(Saturday, December 27th)
Final Score: California 24, Miami-Florida 17
San Francisco, CA (Sports Network) - Nate Longshore threw the go-ahead two- yard touchdown pass to Anthony Miller with 2:41 remaining in the fourth quarter, as California capitalized on a late turnover to beat Miami-Florida, 24-17, in the Emerald Bowl.
Jahvid Best ran for 186 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 20 carries for the Golden Bears (9-4), who won their fourth straight bowl game. Longshore connected on 10-of-21 passes for 121 yards.
Zack Follett sacked Jacory Harris, forcing a fumble, and Cameron Jordan made the recovery, and the short return set up the Golden Bears at the two. After Best was stopped for no gain, Longshore rolled to his right and threw between defenders to the end zone to find Miller for the TD and his first career catch.
"Our defense played very well, especially in forcing turnovers," said Cal coach Jeff Tedford. "It was a total team effort. We have a lot of respect for Miami, but our defense stepped up. Defense played great all night long."
Harris, who had won 31 straight starts dating back to his high school career in South Florida, completed 25-of-41 passes for 194 yards with a pair of TDs and an interception for the Hurricanes (7-6), who were short-handed due to five suspensions for players violating team rules under first-year coach Randy Shannon. That included starting QB Robert Marve. Others who missed the game were tight ends Richard Gordon and Tervaris Johnson, linebacker Jordan Futch and punt snapper Chris Ivory. Tight end Dedrick Epps didn't play because of a bruised leg.
After Cal's go-ahead TD, the Hurricanes wasted several precious seconds with a freshman at quarterback. Miami used a pair of timeouts in the third quarter, leaving them with little choice, but to try and conserve their final stoppage. Harris completed a 4th-and-1 pass to Chris Zellner, moving the ball to the Miami 44, but the Hurricanes used their last timeout with 12 seconds left to set up a 3rd-and-5 near midfield.
Harris threw incomplete and then on the final play he was pressured from behind and Graig Cooper ended up getting the loose ball, but was stopped after a 14-yard gain.
It was the ending most of the fans wanted, considering Cal was playing close to home.
"The fans were great. This was a home game, so we definitely had the advantage," said Longshore. "I didn't play like I wanted, I was too excited."
Longshore threw a short pass to wide receiver Verran Tucker, who made it to the end zone for a 76-yard score with 8:17 left in the opening quarter, but the outcome was overturned after a challenge by Shannon. Video replays showed Tucker's knee was down at the three as he was tackled from behind by Ryan Hill. Two plays later, Best was in the end zone on a run to the left side.
Best scored just over two minutes later, taking off on a 42-yard run, as the sophomore darted up the middle before cutting to the left for the TD.
"I think we made a few mistakes," said Miami linebacker Glenn Cook. "He [Jahvid Best] is a great back and we settled down and stopped him. But I think we just gave up too many big plays. We've been talking about it all week that he is a great player and it would be key for us to stop the run and contain him. We didn't do enough."
Harris threw nine yards for a score to Laron Byrd early in the second quarter and Miami tied the game midway through the third on Harris' six-yard TD strike to Thearon Collier.
Giorgio Tavecchio kicked a 23-yard field goal for Cal in the final minute of the third, but Matt Bosher evened the contest with a 22-yard boot early in the fourth.
Tavecchio was wide right on a 34-yard attempt with nearly 4 1/2 minutes left, setting up the big finish.
Best was named the offensive MVP, while Follett, who had two sacks and a team- leading nine tackles, was honored as the defensive MVP...California has won eight of its last 10 bowl games...Zellner had eight receptions for 48 yards...Cal is now 2-2 all-time vs. Miami - it's the first victory for the Golden Bears vs. the Hurricanes since a 9-7 win in Miami on October 10, 1964...Best rushed for 1,580 yards this season - the No. 2 rushing performance in a season in school history. Best also tied the school record with 15 rushing TDs in a season - also held by JJ Arrington (2004) and Justin Forsett (2007)...Cal remains undefeated while wearing its gold alternate jerseys and is now a perfect 8-0 in the gold-based outfits after originally unveiling them during the 2006 season.
12/28 01:30:16 ET