Forsett Ices Cal Win, 20-17
Nov. 3, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Justin Forsett rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns, and California snapped its three-game losing streak with a stellar defensive effort in a 20-17 victory over Washington State on Saturday night.
Forsett had a 44-yard scoring run with 2:42 to play for the Golden Bears (6-3, 3-3 Pac-10), and receiver Lavelle Hawkins clinched it by recovering an onside kick after Charles Dillon's 18-yard scoring catch and Washington State's 2-point conversion with 19 seconds left.
Cal lost its No. 2 ranking, fell out of the Top 25 and erased its championship hopes with losses to Oregon State, UCLA and Arizona State during a dispiriting three-week skid in October.
The losses didn't discourage the Bears defense, which frustrated quarterback Alex Brink and kept the Cougars (3-6, 1-5) out of the end zone until Dillon's desperate TD reception.
Tight end Jed Collins then caught a 2-point conversion pass that was upheld by video review, but Hawkins easily grabbed the onside kick.
Brink went 22-of-45 for 306 yards -- 168 in the fourth quarter -- for Washington State, which lost for the fifth time in six games. Brandon Gibson had four catches for 136 yards, including 115 yards on two fourth-quarter receptions.
Forsett fumbled at the goal line to kill a second-half drive for Cal, but the senior made up for it with his impressive late sprint through traffic. The run also put Forsett over 1,000 yards rushing for the season, becoming coach Jeff Tedford's sixth 1,000-yard rusher in six seasons at Cal.
Michael Bumpus matched Washington State's career receptions record in the fourth quarter, tying 1960s star Hugh Campbell while making four receptions for 47 yards.
Nate Longshore passed for 213 yards in another shaky outing for the Golden Bears, and Hawkins had nine receptions for 78 yards as Cal's offense held the ball for nearly 37 1/2 minutes.
Cal's 10-game home winning streak ended three weeks ago in a 31-28 loss to Oregon State, ruining the second-ranked Bears' unbeaten season and preventing them from ascending to the No. 1 spot for the first time in more than a half-century.
Most of the Bears' dreams are dead, but they haven't given up on the season, as evidenced by Saturday night's choice of the gold jerseys that are only broken out for special occasions. Cal improved to 5-0 in the gold togs.
With a chilly night breeze blowing out of Strawberry Canyon, both defenses dominated the schools' meeting under Memorial Stadium's temporary light stanchions. Washington State yielded several sustained Cal drives but no big plays, while Cal defensive coordinator Bob Gregory -- a Washington State grad -- devised a patient game plan that forced Brink into a rough game.
The Cougars will get their last chance for a road victory this season in the Apple Cup at Washington on Nov. 24.
The Bears' opening drive was a 17-play, 80-yard march ending with Forsett's 1-yard TD run. Cal then went 91 yards on 20 plays into the second quarter, getting to the Washington State 1 before settling for Jordan Kay's field goal.
Cal led 13-6 when Gibson turned a short pass from Brink into a 60-yard gain with 8 minutes to play on the Cougars' longest pass play of the season. Bumpus tied Campbell's school record for career receptions moments later with a 13-yard catch, the 176th of his four seasons with the Cougars.
But Washington State couldn't get into the end zone from inside the 10, and Romeen Abdollmohammadi kicked his third field goal with 5:58 left.
Gibson had a 55-yard reception on a broken play shortly after Forsett's final touchdown, setting up Dillon's TD catch.