Fooled by a fake punt and broken by a fumble, Cal State Long Beach remained winless Saturday as the University of the Pacific beat the 49ers, 22-10, before 2,919 fans at Long Beach Veterans Stadium.
The 49ers dropped to 0-4 overall and 0-1 in the Big West Conference. Pacific, winning its first game, is 1-4 and 1-1.
Leading 3-0 and in punt formation with fourth and 1 at its own 29-yard line early in the second quarter, Pacific gambled. Mike McMaster took a short snap from center and ran 20 yards for a first down. Eleven plays later, Jon Grim ran 6 yards for a touchdown on another fourth-down play.
“If we were going to win the game, I was going to have to do something to give us some momentum,” Pacific Coach Bob Cope said of the fake punt. “I just didn’t believe we could win kicking field goals.”
But Cope had overestimated the potency of Long Beach’s attack. The 49ers did not score a touchdown until the fourth quarter when Jeff Graham threw a 22-yard pass to Brian Wiss. That was the 49ers’ first touchdown since the first quarter of their opening game.
The afternoon started promisingly but went downhill quickly for Long Beach. After the opening kickoff, the 49ers drove from their own 6 to the Pacific 8. But on the next play, Andre Southerland, who ended the game with 122 yards rushing, fumbled after running to the 1. The ball bounced out of the end zone for a touchback.
“We still had almost four quarters to go, but emotionally we let down,” 49er Coach Larry Reisbig said.
Whereas the 49ers were ineffective on offense for the fourth straight game, Pacific’s wishbone offense generated 321 yards rushing and ate up 34 minutes. When Long Beach finally got the ball in the second half--after a long Pacific drive had ended with a 23-yard field goal by Mark Gran--half the third quarter was gone and the score was 16-0.
The 49ers finally scored when David VanSteenkiste kicked a 55-yard field goal on the last play of the period, but Pacific discouraged any possible comeback when Anthony Williams took a pitchout and ran 66 yards for a touchdown with 9 minutes 46 seconds left.
Graham completed 13 of 21 passes for 191 yards but was sacked 4 times as the 49ers lost their eighth straight game over 2 seasons.