Cal losing to Washington. These were about the only sure things in this world, until this week.
The Golden Bears defeated the #12 Washington Huskies 34-27, on Saturday October 5th, in Seattle. Cal led late into the 4th quarter, but this has been a series that has been marked by number of terrible last-minute losses by the Bears.
This game was no different. The Bears led the game 34-18 with just under 5 minutes to go when the Huskies scored on a one-yard run to pull within 8. The two-point conversion attempt failed, but on the Bears next possession Joe Igber fumbled and the Huskies were once again in range of a miracle comeback against the Bears. The Cal Defense was able to hold them to a field goal at the 1:57 mark, and the Bears recovered the onside kick to preserve the victory and end their longest record of futility against a Pac-10 opponent.
Cal has lost 19 consecutive games to the Huskies, and the Huskies had won 17 consecutive games in Seattle. The oddsmakers didn't have much faith in the Bears - making them 12 point underdogs for the game.
ESPN.com might have underlined this victory best of all with their headline story in the college football section of the web site:
The Cal defense played a great game - putting intensive pressure on Pickett, the Washington quarterback, and playing extremely tight coverage on the receivers. The Bears also won the turnover battle again; the only turnover was Igber's late game fumble, compared to Washington's fumble and 2 interceptions.
Making the game even MORE delicious was the whining by the defeated Husky players after the game:
Even better was the claim by one of the Huskies of unfair officiating, in their own stadium:
(Editors Opinion: Great stuff, Reggie. I'm don't think you'll get benched next week, because there's nothing a coach likes better than having a player rip the officials after a loss. Maybe, to REALLY emphasize your point, you should have also insulted the officals' families. Hope you spend the rest of the season getting tackled downfield, with no ref. seeing anything wrong. And yes - we remember the 1991 game with the crackback blocks.)
Jeff Tedford had this to say about the game:
And HO'TFAA member Tim Hough's quote was shorter, and more to the point:
This has been a Cal team that has exceeded every expectation. Two huge road wins over ranked teams have given the "Golden Jeff Tedfords" (ESPN quote) national recognition. The Bears have won a conference game for the first time in two years, and a winning season is well within reach. The only sore spot on the season is that the Bears lost two heartbreakingly close games at home to #25 Air Force (5-0) and #17 Washington State (5-1). It isn't too hard to see this as a 5-1 team, or even 6-0, instead of just a 4-2 giant killer in the "Others Receiving Votes" category.
But this is an extremely trival complaint, especially after today's season-making victory ending 26 years of futility. On to USC! GO BEARS!