Sunday, April 21, 2024

ONLINE UPDATE: Spartans fall to Golden Bears

September 15, 2002

Fifthteenth-ranked MSU suffered its first defeat of the season, a 46-22 loss to California at Spartan Stadium.

The Golden Bears capitalized on five Spartan turnovers and sloppy play by MSU’ s special teams.

The Spartan offense struggled all day, but the defense looked strong early. After shutting down Cal’ s attack on its first two possessions, the Golden Bears scored first on a 90-yard punt return by Jemeel Powell.

After a 25-yard kickoff return by freshman tailback Jaren Hayes, the Spartans took the field at their own 37-yardline.

MSU looked strong, marking down to Cal’ s 1-yardline before senior tailback Dawan Moss fumbled the ball and the Golden Bears recovered.

The Spartans would again find themselves inside Cal’ s 5-yardline.

But junior quarterback Jeff Smoker took a sack for a loss of 14

yards, then threw an interception at the 2-yardline.

Both defenses continued to play strong. But Cal’ s defense proved stronger, forcing a safety for a 9-0 advantage.

Three Cal field goals and a touchdown pass from Golden Bear wide receiver LaShaun Ward to quarterback Kyle Boller later and Cal held a 25-0 halftime lead.

The Spartans answered in the second half with 14 straight points.

But on MSU’ s next possession a tipped ball resulted in Smoker second interception of the game.

Cal responded with a six-play drive that resulted in a touchdown, giving the Golden Bears a commanding 39-14 lead.

Ward’ s 54-yard touchdown catch in the fourth made the score 46-14, and senior wide receiver BJ Lovett added a meaningless touchdown and two-point conversion with 2:50 to play to end the scoring.

MSU will look to regroup in time for next Saturday’ s game against No. 20 Notre Dame.

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