- Associated Press - Sunday, September 20, 2015

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - The Texas highlight will be the breakout of quarterback Jerrod Heard. The lowlight will be the missed extra point that would have sent the game into overtime.

But drill down into Texas’ 45-44 loss to California and the Longhorns will see a defense that still can’t seem to stop anyone.

Texas rolled up 650 yards of offense, 527 on the arm and legs of Heard. But the Longhorns defense struggled for the third straight game, surrendering a 24-14 point lead in the second quarter that turned into a 45-24 deficit by late in the third.

For the third straight game, Texas (1-2) struggled on third down and gave up two touchdowns on fourth down. They were routinely gouged by running backs attacking straight up the middle against a defensive line that was supposed to be the team’s strength.

“It’s a major concern right now,” Texas coach Charlie Strong said. “Guys need to stand up and start playing better.”

California quarterback Jared Goff passed for 268 yards and three touchdowns and Khalfani Muhammad ran for 164 yards for the Golden Bears (3-0), the last undefeated team in the Pac-12. Muhammad had a 74-yard touchdown run in the third quarter

“It was a big win to go on the road and beat a power five conference. A huge win,” Goff said.

Heard had scored on a 45-yard run with 1:11 to play to cap a rally that brought Texas back from 21-points down. But Rose, who had kicked an 80-yard field goal in a video posted online over the summer, missed the extra point wide right.

California’s Darius White, who rushed the kick from the outside, insisted he got a piece of the ball even though the box score didn’t credit him with a block.

“We saw on the edges they were kind of weak,” White said. “We knew if we went really hard, really fast, everything was gonna work out.”

Rose walked off the field holding his head. Heard stood on the sideline with his hands on his hips in disbelief.

“This one hurts,” Strong said. “An extra point is automatic. I didn’t even look … (Then) I saw one of their players running down the field and said ‘Oh my God.’”

Heard passed for 364 yards and ran for 163 and three touchdowns. He nearly had his helmet ripped off late in the third quarter when a rushing defensive lineman grabbed his facemask, but Texas (1-2) rallied from that point, trailing 45-24.

California seemed in complete control when Muhammad burst through the middle of the Texas defense, breaking tackles and outracing several tacklers to the end zone. The touchdown capped 31 straight points by California.

But Texas, which found new life behind their freshman quarterback, stormed back. The home crowd got into the game when California’s James Looney grabbed Heard’s facemask and turned his head backward. Heard stayed on the ground for a few minutes, but got up and Texas finished the drive with Heard’s zig-zagging, sideline-to-sideline 13-yard touchdown run.

California didn’t score in the fourth quarter and Texas kept grinding out yards and touchdowns. D’Onta Foreman’s 27-yard run cut California’s lead to 45-38 before Texas started its final drive from its 19. Heard’s long run for the end zone had the game likely headed for overtime before Rose missed the kick.

Rose had to stay on the field to attempt an onside kick, which skipped across the field and out of bounds. Goff then took a knee to run out the clock.

“We can learn a lot from this,” Strong said. “A lot of growing up tonight, but there was a lot of mistakes out there.”

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