Washington 16, California 13
Chris Polk scored on a 1-yard run as time expired, and
Washington denied California bowl eligibility while keeping its own
postseason hopes alive with a thrilling 16-13 victory Saturday.
Quarterback Jake Locker, who threw an earlier 80-yard touchdown
pass, was stopped on consecutive sneak attempts on second and third
down from the 1 before Polk came through for the Huskies. The
winning touchdown set of a celebratory pileup behind the end zone,
and the players danced near their contingent of fans well after the
Washington (5-6, 4-4 Pac-10) still needs a victory in next
weekend’s Apple Cup rivalry game at Washington State to reach its
first bowl since 2002.
Cal (5-7, 3-6), playing in a downpour for much of the final game
at Memorial Stadium before the 87-year-old venue undergoes a major
renovation, lost its third straight and couldn’t rebound from an
embarrassing rout by rival Stanford in last week’s Big Game. The
Golden Bears’ postseason streak is over after a seven-year run.
Locker – still playing with a broken rib – went 17 for 27 for
237 yards and was sacked three times. He set up the winning score
with a 46-yard completion to a diving Jermaine Kearse.
Locker returned for his senior season to get Washington back to
a bowl game, and thanks to his strong finish, the Huskies still
have a shot to do it.
Giorgio Tavecchio kicked a go-ahead 47-yard field goal with
10:53 left for Cal after Cameron Jordan scooped up Locker’s fumble
and ran it 20 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter for
the Bears, who were hurt by seven penalties for 74 yards.
Cal, which shut out an opponent in a first half for the fifth
time this season, won’t be in the postseason for the first time
since 2002, coach Jeff Tedford’s first season.
The second half was in stark contract to the lackluster,
back-and-forth first two quarters that featured more mistakes than
memorable plays. Tavecchio’s career-best 53-yard field goal as the
first half expired put Cal ahead 3-0. It was the seventh-longest in
school history and two yards short of the school record.
Washington coach Steve Sarkisian fumed and gestured in
frustration when he met with officials as the teams went to their
locker rooms, moments after Cal was given an extra second on the
clock following a late timeout.
The Huskies were limited to 123 yards in the first half.
A year ago in Seattle, Locker had one of his best games ever
against the Bears. He threw for three touchdowns, ran for two more
and Washington whipped 19th-ranked Cal 42-10.
Saturday’s sendoff game at Memorial Stadium was played in front
of a sparse crowd listed at 44,613 on a cold, dreary day for a game
that began and ended with a heavy rainstorm – though Holiday Bowl
representative Scott Alevy was among those in attendance. Cal will
play its home games at the San Francisco Giants’ AT&T Park next
season during the facelift.
Bears quarterback Brock Mansion was 12 for 23 for 92 yards. Cal
junior tailback Shane Vereen ran for 106 yards to extend his
career-high season total to 1,167 with his 11th career 100-yard
This sequence summed up the way the first half went: In the
second quarter, Keenan Allen took a direct snap for a 45-yard gain
to the Washington 26, but lost 11 yards on the very next play after
recovering his own fumble. Cal wound up punting.
Washington’s deepest drive early in the second quarter was
thwarted when freshman backup running back Jesse Callier fumbled,
and Cal recovered at the 29. But on the Bears’ ensuing play,
Mansion – making his fourth start in place of injured veteran Kevin
Riley – threw an interception.
Later, on first-and-10 from the 35, a deep pass by Locker was
picked off by Marc Anthony in the end zone.