BERKELY -- California couldn't stop the run. Texas was averaging 204 yards on the ground per game. The Longhorns couldn't stop the run, either (ranked 111th in the nation last season), but the Bears were held to 82 net yards by the Mountain West's San Diego State last week.
Cal was a seven-point home underdog. Texas came in ranked No. 11.
But, with 1:21 to go, the Bears found themselves up, 50-43, and when Texas native Vic Enwere burst through the middle of the Cal line for an apparent 55-yard touchdown, it felt like the final shovel of dirt in a plot on Boot Hill. Then, like DeSean Jackson before him, Enwere dropped the ball. At the goal line.
The Bears got the ball back at the one, and kneeled the clock out, 50-43, Golden Bears.
"It wasn't exactly how you draw it up, but we figured out a way to get it done," said head coach Sonny Dykes.
"Couldn't go home that easy. You know how it is around here." - Vic Enwere
"Eh, we won the game, so we're going to leave it at that," Webb laughed. "No, Vic did a great job. We had two play calls going into it, and I didn't like the original play call, so we loved it, and then they flipped a formation on us. They kind of moved up front, so we needed to check it. That's credit to coach [Jake] Spavital, and teaching me on Monday night, that, 'Hey, if you get this look, check this,' so that's a credit to coach Spav, and preparing me for that look, and Vic took it the distance. The O-line blocked it up perfectly, and it won us the game. We might not have gotten seven points on it, but it won us the game."
Enwere, enjoying some heckling from the back of the room in the post-game press conference from Vince Johnson, answered for his bungle.
"I don't know; I think I was just trying to make the game as exciting as last year's ending," Enwere joked, referencing the missed extra point that clinched the game for the Bears. "I was trying to give the people what they wanted. Couldn't go home that easy. You know how it is around here."
But, Enwere then added, "Never again. I hope I don't dream about it, either. It's a lesson. I'm glad I learned it in a win, and I learned it now, rather than being down the road."
The win was the program's first over a top-15 team since the Big Game against Stanford in 2009, and the first win over a team ranked No. 11 since a Marcus Ezeff forced fumble clinched the 2007 game at Autzen Stadium against Oregon.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1707912-bttv-dykes-talks-t... "I don't think that hurt us," said Longhorns coach Charlie Strong. "Number one, the ball shouldn't have gotten down there. We had too many opportunities before that play."
"We were fortunate that Texas didn't cover that ball at the end," said Bears head coach Sonny Dykes. "It might have been a whole different press conference, had that happened. We were lucky. We learned a valuable lesson tonight. I don't think you'll ever see that happen again with any of our players."
Before that run, Enwere had already made his mark on the evening. After last season's 45-44 thriller in Austin, the Missouri City, Tex., native had Saturday's 7:30 p.m., rematch against the Longhorns circled, starred and circled again on his calendar. He wanted more of the Longhorns. Under the Memorial Stadium lights, he got it.
Brain cramp aside, Enwere finished with 110 yards on 18 carries, with two touchdowns. The last time he rushed for multiple scores? Sept. 19, 2015, against the Longhorns.
Combined with the efforts of Khalfani Muhammad -- who rushed for 27 yards on nine carries and took back six kicks for 167 yards -- Enwere and the Bears rushed for a total 111 net yards rushing (counting three sacks for -30 yards), upsetting the favored Longhorns again, and -- Wouldn't you know it? -- it was the Bears defense that turned the tide.
After a 68-point first half from Cal and Texas, the two teams who had scored a combined 182 points in their first two games settled into a defensive slog, with both teams going 0-for in the third quarter.
"We had three drives in a row that we just killed," Dykes said. "We had a third-and-short where we tried to draw them offsides, and the center snapped the ball and they didn't jump. Then, we had a receiver bust a route. We just kept shooting ourselves in the foot, there, offensively, in the third quarter, but the guys kept playing, and we made some plays, down the stretch, when we needed to."
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1702559-chad-hansen-a-moti... "We had a lull in the third quarter, and [the crowd energy] helped boost our offense to go out there and try to win the game," Hansen said. "Obviously, you saw the defense. The defense was able to stop them."
The much-maligned Bears defense held the high-powered Longhorns scoreless on offense for 24:11, and when D'Onta Foreman's 47-yard touchdown run with 13:28 left in the fourth quarter broke the spell, Cal marched right down and pulled ahead once again, scoring on a fake handoff by Davis Webb that he kept himself, adding a two-point conversion on a reverse to Chad Hansen.
Following Webb's touchdown run, the Bears forced a fumble by Foreman, leading the Longhorns to settle for a game-tying 35-yard field goal with 5:29 to go.
Once again, Cal punched back. Webb found a wide-open Jordan Veasy up the seam for 30 yards, and then found Patrick Worstell on a side-arm screen for 13, finally hitting Hansen again for the junior's second touchdown of the night to take the 50-43 lead with 3:41 left.
The louder Memorial Stadium got, the more the Cal defense responded. Nickel Cameron Walker stuck 6-foot-3, 201-pound Jerrod Heard for a loss of one on a swing. Then Devante Downs -- beaten on that Foreman run -- wrapped up quarterback Shane Buechele for a gain of two. Downs and Marloshawn Franklin then combined to sack Buechele, forcing a punt, giving the Bears the ball back with just under two minutes to go, setting the stage for Enwere's final run.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1707524-davis-webb-vs-texa... "To get those stops, defensively, that we got in the second half, and make some plays down the stretch, to be able to run the ball at the end of the game and run the clock out, to get that critical stop, all those, we'll draw tremendous amount of confidence from," Dykes said.
Webb finished 27-of-40 for 396 passing yards, while Hansen finished with 12 catches for 196 yards -- a career high. A childhood fan of the Longhorns, Webb took exception to being called "the fourth-best quarterback in the Big-12" by Longhorns defensive coordinator Vance Bedford earlier this week.
"Seeing Vance Bedford's press conference this week, him throwing jabs at me, personally, and a couple other players on our team, saying I'm a top four quarterback in the Big 12, if I was still in the Big 12, I had a lot of motivation for this game," Webb said. "We out-toughed him. We out-physicalled him. They did a great job of executing their game plan, but all week, we wanted to be a tougher team and give more effort. I think we did that tonight. They did a great job scheming us up. They really stopped us in the third quarter."
All season, Webb has in his locker, a list of people who told him he'd never make it. This week, he had a screen shot of what Bedford said at that press conference.
"I don't get into media clippings; I really don't," Webb said. "I had a couple close friends hit me up, saying they screenshotted the press conference or the quotes, and I put it as my screen saver this whole week. I took it pretty personal. I don't see why he had any room to say that. Once I saw that, I took it pretty personal. That's just me talking right now. I think our team did a great job tonight, and put in the effort out-toughing them, as a team. That's why we won the game, along with a great student section and a great fan base."
Cal had a 40/40 split with running plays and passing plays (the three sacks make it more like 43/37), after Webb threw 72 times against San Diego State last week, with just 19 team runs. The more balanced playbook allowed nine different Bears to catch passes, and spread the field.
"I think our O-line played great," Webb said. "We challenged them this week to be able to run the ball effectively, and they did that, and then some. Texas's D front is no joke. They're a big-time, five-star or four-star recruits. Malik Jefferson played a great game. Kris Boyd played a good game. There are so many guys on that side of the ball that played really well. I think it's just a credit to our O-line and our coaching staff."
After allowing scores on each of Texas's first four possessions, Cal held the Longhorns without an offensive score from 7:43 left in the second quarter until 13:28 in the fourth.
A pick by Chibuzo Nwokocha led to Enwere's fourth career rushing touchdown against the Longhorns with 9:43 left in the first half, and then, with 1:18 left before halftime, safety Luke Rubenzer jumped underneath a route covered over the top by Darius Allensworth and took his second pick of the season back 32 yards.
http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1707921-big-12-official-ex..."I guess throughout the game, you kind of get a bead on the quarterback, and I guess, being a [former] quarterback, I had an instinct to pick up his bead pretty quick," Rubezner said. "I jumped a couple routes early, but just couldn't get there in time. I think I got a really good jump on that one, and I just made a play. Pretty good timing, I guess."
Two plays later, Webb found his favorite target Hansen for a 23-yard touchdown fade, giving the Bears their first lead of the night, a lead Cal would take into halftime, after the Bears defense forced a missed field goal try with time expiring.
"The first half was figuring out what they wanted to do against us, but we did a pretty good job of figuring it out, at least towards the end of the first half, and going into the second half," Rubenzer said. "There's always work to do."
Rubenzer then glanced down at the stat sheet: 307 yards allowed, rushing, and 568 total yards of offense.
"It's too many," Rubenzer said. "We've got to clean that up, but at the end of the day, we did what we had to do to keep the game close, and let the offense have a chance to win, and that's what they did."
After holding the Longhorns scoreless for their final three drives of the first half, the Bears continued that trend in the second, with Ray Davison coming up with two big stops on Texas's first drive to force a missed field goal, and Franklin breaking up a pass intended for Armanti Foreman on third-and-eight to force a punt. Davison exited with 2:40 left in the third after colliding with receiver Heard, but returned midway through the fourth. He had a career-high 12 tackles.
Cal and the Longhorns traded early scores, with the Bears marching 84 yards down field -- and Webb completing 4-of-5 passes for 80 of those yards -- and finishing with a 15-yard fade to Veasy, and Texas answering with a four-yard run from Warren.
That score and Texas's next touchdown -- a 12-yard Warren run which featured three broken tackles -- came on drives where the Bears defense had a 15-yard penalty. The first was a roughing the passer penalty, and the second was a facemask by Cameron Saffle.
"I actually think four of their drives, if I'm not mistaken, had a 15-yard penalty as part of that," Dykes said. "We talked to our guys at halftime about that, about just being disciplined and playing within themselves. We were kind of killing ourselves, in some ways."
In contrast, Texas didn't commit its first offensive penalty until there was 3:42 left in the first half -- a false start by Brandon Hodges.
Up 17-7, Texas, though, committed a costly penalty of its own. After a 24-yard return by Muhammad (who had a big return-saving tackle of his own at the end of the first quarter), Webb hit a 24-yard inside screen to Hansen, then got a gain of 11 from Enwere on the ground, and another four on a dump-off to the Missouri City, Tex., native. Webb, from the 29, looked up top for his favorite target Hansen, but just overthrew him. 10 yards back, though, there was a flag: Defensive holding.
With new life at the Longhorns' 19-yard line, Webb found freshman Demetris Robertson on the left. The first-year five-star made two defenders miss, before being brought down at the three. The ball popped loose as he hit the ground, and the Longhorns returned it to the Cal 45, with only Muhammad providing the stop. THat play, though, was called back, as Robertson was ruled down. Two Enwere runs later, and the Bears had pulled to within a score, down 17-14, as the first quarter came to a close.
That didn't last long, as yet another Cal penalty turned a 44-yard pass from Swoopes to Armanti Foreman into a 55-yard gain, thanks to a facemask flag thrown on Allensworth.
A D'Onta Foreman four-yard touchdown with 13:31 left in the half put the Longhorns up, 24-14, but even that was short-lived.
Swoopes -- who had taken every quarterback snap back of center since Buechele went to the locker room with 7:16 left in the first quarter -- lofted a slant to Collin Johnson, that went off the leaping Johnson's fingertips and into the waiting hands of Nwokocha for his first career interception.
"I think that my guess is that we hurt Beuchele a little bit, because I saw him get sacked," Dykes said. "It looked to me like he might have banged his shoulder up a little bit, and so they put Swoopes in, and he's a load. He's hard to tackle. He did a pretty good job at executing the offense. I thought the turnover that we got on the post route that we tipped that was intercepted was a big play for us. When he goes in the ballgame, they're certainly more apt to run, and they're certainly more apt to run the quarterback, and probably not as apt to throw the ball. We had some little packages when he came in that we're going to change some coverages and try to get more guys in the box to stop the run."
A pair of runs by Tre Watson, a 38-yard bomb by Webb to Hansen along the near sideline and two powerful Enwere runs later, Cal was back to within three points, with 9:43 left in the half.
Buechele, though, returned to lead the next drive, and promptly marched Texas 80 yards down field, completing 3 of his first 4 passes, including a 41-yard touchdown to Jacorey Warrick over Walker to put Texas ahead, 31-21.
Muhammad's longest return of the night -- a 44-yard take back -- set up a masterful drive by Webb to draw the Bears to within three, yet again. On third-and-six, Webb hit Melquise Stovall for nine yards on a quick out, but then missed Stovall diving at the sticks on first-and-10 at the Texas 45. After Muhammad ran for a yard, Webb approached the line on third-and-nine.
With seven seconds left on the play clock, Webb changed the play, setting Muhammad in motion, going right. Calling for the snap with two seconds left on the play clock, Webb looked to Muhammad on the right side, getting the defense to bite, then swung back around to the left to hit Brandon Singleton for 15 yards.
"[Webb] changed a bunch [of plays]," Dykes said. "He was checking run a lot, primarily checking runs and screens and that type of stuff, when we got certain looks. That play, in particular, it was a heck of a play call by Jake, it was. I thought that was a big play, jump-started the drive. What we're trying to do is fake the screen, pull the lineman down to the line of scrimmage. They stayed behind the line, the linebackers flowed to play the screen, and we run Veasy in the middle of the field there, and I thought that was a big way to stat the drive."
Two plays later, he lofted a 29-yard touchdown pass to Stovall, off a double move outside release.
"That was a heck of a play call by Jake Spavital," Dykes said. "I thought he did a great job setting it up. Davis executed well."
After the Stovall touchdown, the Bears forced a punt with a safety blitz sack from Khari Vanderbilt, but the Bears squandered the ensuing drive, with a Malcolm Roach sack of Webb. Texas safety Brandon Jones blocked Dylan Klumph's punt through the back of the end zone for a safety, putting the Longhorns up by five with 1:32 to go in the first half.
Rubenzer's 32-yard interception return set the stage for the Bears to take a 35-33 lead with 55 seconds left on the 23-yard fade to Hansen, who flashed the Horns Down sign in celebration.
Cal again committed a 15-yard penalty -- this one an unsportsmanlike conduct on DeVante Wilson after an incomplete pass by Buechele, but the defense held, preventing a score on each of the Longhorns' final three possessions of the half, the safety notwithstanding.
"Our guys just kept hanging in there and kept battling," Dykes said. "We got them in some long-yardage situations, and when we did that, we got them on the ground. We needed to. Once we quit giving them 15 yards on those drives and made them earn it, we had a lot more success."