Marlon Wood scores! (Kim Grinolds/Dawgman.com)
Fueled by 150 yards rushing by Marshawn Lynch, the California Golden Bears stayed cool under pressure and didn't let a last-play bomb from Carl Bonnell to Marlon Wood diffuse their 31-24 overtime win in Berkeley. It's the third straight loss for the Huskies, who also lost a very hard-fought affair at USC, but lost in the waning seconds.
"I think it's safe to say that we played toe-to-toe with them today," Washington Head Coach Tyrone Willingham said. "But we
just couldn't find a way to get it done. There are no moral victories."
"I'm real proud of our guys," Jeff Tedford said of California's effort. With the win, the Bears move to 7-1 and 5-0 in
conference. "There was never any quit. It was a rollercoaster, up and down, and I felt we kept our composure very well."
It wasn't a Hail Mary for the Huskies (4-4, 2-3), but the result was the same. Wood caught a deflection off a Cal defender at
the Cal 2-yard line and jumped into the end zone to give Washington an improbable chance to take what appeared to be a very
one-sided affair at first (Vegas oddsmakers had it Washington +24) into extra time. Mike Braunstein's PAT made the impossible
"We felt good about our chances going into overtime," Willingham said, adding that he never once thought about going for a
two-point conversion to either win or lose the game right there.
"Those types of plays are demoralizing," Tedford added. "I'm real proud of the team. I didn't notice anybody quitting or
giving up or anything like that."
Bear RB Marshawn Lynch took the second play during Cal's first overtime possession around left end and nearly went in
untouched. "It was a gutsy performance by Marshawn today," Tedford said of Lynch and the two ankle injuries that he's been
having to deal with all season long. "He put the offense on his back and to make so many plays like he did today is just a
The Huskies had a chance to match with a first-and-goal at the 6-yard line, but after a 5-yard loss, Bonnell looked inside
and Cal LB Desmond Bishop read his eyes the whole way. The 79 yards Bishop traveled after catching the ball didn't matter;
the game was over and ultimately the last of Bonnell's five interceptions would prove to be the deadliest. Bishop had a
terrific all-around game, leading the Bears with 16 tackles.
"I thought (Bishop) had a chance to put the game away with 6 seconds to go, so it was very fitting for him to put the icing
on the cake."
"We fought hard, but we just had too many turnovers," Bonnell said. The junior from Kent, Wash. was starting his first game
of the year, replacing Isaiah Stanback - who had suffered a season-ending foot fracture the week before in a loss to Oregon State. Bonnell finished the game completing 17 of 31 passes for 284 yards and two scores. Willingham confirmed after the game that frosh QB Jake Locker was waiting in the wings if needed, but Bonnell's play made it clear that he is the starter for the foreseeable future.
"He did some very good things today," Willingham said of Bonnell. (The interceptions) were not because of a lack of desire or
will on his part. We just didn't get it done."
The fourth quarter went back-and-forth after the Bears came storming out of the halftime gate and tried to drive the Dawgs
into submission. The battle in the trenches was a stalemate in the first half, but Cal came out with a 62-yard drive on their
first possession, and a 46-yard drive on their next possession, both for points. It was at that time the Huskies regained
their composure, spurred on by a key fourth-down stop deep in their territory by Jordan Reffett.
Louis Rankin, who tried valiantly to replace the tough running that starter Kenny James is known for after the senior from
Dos Palos, Calif. left the game with an ankle injury, but the junior from Stockton just couldn't get upfield. He broke off a
21-yarder on that next possession, and backed it up with a key 44-yard run to help give Washington a 17-13 lead. Rankin
finished with 88 yards on 22 carries.
The Huskies came out firing on all cylinders, while the Bears' offense came out flatter than a flapjack. The Washington defense was able to take advantage of an ineffective Nate Longshore, who went 2-8 for 23 yards in the first quarter.
"We were trying to be as offensive as much as possible," Willingham said, even trying some passes deep in the second quarter when it looked like they could run out the clock. The result? A 49-yard pitch and catch between Bonnell and Anthony Russo, catching the Bears flat-footed and down 10-3.
Washington had advantages in passing yardage (139-86) and time of possession during the first 30 minutes, but was not able to find the end zone enough to give them the cushion they would need on the road against a top-10 BCS team. The Golden Bears finished with 486 total yards, to Washington's 446.