SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Utah spent the last two weeks downplaying its rise to No. 5 in the polls. The Utes sent a message Saturday night that they have no plans on going anywhere but up.
The team picked to finish fifth in the Pac-12 South is now the lone undefeated team remaining in the conference after a 30-24 victory over No. 23 California.
Utah had a season-high six takeaways, picking off five of Jared Goff's passes. Cal had one last possession and drove to the 21, but Boobie Hobbs knocked down Goff's fourth-down pass with 26 seconds left.
Devontae Booker ran for a season-high 222 yards and two touchdowns and added a team-high 45 receiving yards for the Utes (5-0, 2-0 Pac-12). They sit alone atop to the conference and are firmly in the College Football Playoffs discussion.
Goff threw for 340 yards and two touchdowns. The Heisman contender couldn't overcome the ball-control issues that put the Golden Bears (5-1, 2-1) in a hole.
The Utes entered the game with seven interceptions and Marcus Williams, Justin Thomas, Gionni Paul and Dominique Hatfield all picked off passes in the first half. Hatfield had another interception in the fourth quarter.
Utah quarterback Travis Wilson couldn't recapture the magic that led to a 42-point victory at Oregon two weeks ago. He finished with 170 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
The first half took nearly two hours as the two teams combined for seven turnovers.
The Utes missed several opportunities to grab a sizable lead with erratic offense. Utah scored 17 of its 24 first-half points off turnovers, but was held scoreless on two possessions after turnovers and settled for three on another. The seven-point halftime lead could have been much more had the Utes been able to put up more than three off two of Goff's interceptions and Daniel Lasco's fumble.
Cornerback Cory Butler-Byrd gave Utah a 17-10 lead in the third quarter with a 54-yard touchdown catch. The junior college transfer was considered as a full-time receiver before the season, but was moved to defense permanently during fall camp. The touchdown was the first of his career at Utah.
Goff may have been a turnover machine with four first-half interceptions, which matched his season total from the first five games, but he never became tentative. The four interceptions were a career high and he had 30 minutes left to play. His first truly bad throw may have been the fourth-quarter interception to Hatfield when he threw off his back foot while being pressured. The Golden Bears were driving to tie the game.
The five interceptions were the most for Cal it had five against Arizona State in 1998.