Bruins Fall At No. 10 Cal, 38-24
Nov. 4, 2006
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Marshawn Lynch caught one of Nate Longshore's three touchdown passes and ran for another score as No. 10 California won its eighth straight, 38-24 over UCLA on Saturday night.
Robert Jordan had two touchdown catches and DeSean Jackson romped 72 yards on his school-record fourth TD punt return in just 20 games at first-place Cal (8-1, 6-0), which moved one big step closer to its first conference title since 1975.
Longshore was 20-of-24 for 266 yards, and Lynch had 126 total yards on a chilly night beneath the temporary light stanchions at Memorial Stadium, where the Golden Bears haven't lost in six games this season.
With scouts from the Rose Bowl in attendance, the Bears struggled on defense but showed off the explosive offense they hope will lead them to their first postseason trip to Pasadena since 1959.
Cal, which hasn't been 6-0 in conference play since 1950, has a one-game lead on USC, which beat Stanford 42-0 across the Bay. They'll meet at the Coliseum on Nov. 18, after Cal travels to face Arizona next week and the Trojans play Oregon.
Patrick Cowan passed for 329 yards and ran for a score in his fourth start as UCLA (4-5, 2-4) outgained Cal 516-433, but repeatedly failed to capitalize on strong drives in the Bruins' fourth consecutive loss. Reliable kicker Justin Medlock missed two field goals, and Cowan threw two interceptions in Cal territory.
Chris Markey got 70 of his 136 yards rushing on a late TD run for the Bruins, who must win two of their final three games - all against schools with winning records - to earn bowl eligibility.
The Bears won with big performances from their talented cousins. Jordan, Lynch's second cousin and closest friend, often gets overshadowed by the bigger names in Cal's big-play offense. But with an early 10-yard TD catch and a 44-yard score in the second half, Jordan took a starring role.
And then Jackson, who already has scored 19 total touchdowns for Cal as a sophomore, provided another electric moment late in the third quarter.
Jackson caught Aaron Perez's punt and took two steps to his left, then reversed his field and picked up a crushing block from Thomas DeCoud before juking Perez and outrunning the rest of the Bruins to the end zone. Jackson has returned three punts for scores this season.
Both DeCoud and UCLA's Korey Bosworth were knocked flat by their frightening collision, but both eventually made it to the sideline.
Memorial Stadium was filled with 72,516 fans for its second sellout of the season - and just the fifth for any opponent except Stanford since the 1950s.
Cal wore its bright-yellow alternate jerseys for the first time since beating Oregon four weeks ago in another night game. But UCLA looked much sharper early, moving the ball with relative ease throughout the first half.
Lynch, who rushed for 302 yards in the last two games to take the Pac-10 lead, turned a bottled-up reception into a 24-yard TD in the second quarter, slipping a handful of tackles with his usual brute grace.
Cal's Desmond Bishop made a diving interception 14 seconds before halftime, securing the Bears' 14-10 lead at the break despite UCLA's 248 total yards. Longshore was 14-of-15 in the first half.
After Medlock missed his second field goal on UCLA's first drive of the second half, Longshore hit Jordan with a perfect 44-yard TD throw.
Cal cornerback Daymeion Hughes got his conference-best eighth interception in the second half.