- Associated Press - Sunday, September 27, 2015

SEATTLE (AP) - Another week where California built a 20-point lead. Another week where that cushion started to disappear.

Unlike past seasons, this California team has already developed a resolve. It’s why the Golden Bears are 4-0 for the first time in nearly a decade after holding off Washington 30-24 on Saturday in the Pac-12 Conference opener for both schools.

“They’ve got a lot of confidence now. They believe that, when it becomes a critical time in a ball game, someone is going to make a play and guys want to be in those situations,” California coach Sonny Dykes said. “I would certainly be in favor of not playing so many close ball games like this but that’s sort of who we are right now.”

The Golden Bears may find themselves back in the Top 25 next week for the first time since 2009 after winning on the road for the second straight week thanks to quarterback Jared Goff and a defense that forced five Washington turnovers.

Goff threw for 342 yards and a pair of touchdowns. But Goff’s lasting memory from this victory will be putting his head down and bullying his way for 5 yards on fourth-and-4 with less than a minute remaining and allowing the Bears to run out the clock.

“He showed courage. Skinny Jared, he had to get the first (down) and he did,” Cal wide receiver Kenny Lawler said.

This time there was no late escape for the Bears thanks to special teams mistake like last week at Texas. Goff was 24-of-40 passing and had touchdowns of 28 yards to Bryce Treggs and 8 yards to Lawler.

California dominated statistically. The Bears outgained Washington 481-259, had almost 40 minutes of possession and forced Washington into the most turnovers in one game for a Chris Petersen-coached team in his career.

“Frustrating on offense,” Petersen said. “Couldn’t hold the ball. They held the ball much longer than we did. Didn’t convert third downs or fourth down and that needs to change.”

Washington (2-2, 0-1) got a 70-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Sidney Jones to cut the deficit to 27-21 late in the third quarter, but it was the Bears making the big plays on defense in the fourth quarter.

The first came with about 11 minutes remaining and Washington driving, down 27-21. With the Huskies inside the California 40, running back Dwayne Washington was unable to haul in Jake Browning’s pass down the sideline that likely would have gone for a touchdown. On the next play, Washington fumbled with Cal’s Darius White recovering, leading to the third of Matt Anderson’s field goals for a 30-21 lead.

Cameron Van Winkle hit a 36-yard field goal for Washington with 3:57 left and Goff was sacked for the fifth time on third down with 3 minutes remaining. Washington got the ball back with two timeouts remaining but Browning was pressured and intercepted by Damariay Drew with 1:57 left.

California forced five turnovers for the second time this year and first against an FBS opponent since forcing six against UCLA in 2012.

“It’s really exciting that we really helped carry the team rather than hindered it and that the offense had to do everything,” Cal defensive end Kyle Kragen said.

Goff was especially good on third downs where the Bears converted 10 of 20. Goff was 7 of 11 for 110 yards on third downs, including a key 27-yard pass to Treggs midway through the fourth quarter to the Washington 25 that was initially ruled incomplete before a review. That completion led to Anderson’s third field goal.

Browning was 17 of 28 for 152 yards and two interceptions and Dwayne Washington rushed for 109 yards and a touchdown for the Huskies.

Washington played without standout safety Budda Baker because of an ankle injury, while Cal starting running back Daniel Lasco missed his second straight game with a hip injury. Vic Enwere rushed for a career-high 84 yards and a touchdown in Lasco’s absence.

“I’m just proud of the guys for finishing the games the way that they are,” Dykes said.


AP college football website: https://collegefootball.ap.org

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