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Holy "Dow," Bears almost fall Berserkeley
Huskies come to close to major upset
Malamute, 15 October 2006

Up for most of the day, the Huskies' Dow finally fell by 7 points on the Berkeley Board, succumbing to a Bear market, as Washington lost to the eleventh-ranked California Golden Bears at Memorial Stadium in overtime, 31-24.

Losing their starting quarterback and taking a physical beating the week before, the Dawgs, who were 24-fpoint underdogs to Cal, had every reason to play dead. But this team, arguably the scrappiest bunch in recent Husky history, once again confounded the experts for another week. Picked to finish last in the conference by the Pac-10 media brigade and the major preseason publications, the Huskies shouldn't be taking the conference elite to the wire, especially on the road. Against the Conference's better teams, forty-point spreads were the expected margins at the beginning of the season. (*)

Instead, the Huskies have beaten UCLA and easily could have beaten two of college football's premiere teams, Cal and USC, those games ending bizarrely.

The Huskies were just 15 yards and 2 seconds away from beating USC, when they succumbed to the new NCAA clock rule. After a 40-yard pass that was truly a Hail Mary pass, considering the bizarre deflection that ended up in WR Marlon Wood's hands as the clock ran out, the Huskies were just a 2-point conversion away from beating the Bears. Instead, they settled for Michael Braunstein's one-point conversion, only  to lose in overtime. Not to say that head coach Tyrone Willingham should have bucked the odds and gone for two. It was his decision and he must live with it. 

In the final analysis, Marshawn Lynch was the Huskies' undoing. He ran for the winning touchdown in overtime and carried the ball 21 times for 150 yards, posting a 17-yard touchdown run in the zany fourth quarter. After that touchdown, Justin Forsett ran for a 2-point conversion, to give Cal a 7-point lead. That pivotal run forced Willingham to go for the tie and gamble for an overtime win.

Also, Tom Schneider's 50-yard field goal gave Cal its first lead in the game, 13-10, with 4:41 to go in the third quarter. Schneider had three field goals on the day.

It was another heartbreaking loss for the Huskies, who must fasten their chinstraps and win their two remaining home games -- against Arizona State and Stanford -- to become bowl eligible. Winning one of their two remaining road games, games against Oregon ("let me Autzen here") and Washington State, would most likely seal the deal.

"Two" has been the Huskies' critical number thus far. They need two more wins to become bowl eligible; they have two conference victories; they came within two seconds of beating 'SC; and they were a two-point conversion away from beating Cal.

With that number in mind, Willingham should have gone for "two." Or maybe he was afraid of rolling snake eyes.

Seriously, the odds were against the Huskies in going for two; likewise, the odds were against them playing in overtime. Cal was at home, with the conference's leading rusher, Lynch. So why give the Cal offense one more chance to win the game? Why give Jeff Tedford the satisfaction of winning with his offense? Wipe that smug look off his face and go for two. At least, you would have scared the pants off him.

The Good:

-- Bonnell's scrambling ability.

-- Just 9 yards in penalties.

-- Three-for-three on fourth down conversions. 

--  Despite his five interceptions, Carl Bonnell's pass efficiency rating of 120.8.

The Bad:

-- Carl Bonnell's five interceptions. Also, his banged-up, non-throwing shoulder, a sprained AC joint in his left shoulder.

-- Kenny James' sprained right ankle.

-- Marshawn Lynch, who drove a golf cart around the field, in celebration of Cal's win. Lynch said he drove the cart, which is used to carry injured players, to pick up LB Desmond Bishop who, after intercepting Bonnell's pass in overtime and running for 80 yards, was tackled by TE Johnie Kirton . Lynch left wheel marks on the field as he drove around.


(*) Before the season began, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times picked the Huskies to finish eighth in the conference. After the battles have been lost and won, he might just come the closest of anyone in the local media to have positioned the Huskies correctly. Currently, Washington (4-4, 2-3 Pac-10) is in fifth place, ahead of Arizona State (4-3, 1-3 Pac10), Arizona (3-5, 1-4 Pac-10) and Stanford (0-8, 0-5 Pac-10).

Team 1 2 3 4 OT Total
UW 3 7 0 14 0 24
Cal 0 3 10 11 7 31

Time Team How Player (s) Score
1st qtr        
9:42 UW FG Michael Braunstein 32-yard boot UW 3-0
2nd qtr
0:47 UW TD Anthony Russo 49-yard pass from Carl Bonnell; Braunstien kick. UW 10-0
0:02 Cal FG Tom Scheider 21-yard kick. UW 10-3
3rd qtr
10:31 Cal TD Justin Forsett 1-yard run. Schneider kick. T 10-10
4:41 Cal FG Schneider 50-yard boot. Cal 13-10
4th qtr
14:13 UW TD Bonnell 7-yard run. Braunstein kick. UW 17-13
10:21 Cal FG Schneider 21-yard kick. UW 17-16
1:52 Cal TD Marshawn Lynch 17-yard run. Forsett 2-pt run. Cal 24-17
0:0 UW TD Marlon Wood 40-yard pass from Bonnell; Braunstein kick. T 24-24
0:0 Cal TD Lynch 22-yard run; Schneider kick. Cal 31-24

Statistic UW Cal
Total First Downs 18 22
  Rushing 7 8
  Passing 11 14
  Penalty 0 0
Total Net Yards 446 486
Net Yards Passing 284 291
Net Yards Rushing 162 195
Completions-att-int 17-31-5 21-36-0
Punts, yards, average 4-168-42.0 5-206-41.2
Times sacked (number, yards)    
Return Yardage 75 104
  Punts Yards 2-8 1-3
  Kickoff Yards 4-67 1-12
 Interceptions returns Yds 0-0 5-89
Penalties Yards 2-9 6-50
Fumbles: number/lost 1-0 1-0
Time of Possession  28:01 31:59

Passing cmp att yds tds int
Nate Longshore 21 36 291 0 0
Carl Bonnell 17 31 284 2 5
Cal Rushing att yds tds long  
Marshawn Lynch 21 150 2 30  
Justin Forsett 11 33 1 9  
Lavelle Hawkins 1 19 0 19  
Byron Storer 1 0 0 0  
Nate Longshore 1 -7 0 0  
Washington Rushing att yds tds long
Kenny James 4 11 0 4  
Louis Rankin 22 88 0 44  
Anthony Russo 1 -1 0 0  
Carl Bonnell 9 64 1 16  
Cal Pass Receiving rec yds tds long
Lavelle Hawkins 6 99 0 25
Marshawn Lynch 4 53 0 26  
Robert Jordan 4 23 0 11  
DeSean Jackson 3 40 0 26  
Craig Stevens 2 61 0 28  
Justin Forsett 1 11 0 11  
Byron Storer 1 4 0 4  
Washington Pass Rec. rec yds tds long
Anthony Russo 3 91 1 49  
Robert Lewis 3 36 0 23  
Corey Williams 3 29 0 15  
Sonny Shackelford 2 63 0 46  
Cody Ellis 2 12 0 13  
Marlon Wood 1 40 1 40  
Johnie Kirton 1 8 0 8  
Lous Rankin 1 5 0 5  
Kenny James 1 0 0 0  
Punting punts yds long Avg
Andrew Larson 5 206 47 41.2  
Sean Douglas 4 168 49 42.0  
Attendance: 58,534          

Richard Linde (a.k.a., Malamute) can be reached at malamute@4malamute.com

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