RECAP: Late pick-six by Davis Webb costs Cal 51-41 decision to Arizona State

A pick-six and an onside kick returned for a touchdown highlight a series of miscues by California as the Bears fall, 51-41, to Arizona State.

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The Thursday before last year's clash between Arizona State and California, Bears cornerback Darius Allensworth was riding his scooter up Durant, stopped at Shattuck Ave. As he turned left, the car next to him turned too, pushing him over and dragging him along the pavement. Allensworth was sent to the hospital. Cal kept the accident quiet. Two days later, Allensworth, still with scrapes and bruises across his hands and legs, suited up.

"My ribs were hurt, a little whiplash, nothing too bad," Allensworth said this week. He still played 25 snaps. After halftime, he just couldn't keep going, so he let the offense take over. The Bears came back from down 21 points, and with a 34-yard field goal from Matt Anderson, Cal pulled off the win. 

On Saturday, in Tempe, Ariz., it was the Bears who were caught up under the wheels of the Sun Devils, who scored 31 points in the fourth quarter en route to a 51-41 victory.

Quarterback Davis Webb threw two costly interceptions -- including one returned for a touchdown by linebacker Salamo Fiso -- and fumbled the ball at the Sun Devils' 26 on the final drive, while an onside kick in the waning moments was recovered by El Cerrito (Calif.) alum D.J. Calhoun and returned 48 yards for a score.

http://www.scout.com/college/california/story/1710419-fifth-quarter-cal-...Arizona State averaged 0.67 turnovers per game coming into Saturday. Against Cal (2-2, 0-1 in Pac-12), the Sun Devils came up with three, all within the final seven minutes.

"We left a lot of plays out on the field," head coach Sonny Dykes said.

Webb went 32-of-56 for 478 yards, but after taking a 24-10 lead into halftime and running 62 plays, Webb and the Bears hit the brakes. Webb went 15-of-26 after the break, with Chad Hansen being held to just two catches for five yards after the break.

Cal came into Saturday ranked 126th of 128 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision, but held the 16th-best rushing offense in the nation -- averaging 260.7 yards per game -- to a paltry 76 rushing yards in the first half.

Sun Devils running back Kalen Ballage came up lame after a seven-yard slant in the first quarter, after linebacker Ray Davison -- who had a career-high 2.5 tackles for loss by the end of the first half alone -- brought him down, and then rolled over his leg. Ballage limped off in pain, holding his knee with 4:15 left in the first quarter. Ballage -- who scored eight touchdowns against Texas Tech two weeks ago -- missed the entire first half with a left knee injury.

Once he came back, though, Ballage rushed 19 times for 66 yards, and the Bears defense couldn't make up for the offensive misfires, allowing 89 yards on the ground in the second half, as Arizona State quarterback Manny Wilkins set the tone for the second half with his first drive, an 11-play, 75-yard march keyed by former Bears commit Jalen Harvey.

Harvey -- who had four catches on the season coming in -- hauled in two catches for 42 yards on the scoring drive, which ended in a one-yard scoring scamper by Wilkins on a lead block from Demario Richard.

Wilkins hit eight of his first 10 passes after the break, and went 16-for-20 in the second half for 228 yards.

Cal responded with a 47-yard field goal from Anderson, and despite a missed tackle from Devante Downs -- who sacked Wilkins on the drive that ended in Zane Gonzalez's first of three field goals -- held Arizona State to another Gonzalez field goal, pulling the Sun Devils to within a score, down 27-20.

Wilkins then marched Arizona State down the field again, with a seven-play, 62-yard drive, hitting Cameron Smith for 10, and then rushing for two and finding Ballage for nine to more than make up for a false start. Wilkins then hit his next three straight passes, including a 24-yard strike to Tim White against safety Jacob Anderson to set up a three-yard touchdown run, one of Wilkins's three rushing touchdowns on the day with 9:44 to go to tie things up at 27.

After a 74-yard catch-and-run screen to Tre Watson gave Cal the 34-27 lead, Wilkins answered right back, hitting a 30-yard scoring strike to uncovered, 6-foot-4, 249-pound J.J. Wilson.

Hansen -- Cal's biggest offensive weapon -- had his fourth straight 100-yard receiving game by halftime, but after a hard-fought first half, cornerback Kareem Orr completely shut him down in the second, with Laiu Moeakiola jumping a Hansen route underneath for a 28-yard pick six with 2:52 remaining.

As Arizona State gained ground, Cal's offense sputtered, with only one passing play for over 10 yards in the third quarter -- a 39-yard strike from Webb to Demetris Robertson, who tallied his first career 100-yard game with 103 yards on four catches.

Webb hit a 19-yarder to Robertson to the soft spot in zone with less than 12 minutes left in the fourth quarter, and then the 74-yard screen to Watson for a touchdown in the fourth. Webb hit four more long balls on a scoring drive with 48 seconds left, with his 26-yard toe-drag score to Robertson got the Bears within three, but the Calhoun take-back ended any thoughts of a comeback.

Even so, Cal got down to the Arizona State 26, before a sack by Koron Crump forced Webb to fumble with 11 seconds to go, sealing the win for the Sun Devils.

The Bears return home next week to take on No. 24 Utah, which came back from down 14 points to beat USC on Friday night, 31-27.

Notebook

  • Webb completed 32-of-56 passes for 478 yards, 5 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Webb has now thrown for 18 touchdown passes and 1,837 yards in his first four games at Cal. Webb has passed for at least 400 yards in three of four games this season; the only time he did not meet the total was in the win over Texas when he finished with 396 yards through the air.
  • Hansen  ended the night with 10 catches for 110 yards and a touchdown, his fourth-straight 100-yard receiving performance. He now has 50 receptions on the season.
  • Both Hansen and Robertson surpassed 100 yards receiving. Hansen had 10 catches for 110 yards and a score, while Robertson finished with 4 receptions for 103 yards and two TDs. It was the first time this season that two Bears receivers had 100-yard games on the same night.
  • Cal and ASU combined for 45 points in the fourth quarters (14 Cal, 31 ASU), which is the third most in a quarter by both teams in school history. The record is 56 at Washington State in 2014 (3rd quarter), while Cal and Arizona combined for 50, also in 2014 (4th quarter).
  • Allensworth's interception was the second of his career.
  • Cal's 98-yard scoring drive for its first score of the game was its longest drive for distance of the season.
  • Matt Anderson missed a 42-yard field goal on his first attempt of the night to snap his streak of 17 consecutive makes. He came back to connect on his next two tries from 20 and 47 yards. The 47-yarder was one yard shy of his career long.
  • Freshman Melquise Stovall caught a season-high 40-yard reception in the first quarter.
  • Jordan Veasy his first career start and safety Luke Rubenzer made his first start of the season.

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