- Associated Press - Saturday, October 11, 2014

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Maybe no team in the topsy-turvy Pac-12 Conference has had wilder swings than Washington this season, so little would surprise first-year coach Chris Petersen at this point.

After the Huskies’ latest performance, though, even he had to acknowledge the way it unfolded came as a little bit of a shock.

Cyler Miles threw for 273 yards and three touchdowns, Shaq Thompson returned a fumble 100 yards for a score and Washington overwhelmed California 31-7 on Saturday.

“To come in here and hold that team to seven points, I didn’t think that would happen,” Petersen said, candidly. “I think we’re making some progress, but it’s hard to know.”

The Huskies (5-1, 1-1) forced five fumbles, recovering three of them, and sacked Jared Goff four times to quiet the country’s second-highest scoring offense. Washington went ahead 28-0 at the half to bury the Golden Bears (4-2, 2-2) in a hole they could never dig out of.

The victory sets up another important swing game in the Pac-12’s North Division. The Huskies, who lost at home to Stanford before a bye last week, will get a second chance to announce themselves as contenders in the conference race when they play at No. 12 Oregon (5-1, 2-1) on Saturday.

“We got momentum going into it now. It just makes us hungry,” said Huskies receiver John Ross, who had four catches for 118 yards and a touchdown.

Miles tossed TDs of 86, 25 and 11 yards. He completed 22 of 29 passes, and the Huskies ran for 111 yards behind Lavon Coleman and Dwayne Washington to spoil Cal’s homecoming.

Goff, who had three fumbles, threw for 304 yards. He finished 35-for-51 passing but was limited to mostly short and intermediate throws because of Washington’s pressure.

The Huskies totaled 384 yards, while Cal had 368 yards.

“I’ve gotta be better. The whole offense has got to be better,” Goff said.

The Bears entered the game leading the Pac-12 in scoring and ranked second in the country with an average of 50 points per game. They had scored at least 50 points in each of their last two games and three times this season, including a wild 60-59 win at Washington State last week.

Cal also had started 4-1 for the first time since 2008 and seemed to be turning things around quicker than expected under second-year coach Sonny Dykes after going 1-11 last season.

Instead, the Bears showed their rebuilding project still has a long way to go - especially on defense.

Miles moved Washington with relative ease, at times, taking advantaging of a Cal team missing three key players - defensive end Brennan Scarlett (knee) and safeties Stefan McClure (calf) and Michael Lowe (head) - because of injuries and often looking helpless even when it has been healthy.

The Huskies started out slow but capitalized on a big gaff by Goff to tilt the momentum for good.

Goff lost the ball on a quarterback sneak near the goal line, Thompson grabbed the fumble and sprinted the length of the field to give the Huskies a 7-0 lead. It was the fourth touchdown this season for Thompson, who originally committed to Cal, including his third fumble taken back for a score.

“It just popped out and just popped into my hands,” Thompson said, joking that he had a magnet to lure the ball.

On the next possession, Goff and Daniel Lasco fumbled the exchange, Washington recovered at the Cal 25 and Miles tossed a TD pass to Joshua Perkins.

Miles also connected with DiAndre Campbell on an 11-yard touchdown before Ross raced 86 yards for a TD after catching a short pass to give Washington a 28-0 lead.

After blocking a field goal by the Huskies early in the third quarter, Lasco’s 3-yard run capped an 18-play, 80-yard drive for Cal’s lone score.

About the only bummer on Washington’s day came in the final minutes with the outcome already decided.

Perkins was ejected for targeting a defenseless player to wipe away another dazzling run by Ross after a reception. He could be suspended for the first half against Oregon if the call is upheld by the conference.

___

Antonio Gonzalez can be reached at: www.twitter.com/agonzalezAP

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide