Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sports Network: Golden Bears hold off Ducks in Pac-10 battle

Cameron Colvin's stretch for the end zone was just short, as the Oregon wide receiver fumbled out of the California end zone for a touchback with 16 seconds left, and the sixth-ranked Golden Bears held on for a 31-24 win over the 11th-ranked Ducks in a crucial Pac-10 showdown.  DeSean Jackson had 11 catches for 161 yards and two scores for California (5-0, 2-0 Pac-10), and Justin Forsett gained 106 yards on 23 carries with two TDs. Nate Longshore, who missed a series late in the game with an apparent ankle injury, completed 28-of-43 passes for 285 yards and two scores.  Dennis Dixon went 31-of-44 passing for 306 yards and a touchdown, but was intercepted twice for Oregon (4-1, 1-1). Dixon also added a TD run for the Ducks, who got 120 yards on 21 carries and a score from Jonathan Stewart. Colvin finished with 74 yards on seven catches with a score for Oregon, but couldn't break the plane for the tying score in the final minute.

Longshore took a late hit to his leg late in the final quarter, twisting his ankle, and he left for a possession while the ankle was wrapped. Freshman Kevin Riley came in for Longshore, handing off a few times before Cal punted. Longshore was back on the field on the following Cal possession, but was obviously hindered by the injury, and the Bears offense could not sustain a drive to run off the clock.   The Ducks took over at their own 23 with 1:45 left, looking for the game-tying touchdown. Dixon found Jeremiah Johnson for 26 yards, putting the Ducks at the Cal 40, and two plays later hooked up with Colvin on 14-yard gain to the 20.  A 15-yard pass to Jaison Williams set the Ducks up at the Cal 5 with 22 seconds left. On the following play, Dixon threw left to Colvin, who took the ball to the outside and stretched out, trying to put the ball over the pylon, but it was punched out of his hands and through the end zone. The officials gathered for a few seconds before signaling for the game-ending touchback, which stood up after official review, handing the Bears the win.   "You can't do that," said Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti of Colvin's fumble. "You have to hang on to the football and break the plane."

The only score in the first quarter was Matt Evensen's 32-yard field goal with 47 seconds left, giving Oregon a 3-0 lead. The defenses held the offenses in check in the second quarter as well.   Cal evened the score on Jordan Kay's 34-yard field goal with 6:20 left in the half. The Ducks were able to answer, though, finally piecing together a drive late in the half. Stewart capped the 16-play, 80-yard drive with his five-yard burst up the middle, and the Ducks took a 10-3 lead with 1:44 left in the half.   Cal knotted the game at 10-10 late in the third quarter, with Longshore hooking up with Jackson on a 25-yard scoring toss, capping a six-play, 58-yard drive with 4:44 left in the quarter.   The Ducks went to the big play on their next drive to again take the lead, on a 42-yard connection from Dixon to Colvin, giving Oregon a 17-10 lead with 2:39 left in the third quarter.  The Bears opened the fourth quarter by closing their eight-play, 59-yard drive with a one-yard dive by Forsett, tying the game at 17-17 with 14:20 left in regulation.  Cal took over at midfield on their next drive, thanks to a shanked punt, and capitalized quickly, with Longshore finding Jackson for a 31-yard score, and the Bears jumped on top 24-17 with 11:52 left.

Dixon led the Ducks back, though, marching them 91 yards on 10 plays, and pushing in the end zone himself on a one-yard dive that again tied things, this time at 24-24 with 7:06 left.  Dixon threw a crucial pick to Anthony Felder, though, giving the Bears possession deep in Oregon territory. They moved 21 yards on three plays, with Forsett's one-yard TD run giving Cal the seven point edge with 3:11 left.  "I don't know if I can put into words how proud I am of these guys," said Cal head coach Jeff Tedford. "I'm just so proud of them and I think today was an all-around great team effort and we came up with some big plays."

Game Notes

Oregon outgained Cal, 497-400...Forsett's TD extended his streak to six consecutive games with a rushing touchdown...California leads the all-time series with Oregon by a count of 38-30-2, but the Ducks had won eight of the last 10.

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