Cal Football Loses Close One To Huskies, 31-28

Sept 29, 2001

AP Sports Writer

BERKELEY, Calif. - Cal scored more points in the first half Saturday than in any previous game this season, but it wasn't enough to outlast No. 13 Washington (3-0, 2-0). The Bears (0-4, 0-2) lost for the 19th straight time against the Huskies, 31-28, at Memorial Stadium.

Cal quarterback Kyle Boller completed 21-of-36 passes for 265 yards and a career-high four touchdowns to four different receivers.

Starting the game from his own 10-yard-line, Boller completed five-of-seven passes during an opening 90-yard scoring drive. A key play came deep inside Washington territory when Boller pitched the ball to running back Terrell Williams, who then fired a strike back to Boller for a 15-yard gain. The drive culminated on a two-yard pass from Boller to Sean Currin, the first of Boller's three first-half touchdown tosses. It was also Currin's first career score. Mark Jensen's extra point gave the Bears an early 7-0 lead over a stunned Huskies team.

Cal's defense stifled Washington on its first drive as the Bears allowed only two yards on three plays. Following a UW punt, Cal's offense took the field at its own 28-yard line.

Again, Boller strung together an impressive scoring drive. This time the junior quarterback completed all four of his pass attempts as the Bears traveled 72 yards on 10 plays. Boller completed a 19-yard touchdown pass to Joe Igber with six minutes left in the first quarter to put the Bears on top 14-0. In the first quarter, Boller surpassed the 4,000 career passing yards mark.

Washington, starting on its own 20-yard line following Jensen's kickoff into the end zone, was once again stopped by the Bears defense. Cal nose tackle Daniel Nwangwu sacked Washington quarterback Cody Pickett on third down deep in Husky territory. The sack forced Washington to punt from its own end zone, almost ensuring Cal good field position. But a school-record 74-yard punt by Derek McLaughlin gave the Bears the ball on their own 15-yard line.

With less than three minutes remaining in the opening quarter, Cal's Charon Arnold fumbled a Boller pass near midfield. Washington's Greg Carothers recovered the ball and gave Pickett a short field with which to work.

It took just nine seconds for the Huskies to capitalize on Cal's turnover. Pickett completed his first career touchdown pass to Paul Arnold to cut the Bears lead in half. The 42-yard pass play pulled the Huskies to within 14-7 with less than two minutes to go in the first quarter.

Starting on its own 35, rushes by Cal's Joe Igber led a scoring drive that bridged the first and second quarters. Igber's ball carrying set up a 14-yard touchdown pass from Boller to freshman Jordon Hunter. The score was Hunter's first career TD reception and, following another Jensen kick, the Bears increased its lead to 21-7.

Cal's defense forced the Huskies to punt on its next drive, but McLaughlin's kick hit the Bears Ray Carmel on the foot, and Washington recovered deep inside Cal territory. Led by a key tackle by Bert Watts, the Bears defense forced the Huskies to settle for a 40-yard field goal by John Anderson. With 9:33 to go in the half, Cal remained in control at 21-10.

The Bears took its 11-point lead into the locker room after Washington's Anderson missed a 34-yard field goal wide right with just over three minutes remaining in the half. In the first half, Cal exploded for 269 total yards, led by Boller's 13-of-16 for 183 yards. Cal gave up just 96 yards in the entire first half.

Washington opened the third quarter with a drive that consumed more than five minutes. The Huskies had a first-and-goal from the eight, but came up empty-handed after a stingy Cal defense forced a 21-yard field goal by Anderson that missed wide left.

The teams traded punts before Washington strung together a three-yard scoring drive capped by a 62-yard pass play from Pickett to Arnold. The Huskies Arnold beat Atari Callen for the touchdown that brought Washington to within 21-17 with 4:43 remaining in the third quarter.

Another deep pass play before the end of the third period set up Washington for its go-ahead score at the beginning of the fourth. This time Pickett found Reggie Williams across the middle of the field for 44 yards, but Callen brought him down at the four-yard line. The Bears goal line defense appeared to hold the Huskies on fourth down, but a second effort by Alexis pushed the ball into the end zone. The extra point by Anderson put Washington ahead for the first time all afternoon 24-21 with 14:32 left in the game.

Washington added to its lead with 5:26 remaining on another one-yard run by Alexis for a 31-21 edge.

Cal didn't go down quietly, however. With 3:23 to play Boller connected on his fourth touchdown pass of the game, this time it was a 20-yard strike to sophomore receiver Chase Lyman. Jensen's point-after brought the Bears back to within three at 31-28.

On Cal's next defensive series, the Bears John Klotsche sacked the Huskies Pickett to set up a third-and-10 situation with just under three minutes left in the game. An incomplete pass forced Washington to punt, giving Cal the ball on the Bears 30-yard line with 2:41 to go.

Boller went deep on first down, but his pass sailed just outside the grasp of a streaking Arnold. Following a completed short pass and a Boller sack, the Bears faced fourth-and-three from their own 36-yard line with 1:30 left. The would-be first down pass, though, slipped through Currin's arms and the Huskies were able to run out the clock.

The win marks the third straight year that Washington has come back in the fourth quarter to beat the Bears.

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