BERKELEY (CBS/AP) — Davis Webb threw four touchdown passes and California stopped Zach Moss from the 1-yard line on the final play to win its second straight matchup against a ranked opponent, 28-23 over No. 18 Utah on Saturday.
“I’m really proud of our defensive players,” coach Sonny Dykes said. “Those guys have taken a lot of criticism from people. The good thing is they didn’t listen to it. They kept working and kept getting better.”
Webb threw for 306 yards and connected on a pair of scoring strikes to Chad Hansen and Demetris Robertson to lead the Golden Bears (3-2, 1-1 Pac-12).
But it was the defense that sealed the win, stopping the Utes on three plays inside the 2 in the closing seconds. James Looney wrapped up Moss just short of the goal line on the final play to set off a celebration.
“I had a chance to make a play, it was my play to make and I made it,” Looney said. “It was about time. I need to make those. I’m a leader of this defense and I need to make those plays.”
Cal had lost 11 straight games against ranked opponents before beating No. 11 Texas 50-43 at home two weeks ago.
The Bears broke out to a 14-0 lead and then went stagnant against the ball-control play of the Utes (4-1, 1-1), who used touchdown drives of 21 and 13 plays to take a 17-14 lead late in the third quarter on Armand Shyne’s second TD run.
Webb answered with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Hansen that put the Bears back ahead in the third and then added a 56-yarder to Robertson after Cal stopped the Utes on fourth-and-1 from the 10.
The Bears made one last stop to win it.
“A tough game to lose but proud of our guys for how they hung in there and fought back, just like we’ve done many times previously in the season,” Utes coach Kyle Whittingham said. “We’re just one play away there.”
Utah: If the Utes are going to contend in the Pac-12 South, they will need to get healthy. Star defensive tackle Lowell Lotulelei did not play because of an injury, leading receiver Tim Patrick and center J.J. Dielman left the game with injuries and receiver Cory Butler-Byrd also did not play.
California: While Webb had another prolific game, it was Cal’s defense that came up big at the end after the offense couldn’t run out the clock. The Bears had the fourth-down stop early in the fourth quarter, prevented a 2-point conversion that could have brought Utah within three points later in the fourth and then came up with the goal-line stand to seal the win.
The Utes will likely fall out of the poll following their first loss of the season, while the Bears will need to do more work to get into the rankings for the first time this year.
Utah: The Utes return home to take on Arizona next Saturday.
California: The Bears seek their first road win when they travel to Oregon State on Saturday.
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