Denker's 4 TDs pace Arizona past California, 33-28
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP)
A week after setting a school record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in one game, Denker managed just 44 yards on the ground but scored on runs of nine, one and 14 yards. That gave the Wildcats senior a team-leading 11 rushing touchdowns this season, another Arizona record for quarterbacks.
Carey, the nation's leading rusher, topped the century mark for the 11th consecutive game with 152 yards on 32 carries.
Cal freshman quarterback Jared Goff passed for four touchdowns but was intercepted twice in the second half.
Arizona's third straight win improved the Wildcats to 6-2 (3-2 Pac-12) and makes them bowl eligible for the second time in two seasons under coach Rich Rodriguez.
The home team had won the previous six times in this series between longtime conference rivals before Denker sparked the Wildcats to their first win at Berkeley since a double-overtime victory in 1997.
Denker completed 24 of 38 passes for 261 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown to Nate Phillips in the second quarter.
That was enough for Arizona, which couldn't shake the pesky Golden Bears until Denker's 14-yard score near the end of the third quarter.
Goff kept Cal (1-8, 0-6) close despite a rocky afternoon.
He completed 34 of 56 passes for 289 yards, and his interceptions came on back-to-back drives. The first came while the Bears were backed up deep in their own territory, while the second was in the end zone when Goff tried to force a throw into coverage.
Little went right for Cal after scoring on its opening possession.
Goff completed passes to five different receivers and capped the drive with an 11-yard touchdown throw to Khalfani Muhammad. That put the Bears up 7-0, their first lead in more than 244 minutes.
It didn't last long.
Denker scored on a read-option keeper around the left end from nine yards out to tie the game, then Arizona's defense put the Wildcats in front with a safety.
Arizona thought it had Cal stopped for a safety earlier in the first quarter but an intentional grounding penalty against Goff was waved off. Given a second shot after Carey was dropped for a 1-yard loss on 4th-and-2, the Wildcats cashed in when linebacker Scooby Wright and safety Jared Tevis tackled Bears running back Darren Ervin in the end zone.
Jake Smith's career-best 53-yard field goal extended Arizona's lead to 12-7 with 12:54 left in the second quarter. Smith's previous longest attempt had been 41 yards.
Denker's touchdown pass to Phillips helped make it 19-7.
Goff's 17-yard throw to Kenny Lawler trimmed the gap to 19-14 at halftime but the Bears couldn't get any closer.
Arizona opened the second half with a 75-yard touchdown drive capped by Denker's keeper into the end zone from a yard out. Denker's 60-yard completion to Terrence Miller and a pass interference call near the goal line helped set up the score.
Lawler made a stellar one-handed grab of a 3-yard touchdown pass to pull Cal within 26-21 but Goff threw an interception on the Bears' next possession.
Denker's third touchdown run pushed the Wildcats' lead to 33-21 before the Bears made one final push late in the fourth quarter when Goff threw a 29-yard touchdown to Lawler with 1:42 remaining.
Arizona recovered the ensuing onside kick attempt, however, and ran out the clock.
Notes: It's the fourth game this season in which Denker has had multiple rushing touchdowns. ... Carey is the fourth running back in Arizona history to have multiple 1,000-yard seasons. Trung Candidate did it most recently in 1998-99. ... Cal coach Sonny Dykes served as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Arizona from 2007-09.