Saturday, September 29, 2007 Cal Makes Statement at Oregon

UGENE, Ore. – Sophomore safety Marcus Ezeff was the last person to realize he'd made the biggest play of California's season.  The Bears were clinging to a 31-24 lead over Oregon in the final minute when Ezeff arrived late to tackle Ducks wide receiver Cameron Colvin near the end zone. Ezeff assumed Colvin's catch had tied the game or given the Ducks the ball at California's 1.  Just when Ezeff started imagining the scolding he would receive from his coaches, he noticed they were in a surprisingly cheerful mood.  "When I saw my coaches running up and giving the touchback sign," Ezeff said, "that's when I knew it was a fumble."  zeff reached Colvin just as the receiver was trying to move the ball from one hand to the other in an attempt to stretch it across the goal line. Ezeff's hit caused the ball to roll into the end zone and head out of bounds with 16 seconds left.

"I thought it was across (the plane)," Colvin said after the Ducks' heartbreaking 31-24 loss. "I was looking at the refs for the touchdown, but that's how it goes."  It was the kind of play that can help create a season of destiny.  California has been overlooked in the national-title discussion, perhaps for good reason. The Golden Bears never have played in a BCS bowl and haven't reached the Rose Bowl since 1959.  But this Cal team just might be different. This marked the first time the Golden Bears had won at Autzen Stadium in two decades. And losses this weekend by No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 4 Florida and No. 5 West Virginia should allow the Bears to enter their bye week as at least the third-ranked team in the nation.  "Everybody knows across the world now that Cal can play some football," said wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins, who grabbed a baton and joined teammate Robert Jordan in conducting the California band during a wild postgame celebration. "A lot of people didn't know we're as good as we are."  Cal wide receiver DeSean Jackson recaptured his 2006 form by catching 11 passes for 161 yards and two touchdowns. Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon reverted to his 2006 form by throwing two interceptions in the last five minutes, but he still drove the Ducks into position for a game-tying touchdown in the final seconds.  Oregon's Jonathan Stewart and California's Justin Forsett – the two leading rushers in the Pac-10 – both gained more than 100 yards.

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