3:30 PM ET, October 25, 2008
Memorial Stadium (Berkeley, CA), Berkeley, CA
BERKELEY, Calif. -- Kevin Riley threw a 53-yard touchdown pass to Nyan Boateng on a flea-flicker in the fourth quarter, and Mike Mohamed returned an interception 19 yards for a score 19 seconds later in California 's 41-20 victory over UCLA on Saturday.
After taking a four-point lead into the fourth quarter, the Golden Bears (5-2, 3-1 Pac-10) turned it into a rout with 24 straight points, keeping them unbeaten at Memorial Stadium this season.
Cal's defense covered for its mediocre offense and atrocious special-teams play with four interceptions, including Marcus Ezeff's early 69-yard TD return. Mohamed then essentially sealed the win when the linebacker grabbed a tipped pass and dived to stretch the ball over the corner of the goal line.
Jahvid Best rushed for 115 yards and a score, while Riley passed for 153 yards and two TDs in his return to the starting lineup after losing the job to Nate Longshore for two games. Shane Vereen's 99 yards rushing included a 56-yard romp in the closing moments for Cal, which fell out of the Top 25 last week with a loss at Arizona.
Glenn Love recovered a blocked punt in the end zone in the first quarter for the Bruins, scoring their only touchdown until Dominique Johnson's TD catch from Chris Forcier with 1:36 left. UCLA, which managed just 16 yards rushing, has yet to win on the road under first-year coach Rick Neuheisel.
Kevin Craft passed for 206 yards, but threw four interceptions for the second time this season. Craft had thrown just three interceptions in the Bruins' last six games since his four-pick opener against Tennessee, but tipped balls led to two of the Golden Bears' interceptions.
Forcier, a freshman who threw his first career pass three games earlier, threw another early pass against Cal before hitting Johnson for his first career completion and TD throw.
Both teams' offenses struggled despite ideal weather conditions on a picture-perfect day in Strawberry Canyon.
Craft's first pass was tipped for an interception on the Bruins' first play, and UCLA had minus-3 yards of offense and no completions in the first quarter -- yet the Bruins went ahead 7-3 when Sean Westgate blocked Bryan Anger's punt at the goal line on the first play of the second quarter.
Best, who's slowly getting back to top form after an elbow injury, put Cal back in front with a 34-yard sprint for a score moments later. Ezeff then returned his interception down the UCLA sideline midway through the quarter.
Cal went ahead 20-13 early in the fourth quarter on freshman Giorgio Tavecchio's 42-yard field goal. The Bears then got their first comfortable lead moments later with 9:48 left when Best took a handoff and pitched it back to Riley, who hit Boateng almost in stride 60 yards away near the goal line for the Florida transfer's third touchdown.
Neuheisel curiously called timeouts after each of the Bears' three kneeldowns in the final seconds, forcing Cal to run a handful of running plays.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-17||4-13|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||0-0|
|FG||09:50||Gior Tavecchio 26 Yd||0||3|
|TD||14:56||Glenn Love 10 Yd Return Of Blocked Punt (Kai Forbath Kick)||7||3|
|TD||12:04||Jahvid Best 34 Yd Run (Gior Tavecchio Kick)||7||10|
|TD||07:59||Marcus Ezeff 69 Yd Interception Return (Gior Tavecchio Kick)||7||17|
|FG||00:08||Kai Forbath 23 Yd||10||17|
|FG||02:11||Kai Forbath 38 Yd||13||17|
|FG||12:26||Gior Tavecchio 42 Yd||13||20|
|TD||09:48||Nyan Boateng 53 Yd Pass From Kevin Riley (Gior Tavecchio Kick)||13||27|
|TD||09:29||Michael Mohamed 19 Yd Interception Return (Gior Tavecchio Kick)||13||34|
|TD||01:55||Cameron Morrah 10 Yd Pass From Kevin Riley (Gior Tavecchio Kick)||13||41|
|TD||01:36||Dominique Johnson 9 Yd Pass From Chris Forcier (Kai Forbath Kick)||20||41|