Sports

Goff throws for 3 TDs, Jefferson gets key INT as Cal beats Northwestern 31-24

  • California quarterback Jared Goff (16) throws a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    California quarterback Jared Goff (16) throws a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Northwestern in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)  (The Associated Press)

  • Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) looks to a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against California in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    Northwestern quarterback Trevor Siemian (13) looks to a pass during the first half of an NCAA college football game against California in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)  (The Associated Press)

  • Northwestern linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo, right, sacks California quarterback Jared Goff (16) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

    Northwestern linebacker Chi Chi Ariguzo, right, sacks California quarterback Jared Goff (16) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Evanston, Ill., Saturday, Aug. 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)  (The Associated Press)

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.