California Edges Oregon, 28-27
Nov. 6, 2004
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer
BERKELEY, Calif. - California's fate was in Keith Allen's hands, andthe Oregon receiver dropped the ball.
Geoff McArthur caught eight passes for 121 yards and two touchdowns, andfourth-ranked Cal's defense stopped Oregon near midfield with 1:39 left whenAllen couldn't hold the final pass in the Golden Bears' 28-27 victory Saturdaythat solidified their Bowl Championship Series hopes.
Aaron Rodgers passed for 275 yards and three TDs, and J.J. Arrington ran for188 yards and a score for the Bears (7-1, 5-1 Pac-10), who barely kept alivetheir big postseason dreams with a strong second half after falling behind27-14 in the second quarter.
Kellen Clemens threw four touchdown passes in the first half for the Ducks(5-4, 4-2), who seemed headed for an upset after a dominant first half.
But two key mistakes made the difference: Jared Siegel missed an extra pointin the first quarter, and Oregon's final drive ended when Allen dropped an easyfourth-down pass that would have put the Ducks well within field goal range.
Cal snapped a seven-game losing streak against Oregon with coach JeffTedford's first victory over the school where he served as Mike Bellotti'soffensive coordinator for four years.
The Bears' first adversity in a month brought out a gritty second-halfperformance. Facing a 27-21 halftime deficit, Cal made four sustained drives -but thanks to Tom Schneider's two missed field goals and a fumble by freshmanRobert Jordan, the Bears got just seven points.
Cal went ahead on McArthur's 19-yard TD catch with 13:25 to play. AfterSchneider missed a 40-yard field goal with 4:20 left, Clemens drove Oregon 36yards to the Cal 41 - but he threw four straight incompletions, with the finalpass bouncing off Allen's hands and helmet near the 20.
Allen stayed flat on his face for several moments while the Bearscelebrated, but Clemens raced over to console his teammate.
Tight end Tim Day caught two of Clemens' four TD passes, and TerrenceWhitehead ran for 91 yards as the Ducks' four-game winning streak ended.
Cal's defense posted consecutive shutouts for the first time since 1968 inits last two games, but Clemens and his teammates embarrassed the Bears'defenders with 302 yards in a commanding first-half performance.
The Ducks scored 20 points in 2:24 midway through the first quarter, twicegetting good field position from Cal special teams mistakes.
Oregon went ahead 27-14 late in the first half on a 73-yard drive capped byMarcus Maxwell's 7-yard TD catch, but Rodgers and McArthur connected twice on a75-yard drive in 85 seconds shortly before halftime.