Cal Bears: Jared Goff’s Huge Night Sparks Cal’s Comeback Win


After falling behind by 17 points in the first half, the Cal Bears made a rapid, fierce comeback, and beat the ASU Sun Devils 48-46 in a wild Pac-12 After Dark contest.

In what was possibly junior quarterback Jared Goff‘s final game at California Memorial Stadium, it was sophomore kicker Matt Anderson who was carried off the field after the game as the Golden Bears’ band played “Fight for California”. Goff was unquestionably Cal’s star of the game, but as the clock approached triple zeroes on the final regular season game of the year for both the Bears and the Sun Devils, he needed a little help from his friends.

Cal took the ball for the final drive from their own 22-yard line, trailing Arizona State 46-45 with 2 minutes and 29 seconds on the clock. Goff, showing the poise and composure that has made him one of the most highly-touted quarterbacks in the nation, led his team down the field in quick fashion. He did it, not just with his arm, but with his legs as well.

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On a first-down play at their own 42-yard line, Goff used surprising quickness, vision and mobility, dancing around multiple defenders to get out of the pocket while getting out of more than one set of defensive hands, and finding Chad Hansen for a 17-yard gain. On a third-and-four play from the ASU 34, Goff made a beautiful throw down the field to Bryce Treggs for a 13-yard pickup. That turned a potential 51-yard field goal for Anderson, which would have been his career-long kick, into a short, very makable attempt for the sophomore. After a 12-yard gain on the ground by sophomore running back Tre Watson, during which he carried multiple defenders past the first-down marker, Anderson was gifted a chance to make the 26-yard kick to become the hero for his team.

Cal ran the clock down to four seconds before calling a timeout. With Anderson lined up and ready to attempt the kick of his life, ASU head coach Todd Graham called a timeout, in an effort to ice the kicker. It didn’t work, as Anderson, calm, cool, and collected, drilled the kick right down the middle of the uprights as the clock struck zero, clinching not just the game, but Cal’s first winning season under head coach Sonny Dykes.

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The Golden Bears needed Goff to come through, yet again, as they hoped to complete a big time comeback against the Sun Devils. Entering the locker room at the half, ASU led the Bears 27-10, sparked in large part by Cal shooting themselves in the foot on a couple occasions in the first half. On the second drive of the game, receiver Rodney Hudson dropped a potential touchdown pass from Goff, and an offensive pass interference derailed the drive completely, forcing Cal to settle for a long field goal. On the ensuing drive, the defense forced an ASU punt, but freshman return man Kanawai Noa muffed the punt inside the 10, leading to a Sun Devils’ recovery, and three plays later, a touchdown.

Cal’s defense had no answer in the first half for the combination of senior quarterback Mike Bercovici and senior wideout Devin Lucien. The two hooked up for three scores before the break, all on three consecutive drives. After the halftime break, things turned drastically.

After a punt on the opening drive on the half, Cal responded with five consecutive touchdown drives, including four touchdown throws from Goff to four different receivers. In that span, Arizona could only answer with field goals, kicking four times before a touchdown on their final drive gave them a 46-45 lead. From there, it was Goff leading the Bears down the field, ending with Anderson’s game-winner.

In the process of leading his team through their biggest comeback win of the season, Goff set a few more school records. He broke his own records for single-season passing yards and touchdowns, finishing the game with 4,246 yards and 37 touchdowns on the year. He also set a school record with 542 passing yards on the day, the third 500-plus yard game of his career. Entering the Bowl season, Goff is 417 yards and six touchdowns shy of the Pac-12 records in both categories.

Next: Bears battle ASU in regular season finale

The Bears are heading into Bowl season with a lot of momentum from this comeback win, and are in search of their first eight-win season since 2009, and first Bowl win since 2008. If Goff has in fact played his last game on Kabam Field, he sure went out with a bang.