Football notebook: Cal offensive line keeps ASU pass rush off quarterback Jared Goff

Arizona State arrived in Berkeley on Saturday night as the national co-leader in sacks with 44. But Jared Goff threw 51 passes and was never sacked in Cal’s 48-46 victory, thanks to a strong effort by an offensive line that has grown in recent weeks.

“The O-line played a hell of a game,” Goff said. “I said it last week and the week before: they’ve kind of caught their rhythm and haven’t given up much pressure at all.”

The Bears have allowed Goff to be sacked just six times the past five games, despite him attempting 214 passes over that span.

“Jared did a great job. Arizona State blitzes people from everywhere and he got rid of the ball,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. “I thought our offensive line really played well. It’s tough to pass protect against those guys.”

Goff’s elusiveness made it doubly tough for the ASU pass rush. He repeatedly stepped away from would-be tacklers, but also ran for 31 yards and scored a two-point conversion on a dash up the middle.

“Jared was scrambling, rolling out, making plays,” senior wide receiver Bryce Treggs said. “He was doing stuff even I didn’t know he could do.”


The Cal-Arizona State winner was expected to have the inside track to represent the Pac-12 in the Cactus Bowl on Jan. 2 at Tempe, Arizona, although it’s not a lock. The game pits the No. 7 Pac-12 team against a team from the Big 12 Conference.

Cal athletic director Michael Williams, suggesting a half-dozen teams are looking at Cal, said before the game, “We think we have a very appealing team to the bowls. We have an exciting offense. And we think since it’s been a few years since we’ve been in a bowl, we should travel well.”

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Football: Jared Goff, Cal complete amazing comeback


After Cal had completed an improbable 48-46 comeback victory over Arizona State on Saturday night, there was unbridled bedlam in the Bears’ locker room.

Players chanted and sang and coach Sonny Dykes danced in their midst wearing a smile so wide it probably left his face hurting.

“It’s a once in a lifetime thing right there, the locker room celebration we had. It doesn’t get much better than that,” quarterback Jared Goff said. “I’ll remember it for the rest of my life, for sure.”

Down 21 points midway through the second quarter and trailing 27-10 at halftime, Cal forged its biggest comeback since fighting back from a 21-0 hole against Air Force in the 2007 Armed Forces Bowl.

They won when sophomore Matt Anderson kicked a 22-yard field goal with no time left.

“I didn’t really even see the kick go through,” Anderson said. “I just got swarmed. It was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.”

The Bears (7-5, 4-5 Pac-12) already were bowl eligible for the first time since 2012. But a loss to the Sun Devils (6-6, 4-5) would have sent them into the postseason on a discouraging 1-6 final skid following their 5-0 start.

Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin, standing behind reporters in the press box before Anderson’s game-winning kick, squeezed his eyes closed and said, “Please, these kids deserve this.”

Two years after going 1-11 in Dykes’ debut season, the Bears had a victory they will place above all others.

“Oh, it’s No. 1, absolutely,” Goff said.

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Basketball: Brown, Wallace lead Cal to easy win

Freshman Jaylen Brown had career-high totals of 18 points and 11 rebounds and No. 14 Cal eased past Sam Houston State 89-63 in front of an announced crowd of 8,492 fans at Haas Pavilion on Monday night.

The Bears (4-0) used a fastbreak-fueled 15-0 run late in the first half to take charge. Cal scored eight points in a span of 75 seconds to break open a 23-20 game.

Brown dunked a putback, then stole the ball and fed Tyrone Wallace for a fastbreak basket, before Wallace returned the favor with a steal and feed to Brown for a dunk. Wallace scored seconds later on a 2-on-1 break off a pass from Sam Singer.

The Cal lead reached 38-20 before the Bearkats (2-2) from the Southland Conference ended a 6½-minute drought.

Jordan Mathews also scored 18 points and Wallace had 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Cal resumes play on Thanksgiving at the Las Vegas Invitational against San Diego State (3-2). The Bears will play Friday against either West Virginia (4-0) or Richmond (3-1).

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Football: Cal routs Oregon State behind 6 TD passes by Jared Goff to become bowl eligible

All the heartbreak and all the school records didn’t matter to Jared Goff.

After Cal routed Oregon State 54-24 on Saturday night in front of 41,874 fans at Memorial Stadium, Goff didn’t talk about the six touchdown passes he threw.

But he couldn’t stop going on about the Golden Bears winning for the sixth time this season to become eligible to receive their first bowl invitation since 2011.

“It’s really cool. It’s really exciting in there,” the junior quarterback said, nodding toward the locker room. “The whole atmosphere is really awesome right now. I’m just trying to enjoy it.

“It’s a culmination of three years’ hard work since a lot of us got here. I’ve said it a million times, when we were 1-11 (in 2013) and we lost (the 2014 season finale) to BYU, all the hard work is going to pay off.”

It paid off in the Bears’ fifth try this season – and eighth over two years – to become bowl eligible.

By snapping a four-game losing streak, Cal (6-4, 3-4 Pac-12) earned a spot in a bowl game for the first time in coach Sonny Dykes’ three seasons. The Bears’ most recent bowl appearance was a 21-10 loss to Texas in the 2011 Holiday Bowl.

“I’m proud of our players,” Dykes said. “We challenged them after four tough weeks to relax and play good football. There was an energy on the sideline that was real positive.

“They believe in each other and it was real satisfying to see them perform well tonight, kind of get the next step in our program, which is get to a bowl game.”

Bowl selections will be announced Dec. 6.

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Football notebook: Daniel Lasco returns, but Cal ground game still limping

Cal senior running Daniel Lasco, who barely played the previous five games because of a hip injury, carried 15 times for 64 yards and scored a 6-yard touchdown in the Bears’ 27-21 loss to USC.

“Personally feels good just to be back and be able to contribute,” said Lasco, who was injured in the Bears’ win over San Diego State on Sept. 12. “I still don’t feel like I’m there yet.  A lot of times I had one person to beat and didn’t get the job done.”

Overall, however, the Bears’ recent run game woes continued. After running for 67 first-quarter yards, they managed just 50 more the rest of the day.

Cal averaged nearly 210 rushing yards in nonconference play, including 280 at Texas, but is posting just 118.6 in five Pac-12 games.

“I thought we ran it good early in the game,” coach Sonny Dykes said. “Then there were three or four series in a row where we had a hard time getting much going in the run game.

“We have to be able to run it. I thought we ran it OK, but not as well as we needed to.”

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Football notebook: Sonny Dykes takes blame for failed fake punt play against UCLA

Whether or not it was an early sign of panic, Cal coach Sonny Dykes took the blame for a failed fake punt play in the second quarter that led to a UCLA field goal.

Dykes called for punter Harry Adolphus to run on fourth-and-10 from the Bears’ 25-yard line, trailing 20-3 with six minutes left in the half. The English rugby player was stopped well short of the first down.

“Bad call on my part,” Dykes said. “We had three to block one and we didn’t get it done.”

Everything happened fast for Adolphus, a veteran on the Cal rugby team but a first-year American football player.

“I had a read to make. I made the read and there was one guy coming at me. I looked good, and then they just had two guys come over the top,” he said.

Asked if he was surprised to get the call to run the fake, Adolphus said, “I’m new to the game so I just do what I’m told. I’m in the right place at the right time, hopefully.”


Cal had no turnovers against the Bruins after committing six at Utah in a 30-24 loss 12 days earlier. Goff, intercepted five times by the Utes, was 32 for 53 for 295 yards and three touchdowns, bringing his career total to 73.

He also was sacked five times, four of them in the second half when the Bears were trying to rally through the air.

“The key was getting that quarterback on the ground,” UCLA coach Jim Mora said of Goff. “He is a great player. In the second half, we got him on the ground.”

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Football: UCLA 40, Cal 24


A promising Cal football season took a sharp turn in the wrong direction Thursday night at the Rose Bowl.

UCLA scored on all six of its first-half possessions and the 20th-ranked Bears never recovered in a 40-24 loss that calls into question much of what was accomplished during a 5-0 start to the season.

Now 5-2 overall and 2-2 in Pac-12 play after consecutive losses in prime-time ESPN games, Cal was competitive 12 days earlier in a 30-24 road loss to unbeaten No. 3 Utah. The Bears never gave themselves a chance against the Bruins.

But quarterback Jared Goff, who threw three touchdown passes, vowed things will different starting a week from Saturday at home USC.

“We’re not going to let this ruin our season,” he said. “I promise you this: We’re going to be a different team next week. It’s going to be a lot better from here on.”

The Bears haven’t beaten the Trojans since 2003, when Aaron Rodgers was their quarterback.

“Our guys are hurt and not happy with the way we performed,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. “We’ll come back with a better sense of purpose and we’ll play well against USC.”

The question is why they didn’t play better on Thursday night after getting five extra days to prepare.

UCLA (5-2, 2-2) was coming off consecutive losses, including a 21-point thrashing at the hands of Stanford a week earlier. But it was the Bruins who came out of the gate fast.

Freshman Josh Rosen threw three touchdown passes, two of them in the first half when Ka’imi Fairbairn also kicked four field goals, including a 60-yarder on the final play of the half for a 26-10 UCLA lead.

“It was a frustrating game all across the board,” Goff conceded. “We just started too slow. If we want to beat good teams like this we’ve got to start faster.”

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Football notes: Cal still awaits a win on road vs. Top-5 foe

Cal’s 30-24 defeat at No. 5 Utah was the Bears’ 25th straight road loss to teams ranked in the top-5 of the AP Top-25.

The Bears’ most recent road victory over a top-5 foe was a 20-7 win at No. 3 Stanford in 1951. They also missed a chance to start 3-0 in the conference for the first time since 2006, when they won a Pac-10 co-championship.


Running back Daniel Lasco, who had played just one half over the previous three games because of a hip injury, fumbled on his first carry in the first quarter and did not play on offense again.

“We just didn’t feel like he was ready to play, physically,” Dykes said.


Jared Goff’s 340 passing yards boosted his career total to 9,451 to rank 17th in Pac-12 history. Goff, who turns 21 on Wednesday of the bye week, moved ahead of former Stanford great John Elway (9,349 yards).


Cal freshman nickel back Trey Turner had his first career interception in the first half. Linebacker Devante Downs had an interception and forced a fumble that was recovered by teammate Caleb Coleman as the Bears hiked their season takeaway total to 21.

The Bears entered the week leading the nation with 18 takeways and got three more against a team that had turned the ball over just four times in four games.


Defensive end Kyle Kragen had a career-high 14 tackles, including his fifth sack of the season. But that was the only sack logged by the Bears, who entered the game averaging a conference-best 3.6 per game.


Football: Cal cannot overcome mistakes in loss to No. 5 Utah

With the nation watching, quarterback Jared Goff threw five interceptions Saturday night as No. 23 Cal melted under the spotlight in a 30-24 loss to No. 5 Utah.

“I played probably the worst game of my life tonight . . . and we still had a chance to win,” Goff said after the matchup of the Pac-12’s final two unbeaten teams.

Touted all week by national commentators as a Heisman Trophy contender, Goff threw four interceptions in the first half. No. 5 came with 7:24 left when he underthrew Kenny Lawler and was picked off by Dominique Hatfield at the Utah 18-yard line.

Cal got the ball one last time at its own 5-yard line with 4:52 left, and Goff made the Utes sweat. He converted three third-down plays to extend the drive, using his arm and his legs to drive his team to the Utah 21.

“Throughout the game I had no doubt we were going to make plays to win the game,” senior safety Stefan McClure said. “When they were moving the ball on that last drive, that’s what we expected.”

“Their quarterback might be the best pocket passer in the nation,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.

But on fourth-and-5 with 26 seconds left, Utah’s Boobie Hobbs stepped in front of Darius Powe to knock down Goff’s final pass of the night.

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Football: Cal vs. Utah facts

RECORDS: No. 23 Cal 5-0, 2-0 Pac-12; No. 5 Utah 4-0, 1-0.

KICKOFF: Saturday, 7:15 p.m. at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.


SERIES HISTORY: Cal leads 5-4. Utah won 49-27 in the most recent meeting in 2012.

STORYLINES: The Bears take aim at their best start since 1950, when they opened 9-0. To get there, they must beat a top-5 team for the first time since their 34-31 triple-overtime win over USC in 2003. Cal has gone 5-0 six times since ’50 without a win in its sixth game. . . . Cal has not beaten a top-5 team on the road since a 20-7 conquest of No. 3 Stanford in 1951. . . . The Bears’ next victory makes them bowl eligible for the first time since 2011. . . . Perhaps no team in the country has two wins that compare to Utah’s 24-17 victory over Michigan and its 62-20 win at Oregon. . . . Cal has held consecutive Pac-12 opponents under 30 points for the first time since October 2012.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal: DE DeVante Wilson (foot), DT Mustafa Jalil (knee) and RB Daniel Lasco (hip) will play; OT Brian Farley (ankle) is probable. Utah: DE Hunter Dimick (knee) will play; NT Travis Tuiloma (knee) is out.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal takeaways vs. Utah keep-aways. Can the Bears continue to deliver the aggressive, opportunistic defense that has allowed them to thrive this season? Utah won’t make that easy. The Bears are the NCAA leaders with 18 takeaways, but the Utes have turned the ball over just four times. Cal leads the Pac-12 with 3.6 sacks per game, but Utah has surrendered just one sack all season.

STATS THAT MATTER: Utah is expecting its 34th consecutive sellout and already this season has played in front of two of the eight biggest crowds in Rice-Eccles history, including the record 47,825 for the opener against Michigan. . . . Cal QB Jared Goff has 20 multiple-touchdown games in his career, including every game this season. . . . With 22 career touchdown catches, Kenny Lawler is one shy of matching Wesley Walker (1973-76) for third on Cal’s career list. . . . Utah quarterback Travis Wilson, who has passed for 513 yards and rushed for 200 in three games, is No. 1 in ESPN’s Total QBR rankings. But the Utes rank 126th out of 127 teams nationally in yards per completion at 9.48.