The last time Kevin Riley led a last-minute drive, he made a critical mistake. It was 2007 and Riley, starting for the first time as a freshman quarterback for the University of California, was moving the Golden Bears down the field against Oregon State. Trailing 31-28, Riley drove the team 84 yards to the OSU 10, but he became known for what turned out to be the final play. Riley was chased out of the pocket and decided to scramble down the field as seconds ticked away. Time ran out. Not this time. This was an older, wiser, more experienced Kevin Riley. Riley had to drive the Bears into field goal range for a chance to take a win at Arizona State last Saturday. He stepped in and calmly led Cal 74 yards in 11 plays, hitting five of six passes, all for first downs. When kicker Giorgio Tavecchio knocked through a 24-yard field goal with 21 seconds left, Cal had a 23-21 win and Riley had his game-winning drive.
Riley took it all in stride. He said the team moved the ball well on the previous drive. "We got the ball back with some time left and we were clicking," Riley said. "I was just seeing the field well and had confidence that we were going to pull it off." Riley finished the game with 351 yards passing and two touchdowns. Not even three fumbles could faze him.