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California defensive end Zeandae Johnson (44) sacks BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum (12) in the second half during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Provo, Utah. California won 21-18. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
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Too Many Mistakes Cost Cougars Game Against Cal

California defensive end Zeandae Johnson (44) sacks BYU quarterback Tanner Mangum (12) in the second half during an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 8, 2018, in Provo, Utah. California won 21-18. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

PROVO, Utah – Although it ended up being a 21-18 loss to Cal, Saturday’s contest felt like it could have easily gone in BYU’s favor. Unfortunately, there were just too many mistakes that cost the Cougars a chance to grab their second win over a Pac-12 opponent in as many games.

“There was a lot of guys that worked hard, well most of the guys, probably the entire team played really  hard and that’s good. But it wasn’t good enough to win this game,” head coach Kalani Sitake said in his Monday press conference. “We might be able to overcome some the mistakes in other games, but some of the mistakes were too hard to come back from.”

Sitake cited one example of a player who made a mistake and tried to make up for it in the game, Dayan Ghanwoloku. Burned by Cal receiver Kanawai Noa on a 52-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter, Ghanwoloku responded by scoring a touchdown of his own with a fumble recovery return of 36 yards and later scooping up another fumble on a muffed punt return by the Golden Bears. Still, it was not enough to get the win.

Twice in the fourth quarter, BYU had the ball after forcing a takeaway with an opportunity to make something “magical” as Sitake said, happen. After Ghanwoloku recovered the muffed punt, Tanner Magnum gave the ball back to Cal just three plays later with an interception. The Cougar defense then forced Cal to turn it over on downs on the next possession. Unfortunately, Mangum threw another interception on the very next play to give Cal the ball back, who then burned some valuable time en route to the victory.

“”We didn’t do enough to win the game,” said Sitake. “Like I said after the game, I still feel good about the way they played. They played hard and competitive, it just wasn’t enough to overcome the mistakes that we made.”