Golden Bears Win Another Close One to Move to 4-0


The game clock ticked down to one minute, while the play clock accompanied it down to one second. On fourth down with four yards to go and holding a 30-24 lead, the California Golden Bears called a timeout, seemingly primed to punt the ball away, and giving the defense a chance to stop the Washington Huskies one final time to seal the win. Jared Goff lined up at the Huskies’ 34-yard line with the intention of pooch punting to leave the Huskies pined way deep in their own territory. As Goff looked at the opposing defense, he changed his mind.

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“Screw it, I’m going to run it,” Goff vocalized his internal dialogue on the postgame radio show. Initially, that looked like a bad idea, as Goff was hit before the first-down marker, but the junior quarterback kept his legs churning and muscled forward, picking up five yards, and the first down that put the bow on the Bears’ fourth straight win to begin the season.

After a 4-1 start to last season, the Bears suffered a demoralizing loss to the Huskies, and were never able to fully recover. They would loss five of the six games after their matchup with Washington to finish 5-7 on the year.

The Bears are undefeated through four games for the first time since 2007, when they opened the year with five consecutive victories. Also, they won their Pac-12 opener for the first time since 2011.

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Goff had another big day throwing the ball, as he racked up 342 yards through the air, and his second touchdown matched Kyle Boller’s school record of 64 scoring passes. His main target was Kenny Lawler, who caught seven passes for 112 yards and a score. His numbers could have been a little bigger, but he dropped two easily catchable balls that played their parts in stalling a pair of drives. In the end, the drops didn’t hurt all that much, except for Lawler’s ego.

The ground game played another large role in leading the Bears to another win. Again missing their top back Daniel Lasco because of a hip strain, Vic Enwere and Khalfani Mohammad picked up the slack. Enwere gained 84 yards on the ground and scored a touchdown, while Mohammad gained 43 yards while averaging over six per carry.

The Bears’ offensive line had a harder time holding off the Huskies’ defense than they did last week against the Texas Longhorns, but they did enough to hold them off. They did allow Goff to be sacked five times, and the Bears turned the ball over twice (once on a Goff interception and once on an Enwere fumble that was returned for a score), but the Bears’ defense held their own.

Sep 26, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Washington Huskies quarterback Jake Browning (3) reacts after taking a sack in the first quarter as California Golden Bears defensive end Kyle Krage (13) celebrates in the background at Husky Stadium. The Bears won 30-24. Mandatory Credit: Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports

Facing freshman quarterback Jake Browning and company, the Bears’ defense held the opposing offense to 259 yards, only a week after being lit up for 650 yards by Texas. Browning, who was received comparisons to Goff, looked like a freshman quarterback, as he threw for only 152 yards and turned the ball over three time, twice via interception and once by fumble. Overall, the Huskies fumbled three times, and lost all three. Darius White recorded his second interception of the year, and Damariay Drew, who entered the game dealing with an ankle injury, picked off his first pass.

Kyle Kragen was the defensive star for Cal in the first half. The senior defensive end missed all of 2014 because of a bout with mononucleosis, but in his fourth game back, he racked up 2.5 sacks and forced a fumble. Defensive coordinator Art Kaufman has called Kragen his “best pass rusher”, and he proved it on Saturday.

Freshman kicker Matt Anderson also took his own share of the spotlight. Anderson made all three field goals he attempted, including a career-long 41 yarder in the first half. His final kick, made from 37 yards outs, put the Bears ahead 30-21 with under six minutes to play.

Next: Bears Sneak Away with Win Against Longhorns