Safety Damariay Drew, playing as a non-scholarship player after resolving his legal issues and being reinstated this fall by the university, had a late interception for Cal for the second straight week.
His pick at the 10-yard line with 3:29 left snuffed out of Washington State’s last real threat in the Bears’ 34-28 win.
Drew attended Butte JC last year while resolving issues that arose for an assault incident on campus in the spring of 2014. He got the charges reduced, did community service and took anger management classes and was allowed back at Cal.
“I’m just really excited to be back,” he said in his first media availability of the season. “We’re doing great right now. I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help the team.”
Said Cal coach Sonny Dykes: “He’s matured. I’m proud he’s made the most of his second chance. He’s playing lights out for us. He looks like a missile out there playing.”
Fellow safety Stefan McClure said Drew’s return to the team has been critical to the performance of the defense.
“It means a lot. You see how he flies around. He’s real physical,” McClure said. “I look at him as the tone-setter.
“He’s a good guy. It’s great to see him doing well and watch him grow up.”
Daniel Lasco returned to action after sitting two games with a hip muscle strain, but ran for just 22 yards on 10 carries before being held out of the second half. He did not reinjure himself, Dykes said, but never developed a rhythm.
Lasco called it a coach’s decision and seemed fine with it.
“I felt real good. I just didn’t have that same pop I had before I got hurt,” he said. “Me and the coaches talked at halftime. We’ve got plenty of great backs. It gave me another week to get 100 percent.”
Kenny Lawler caught his seventh and eighth touchdowns of the season despite battling a stomach ailment that had him throwing up much of the day, Dykes said. “Something I ate last night,” Lawler said.
Lawler had a one-handed TD catch in the first half and now has 22 scoring receptions for his career. That ties him for fourth with DeSean Jackson (2005-07) on Cal’s all-time, one behind Wesley Walker (1973-76).
Sean Dawkins (1990-92) holds the Cal career TD reception record at 31.