Rankin's Rushing Ruins Cal in 37-23 UW Victory
Nov. 17, 2007
SEATTLE (AP) -- Washington didn't need Jake Locker, after all. They didn't even need backup quarterback Carl Bonnell.
Louis Rankin ran 21 times for 224 yards and a touchdown in less than three quarters as the Huskies shook off not having their team leader Locker and upset California 37-23 on Saturday, the Bears' fifth loss in six games.
Rankin's second 200-yard day in three weeks for Washington (3-7, 1-6 Pac-10) came despite not playing the final 1 1/2 quarters, apparently because of an injury. His backup, freshman Brandon Johnson, ran for 121 yards on 23 carries.
Justin Forsett ran for 141 yards for the Bears (6-4, 3-4). Cal's Nate Longshore, the target of intense criticism after completing less than 50 percent of his passes and committing three turnovers in last week's loss to USC, completed 20 of 28 throws for 236 yards and three first-half touchdowns and one interception.
Since Oct. 13, Cal has dropped from No. 2 in the country with realistic hopes for the BCS title game to seventh in the Pac-10, clinging to one of the Pac-10's final spots in a minor bowl. This is Cal's worst stretch since it lost its first 10 games in 2001. That got coach Tom Holmoe fired and brought Jeff Tedford to Berkeley.
One week after USC rolled to 239 yards rushing against the Bears, Washington stomped on Cal for 334. Most came on runs between the tackles by Rankin, who eclipsed 200 yards on a 46-yard run on the opening drive of the second half. That set up a 45-yard field goal Ryan Perkins for a 31-20 lead.
Bonnell was making his first start this season because Locker was in uniform but out with a sprained neck sustained in last week's loss at Oregon State, which eliminated Washington from bowl consideration. The fifth-year senior completed just 7 of 19 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Locker tossed warm-up throws with Bonnell and stayed close to the field, often stepping onto it to cheer and encourage his offense. It at least gave the impression that the dynamic redshirt freshman could return for next week's Apple Cup against Washington State.
Two close calls in favor of the Huskies gave them a 34-23 lead after three quarters.
With Washington leading 31-23 in the third quarter, Bonnell was tossed around by Zack Follett while trying to throw the ball away. His pass flopped two yards behind where he threw it, but referee Jay Stricherz called Bonnell for intentional grounding a forward pass. On the next play, 3rd-and-24, Bonnell found Cody Ellis down the sideline for a 51-yard pass. Perkins then kicked a 30-yard field goal.
An overturned call by a replay review allowed Washington to take a 28-20 lead into halftime. Cal's Brandon Hampton, back to return a punt because dangerous DeSean Jackson was on the bench with a bruised thigh, tried a fair catch. Washington's Chris Stevens shoved Cal's Cameron Morrah into Hampton, causing a muff that UW's Joshua Gage recovered at the Cal 21 with 35 second left in the half. Officials initially ruled Hampton had not touched the ball, but a review by television replay reversed that.
Marcus Reece then jumped inside Chris Conte and made a leaping catch of Bonnell's 12-yard pass for a touchdown 12 seconds before halftime.
Washington took a 14-0 lead by running 16 times on its first 18 plays, with the Bears looking overwhelmed on defense. Rankin ran for 125 yards in the first quarter, including a 5-yard touchdown run. After Rankin's 28-yard run on which he cut back across the entire field, Johnson ran for another 5-yard score.
Longshore completed his first nine passes and got the Bears back in the game with three touchdown passes in the first half, 19 yarders to tight ends Morrah and Craig Stevens plus a 14-yard lob to James Montgomery.