|Cal rises in victory, sets up conference race with USC|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 30 September 2007 14:09|
A key Pac-10 victory over undefeated Oregon last year sent the Golden Bears on their way to a 10-3 season and a share of the conference championship with USC.
Now Cal has another victory over Oregon. The Golden Bears beat the Ducks 31-24 Saturday at Autzen Stadium in another important conference game for the pursuit of the Trojans and this season's title.
Facing an off week, California (5-0, 2-0 Pacific-10) jumped three spots in the rankings to No. 3. USC, which played spotty in a 27-24 victory at Washington, dropped to No. 2 behind LSU.
``It's another challenge now. You've got to be more focused. You've got to be more humble. You've got to pay more attention to detail, execution,'' Cal linebacker Worrell Williams said. ``This bye week is not an off week. It's a week where you can mentally get prepared for every game.''
It is the highest ranking for Cal since 1952, when the Bears were No. 3 for consecutive weeks midway through the season.
The Golden Bears host the Trojans on Nov. 10.
Cal had their first real conference test of the season in the previously undefeated Ducks, and withstood Oregon's tricky spread-option offense.
``No team can beat Cal except for Cal,'' Williams said.
Oregon, ranked 11th before the loss, fell to No. 14. Arizona State, joining Cal and USC in the Pac-10 as undefeated, jumped from 23rd to 18th in the rankings with a 41-3 victory over Stanford.
``This win proved to our team that we can do it,'' Cal receiver Lavelle Hawkins said.
The defense picked up the slack for the Bears in the first three quarters against Oregon before the offense took over - and got some help from a few Oregon errors.
DeSean Jackson had 11 catches for 161 yards, career highs, and his first two receiving touchdowns of the season for the Bears. Justin Forsett ran for 101 yards and another two scores, and Nate Longshore completed 28 of 43 passes for 285 yards and two scores.
California snapped a seven-game losing streak at Autzen Stadium that dated to 1987.
The end was dramatic, with a reviewed call that harkened back to last season when officials blew a call in Oregon's victory over Oklahoma.
But this time, the officials got it right.
With 22 seconds to go and Cal on top by a touchdown, Oregon's Dennis Dixon hit receiver Cameron Colvin, who fumbled trying to reach the ball into the end zone when he was hit by Marcus Ezeff. The loose ball went through the end zone and was ruled a touchback and possession for Cal. The play was reviewed.
``It passes through your mind real briefly, but then you remember this is on College GameDay, it's ABC, it's national television and with all the publicity around that Oklahoma incident last year, I knew whatever the right call was going to be made,'' Cal linebacker Anthony Felder said.
The call stood and time ran out for Oregon (4-1, 1-1).
Jonathan Stewart, who was leading the league in rushing, had 21 carries for 121 yards for the Ducks.
Dixon, who was the only Pac-10 quarterback who had not thrown an interception, threw a pair late in the game. Dixon was 31-of-44 for 306 yards and a touchdown.
Colvin, who had seven catches for 74 yards and a score, was grateful for the support of his teammates, who helped him up.
``He was trying to make a play. I don't judge him for nothing,'' Dixon said. ``It's a team effort.''