The Golden Bears rolled to another upset victory as they beat the Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday night by a score of 55-38.
The victory moved the Bears to 6-4 on the season, and with two games left ensured that this will be the first non-losing season since 1995. If the Bears can win just ONE of the remaining two games it will be the first winning season since 1993 (the fabulous Keith Gilbertson era). It was also Cal's first win over ASU in 9 years.
The game was another nail-biter - the 5th out of the last 6 for the Bears. The slim 21-17 lead at the half was major cause for concern, especially as the Bears have played poorly in the 2nd half of games this year and the Sun Devils were one of the Pac-10's highest scoring 2nd half teams. Cal also lost the turnover battle by losing the ball three times to ASU's one in the first half.
The 3rd quarter did not bode well for a victory, despite the 85 yard interception return and a blocked a punt for a touchdown. The Cal offense was ineffective and the ASU offense appeared unstoppable - scoring seemingly at will against the Cal defense and taking a 3 point lead with just over 2 minutes to go in the 3rd quarter. It appeared that the rout was on....and this Cal team has never won a game it trailed.
But then the Bears suprised everyone by mounting a 49-yd. scoring drive to tie the game at 38-38. The fumble recovery set up a go-ahead field goal, and Cal suddenly had a game dominating running game. ASU never scored again, and the final two Cal touchdowns provided the margin of victory.
Cal also improved on it's high ranking in turnover margin, as the Bears had the 3 first-half turnovers to ASU's 4 for the game. Boller threw for FIVE touchdown passes, and Joe Igber rushed for 142 yards.
Cal Coach Jeff Tedford:
Joe Igber had a quote to remember :
And HO'TFAA Member Greig Lowell had this to say:
I saw very few plays of the game, but judging from the information on the scoreboard (down and distance, yard lines, etc.) the 2002 Bears played a lot like the 2001 Bears.
The mighty effort to score seemed too familiar. Two offensive penalties, requiring a 50-yard field goal, were haunting reminders of the Holmoe era." (Editor's Note: This quote was supposed to be in the article about the Cal-OSU game. Our apologies.)
This game was another victory for Cal fans to relish, and the 4th victory over a ranked team. This has been a season of great wins - any one of which would have "made the season" over the last 10 years. With Cal fans starting to talk about actually WINNING a Big Game over the Willingham-less Cardinal, this will be one of the most memorable seasons in recent memory. It is currently only overshadowed by the 1991 season...but a Big Game victory might even outshine that season, if for no other reason than the fact that this team has so greatly exceeded all but our wildest expectations.