lead to Loss for Ducks

 

Seattle, WA – In a highly anticipated matchup, the Oregon Ducks faced off against their long-time rivals, the Washington Huskies, in what was the final game for both teams within the Pac-12 Conference. The game was a rollercoaster of emotions for both teams and their passionate fan bases. Despite having several opportunities to put points on the board, the Ducks' decision to go for it on fourth down not once, but twice, ultimately proved costly. These gambles left the team and its supporters in shock as they watched a hard-fought game slip away.

The game started with high expectations for the Ducks, who entered the contest as underdogs by 3.5 points. They displayed flashes of brilliance, with their dynamic offense showcasing their talents, and they demonstrated strong offensive line strength and a powerful running game led by Bucky Irving and Jordan James. However, what looked like a promising day quickly turned into a nail-biting affair. The Ducks found themselves in crucial fourth-down situations, and it's the decisions they made in those moments that will be dissected and analyzed for days, weeks, and months to come.

The Huskies opened strong with a 26-yard touchdown pass from Michael Penix, Jr. to Giles Jackson. The extra point by Grady Gross would make it 7-0 Huskies. Oregon would follow with a rushing TD by Irving from 12 yards out. Rather than tie the game at 7, the Ducks chose to go for 2 and converted, going up 8-7, after tight end Patrick Herbert ran the ball in.

The game would go back and forth from there until Oregon, down 18-22 with under a minute remaining in the first half, put together a brilliant drive all the way down to the Washington 3-yard line. However, rather than kick a field goal, take 3 points, and make the score 21-22 at the half, the Ducks tried to go for it on fourth down and failed.

Washington would extend their lead in the third quarter, making the score 29-18. Oregon would march back strong, but once again face a fourth down in the red zone. This time at the Washington 8-yard line, the Ducks would again choose not to kick a field goal for 3 points and would fail to convert.

On the drives that followed, the Ducks defense would stop the Huskies, and the offense would score. They would again go for 2, and they were successful. Washington’s lead was narrowed to 26-29, but Oregon should have been up 32-29 at this point. They would stop the Huskies again on the next drive, and they would score on their own offensive possession. The lead changed, and it was 33-29 Oregon, but it should have been 39-29.

Now late in the fourth quarter, the Huskies needed only one score to regain the lead and win. Oregon should have had a 10-point lead and breathing room. Penix did his job and led the Huskies to a late score despite wincing in pain and reaching for his ribs and abdomen after multiple hits. The score went to 36-33 Washington as the lead changed back to the home team.

At this point, the Ducks were scrambling. They did manage to get downfield. They had a chance once more, but failed to convert for what would have surely been a game-winning touchdown. Instead, they settled for a last-second field goal attempt, one that would have sent the game into overtime. This time, however, the attempt was missed. The game was over. The Huskies won. Final score: 36-33.

Conventional wisdom in football would typically dictate a field goal attempt in situations where a team faces fourth down in the red zone. Unfortunately, Head Coach Dan Lanning, and his Offensive Coordinator, Will Stein, chose to roll the dice and go for it – twice! The Oregon offense, filled with confidence, lined up to execute the plays each time. The result, on both occasions, was heartbreaking for the Ducks.

The loss left the Oregon Ducks and their fans in a state of shock and disappointment. While fourth-down gambles can sometimes be the right call, the decision to forgo field goal attempts in two critical situations cost them the game. Hindsight is often 20/20, and the debate surrounding these decisions will likely linger for a very long time.

This loss serves as a reminder of the fine line between bold and reckless decisions in football. The Ducks showed immense confidence in their ability to convert on fourth down, but it came at the expense of crucial points. As the season continues, they must learn from this experience and strive to make more calculated decisions in critical moments.

In the world of college football, there's always another game, another opportunity for redemption. For the Oregon Ducks, this loss will sting for a long while, but on the field, they must regroup, learn from their mistakes, and come back even stronger. The rivalry with the Washington Huskies remains as intense as ever, and Ducks fans can rest assured that their team will be back, hungrier than ever, in the battles to come.

Next up for the Ducks is a return home to face the Washington State Cougars. That game will be televised on ABC and will begin at 12:30 PM Pacific on October 21. The Huskies, meanwhile, will face the Arizona State Sundevils. That game will be televised on Fox Sports 1, and it will begin at 7:30 PM Pacific on October 21.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for nearly two decades, and has been covering NCAA football, including various Pacific-12 Conference member institutions, since 2007. Images taken by Truong Nguyen are ©2023 Truong Nguyen made available to American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi. Truong Nguyen can be found on X as @TruongWin and on Instagram as @truongwin_.


Oregon Ducks Soar Past Stanford Cardinal in Dominant Display

Palo Alto, CA – Flashback two weeks - in an always-thrilling clash between teams that have produced many memorable moments over the years, the Oregon Ducks dominated the Stanford Cardinal on September 30, 2023. In what is the final season of Pac-12 Conference play, this victory showcased the unwavering determination and coaching prowess of Ducks Head Coach Dan Lanning, while Stanford Head Coach Troy Taylor found his team facing yet another setback. Last weekend was a bye for both the Ducks and the Cardinal.

Just one week prior to their encounter with the Ducks, the Cardinal had put up an impressive fight against the Arizona Wildcats, narrowly losing by a heartbreaking single point, 21-20. That same Arizona Wildcat team improved enough to take USC all the way to triple overtime at the Los Angeles Coliseum last weekend. Unfortunately, they lost that game 43-41. Still, for the Cardinal, for a team that had suffered an embarrassing loss to the FCS's Big Sky Conference Sacramento State Hornets earlier in the season, this near-victory against a fellow FBS and Pac-12 Conference opponent hinted at a potential turnaround. Unfortunately for Stanford, the momentum gained from that close contest quickly dissipated when they faced the high-flying Ducks.

Under the stewardship of Coach Lanning, the Ducks have been nothing short of outstanding this season. Their performance on the grass in Palo Alto was no exception. Oregon quarterback Bo Nix continued to shine, delivering another outstanding performance that left spectators in awe. Nix's impressive display included precise passes and smart decision-making, highlighting his maturity as a quarterback. He orchestrated the Ducks' offense with precision, keeping the Stanford defense on their toes throughout the game. Nix's ability to read the field and exploit weaknesses in the Cardinal defense was a testament to his growth as a leader on the field. Indeed, he looked every bit the Heisman candidate he surely is at this point in the season.

Oregon's punishing defense was equally impressive. Led by Coach Lanning's tactical brilliance, the Ducks defensive unit executed its game plan flawlessly. Characterized by its relentless pursuit of excellence, and perhaps more reminiscent of the iconic Gang Green defense of the 1990s, the Ducks' defense was stingy and simply refused to offer Stanford any opportunity to advance the ball. They stifled Stanford's offensive plays, shut down rushing lanes and applied relentless pressure on every member of the Cardinal offense. Stanford's offensive line struggled to contain the relentless pass rush, resulting in multiple sacks and hurried throws that often missed their mark. The Cardinal just couldn’t get anything going.

With this resounding victory, the Oregon Ducks improved their season record to a pristine 5-0, remaining undefeated in their pursuit of a championship in this final season of Pac-12 football. Their dominance on both sides of the ball has established them as a formidable force in the college football landscape, and as a viable playoff contender.

On the other side of the field, the Stanford Cardinal find themselves in a challenging position, falling to a disappointing 1-4 record for the season. As they prepare to transition to the Atlantic Coast Conference next year, Stanford can only hope to rectify their course and climb up from the bottom of the standings. Coach Taylor and his staff will need to regroup, make necessary adjustments, recruit exceptionally well, and continue developing talent to be competitive in the future.

In the world of college football, every game is a chapter in a team's journey, and the Ducks are penning an impressive story this season. Their victory over Stanford not only showcases their talent but also serves as a testament to Dan Lanning's exceptional coaching ability. While the Ducks look ahead to more challenges in their quest for greatness, the Cardinal must focus on rebuilding and finding their footing.

Oregon now exits the priceless bye week that gave them additional time to prepare for what very well may be their toughest game, a trip to Seattle to face the equally undefeated Washington Huskies on Saturday, October 14. By now, the team has arrived. Make no mistake, the Huskies will be ready. They had a bye as well. The Cardinal head to Colorado to face Coach Deion Sanders and the Buffaloes in a primetime matchup at Folsom Field in Boulder. That game will be on ESPN on the evening of Friday, October 13. Exciting as that may be, all eyes are surely on the action in Montlake. Fans have the Ducks versus the Huskies on the field at 12 PM PST on Saturday, October 14, and ESPN College Gameday on campus as well.

It's wild in Seattle right now. There's a lot on the line for both teams. The winner likely marches on toward a Pac-12 Conference championship game berth, and has the potential to be selected to play in the College Football Playoff. The loser could still end up in a bowl game in January, but they might end up playing a less marketable opponent, and they certainly wouldn't be expected to compete for a national championship. The score doesn't matter at the end of the day. Winning is all that matters. That's the only path forward right now.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for nearly two decades, and has been covering NCAA football, including various Pacific-12 Conference member institutions, since 2007. Images taken by Jason Reed for American Presswire and ©2023 Jason Reed for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Images taken by Ahsan Awan for American Presswire ©2023 Ahsan Awan for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi. Jason Reed can be found on X as @FieldofDD and on Instagram as @fieldofdaydreams.


Republic FC Clinches Dramatic 1-0 Victory Over El Paso, Remains First in the West

Sacramento, CA - In an otherwise nerve-wracking encounter at Heart Health Park, Sacramento Republic FC emerged victorious with a late, dramatic 1-0 win over the El Paso Locomotive on September 16, 2023. The game had fans on the edge of their seats as it remained locked at nil until Sacramento's Luis Felipe delivered a stunning header into the back of the net, sending the crowd into a frenzy. This thrilling victory not only showcased the tenacity of the Republic FC but also solidified their position at the top of the USL Championship western division.

The match began with both teams displaying their prowess, engaging in a back-and-forth battle that kept supporters on their toes. The first half of the game was marked by excellent defensive efforts and some impressive saves from both goalkeepers. Sacramento's attack relentlessly pressured El Paso's defense, creating numerous scoring opportunities.

Despite their best efforts, Sacramento found themselves continually thwarted by the brilliance of El Paso's Mexican goalkeeper, Benny Diaz. Showcasing his remarkable reflexes and positioning, Diaz kept a clean sheet during regulation time, denying Sacramento's attackers on a half dozen occasions.

As the clock ticked away and the match seemed destined to end in a goalless draw, the fans at Heart Health Park held their collective breath. Sacramento had dominated possession and generated a half-dozen incredible shots on goal throughout the match, but Diaz remained an impenetrable wall. The tension reached its peak in the 90th minute, as the referee signaled six minutes of stoppage time.

In those dying moments of the game, at 90+4’, Sacramento's Luis Felipe emerged as the hero. A well-placed cross found the midfielder perfectly positioned in the box, and with exquisite precision, he rose above the defense and connected with the ball using his head. The power behind the header left Diaz with no chance as the ball sailed into the back of the net, sparking wild celebrations among the players and fans alike.

The 1-0 victory was a testament to Republic FC's resilience and determination. They had dominated the match, constantly pressuring El Paso's defense, and were finally rewarded for their efforts. Luis Felipe's late-game heroics secured all three points for the boys in old glory red and sent Heart Health Park into euphoria.

This crucial win not only added to the Republic FC's points tally but also allowed them to create critically important separation at the top of the table. With this victory, they now sit alone in first place, setting themselves up as strong contenders for a deep playoff run.

As Republic FC continues their quest for USL Championship glory, their fans can look back at this thrilling 1-0 victory over El Paso as a defining moment in their season. The relentless pursuit of victory exemplified by the team on that fateful night in September 2023 serves as a testament to their unwavering commitment to success. Sacramento fans can undoubtedly expect more heart-stopping moments and memorable victories as the team marches forward in pursuit of greatness.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, and has been covering professional soccer, including MLS and the San Jose Earthquakes, since 2014. All images taken for American Presswire and subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi.


Quakes Secure Crucial Win, Keep Playoff Hopes Alive

San Jose, CA - In a thrilling showdown on September 16, 2023, the San Jose Earthquakes clashed with Real Salt Lake in a high-stakes Major League Soccer MLS match at PayPal Park. With playoff hopes hanging in the balance, the Quakes knew that they needed a victory and the coveted three points that accompany it to maintain their position in the competitive Western Conference. What unfolded on the pitch was a rollercoaster of emotions for fans as the Quakes roared to an early lead, only to see Real Salt Lake mount a determined comeback. In the end, it was the Quakes who emerged victorious, earning a crucial 2-1 win that propelled them to seventh place in the West, with 40 points.

The San Jose faithful at PayPal Park were treated to an electric start as forward Jeremy Ebobisse wasted no time getting the Quakes on the scoreboard. In just the second minute of the match, Ebobisse showcased his scoring prowess with a well-placed goal, sending the crowd into a frenzy. It was the ideal start for San Jose, setting the tone for an exciting evening of soccer.

Building on this early momentum, the Quakes continued to press forward and were rewarded once again, this time in the 15th minute. Brazilian defender Rodrigues showcased his offensive capabilities by finding the back of the net, extending the Quakes' lead to 2-0. At this point, it seemed like San Jose was on a mission to dominate Real Salt Lake.

However, as any soccer fan knows, the beautiful game is filled with twists and turns. Real Salt Lake, determined not to be outdone, began to settle into the match and gradually shifted the momentum in their favor. The Quakes, despite their early dominance, struggled to find the back of the net for the remainder of the night.

Electric Colombian forward Cristian Arango of Real Salt Lake capitalized on this shift in momentum, narrowing the gap with a crucial goal in the 44th minute. As the teams headed into halftime, the score stood at 2-1 in favor of the Quakes, but the match was far from decided.

The second half saw both teams battling fiercely for control of the game, with numerous chances created on both ends of the field. San Jose's defense stepped up to the challenge, led by a solid performance from their phenomenal Brazilian goalkeeper, Daniel. Real Salt Lake pressed relentlessly, seeking an equalizer, but the Quakes' defense held firm, denying them any further goals.

When the final whistle blew, it was the San Jose Earthquakes who emerged victorious with a 2-1 win over Real Salt Lake. The three crucial points earned in this match propelled the Quakes right to the line, seventh place in the Western Conference, keeping their playoff hopes alive.

As the Quakes savor this vital win, they must now prepare for another challenging road match. On Wednesday, September 20, they will square off against the Portland Timbers at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon. This encounter promises to be a stern test for both teams, as the Timbers' home advantage, including their unique artificial turf surface, often plays to their favor.

With the playoffs still within reach, both the Quakes and the Timbers will be hungry for a victory. Fans can expect an intense battle as these two teams clash in their pursuit of postseason glory. For the San Jose Earthquakes, the journey continues, and their determination to secure a playoff berth remains unwavering because, as they say in San Jose, the Earthquakes never say die.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, and has been covering professional soccer, including MLS and the San Jose Earthquakes, since 2014. All images taken by Robert Longan for American Presswire and ©2023 Robert Longan for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi. Robert Longan can be found on X as @RobbieLPhoto and on Instagram as @robbielonganphoto_and_graphics.


Stanford Suffers Shocking Loss to Sac State as Troy Taylor Faces Familiar Foe

Palo Alto, CA - In a stunning turn of events, the Stanford Cardinal football team suffered a 30-23 defeat at the hands of Sacramento State, a lower division FCS Big Sky Conference member, on Saturday, September 16, 2023. The loss marked a disappointing start to the tenure of Head Coach Troy Taylor, who was hired from Sac State late last year.

Coach Taylor's return to the field to face a team he once called his turned out to be a bitter one as the Hornets, led by their quarterback Kaiden Bennett, handed Stanford their first loss to an FCS program since 2005. Bennett's heroics included a game-winning 49-yard touchdown pass with just 1:32 left on the clock, leaving the Cardinal stunned and their fans in disbelief.

The matchup was eagerly anticipated as it pitted Taylor against many of the players he had recruited and developed during his time in Sacramento. However, it was the Hornets who emerged victorious, causing concern for Stanford's prospects going forward in the 2023 season.

Stanford's schedule offers no respite, with all but one of their remaining opponents ranked in the Top 25. Their only hope for a reprieve seems to lie in the traditional "Big Game" against Cal, who currently remains unranked. However, as the old adage goes, "anything can happen in a rivalry game."

One of the glaring issues for Stanford in this loss was their performance on both sides of the ball. On offense, the quarterback position remains unsettled, the offensive line has yet to find its rhythm, and the running back depth chart is a cause for concern. On the defensive side, the secondary looked inexperienced and potentially sluggish, the linebackers struggled in both the flats and zone coverage, and the Cardinal defense appeared helpless against dual-threat quarterbacks like Bennett.

Talent and depth are emerging as critical concerns for the Cardinal as they navigate a challenging schedule. Coach Taylor will need to address these issues swiftly if Stanford hopes to remain competitive in the coming weeks.

Beyond the struggles on the field, Stanford faces a significant shift in its football future as the university prepares to exit the Pac-12 conference and join the ACC next year. Conference realignment and membership changes loom large on the horizon, adding another layer of complexity to the challenges facing the Cardinal.

The loss to the Hornets serves as a wake-up call for Stanford and their faithful fanbase, of which it seemed perhaps only half were on hand on Saturday. Attendance was listed as 23,848, or 47% capacity. Coach Taylor and his team have their work cut out for them as they aim to rebound from this early-season setback and prove they can compete in a formidable football landscape.

As the 2023 season unfolds, all eyes will be on Stanford, watching closely to see how they respond to adversity and what the future holds for this storied program.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, and has been covering NCAA football, including various Pacific-12 Conference member institutions, since 2007. All images taken by Jason Reed for American Presswire and ©2023 Jason Reed for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi. Jason Reed can be found on X as @FieldofDD and on Instagram as @fieldofdaydreams.


Bears Stage Remarkable Comeback, Beat Vandals 31-17

Berkeley, CA – High on the hill inside California Memorial Stadium on Saturday, September 16, 2023, the University of California Golden Bears football team displayed determination and resilience as they overcame a 17-point deficit to secure a 31-17 victory over the University of Idaho Vandals. The game marked the first meeting between the two schools in nearly 90 years, and the Bears continued their undefeated streak, now standing at 5-0 against the Vandals.

The Bears entered this contest seeking redemption following a disappointing 14-10 loss at home to Auburn just one week earlier. The memory of that mistake-filled defeat seemed to linger in the air as they took the field once again. Compounding their challenges, they were without their star running back, Jaydn Ott, who remained sidelined due to an injury sustained in the game against Auburn.

Early on, it appeared that California might be in for another frustrating outing. The Vandals surged to a 17-0 lead in the first 18 minutes of play, and at one point, they held a 200-47 advantage in total yards. However, the Bears refused to back down, showcasing their character and resilience.

One of the standout performances of the game came from running back Isaiah Ifanse. The Montana State transfer carried the ball 22 times for an impressive 137 yards and contributed a crucial touchdown. It marked Ifanse's first career 100-yard game at Cal and the 18th of his college career. Ashton Stredick also played a pivotal role in anchoring the Bears' ground game, accumulating 77 yards on 11 carries and helping the team average an impressive 6.0 yards per carry while outgaining the Vandals on the ground by a margin of 256-108.

Quarterback Sam Jackson V was another key contributor, both through the air and on the ground. Jackson passed for 108 yards and two touchdowns, showcasing his ability to lead the Bears' offense effectively. He also rushed for 41 yards and added another touchdown, despite being forced out of the game following a hard hit. Jackson's performance played a crucial role in the Bears' comeback.

The turning point of the game came in the second half when the Bears staged an incredible comeback, scoring 31 unanswered points, with 17 of those points coming in the second half alone. This remarkable resurgence not only showcased the team's physical prowess but also their mental toughness and ability to adapt to challenging situations.

The Bears' defense continued to be a bright spot, forcing three more turnovers during the game, bringing their season total to 10 turnovers forced. Cal entered the day leading the Pac-12 in turnovers forced, demonstrating their ability to disrupt opposing offenses.

Cal coach Justin Wilcox acknowledged that while he expected a better start from his team, he was proud of their ability to rally and secure the victory. With this hard-fought win, the Golden Bears are looking ahead to their final season in the Pac-12, and they will face a tough test next Saturday night on the road in Seattle against No. 8 Washington. The lessons learned from their comeback victory over Idaho will undoubtedly serve them well as they prepare for the upcoming challenge. Whether the experience versus Idaho was the wakeup call remains to be seen. Cal plays Washington at 7:30 PM on Saturday, September 23. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, and has been covering NCAA football, including various Pacific-12 Conference member institutions, since 2007. All images taken by Jason Reed for American Presswire and ©2023 Jason Reed for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on X as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi. Jason Reed can be found on X as @FieldofDD and on Instagram as @fieldofdaydreams.


Cardinal Ready to Soar in 2023 Home Opener vs Sac State Hornets

Palo Alto, CA - The excitement is building as the Stanford University Cardinal football team gears up for their highly anticipated 2023 home opener, set to take place on September 16th, as they face off against the Sacramento State University Hornets. The Cardinal, with a rich football tradition and a commitment to excellence, are ready to kick off their season in style at Stanford Stadium.

Stanford has a storied history when it comes to football. The Cardinal football program has consistently been a highly capable and dangerous force in college football, boasting a long list of achievements on and off the field. With a legacy of producing NFL talent and a commitment to both academic and athletic excellence, Stanford is a name synonymous with success in collegiate sports.

While the Cardinal are certainly the favorites, it's important not to underestimate their opponents. The Hornets may not have the same national recognition as Stanford, and play in the lower Football Championship Subdivision tier, they bring their own strengths and determination to the field.

The Hornets have been steadily improving their football program over the years and have been competitive in their conference. In recent seasons, they have made notable strides, and their offense can be explosive, capable of putting up points in a hurry. The Cardinal defense will need to be on high alert to prevent any potential upsets.

Cardinal Head Coach Troy Taylor coached the Hornets on their way toward contending for a 2022 FCS National Championship, and his awareness of their weapons and capabilities is certainly offset by their knowledge of his style and schemes now on display at Stanford.

After soundly defeating the University of Hawai’I on the road in Honolulu 37-24 on September 1, the Cardinal suffered a road loss to the now #5 ranked University of Southern California Trojans by a score of 56-10 in Los Angeles on September 9. What that loss means regarding the Cardinal’s prospects in the Pac-12 conference remains to be seen. Their September 23 game versus the Arizona Wildcats will reveal a lot more about how good they can be under their new coach. After all, the next six games are all in-conference, and they’re all versus currently ranked opponents: #13 Oregon, at #18 Colorado, #24 UCLA, #8 Washington, at #23 Washington State, and at #16 Oregon State. Then the play at home against a Cal team that just narrowly lost to Auburn, and they wrap up the season at home versus #9 Notre Dame. This is absolutely one of the toughest schedules in all of college football this season.

While the season ahead may be difficult, the fact remains that the atmosphere at Stanford Stadium during a home game is something special. Fans from all over the Bay Area and beyond come together to support the team. Tailgating, school spirit, and a sea of cardinal and white create an unforgettable game day experience.

Stanford Stadium, with its modern amenities and scenic backdrop of the Stanford campus, provides the perfect setting for a thrilling evening of college football. Whether you're a passionate alum, a local fan, or just someone looking for a great time, attending a Stanford Cardinal game is a special experience.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, and has been covering NCAA football, including various Pacific-12 Conference member institutions, since 2007. All images taken by Ahsan Awan for American Presswire and ©2023 Ahsan Awan for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. He can be found on Twitter as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi.

 


Cal Golden Bears Narrowly Miss Home Opening Victory vs Auburn Tigers

BERKELEY, CA - In a thrilling Saturday night matchup at Memorial Stadium, the University of California Golden Bears football team came tantalizingly close to upsetting the Auburn Tigers. In fact, they led for a significant time during the game. Despite beating the spread (ESPN reported Auburn -4.5 at kickoff), the Golden Bears fell short, unable to capitalize on multiple opportunities that could have secured a remarkable win. The final score, 14-10 in favor of the Tigers, left Cal fans on the edge of their seats until the very end.

From the outset, it was evident that Cal had the strength and depth needed to win the game. The defense held its ground for the most part, with standout moments throughout the game. However, a pivotal moment came during a sustained Auburn drive that shifted the momentum significantly. Surprisingly, neither Head Coach Justin Wilcox nor Defensive Coordinator Peter Sirmon called a timeout to regroup while the defense struggled to regain their composure.

At that point, the score had been 10-7 favoring Cal. The third quarter was scoreless on both sides. Cal had the edge. Things didn’t give up the lead until the final quarter. The Golden Bears' defense showed promise, but they were unable to make the crucial stop that could have swung the game in their favor.

Cal's defense really was exceptional. They forced an incredible four turnovers, the last of which was a forced fumble with under five minutes left on the clock. The Bears recovered the ball in Auburn territory. They needed a touchdown to take the lead because they were trailing by four points. That’s because, on the offensive side of the ball, Cal's kicking game left so much to be desired. The team's kicker missed an astonishing three field goals, and the offense suffered a turnover in the redzone, all of which denied the Bears critical points that could have secured a victory despite the defensive breakdown that ultimately led to Auburn’s go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. The missed opportunities loomed large as Cal fought to close the gap in the final minutes of the game, but they just couldn’t get it done.

"Our defense did a really good job for most of the night," said Bears Head Coach Justin Wilcox. And yes, save for that one fourth quarter drive, they did a fantastic job. With three timeouts available during that drive, the error was on the coaches.

Despite the loss, the Bears demonstrated that they are a stronger team than many had expected. Looking ahead to their next matchup against the Idaho Vandals this weekend (September 16), the team is poised to bounce back and secure a win. Everyone expects that. However, the true test will come on September 23, when they face the Washington Huskies in Seattle. The close contest against Auburn showed that the Bears can put up a fierce fight, and they are eager to make their final year in the Pacific-12 Conference a memorable one.

Next year, Cal will be competing in the Atlantic Coast Conference, and that will present a new set of challenges. As they bid farewell to the PAC-12, the Golden Bears aim to depart on a high note, leaving their mark on the conference before embarking on a new football frontier. Cal fans can only hope that the team's determination and resilience will carry them to victory in the games to come and leave them eligible for a postseason bowl game.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, and has been covering NCAA football, including various Pacific-12 Conference member institutions, since 2007. All images taken by Ahsan Awan for American Presswire and ©2023 Ahsan Awan for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. He can be found on Twitter as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi.


The Remarkable Turnaround of Inter Miami CF

Ft. Lauderdale, FL - In the world of Major League Soccer, few stories have been as captivating and inspiring as the dramatic turnaround of Inter Miami CF. From a team languishing at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, they have risen to become a force to be reckoned with. This is due in large part to the strategic vision of club co-owner, David Beckham; and of course, the unwavering support of fellow owner Jorge Mas and his brother, José. Beckham and the Mas brothers' tenure at the club has seen Inter Miami CF transform into a powerhouse, boasting a star-studded roster and increasingly impressive performances.

David Beckham's involvement with Inter Miami CF has been a game-changer for the club. His star power, experience, and deep connections within the football world have allowed him to attract top talent. Perhaps the most seismic move of all is the signing of none other than Lionel Messi, the Argentine legend who is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time. Messi's arrival at DRV PNK Stadium sent shockwaves through the footballing world and instantly elevated Inter Miami CF's profile.

But Beckham's ambitions didn't stop there. He also brought in other world-class players, such as Jordi Alba, Josef Martinez, Carlos Dos Santos, Leonardo Campana, Facundo Farias, and the ever-reliable Sergio Busquets. These acquisitions have turned Inter Miami CF into a formidable squad with a perfect blend of youth and experience.

Under the guidance of head coach Tata Martino, Inter Miami CF is flourishing. Martino, known for his tactical acumen and ability to get the best out of his players, has played a pivotal role in the club's resurgence. He has instilled a winning mentality and cohesive style of play that has made Inter Miami CF a formidable team.

Inter Miami CF's journey from the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings has been nothing short of extraordinary. The team's commitment to improvement, coupled with the leadership of Beckham and Martino, has led to an incredible transformation. The fans, who have stuck by their team through thick and thin, have been rewarded with a memorable turnaround season.

One of the crowning achievements of this remarkable season is Inter Miami CF's victory in the League's Cup. The triumph is a testament to the team's dedication and resilience. They defeated top-notch opponents on their way to the title, showcasing their newfound strength and ambition.

As if the League's Cup win wasn't enough, Inter Miami CF is now gearing up for the US Open Cup final on September 27. This high-stakes match will be a true test of the team's mettle, and fans are eagerly anticipating the showdown with the Houston Dynamo.

While the 2023 MLS Cup playoffs remain just out of reach for Inter Miami CF, their remarkable journey is far from over. In fact, with nine league matches remaining, it is possible they can rise above the line and compete for the MLS Cup. Regardless of how the season may end, by winning the Leagues Cup, the team will compete in the prestigious CONCACAF Champions League, where they will have the opportunity to prove themselves on the international stage. Moreover, if they can win the CCL, they can qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup, a dream that seemed impossible just a short while ago.

Despite playing just north of Miami, in Ft. Lauderdale, the city of Miami has embraced Inter Miami CF with open arms. The vibrant culture, diverse fan base, and passionate supporters have made DRV PNK Stadium a fortress for the team. The city's love for football is palpable, and it has become a hub for soccer enthusiasts, both locally and globally.

Inter Miami CF's journey serves as an inspiration to soccer fans everywhere. Miami, DRV PNK Stadium, and Ft. Lauderdale have all played pivotal roles in this incredible revival, and the future looks incredibly bright for the club and the community. The club hosts Sporting Kansas City on September 9 at 7:30 PM EST.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, and has been covering professional soccer, including MLS, since 2014. He has been covering Inter Miami CF since 2021. All images taken by Chris Arjoon for American Presswire and ©2023 Chris Arjoon for American Presswire, used with permission and subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. Ahsan Awan can be found on Twitter as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi. Chris Arjoon can be found on Twitter as @PicsBrit and on Instagram as @brit__pics.


Earthquakes Never Say Die, Keep Fighting for MLS Playoff Spot

San Jose, CA - The San Jose Earthquakes have been shaking things up during the 2023 season. With a blend of promising young talent and experienced players, they remain on a mission to secure a playoff spot in the highly competitive Western Conference. One of the driving forces behind the Earthquakes' success has been the dynamic duo of Cristian Espinoza and Cade Cowell. Espinoza, an Argentine winger known for his relentlessly fast play and precise crosses, has been a vital playmaker for the team. His ability to create scoring opportunities and deliver pinpoint assists has made him a fan favorite and a legitimate all-star.

On the other side of the pitch, young American forward Cade Cowell has been the breakout talent of the season. His lightning-quick dribbling and composure in front of the goal have made him a rising star in MLS, and he has successfully captured the attention of several European clubs. Cowell's incredible work ethic and fearless approach have contributed significantly to the Earthquakes' offensive firepower.

On the sidelines, Head Coach Luchi Gonzalez has been instrumental in molding the team's identity and fostering a winning mentality. Gonzalez, known for his tactical acumen and commitment to developing young talent, has brought a fresh perspective to the club. His ability to blend experienced players with emerging stars like Cowell has been a key factor in the team's improved performance.

Not to be neglected for their contributions, the Earthquakes' loyal fan bases, the "Ultras" and the “Seismic Union,” have transformed PayPal Park into a hostile fortress. With their passionate chants and unwavering support, the atmosphere in the stadium is electric on both ends. The players feed off this energy, and that makes every home match a daunting task for the visitors. The crowd's fervor has undoubtedly played a role in the Earthquakes' resurgence this season.

The Earthquakes currently find themselves in a competitive battle to get above the line in the Western Conference. With 36 points, tied with a Minnesota United club they just tied last weekend, yet sitting one place below at number eight, the Quakes remain on the outside looking in as the final stretch of the season plays out. They play on the road at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. against a DC United club that finds themselves in a similar situation, being currently in ninth place in the Eastern Conference. For both clubs, the upcoming match on September 9 is a must-win. With only seven matches remaining, most if not all of which are against clubs standing higher in the table, every point counts.

To secure a spot in the MLS playoffs, the Earthquakes will need to improve their current form and increase their consistency. The road to the playoffs is challenging, and the Quakes must focus on solidifying their defense, maintaining their attacking prowess, and continuing to develop depth and talent. The leadership of Coach Gonzalez will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in navigating this path.

As the season winds down, the Earthquakes host Real Salt Lake, currently fourth in the west, then travel to Portland to challenge a Timbers squad below them in the table, but whose home, Providence Park, is among the most difficult to come away with a win. The Quakes then host Nashville, who not only sits above the line in the east, but who recently played well in the Leagues Cup final and then traveled to tie the same Messi-powered Inter-Miami club who beat them at home in the cup final. After that, the Quakes travel to Minnesota for a rematch with the club they just tied at home in San Jose. They round out the season at Dallas, and then complete by hosting Austin. Both of those clubs are currently sitting right behind the Quakes in the table, and both are fighting for a chance at the playoffs.

Ahsan Awan has been covering sports for over a decade, and has been covering professional soccer, including MLS and the San Jose Earthquakes, since 2014. All images taken by Ahsan Awan for American Presswire and ©2023 Ahsan Awan for American Presswire subject to unlimited use under license unless otherwise noted. He can be found on Twitter as @quackarazzi and on Instagram as @quackarazzi.