(Saturday, November 1st)
Final Score: California 26, (23) Oregon 16
Berkeley, CA (Sports Network) - Nate Longshore threw for 136 yards and one touchdown on 13-of-27 passing, as the California Golden Bears notched a 26-16 win over 23rd-ranked Oregon in sloppy conditions at Memorial Stadium.
Longshore came into the game for starter Kevin Riley, who left after getting shaken up on a hit in the first quarter. Riley was 7-for-12 for 80 yards, with one TD and interception each for the Bears (6-2, 4-1 Pac-10), who have won four of five.
"He's come off the bench before this year, at Washington State, but under totally different conditions," Cal head coach Jeff Tedford said. "But he's a veteran; he's been in a lot of games before. Sure, coming off the bench is a little bit new for him, but it was no big deal. He got in there and had great focus."
Jahvid Best ran for 93 yards on 16 attempts, while Shane Vereen had 61 yards and a TD on 21 rushes for Cal. Nyan Boateng and Jeremy Ross each had a touchdown reception.
Jeremiah Johnson led a stout Oregon rushing attack with 117 yards and one TD on 20 carries, while Jeremiah Masoli ran for 97 yards and a score on 21 attempts.
But Masoli passed for just 44 yards, completing only seven of his 21 attempts, and was intercepted twice for the Ducks (6-3, 4-2), who had won two in a row. Justin Roper also handled quarterbacking duties for Oregon, but was successful on just 4-of-11 passes for 40 yards.
A touchdown run by Johnson drew Oregon within 19-16 late in the third quarter, but a few missed opportunities saw the game slip away for the Ducks. Kicker Matt Evensen missed a 29-yard field goal in a steadily falling rain 1 1/2 minutes into the fourth quarter.
Oregon forced a punt, but Jairus Byrd let the ball go off his hands on the return. Cal's Marcus Ezeff recovered at the Ducks six-yard line, and on second down Vereen splashed into the end zone on a two-yard run, giving the Bears a 26-16 lead with 8:57 remaining.
Oregon was unable to score the rest of the game, as Cal ran down the clock to help seal the game.
The Ducks got a leg up early in the first quarter after Riley's pass was intercepted by Spencer Paysinger near midfield. Oregon worked down the field in shotgun, as Masoli completed passes of six and 13 yards, then dashed 17 yards into the end zone. The point-after was no good after a fumbled snap, however, leaving the Ducks with a 6-0 lead just 2 1/2 minutes into the game.
But Cal responded with a nine-play, 71-yard scoring drive to take the lead. Riley capped the drive with a 22-yard TD pass to Ross to give the Bears a 7-6 advantage.
Cal started another drive later in the quarter at its own 20, and Best began with a long run into Oregon territory, only to have it go for naught with a fumble. Oregon took over at its own 30, but gave up a safety on a botched punt snap for a 9-6 Cal lead with 6:14 left in the first quarter.
On the ensuing Bears drive Riley took a big hit and walked off the field woozily, as Longshore came in. He was able to keep Cal moving downfield, but fumbled deep in Ducks territory to stymie the series early in the second quarter.
The skies darkened and the rain started to fall more heavily, as both teams found it harder to hang onto the ball. Best fumbled again on the next Cal drive, leading to Oregon taking the ball at the Bears 17.
But Oregon couldn't take advantage of the great field position, as a Masoli pass was intercepted by Sean Cattouse. A Vereen fumble near midfield ruined another Cal drive later in the second quarter.
Giorgio Tavecchio missed a 41-yard field goal for Cal with 3:15 left in the half, but the Bears actually managed to increase their lead with a late TD. After Masoli was intercepted and Worrell Williams ran it back 50 yards to the three-yard line, Longshore completed a two-yard pass to Boateng in the end zone on second down. With 18 ticks on the clock, it gave Cal a 16-6 lead at the break.
"We got five takeaways in the first half and, other than the first one, we were not able to capitalize," Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti said. "Give Cal credit, they stymied us at the line of scrimmage. That was very frustrating. I thought our defense played extremely well and out-hit that Cal team."
Oregon managed to get back within a touchdown after a 39-yarder from Evensen, but Tavecchio followed with a 33-yard kick to make it a 19-9 game midway through the third.
The Ducks started a drive later at their own 45, and advanced downfield thanks to some long runs. Johnson started with a 17-yard dash before Masoli went for 21 yards to the 17. Johnson then ran up the middle through a seam, slanted left and ran for another 17 yards into the end zone, bringing Oregon within 19-16 with 3:49 left in the third stanza.
Boateng finished with three receptions for 56 yards for Cal, while Verran Tucker caught six passes for 83 yards...Terence Scott had three catches for 35 yards...Cal faces USC next Saturday...Oregon hosts Stanford next weekend.
11/02 00:09:13 ET