Golden Bears Sneak Away with a Win on a Missed Extra Point


“No sir, I’ve never had a game end that way.” – Senior cornerback Darius White put it perfectly.

Momentum was a key factor during Saturday’s matchups between the California Golden Bears and the Texas Longhorns. Each team rode their own waves of momentum at various points in the game, battling back and forth with 100,000 crazed Texas fans looking on. But when the Longhorns’ placekicker Nick Rose took the field with about a minute left to tie the game with an extra point, momentum meant nothing.

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The scoring went back and forth early in the contest. Jared Goff got the scoreboard working with a touchdown throw to Maurice Harris in the first quarter, but Texas bounced back as redshirt freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard ran in from two yards out. Rose’s first field goal of the evening gave Texas their first lead early in the second quarter.

Goff’s second scoring pass of the night, this one to his trusted target Kenny Lawler, put the Bears back on top at the 10-minute mark of the second quarter. From there, Texas got their first momentum swing. Heard led them down the field, with both his arm and his legs, but it was senior running back Johnathan Gray who scored twice to give the Longhorns a 24-14 lead.

Cal took a deep breathe, and momentum was back on their side shortly after. Helped out by a couple of Texas turnovers, Cal would score 31 unanswered points to jump out in front 45-24. But Texas would not go away, and would score each of the final three touchdowns of the ballgame. With just over a minute left, Heard rushed into the endzone from 45 yards out, making it a one-point game with the extra-point coming.

Rose was left looking at his biggest kick of the night, with a chance to tie the game and possibly send it into overtime. The snap came, the ball was set for Rose, but his kicked sailed wide right, leaving just about everyone speechless. The easiest kick became the hardest, and all the momentum that was built up in the fourth quarter made no difference. Rose’s miss wound up the difference as Cal came away with a 45-44 win, sneaking away by the hair on their chinny chin chin.

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Goff continued to make his Heisman case, as he completed 27 of his 37 attempts, good for a 73 percent completion rate. For the first time this season, Goff failed to reach 300 yards, but came away with 268 yards through the air. He also threw three scoring passes for third straight week, and didn’t record an interception for the first time.

Along with a win, Goff also came away from this game with some school records. His fourth completion of the night was a 22-yard strike to Stephen Anderson, bringing his career passing yard total to 8,148, passing Troy Taylor for the school record. Goff would finish the night with 8,279 yards total. His seventh completion of the night was to Lawler, and marked his 684th completion, also surpassing Taylor. He ended the game with 704 completions. He also set the school’s record for total offense, and with three scoring passes next week, he will set that make as well.

Late in the game, Goff was dealing with pain in his knee after being wrestled down following a pass. His limp was noticeable at first, but got a little better as the game went along. That should be something to watch in the coming week.

Cal was without their top running back Daniel Lasco, who left last week’s matchup with the SDSU Aztecs because of a strained hip muscle. His fill-ins were excellent in his stead.

Vic Enwere was the starter, and on 16 carries, he piled up 73 yards and scored twice, but was overshadowed by junior runner Khalfani Muhammad. On just 10 carries, Muhammad racked up 161 yards, including a big 74-yard touchdown score late in the third quarter to cap off the Bears’ string of 31 unanswered points. All in all, the Bears racked up 280 total yards on the ground, and averaged a very impressive 6.8 yards per attempt.

After the game, Goff gave credit where’s it due, saying “our [running backs] stepped up huge, but it’s [an] even bigger credit to our O-line”. Enwere backed up the sentiment, stating “there aren’t words in the English dictionary to say about my O-line”. The line played a gigantic role, and Muhammad gave more specific credit, thanking a “big block by Malik McMorris” for his 74-yard scoring scamper.

The Bears’ defense was gashed for the most part by Heard, who was making only his second start. Although he didn’t throw for a score, he did go for 364 yards through the air, and the Bears’ defense just didn’t seem to have an answer, as time and time again, a Longhorns’ receiver was left open. Heard was even better when in motion, as he carried the ball 24 times for 163 yards (a 6.8 yard average), and made his way into the endzone three times. Before Rose’s game-killing miss, Heard scored the nearly game-tying touchdown from 45 yards out.

Though the Bears own their first 3-0 record since 2011, they will have a lot to work on as they begin their Pac-12 schedule. Heading into their week four matchup with the Washington Huskies, the defense will need to shape up. Texas racked up 650 total yards of offense, and the Bears can’t expect to win every time they allow that many yards.

They also have to hold on to a lead better. They let a 21-point lead slip away without adding on to it, and with the type of offense they have, they can’t let that happen.

But for now, the Bears are 3-0, and they still have a lot of good going for them entering the conference schedule.

Next: Cal Bears and the Disgrace of the 2004 BCS Snub