California Loses to Washington 24-31 in Overtime Football
100th meeting of the two teams was a thriller like the last two match-ups
Quarterback Chase Garbers had his fourth career 300-yard passing game, completing 30 out of 41 passing attempts for 319 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions Saturday night. Despite the career-high pass completions for the Newport Beach, Calif., native, the California Golden Bears (1-3, 0-1 Pac-12) lost to the Washington Huskies (2-2, 1-0 Pac-12), 24-31, in overtime.
California, which has played best in the first half of games this season, rallied in the second half of its Pac-12 Conference opening game.
Washington extended its 11-point lead over the visiting Golden Bears at halftime to 14 with a 32-yard field goal in the third quarter to make the score 24-10.
The field goal would be the Huskies’ only points in the second half, as California went on to score 14 unanswered points to force extra time.
In the visiting team’s second possession after the mid-game break, Garbers found running back Damien Moore for a 26-yard touchdown. The big pass play capped off a five-play, 75-yard drive.
Then, with less than three minutes remaining in regulation, the California quarterback would score on his own with a designed quarterback run. The seven-yard run brought the score level at 24-all after a successful Dario Longhetto point-after attempt.
In addition to his record-setting day in the air, the redshirt senior play-caller also led his team in rushing yards. Garbers ran for 71 yards, including a long run of 23 yards to the Washington 11-yard line on 3rd and 4 in the fourth quarter.
Although he ran for fewer yards than Garbers or Moore, Washington tailback Sean McGrew was impactful with his 53 rushing yards.
McGrew scored his second touchdown of the night in overtime to give the Huskies the go-ahead score and eventual win.
California’s offense dropped the ball in overtime, and with it, the opportunity to win three games in a row against Washington.
On first and goal from the Washington 2-yard line, California running back Damien Moore looked ready to force a second overtime period. Instead, he fumbled the ball on the 1-yard line.
Washington defensive back Cameron Williams forced the fumble, and his teammate Ryan Bowman recovered the ball to end the game and conclude the two sides’ 100th meeting.
Ahead of California’s next game, which will be at home against the Washington State Cougars, head coach Justin Wilcox will need to work on his team’s discipline. The Golden Bears gave up eight penalties for 69 yards, including an offensive facemask penalty on offensive lineman Ben Coleman with 44 seconds remaining in regulation.
California fans will undoubtedly wonder what could have been.
Five plays after the penalty, Longhetto missed a 55-yard field goal as regulation time expired, which, if made, would have allowed the visitors to avoid overtime and clinch the win.
Very frustrating loss. We were just a few yards from a long field goal icing the win in regulation capping a spirited Cal comeback. If I were Wilcox I would not have deferred to start the overtime period. I guess he was gambling that our defense would continue its better play as we witnessed in the 2nd half. Namely, getting some pressure on Morris led to some inaccurate throws and 3 and outs. Overall I am encouraged by the Cal performance but not the outcome.
This is one of those games where I consider and in occasional seasons actually take a game or two off for a mental health break.