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Miracle catch forces OT, but UW can't overcome Lynch, Cal

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Marshawn Lynch played on two sprained
ankles, and No. 11 California was on its heels all day --
particularly after Washington scored the tying touchdown on the
most improbable deflected pass either team had ever seen.

Yet Lynch finally got Cal into the driver's seat with a 22-yard
scoring run in overtime. A few seconds later, he was in another
driver's seat -- careening around the field at the wheel of a
stadium cart to celebrate the Golden Bears' 31-24 victory Saturday.

Cal (7-1, 5-0 Pac-10) hadn't played a close game all season, but
this one got too close for comfort when linebacker Desmond Bishop
deflected Carl Bonnell's last-gasp 40-yard pass right into the arms
of Washington's Marlon Wood, who lunged over the goal line as time
expired.

"We thought we had it wrapped up, and then I thought Doug
Flutie was out there," Cal linebacker Zack Follett said.

Several Bears sat on the field in disbelief -- but Lynch was
unaffected, finishing off a 150-yard performance with his second
dynamic scoring run. Bishop, who made 16 tackles, redeemed himself
with a game-ending interception as the Bears kept their Bowl
Championship Series hopes on track and set off a wild celebration.

"This brings us together really tight, and it gives us some
experience we can use for the rest of the season," said Bishop,
who returned the last of Bonnell's five interceptions nearly 80
yards with the entire Cal roster running beside him.

"We know we can win big games now. We know it's inside us."

Instead of getting deflated by Washington's unbelievable
comeback, Lynch and Bishop rallied their teammates together -- and
with a superb overtime, Cal won its seventh straight game.

After Bishop finally fell down with the final interception,
Lynch commandeered the cart used to carry injured players, saying
he planned to pick up his exhausted linebacker.

The junior tailback wanted to ghost ride -- a tradition in his
native Oakland in which drivers lean horizontally out of their open
car doors -- but the cart has no doors. So Lynch jubilantly left
turn tracks on Cal's artificial turf while the student section went
crazy.

"It was a phenomenal feat, what he did," Cal coach Jeff
Tedford said of Lynch's perseverance through injury. "I don't know
about the cart, but he's an incredible player."

Lynch, who tied a school record with his 15th 100-yard
performance, barely practiced during the week to rest his sore
ankles. It didn't affect his motivation: Before the game, he
angrily rallied his teammates after watching Washington run its
pregame drills on the "Cal" logo at midfield.

Lynch made a 17-yard TD run with 1:52 to play. When Justin
Forsett ran for a 2-point conversion and a 24-17 lead, Cal appeared
to be safe after trailing much of the day against the Huskies (4-4,
2-3) and Bonnell, who was shaky but resilient in his first start in
two years in place of injured Isaiah Stanback.

But Bonnell drove the Huskies 48 yards to the Cal 40, where he
uncorked a long throw to the end zone with 6 seconds left. Bishop
or Robert Peele could have knocked it down, but instead deflected
the ball straight to Wood, who caught it and lunged over the goal
line with just his second catch of the season -- and the first TD of
his career.

"I was shocked that I actually caught it and just had to dive
to take it to overtime," said Wood, a sprinter who returns
kickoffs. "They kind of batted it out. I was lucky they didn't bat
it down."

"I just tried to catch it -- and knock it down," Bishop
lamented. "I've never even been in that situation before. I didn't
know what to do."

Washington took USC down to the final possession of a 26-20 loss
two weeks ago, and coach Tyrone Willingham's club again showed a
flair for drama -- but again couldn't finish it off.

Nate Longshore passed for 291 yards but no touchdowns as
Washington shut down Cal's big-play offensive stars -- except Lynch,
who rushed for 102 yards after halftime.

Bonnell passed for 284 yards in his first game since Stanback
was ruled out for the regular season with a severely sprained
ankle. Stanback was hurt last week in the Huskies' home loss to
Oregon State.

"Our line picked up pretty much everything they brought at
us," said Bonnell, who also rushed for a score. "We did what we
came here to do, but just didn't score enough points. We fought
hard, but we had too many turnovers."

After a disappointing second half in last week's 21-3 win at
Washington State, the Bears remained in their offensive slump.
After scoring 192 points in the first halves of their last six
games, Cal managed only Tom Schneider's field goal 2 seconds before
halftime.

Anthony Russo caught a 49-yard TD pass moments earlier for the
Huskies, who led 10-3.