Bears remain undefeated
The Cal players had to be restrained from rushing the field after Cameron Goode intercepted a pass and returned it for a 31-yard touchdown that clinched the Bears’ 27-16 victory over Ole Miss on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.
The culture has officially changed in Berkeley, where, for the third straight week, the program’s much-maligned defense turned in a remarkable second half to ensure a win.
Led by inside linebacker Devante Downs, who had 14 tackles, two sacks and an interception, the Bears shut out Ole Miss in the second half and held the Rebels to fewer than 100 yards.
In front of 37,125 fans and a national TV audience, Cal, which was projected to win 3½ games all season, moved to 3-0 in just its third game. Ole Miss, which was playing in the state of California for just the second time in program history (38-28 win at Fresno State in 2011), dropped to 2-1.
On a night when the offense was without its two most dynamic players, Tre Watson and Demetris Robertson, Kanawai Noa and Brandon Singleton had career-high performances, and Patrick Laird and Vic Enwere combined for 153 rushing yards.
Ole Miss quarterback Shea Patterson, who entered the game leading the nation in passing yards and tied atop the country in passing touchdowns, went 26-for-44 for 363 yards and two touchdowns. But his three interceptions helped make winners of Cal, and the Rebels further hurt their cause by committing 16 penalties for 113 yards.
Cal limited Ole Miss to a field goal after getting burnt on a 42-yard pass that gave the Rebels a first-and-goal situation from the 4-yard line. The Bears then took advantage of their first red-zone trip, an opportunity set up by their defense.
Downs took out A.J. Brown’s legs just as a pass arrived, popping the ball into the hands of Jaylinn Hawkins. He returned it to Ole Miss’ 21-yard line, and three plays later, Laird scored on a 13-yard run to put Cal ahead 7-3 with 8:17 remaining in the first quarter.
DaMarkus Lodge strutted around the Rebels’ sideline after catching a slant and streaking 72 yards for a touchdown that gave Ole Miss a 10-7 lead before the midway point of the first quarter.
Downs got an interception of his own with late in the first quarter, when Marloshawn Franklin deflected a pass that the linebacker grabbed at the 23-yard line. Patterson wasn’t deterred, coming back and tossing a 71-yard touchdown to D.K. Metcalf on Ole Miss’ next play from scrimmage to put the Rebels up 16-7.
Cal briefly trimmed the deficit to 16-10 in the closing minutes of the second quarter, but Wilcox chose to take the field goal off the board when a penalty gave the Bears a first-andgoal situation from the 9-yard line. Ross Bowers was intercepted by C.J. Moore in the end zone two plays later, and Ole Miss sneaked into the halftime break with a 16-7 lead.
A 13-play, 72-yard drive, including a fourth-down conversion and a 19-yard touchdown pass to Vic Wharton III, made it 16-14 on Cal’s first possession of the second half. Matt Anderson’s 19-yard field goal put the Bears ahead 17-16 with 2:47 left in the third quarter — their first lead of the game.
Anderson, who is No. 9 on Cal’s all-time scoring, missed his second of the game midway through the fourth quarter.
His 41-yarder gave the Bears a 20-16 lead with 3:44 remaining, and Goode’s interception return put it away 44 seconds later.
Cal’s Vic Wharton III helped lead the Bears to a comeback win against Ole Miss in front 37,125 fans in Berkeley.