Cats have defied the odds already. They lost their 12th consecutive coin toss which mathematically is a 1 in 4000 occurrence.
Although the game is close to a sellout, the stadium is slow to fill up. I was told that no alcohol was allowed on the mall until 12:30 so maybe all of the tailgaters who bought kegs are making a last dash to get their drink on.
14:11 in the first
Cory Hall makes his first UA start and gets a tackle of Marshawn Lynch on the first play.
13:13 in the first
Cats hold three and out. Lynch has two touches and just one yard of offense.
12:25 in the first
Cats spread everything out and Tuitama hits Mitchell underneath for a five yard gain. Cats actually have more yards than Cal. We'll see how long that lasts.
11:43 in the first
Remember how Cats used to kick to Reggie Bush and hold him in check? Yeah, it is not the same for DeSean Jackson. Folk kicks it to Jackson and the young punt returner fields it at the five and races 95 yards untouched for the score. That is his fourth punt return for a touchdown this season. Earlier in the week Michael Johnson said he was unfamiliar with Jackson, think he knows who he is now?
11:16 in the first
Tuitama has missed on his last three passes. He skipped a pass to Brad Wood on third and long and just missed Earl Mitchell on a streak where the big freshman was behind a Cal linebacker.
10:18 in the first
Both teams have gone three and out on each possession. Of course the Bears lead because of the punt return. Tuitama is now 1-5 for just five yards. We are less than five minutes into the game and we have already had three possessions.
8:18 in the first
Our quarterbacks are now a combined 1-9. After picking up 10 yards on the ground the Bears go to the air unsuccessfully on three straight plays. Hall picks off a pass that is deflected by Spencer Larsen and the Cats have the ball at the Bear 45.
7:54 in the first
Predictably the Cats run after a momentum changing turnover and predictably they are stopped for no gain. In two weeks the Cats have started a drive four times inside the opponent's 50 and all four times they run the ball on first down.
7:00 in the first
Mike Thomas with a great catch at the Cal 22. Tuitama floats a pass top him and Thomas stops, leaps and makes a tough grab.
6:19 in the first
The Cats have four carries for zero yards.
6:03 in the first
Cats settle for a field goal. Tuitama misses on his next two passes and s all over the place. He is 2-7 for 28 yards. Longshore is 0-3 with the pick.
The good news is that the Wildcats have scored against Cal for the first time since 2003. They have been shut out each of the last two seasons.
4:48 in the first
The Cats had bottled up Lynch but he races nearly 80 yards breaking at least five tackles. The way Wildcat tacklers are sliding off Lynch it looked like he was coated in butter or Crisco. The good news is that Lavelle Hawkins makes an illegal block about 60 yards downfield making it a 53-yard run not an 80-yard score.
3:53 in the first
Longshore completes his first pass but has to cross the line of scrimmage to do it. That is a five yard penalty from where he passes it. The Bears had first and 10 at the UA 33 and now as to punt from the UA 44.
It takes nearly 10 minutes to review but they deem that Longshore was behind the line of scrimmage when he threw the ball. Instead of punting Cal will boot a 44-yard field goal and take a 10-3 lead.
3:06 in the first
Cats pick up about three on a first down Henry run. This is the first positive gain for the UA running backs.
0:00 in the first
The Cats have surrendered two big plays and that is the difference. Cal has 10 points thanks to the punt return and the long Lynch run. Longshore is off, but Tuitama is not much better. If Tuitama settles down then the Cats may be in this one.
12:59 in the second
Cats overcome a Mike Thomas holding penalty on first down and make up seventeen yards with a third down conversion to Steptoe. They have struggled overcoming penalties so far this season.
10:15 in the second
Cory Hall is having a huge game. On second down he sniffed out a screen pass and tackled the receiver for no gain. On third and long he belts DeSean Jackson, forcing an incompletion.
9:49 in the second
Steptoe muffs the punt at the 45, gathers it in and races to the Cal 48. He made something of nothing and only had to beat one Cal defender to race for a long gain.
8:50 in the second
Arizona can't take advantage of opportunities. Cats have the ball inside Cal territory but Tuitama misses a wide open Mitchell on first down and then on third and long Anthony Johnson is unable to haul in a tough, but makeable catch.
7:25 in the second
Cal has multiple first downs for the firs time this game. Lynch and Justin Forsett with back to back bit runs.
6:14 in the second
Sadly, Johnson really knows who Jackson is now. Jackson takes a short catch, makes a move on two Wildcats and springs 62-yards for the score. During the pursuit Johnson comes up lame, it looks like a pulled hamstring. What was a close game is now a 17-3 lead. Again the offense cannot get anything going and it is hurting the Wildcats.
4:02 in the second
Now is the time where we see what the Cats are made of. They gain three on first down but Tuitama is sacked on second down and a three-yard gain on third down means the Cats will give the ball back to Cal with over 4:00 to play. The defense needs to make a stop to keep this one close. 3:56 in the second
Wait! The Cats fake it. A direct snap to Spencer Larsen which he hands off to Devin Ross who is in motion. Ross gains about 10 and the Cats have new life.
1:54 in the second
Another wasted drive. Cats get to midfield but stall and have to punt again. They will leave the Bears with about 1:50 and three timeouts to work with. Cal will have to start at their own eight and half yard line.
1:12 in the second
Cal hands off to Lynch, do not use a timeout and appear content to go into the half with a 17-3 lead.
:32 in the second
Cory Hall and Michael Klyce are now your safeties. Dominic Patrick has yet to play and Johnson likely won't. The two actually leave the field together at the half. Patrick is suited up but Johnson is walking very gingerly.
15:00 in the third:
Willie Tuitama had 25 pass attempts in the first half. I'll let that soak in for a second…IN ONE HALF! He had 17 last week in total.
12:46 in the third
Cats will go for it on fourth and inches from their own 29. This is a HUGE play.
12:30 in the third
Cats get the first…barely. In fact two different officials had two different marks and they compromised. Cats got the first by the nose of the football. So far today the Cats have gone for it twice on first down, getting it both times. They are just 2-for-11 on third down.
10:31 in the third
DeSean Jackson was drafted early in the MLB draft out of high school and shocked many when he turned down some pretty big money. If the team that is drafting him is listening, a nice fat contract would be very beneficial to the Wildcats right now. Jackson is the difference in this ball game. Without him the Bears have almost no offense.
8:08 in the third
The defense holds again and the Cats get a bout a 10-yard return from Syndric Steptoe, despite having only 10 men on the field. Maybe that would work on offense as well.
6:57 in the third
Cats decide to go with the 11 players and Tuitama and Steptoe connect on a 26-yard play. They have the ball at the 44.
6:30 in the third
The Cats score a touchdown…maybe. Mike Thomas takes a quick screen and races 44-yards for the score but the play will be reviewed. Thomas tip-toed the sideline for 40 of the 44 yards. Replay indicates he stepped out at the five. We'll see if the officials agree. Yup, replay officials rule Thomas out at the five. Now the Cats actually have to convert in the redzone. They must, and I repeat, must get a touchdown.
5:51 in the third
Two handoffs and the Cats…SCORE. On second and goal from the one Henry is met by the pile at the two, but he squirts around the left side and the Wildcats are within a touchdown 17-10.
5:41 in the third
Replay just showed the Cats post touchdown celebration. Tuitama runs over the meet Henry where the junior running back precedes to HEADBUTT his concussion prone quarterback. Not only does he hit Tuitama with his helmet, but the QB slips and falls. Memo to Chris Henry: DO NOT TOUCH WILLIE ANYWHERE NEAR HIS HEAD !. Do not head butt. Do not playfully slap. Don't even ruffle his hair.
4:23 in the third
The crowd has thinned out a bit since the half, but they got a lot louder. The Cats just sniffed out a reverse and the crowd went nuts.
3:07 in the third
Not only do the Cats hold on third down, but Cal false starts on the punt and the Cats should get the ball in pretty good field position.
2:43 in the third
How about the 50-yard line as a starting point?
2:18 in the third
Arizona just tied the game…except he dropped a sure fire touchdown. He had 20-yards on the nearest defender and just plain dropped the ball. It is inexcusable. He dropped a pass that would have gone for the tying touchdown if he had stopped and moon walked the last 20 yards.
1:28 in the third
If I have to get into a fight, I want Earl Mitchell on my side. He just turned a quick slant into a 12-yard gain by running over, through and into about four defenders.
:59 in the third
Cats try the reverse and Cal sniffs it out. To make it worse McCall blocks the Cal defender in the back. While the penalty cost the Cats 10 yards, they would have lost at least seven on the play.
:40 in the third
Grad assistant Kevin Patulo is jumping up and down the sideline screaming at Tuitama because he sees something. Willie recognizes it, checks down into another play and hits Johnson on a slant that gets the Cats about 16 or the 19 yards they need for a first down.
:00 in the third
Tuitama throws into double coverage and is picked, but it appears as if Cal will be flagged for a defensive hold. Yup, it is holding and the Cats not only retain the ball, but get a first down at the Cal 17-yard line. Cats get the untimed down.
14:55 in the fourth
A second pick and a second defensive penalty. Tuitama tried a timing pattern to Steptoe that was picked off by Daymeion Hughes but he is flagged for pass interference. There is a lot of contact on the play by both 14:11 in the fourth
Oh, by the way, the Cats are tied with Cal. Let me repeat that: THE CATS ARE TIED WITH CAL! Chris Henry beats the defense to the left side pylon by a hair.
BTW, it is the Cats' first fourth quarter touchdown since the Stephen F Austin game and the first fourth quarter points since USC came to town.
In my opinion the Cats HAVE to score next to win. They could score and surrender the lead, but I am not sure they can give all the momentum back to Cal and then grab it back.
12:39 in the fourth
Does Arizona lead? Antoine Cason just picked off the Nate Longshore and ran it back for a 39-yard score. There is a flag on the play…for excessive celebration AFTER the score. Cats now lead Cal 24-17. Cal will get good field position because of the 15-yard penalty. Nick Folk will kick from the 20.
12:30 in the fourth
Cal will start at their own 43. A good starting point but the momentum is clearly with the Cats.
11:46 in the fourth
Cal should have tied the game, but Lavelle Hawkins falls down at the one yard line after a 44-yard gain. He got behind the Wildcat safeties and Longshore hit him in stride. You have to wonder if that would have happened if the Cats were not down to their two back-up safeties.
9:51 in the fourth
The Cats hold. They stuff Lynch on first and second down, and Dane Krogstad steps in front of a Nate Longshore pass to stop them on third down. The Bears settle for the field goal and Arizona holds a 24-20 lead. I am not sure if Dane could have picked that ball off, but when the play started it looked like an easy score for Cal. Krogstad read it perfectly.
9:19 in the fourth
Ballsy call by the Cats. They throw on first down and Steptoe hauls it in for a first down and a gain of 16. That will take at least another 1:00 off the clock and gets the Cats closer to midfield.
7:43 in the fourth
Cats are now out of timeouts. They face a third and 11 but had to blow the timeout to avoid the delay of game. Second down was a quick screen to Steptoe, who had a lot of room to his right, but Anthony Johnson was unable to make a block and Step was brought down before he could cut it inside.
7:30 in the fourth
Cats complete a short pass on third and long and will now punt. Cats down the ball at about the 27 and Cal will have plenty of time and three timeouts to work with.
7:01 in the fourth
The offense took almost three minutes off the clock. Good, but not great. The good news is that the Bears must score a touchdown. The bad news is that they have two of the Pac-10's best playmakers at their disposal.
6:21 in the fourth
Third and five for the Bears. Lynch picked up five on first down and Longshore missed badly on his second down pass attempt.
6:16 in the fourth
Cal converts. Cason keeps Jackson in front of him and makes the tackle. First and 10 from the Cal 42.
5:04 in the fourth
Huge pass break-up by Wilrey Fontenot on third and five. They tried a quick hitter to Jackson and the junior corner through his hand out in front and batted the ball away. It was a similar play to the Cason pick. Cal will go for it on fourth down AND burn a timeout. They still have two.
Wait, they line up in punt formation and actually punt.
4:50 in the fourth
Steptoe fields the ball at his own 10, cuts the ball to the left side and was one player away from going the distance. Nice job by the Cal punter to seal Steptoe on the sideline. Step attempts to run over Andrew Larsen, but is brought down. He gains 28.
4:24 in the fourth
The good news is that Chris Henry gained nine yards on first down, the bad news is that he gets pushed out of bounds.
4:10 in the fourth
Cats pick up a first down and will milk some clock.
3:53 in the fourth
Henry gains one on first down. Cats have second and nine from the Cal 49.
Steptoe gets rolled up on and is helped of the field.
3:30 in the fourth
Henry gains two and Cal uses their second timeout. It is now third and seven. Cats won't have Steptoe on the play as he is still being tended to. 3:22 in the fourth
Henry gains two more, Cal uses their final timeout and the Cats will have to punt. Cal will get about 3:00 or so to try to win.
Thanks to timeouts, the Cats were only able to run about 1:30 off the clock, and that was with a first down.
3:14 in the fourth
Folk's punt was pretty darn good. He kicks away from Jackson and the ball rolls out at the 10. Cal must go 90 yards.
2:14 in the fourth
Ever felt the collective air go out of 50,000 people? I just did. DeSean Jackson catches a pass on the sideline and Antoine Cason attempts to shove him out of bounds. Jackson stays in bounds and races for the go ahead score…or does he. Replay shows he was out of bounds! Not by much, but Cason's shove forces Jackson about two inches out of bounds. No touchdown, but he Bears have the ball at the 41. The Cats have second life, can they do anything with it?
2:12 in the fourth
Klyce with a huge pass break-up. The inexperienced safety is having a good game.
2:07 in the fourth
Yet another 11-yard completion. Cats are keeping the Bear receivers in front of them but Cal has worked their way down to the UA 30.
1:58 in the fourth
A big stick by Fontenot. A Cal receiver makes a catch, but Wilrey drills him AND keeps him in bounds. Great play.
1:38 in the fourth
Someone deflects a Longshore pass and Ronnie Palmer has it! Ronnie Palmer has it! Cats should win.
:00 in the fourth
Here come the students! They flood the field. The Cats have just knocked off No. 8 California. Go crazy Tucson.