The University of California at Berkley ended the season at 10-1 with its only loss to USC, the nation's number one team all season, yet got ousted by the University of Texas for the final BCS spot and thus was headed to San Diego distraught, dejected, and most of all disappointed.
The Texas Tech Red Raiders played in arguably the toughest division of any conference in the country and ended the season 4th in the Big 12 after going 5-3 in conference play with losses to the University of Texas, Oklahoma, and Texas A&M. Texas Tech made the 1,000 mile journey west excited, energized, and eager to play in their best bowl since 1995.
And so it began at 5 pm Pacific Time with a sold out Qualcomm Stadium (formerly "the Murph") with Texas Tech's Sonny Cumbie playing throw and catch with nearly every receiver in his arsenal. In the first half alone Cumbie racked up 397 yards on 22 completions with Trey Haverty leading the way with 117 yards on 8 receptions including a terrific 45 yard reception down to the Cal 20 in the second quarter. Jarrett Hicks ended the half with 3 catches for 22 yards, but was lethal in the red zone catching two touchdown passes; the second being his 13th of the season which broke Texas Tech's single season record.
Cal, on the other hand was back to its usual self with running back JJ Arrington controlling the line of scrimmage and rushing for 107 yards on 15 attempts while putting up one touchdown: his 15th of the season which was gave Arrington Cal's single season touchdown record over Marcus Allen.
The score at halftime was Texas Tech 24 and Cal 14.
The second half began much like the first with Cumbie again connecting with receiver Joel Filani on the fourth play after kickoff for a 60 yard strike giving Tech a 31-14 lead.
Cal got the ball back and marched 67 yards on 11 plays finishing with a 29 yard field goal and hopes of getting back in the game, but the Texas Tech spread offense was just too much for the Golden Bears on this night.
Johnnie Mack scored just over a minute and a half later capping an 8 play-69 yard drive giving Texas Tech a 17 point lead with only 21 minutes of football left to play.
The fourth quarter began with Cal marching down the field 65 yard on 10 plays which ended with a Garrett Cross 11 yard touchdown pass from Aaron Rogers.
Momentum was beginning to shift and after a trade off of possessions Tech had the ball on their own 40 when they elected to punt on 4th down and 4 yards to go with 10:50 left in the game. This could have been a game turner with Cal only down by two touchdowns and 63,711 fans on their feet. With at least seventy five percent of those fans wearing blue and gold, but things were just not going the Golden Bear's way. On the punt a roughing the punter penalty was called and the Red Raiders got the ball back and had little trouble disposing of the number 4 team in the country after that.
With two minutes and 32 seconds left in the game, Taurean Henderson capped a 12 play 74 yard drive with a one yard score. Trey Haverty made another tremendous catch that set up Henderson's only touchdown of the game.
The Golden Bears made one last feeble attempt and quarterback Aaron Rogers scored with 43 seconds remaining on the clock, but this one was over.
The story of the night had to be Texas Tech senior quarterback Sonny Cumbie and his record-breaking evening of 60 pass attempts while completing 39 of those for 520 yards and 3 touchdowns. The former record of 59 was held by BYU quarterback Ty Detmer. Cumbie was named the Pacific Holiday Bowl offensive player of the game.
Cal Coach Jeff Tedford put it best after the game: "You have to give those guys a lot of credit. They made a lot of plays. Their quarterback's a great player, they do a great job of protecting him, and their receivers make a lot of plays. They're explosive offensively."