Live Blog: Gophers Football v. (8) California

Marco LaNave

Follow the Gophers and No. 8 California in Saturday’s game at TCF Bank Stadium.

Final Score – California 35, Gophers 21.

0:04 4th – Weber is intercepted once again by Mohamed. California will take over on the Minnesota 47-yard line.

1:45 4th – Weber rolls to his right on fourth and 10, and shoves the ball forward as he is going down. The ball is intercepted by Bears cornerback Josh Hill. Fans begin filing out of the game as California starts its drive at its own 37-yard line.

2:59 4th – Best carries the ball to the left for another 2-yard score, his fifth of the game. CALIFORNIA 35, GOPHERS 21.

4:35 4th – The Gophers challenge a 25-yard completion by Riley to tight end Anthony Miller, but the play stands. First and goal at the Minnesota 8-yard line.

7:01 4th – On the first play of the Minnesota drive, Weber throws as he is about to be sacked. California outside linebacker Mike Mohamed easily intercepts the pass at the Gophers 44-yard line.

7:14 4th – Cal running back Jahvid Best carries around the right end for a 2-yard touchdown, his fourth of the game. The score was set up by passes of 35 and 31 yards from Riley to Ross, the final pass reaching the Minnesota 1. CALIFORNIA 28, GOPHERS 21.

9:04 4th – The Gophers appeared to have stopped California with a sack of Riley on third down. A false-start penalty wiped out the play, and Riley completed a 35-yard pass to Jeremy Ross to the Minnesota 43-yard line. It is Cal’s first first down of the second half.

10:59 4th – Gophers escape bad field position, but are forced to punt. Blake Haudan’s punt is returned for no gain by Syd’Quan Thompson, who is tackled immediately by Johnny Johnson at the California 26.

14:36 4th – After another stop of the Bears, the Gophers will start at their own 2-yard line, where it was by California.

End 3rd – No one has left the stadium. The confidence is skyrocketing on the Gophers sideline. Cal did not achieve a first down in the third quarter. This might be an interesting 15 minutes.

0:29 3rd – The Gophers whip out their biggest trick of the game. Weber pitches to Decker in motion to the left. Decker, a lefty, throws to Gophers backup quarterback MarQuies Gray in the corner of the end zone for a 7-yard score. It is Decker’s second career touchdown pass. GOPHERS 21, CALIFORNIA 21.

4:11 3rd – The Gophers defense stops Cal once again. A nice pass breakup by safety Kim Royston and a stop of Shane Vereen for no gain on third and 2 forced a Bears punt. The punt takes a Minnesota bounce to the Gophers 23-yard line.

5:49 3rd – After a three and out by Minnesota, punter Blake Haudan gets off a 54-yard kick, which is returned to the California 44.

8:11 3rd – The Gophers defense stands strong, holding Best to carries of 1 and 5 yards, while stopping Riley short of the first down on third and 4.

10:20 3rd – The Gophers give the ball back, as wide receiver Hayo Carpenter fumbles the ball on a run inside the California 20. The ball was forced out by Bears linebacker Mychal Kendricks and recovered by defensive tackle Kendrick Payne at the California 19-yard line. Squandered opportunity.

12:56 3rd – Gophers go three and out to start the second half. Blake Haudan nearly has his punt blocked, but , the ball touched California’s Charles Satchell, and Minnesota’s Nick Tow-Arnett recovers the ball at the California 46. First and 10 Gophers.

End 2nd – Stick around, folks. This one is still interesting. The Gophers are getting better as the game wears on. The defense, with the exception of being gashed by Jahvid Best, has come up with some key stops, and Weber to Decker has warmed up earlier than it has the past two weeks. Energy has been restored to TCF Bank Stadium. CALIFORNIA 21, GOPHERS 14.

0:40 2nd – Adam Weber hits Eric Decker for their second scoring connection, this one a 12-yard strike. The catch makes Decker the Gophers all-time leader in receptions, with 199 for his career. CALIFORNIA 21, GOPHERS 14.

1:11 2nd – Things keep getting interesting. After the Gophers stopped California and forced a punt, Bryant Allen was hit early on the return by California’s Isi Sofele, who was flagged for catch interference. Gophers have a first down at the California 29.

2:30 2nd – Things just got a little chippy after an incomplete pass to wide receiver Troy Stoudermire. Bears safety Sean Cattouse, who hit Decker on the earlier touchdown, popped Stoudermire hard and then got up close to him, only to be shoved by Stoudermire. Unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on Cattouse and a personal foul on Stoudermire offset, forcing a punt for the Gophers.

3:47 2nd – On second-and-10 from the Minnesota 27-yard line, Bears running back Jahvid Best explodes through a hole, and scampers in easily for the touchdown. Best has 12 carries for 116 yards and three touchdowns in the first half. Best has become the first 100-yard rusher in TCF Bank Stadium history. CALIFORNIA 21, GOPHERS 7.

8:23 2nd – The Gophers go three and out, with Haudan hitting 42-yard punt to the California 26-yard line. On three punts, Haudan has averaged 40 yards per kick.

9:18 2nd – Cal kicker Vince D’Amato misses a 47-yard field goal way right. The Bears were halted on a second-down tackle by Ryan Collado, who dropped Bears tailback Shane Vereen for a 4-yard loss. A short pass went nowhere on third-and-14.

On the Decker touchdown, the hit from Bears safety Cattouse broke Decker’s shoulder pads, which have been replaced for the next Minnesota offensive possession.

14:52 2nd – Quarterback Adam Weber rolled to his right and threw to wide receiver Eric Decker near the California goal-line. In mid-air, Decker took a hard hit from Cal safety Sean Cattouse, and went down. He was attended to near the east end zone, and appeared to have some blood on his face. He got up and walked to the Gophers sideline as the crowd cheered. The play was reviewed and ruled a touchdown. The 26-yard catch ties Decker for the most career receptions with Ron Johnson (1998-2001), who had 198. CALIFORNIA 14, GOPHERS 7.

Start 2nd – The defensive stop and somewhat-sustained offensive drive seem to have encouraged the Gophers and their fans.

End 1st – On their third drive of the game, the Gophers finally get the ball moving, as they have traveled from their own 46-yard line to the California 26. It will be third-and-6 to start the second quarter. CALIFORNIA 14, GOPHERS 0.

3:46 1st – The Gophers force a three and out by Cal, thanks to a big first-down sack by linebacker Simoni Lawrence and defensive end Barrett Moen.

7:09 1st – Best carries for a 2-yard touchdown run. California quarterback Kevin Riley completed a 59-yard play-action pass to Verran Tucker, bringing Cal to the Minnesota 2. The crowd has been virtually silent since the first Best TD-run, and can’t get much quieter. CALIFORNIA 14, GOPHERS 0.

8:14 1st – Gophers squander their great starting position. A false start penalty and a three-and-out is capped by Blake Haudan’s first career punt, which is fair caught at the California 14-yard line by Syd’Quan Thompson.

9:37 1st – Hayo Carpenter flashes a few moves and returns the kickoff to the California 47-yard line, a 41-yard return.

9:51 1st – Well, Jahvid Best is no joke. On second-and-3 at the Minnesota 33-yard line, Best took the hand-off, made nasty cut back, and just sprinted past Gophers defenders to the end zone corner, leaping over cornerback Ryan Collado for the touchdown. CALIFORNIA 7, GOPHERS 0.

11:03 a.m. – Eric Ellestad gets all of the opening kickoff, and Jahvid Best takes a knee in the California end zone.

Gophers win the opening coin toss and defer to the second half. Minnesota will kick off to begin the game.