BERKELEY Cal's season continues to head down a deep, dark hole to oblivion.
A return to Memorial Stadium didn't help the Bears, who lost 27-17 to Arizona State on Saturday and dropped to 1-4 for the first time in coach Jeff Tedford's 11 seasons.
No Cal team has recovered from a 1-4 start to play in a bowl game.
"As far as making a bowl game, that's a little farther down the line than I'm thinking about," linebacker Nick Forbes said. "I'm thinking about next week."
The Bears (1-4, 0-2 Pacific-12 Conference) lost their third straight game after consecutive road losses to Top 25 opponents Ohio State and USC. Cal hosts UCLA next Saturday night.
"We're not going to quit," Tedford said. "If you want me to say we're going to quit, we're not going to quit. We're going to come back to improve."
The checklist of areas that need work is growing:
Quarterback Zach Maynard, two weeks after one of the best games of his career in the loss to Ohio State, was 9 for 28 for 126 yards. "He didn't play his best game today," Tedford said.
Maynard absorbed six more sacks, pushing the total to 21 over the past three games. "The confidence is still there," Maynard said. "Frustration comes and goes."
The Bears committed 12 penalties for 119 yards. "We've just got to come out and play football and stop messing around," running back Isi Sofele said. "It's not them; it's us killing ourselves with penalties."
Tedford didn't let the defense off the hook. "It's widespread," he said of the issues facing the team. "We've got to work on the physical things. We didn't tackle well, didn't get them on the ground."
The Bears battled within 20-17 when Forbes blocked a field-goal attempt with 11:27 left, then Keenan Allen caught a 10-yard touchdown pass from Maynard with 9:33 to play.
"Those two plays gave us some encouragement to keep going," said Allen, who sat out portions of the second and third quarters because he was throwing up.
But Arizona State (4-1, 2-0) answered with a 74-yard scoring drive capped by Taylor Kelly's 22-yard touchdown pass to Kevin Ozier with 6:17 left.
Kelly finished 26 for 45 for 292 yards and three touchdowns.
Maynard threw incomplete on all six of his attempts after the touchdown pass to Allen.
Cal had beaten Arizona State four consecutive times and had not lost to the Sun Devils at home since 1997. Now the Bears must win five of their final seven games to become bowl-eligible.
The Bears managed just 285 total yards, their second straight game under 300. Tedford said the Bears never could find a rhythm, and certainly that was the case on plays of third and seven or longer, where they converted just 1 of 11 chances.
"Getting stuck in third and extra long all the time is not the best situation to be in," Tedford said.
The result was Cal had as many punts (nine) as pass completions.
Sofele had his most productive game of the season with 105 yards on 15 carries. C.J. Anderson added 78 yards on eight carries.
But Brendan Bigelow, who rushed for 191 yards on eight carries the previous two games, had no carries.
"If there's not things we feel he's suited for and other guys are better suited for them, they'll be in the game," Tedford said of the Bigelow situation.