Saturday, October 21, 2006

Daily Cal: Bears Win Overtime Thriller Against Washington

BY Stephen Chen

Daily Cal Staff Writer

Marshawn Lynch’s 22-yard touchdown run on the second play in overtime capped a day where the junior tailback—injured ankle and all—carried the No. 11 Cal football team.  Even after Desmond Bishop intercepted Carl Bonnell’s pass to seal the Bears’ thrilling 31-24 win at Memorial Stadium, Lynch wasn’t done. He hopped on a cart and drove across the field looking to give Bishop a ride back to the locker room.   “Marshawn’s our spark, our inspiration,” Bishop said. “When we’re down a little bit, he busts a big run to give everybody hope, and for him to do it while he’s hurt is huge. We look to him for leadership on and off the field.”  Cal (7-1, 5-0 in the Pac-10) had built a seven-point lead with five minutes left in regulation by overcoming two third-and-10 situations to successfully mount an 82-yard touchdown drive. Lynch, who finished the game with 203 yards—150 on the ground—ran into the end zone to give the Bears a 24-17 advantage, their largest of the day.

The game was sent into overtime when Bonnell’s Hail Mary was batted by a trio of Bears defenders into the hands of Marlon Wood, who dove for a touchdown just as the clock expired.  Washington (4-4, 2-3) was without starting quarterback Isaiah Stanback, but its defense kept the team in the game, holding the Bears to just three first-half points.  Cal quarterback Nate Longshore struggled with his accuracy. The sophomore was just 4-for-12 passing midway through the second quarter before completing his last four throws of the half, leading to a Bears field goal. Longshore finished with 291 yards in the air.  The Bears defense gave Longshore plenty of opportunities to get on the scoreboard in the first half with several big stops on third-and-short and interceptions by Daymeion Hughes and Worrell Williams.  Until Bonnell’s final drive of regulation, the Huskies established little rhythm on offense. Washington posted 162 yards on the ground as starting tailback Kenny James was knocked out of the game early in the first quarter with a sprained right ankle.  Bonnell, who was making his first start of the season, passed for 284 yards and two touchdowns, but threw five interceptions.  Two big plays led to the first two Washington touchdowns. Anthony Russo reeled in a 49-yard score late in the second quarter. A 44-yard run by Louis Rankin at the start of the fourth quarter set up a rushing touchdown by Bonnell to give the Huskies a 17-13 lead, but it was followed by Lynch’s touchdown run later in the quarter.  “It was a gut check for us, but it was good,” sophomore Zack Follett said. “Down the road for us we know we can pull wins out. It’s really going to help us.”

No comments: