Cats end streak, beat Cal 38-24

Just when it appeared that the Cal/Arizona series was not going to continue the trend of peculiar games after a two-year hiatus, the Bears mounted a fourth quarter comeback that gave Wildcats fans visions of previous bizarre finishes in the unpredictable series.

Arizona scored on four consecutive drives at the end of the first half and the Cats continued the early domination to stake themselves to a 38-3.

The fourth quarter saw an Idaho-like comeback, led by quarterback Kyle Boller who was in relief of starter Reggie Robertson. Boller took advantage of four Wildcat second half turnovers and sparked the Bears to three fourth quarter touchdowns.

The Wildcats hung on for the 38-24 win at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. The win snapped two major streaks. Arizona ended a painful ten game conference losing streak. The 14-point win also ended the trend of close games in the series. The 12 previous contests had been decided by seven points or less.

"We've been getting better every week," said head coach John Mackovic. " I am real proud of the way we played.

The Bears moved the ball well on their first two possessions, but the Wildcats were able to hold them once the drives ventured inside the Cats' 30. Each drive concluded with a field goal attempt. Cal's first effort missed badly but the second split the uprights and gave the Bears the early 3-0 lead.

"Our defense did a terrific job, they (Cal) sure couldn't get much early on," Mackovic said.

Farmer got the Cats on the board first when he found a hole on the right side and streaked 65-yards for the score.

After the Farmer run it was all Jason Johnson. Johnson recovered from a shaky outing against USC and connected on four touchdown passes, three to Bobby Wade.

"Jason was sharp today," said Mackovic. "He made some great throws.".

The Cats got great field position after a short punt gave them the ball at the Cal 41. The offense mixed run and pass to get inside the Cal five yead line. Out of a no-receiver, power-I formation Johnson play faked and hit Justin Levassuer in the endzone to give Arizona the 14-3 lead.

The Bears tried to answer, but a costly turnover killed the drive. Robertson moved the Bears inside the Arizona five but on third and goal he had the ball knocked loose and following a scramble the Cats recovered at the Cal 25.

Arizona took advantage of the fumble, and it was all Bobby Wade. The drive started with a reverse to Wade that lost six yards. The Arizona junior recovered and got the team a first down at midfield with a third-down reception. The next play Johnson hit Wade on the sideline, where he slipped a Cal tackler and raced 50 yards for the UA's third touchdown in as many possessions. Arizona led 21-3 late in the third quarter.

With the first half winding down the Cats decided to keep attacking the Bears. They mixed run and pass, utilizing their timeouts well and capped the drive with a Johnson toss to Wade with one second left in the half.

It looked like the second half was going to start just like the first half as Gary Love returned the kick off 59 yards to get the Cats great field position at the Cal 34. Before the Cats could capitalize on the runback a UA fumble gave Cal their first stop in five possessions.

Another fumble stopped a promising drive on the next possession. On third and 14 Johnson scrambled long enough to find Andrae Thurman in Cal territory, but after making the catch and a number of great moves, Thurman coughed up the football and Cal took over.

The Cats continued to use the tight end and Levassuer fit the bill. Johnson hit the 235 pound tight end for 48 yards to get the Cats out a deep hole at the Bear 12 yard line. Once again Wade finished the drive with another touchdown reception. The Cats led 38-3 in the third quarter.

The Bears got back into the game utilizing two turnovers and converting them into two touchdowns. A 38-3 lead was suddenly 38-17 and the ghost of Berkeley Past was rearing it's ugly head.

"In the fourth quarter they got a little fire, but we had some of our subs in," Mackovic noted.

The Bears weren't done. Kyle Boller in relief of Robertson continued the fourth quarter comeback when he avoided the Wildcat pass rush and heaved a long, 44-yard touchdown pass which further cut into the Wildcat lead, 38-24.

Cal could get no closer as the Wildcat defense held on to up their record to 4-5, while Cal remained winless.

Wildcat Authority Top Stories