November 12, 2007

All eyes on Longshore

The California Golden Bears lost another final quarter struggle to USC on what turned out to be a cold, rainy night at Memorial stadium. The Bears looked like they had a shot to tie the game with less than 3 minutes left in the game. Unfortunately, junior quarterback Nate Longshore threw a game-sealing interception from the USC 36 yard line, under-throwing an open Robert Jordan who likely would have been able to streak down the sideline for a touchdown had the pass been on the mark. A few minutes later, USC sealed the deal.

The errant throw brought back memories of the UCLA game where Longshore threw another game-sealing interception - this time with less than 2 minutes left and inside field-goal range with the Bears trailing by 2. Many are questioning whether Longshore has the mental composure to lead the Bears in the 4th quarter when they are trailing.

Going back to the beginning of Longshore's career at Cal, there have been a total of 6 opportunities for Longshore to lead the team back from a 4th quarter deficit. What follows is an analysis of Longshore's performance in those 6 games.

Longshore's first opportunity came against Washington in 2006. The Bears were down 13-17 early in the 4th quarter. The Bears managed two scoring drives in the final quarter, the first resulting in a 29 yard field goal. Longshore was 4 of 6 for 62 yards on the drive. The second drive was an 82 yard drive where Longshore was 5 for 8 for 67 yards. The Bears then capped the drive with a 17 yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch and then added the 2-point conversion on a Justin Forsett run up the middle to take a 24-17 lead.

Washington was able to tie the score on a desperation end of game Hail Mary, but it doesn't deny the fact that Longshore was behind center for the comeback and that he was behind center when Lynch roared up the middle in overtime to seal the win. Marshawn Lynch is credited for being the deciding force in that game, which there is no question he made a huge impact, but to deny Longshore's ability to lead the team down the field should not be denied even if a number of those passes were to Lynch.

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