There are a couple ways to look at this Cal football season:
The Bears aren’t far away from success, with losses by five points, two points and in overtime.
Or . . .
They are one-third the way through the schedule and haven’t found a way to beat an FBS opponent.
Both are true, and on the heels of a 31-24 overtime loss at Washington, the Bears have nothing tangible to show for the season beyond a win over Sacramento State.
Defensive end Luc Bequette, playing his seventh season of college football, continues to believe the Bears are a good team.
“It’s only Week 4 and we’ve got eight games left on the Pac-12 slate. There’s still a lot of opportunity for us this season,” Bequette said. “Obviously, there’s no room for error at this point.”
It’s the errors that are killing this season.
On Saturday night in Seattle, the Bears turned the ball over three times, including on the final play when running back Damien Moore fumbled on a first-and-goal play from 2 on their first overtime possession.
They gave away three points when holder Jamieson Sheahan mishandled the snap on a 37-yard field-goal try. In the first half alone, they aided and abetted the Huskies by committing three false starts, an unsportsmanlike penalty and a defensive holding.
Cal (1-3, 0-1) now turns its attention to Washington State (1-3, 0-2), which visits Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
“In football you’ve got to have a short-memory,” quarterback Chase Garbers says in the video above. “Obviously, losing sucks. We’ve got to learn from it and move on.”
The offense rolled up 457 yards, but often did it the hard way. Garbers said the Bears need to be more productive on first downs, and the numbers bear it out.
Cal ran 12 first-down plays in the first half and netted 14 yards. Seven of the 12 went for zero or negative yards. Garbers completed a 32-yard pass to Trevon Clark on a first-down play midway through the third quarter, but otherwise the Bears netted 36 yards on 11 first-down snaps after halftime.
Add it up and they gained 50 yards on 24 first-down plays, an average of 2.1 yards. On their other 55 plays, they had 402 yards, an average of 7.3.
“Chase did some good things. I thought the offense in general had some really good moments, some good drives,” Cal coach Justin Wilcox said.
Six of their 12 possessions went for at least 43 yards. But four of them ended with turnovers or the botched field goal.
The defense, which allowed 30 points and more than 400 passing yards against Sac State, looked no better at the start against the Huskies, who built a 21-10 halftime lead.
The second half was a different story. The Huskies managed only a field goal in the third and fourth quarters, and Cal allowed them just 40 yards and one first down in the fourth.
“Definitely encouraging for us that we were able to turn around in that second half,” Bequette said. “We’ve got to play like that all four quarters.”
Can the Bears find that consistency against WSU?
The Cougars have their own problems. Also still are seeking their first win over an FBS team, lthey ost 24-13 at Utah on Saturday while playing without injured starting quarterback Jayden de Laura and lost top running back Max Borghi to a left arm injury in the second quarter.
Cal has enough to worry about without wondering which Cougars might be healthy new weekend.
Said Bequette, “We’ve still got to actually finish a game.”
Cover photo of Damien Moore by Stephen Brashear, USA Today
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo