Cal Upset By Air Force
Sept. 21, 2002
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Chance Harridge rushed for 124 yards and threetouchdowns, and Jeff Overstreet tipped away Kyle Boller's 2-point conversionpass attempt with 31 seconds left as Air Force beat No. 23 California 23-21Saturday.
The Falcons (3-0) rushed for 295 yards, and their defense kept surprisingCal (3-1) out of the end zone until the final minute.
Harridge, the latest in the Falcons' lineage of slippery optionquarterbacks, gave Air Force its first lead on a 2-yard TD run with 7:16 toplay. He scored again on a 13-yard run with 1:59 left, silencing an unusuallyraucous Memorial Stadium crowd.
Boller threw again for the 2-point conversion, but Overstreet dove to tipthe pass away from Joe Igber. The Falcons celebrated wildly on the sideline,and after time ran out, they gathered in a corner of the stadium to cheer alongwith their small fan contingent.
Mark Jensen kicked a school-record five field goals for the Golden Bears,whose inability to catch Boller's passes or stop Harridge in the second halfled to their first loss under new coach Jeff Tedford.
Harridge was the Falcons' only consistent threat, but he was nearlyimpossible to handle. Besides his ducking and dodging on the field, herepeatedly exhorted his defensive teammates from the sideline, then led thecelebration when the victory was assured.
Boller completed just 13 of 37 passes for 216 yards. The senior quarterbackwas inconsistent, but he was victimized by an infuriating series of drops - atleast 12, according to most unofficial counts.
On the final drive, Ward - Boller's friend and favorite target - flubbed a32-yard pass that hit him in stride at the goal line, and he couldn't hold onto a high pass in the end zone with 36 seconds left. Boller still converted afourth-and-10, then later found Makonnen in the corner for a score.
Cal's offense, which averaged 50 points in its three victories, looked muchless like a powerhouse and much more like the mistake-prone unit that went 1-10last season.
But the close, exciting loss only slightly dampened the good feelings aroundthe Cal program these days. With a 46-22 win at Michigan State last week, theGolden Bears jumped into the national rankings for the first time since 1996.
Cal hasn't had a winning season since 1993, but its fans are excited aboutTedford's team. An enthusiastic crowd of 31,816 filled two-thirds of MemorialStadium, where a giant video replay screen was installed for the game.
The Bears forced two key fumbles by Harridge - one on the first play of thegame, and another on the Cal 2 - but unlike their first three games, theyweren't able to capitalize much on them.
Cal opened the second half with a 19-play, 9ï¿½-minute drive for another fieldgoal. Neither team managed much impressive offense until late in the thirdquarter, when Harridge rushed for a 6-yard score.
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer