Jared Goff threw for 281 yards and three touchdowns, Jalen Jefferson had a key interception, and California hung on to beat Northwestern 31-24 Saturday in the season-opener.
The Golden Bears looked like they were on their way to an easy victory up 31-7 in the third quarter. Instead, they had to sweat this one out.
Northwestern got two touchdowns in a 25-second span late in the third to pull within 10. Jack Mitchell added a 24-yard field goal with 5:18 left in the game to make it 31-24, and the Wildcats were threatening to score again when Jefferson came up big.
With Northwestern on the California 27, he sacked Trevor Siemian for an 11-yard loss. On the next play, he picked off a tipped pass that was intended for Pierre Youngblood-Ary at the 15, and the Golden Bears came away with the win after dropping 16 straight to FBS opponents.