BERKELEY, Calif. – James Looney and the California defense stuffed Utah running back Zack Moss at the 1-yard line as the game clock expired and the Bears came away with a 28-23 Pac-12 Conference victory Saturday night in Memorial Stadium.
A pass interference gave the Utes a first-and-goal at the 2 with 14 seconds left in the game. Moss ran for a yard on first down and Utah quarterback Troy Williams passed incomplete on second down, leaving just three seconds left on the game clock.
After a Utah timeout, Williams handed to Moss on what looked like a shotgun read play. But the Ute RB never had a chance, taking a hard hit from Looney at the 2-yard line, stonewalling any forward momentum for the freshman from Florida.
As he hit the turf, the stadium erupted in cheers and Cal players ripped off their helmets in celebration.
Utah, 4-1 overall and 1-1 in the Pac-12, got a crucial stop on defense to set up the final drive. Pita Taumoepenu sacked Bears quarterback Davis Webb for a loss of 12 yards inside the Cal 15-yard line with five minutes left in the game, forcing a punt.
Another Cal penalty, an unsportsmanlike conduct infraction, helped set the Utes up at the Cal 49-yard line with 4:21 left in the game.
Williams hit Rae Singleton for 15 yards and then Armand Shyne rushed for back-to-back 6-yard gains to give Utah a first down at the Bears 22-yard line.
Moss, who rushed for 72 yards in the game, ripped off a 13-yard carry to put the ball on the 9 for first-and-goal.
But the drive stalled from there and the Utes faced a fourth-and-goal from the 11 with 20 seconds left in the game. After a timeout, Williams dialed up Singleton’s number once again, this time drawing a pass interference call on the Bears.
That set up the first-and-goal for Utah with 14 seconds left and led to the final sequence and the Bears victory.
Cal had taken a 28-17 lead in the fourth quarter after Webb hit Deme Robertson for a 56-yard scoring strike with 9:06 left in the game.
Utah countered with a seven-play, 75-yard drive that cut the deficit to 28-23 after a 1-yard Moss dive. The short TD was set up by a Williams pass for 35 yards to Tyrone Smith. The two-pointer was missed on an incomplete pass by Williams, leaving the Bears advantage at five points with 6:36 left in the game. But the Utes got the stop they needed to set up the final drive.
Williams passed for 266 yards in the game with no TDs or interceptions. Shyne led the team in rushing with 99 yards as Utah rolled to 442 yards, far outpacing Cal’s total of 362 yards gained. Singleton had seven catches for 98 yards.
Webb threw for 306 yards and connected on a pair of scoring passes to Chad Hansen and Robertson to lead the Golden Bears (3-2, 1-1 Pac-12).
The Utes return home to take on Arizona next Saturday.
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