Linebacker Evan Weaver scored on a 36-yard interception return in the third quarter after Washington made a change at quarterback, and California overcome a sluggish day offensively to beat the No. 15 Huskies 12-10 on Saturday.
The Golden Bears (5-3, 2-3 Pac-12) had only 245 yards and were limited to two field goals, but Weaver and the defense repeatedly bailed out the struggling offense while dealing a serious blow to Washington’s hopes of a second Pac-12 title in three seasons.
The Huskies (6-3, 4-2) entered the day with a half-game lead over No. 14 Washington State and No. 24 Stanford but fell to second place despite not allowing an offensive touchdown.
Washington starting quarterback Jake Browning threw his 90th career touchdown pass in the first quarter but was benched late in the third after the Huskies went three-and-out on their second drive of the second half. Redshirt freshman Jake Haener replaced Browning and threw an incompletion on his first pass before Weaver picked off the pass on a third-and-8 play.
Weaver leaped to make the interception then raced through a sea of players, extending his left hand to touch the pylon as he was going out of bounds.
Browning returned after two series. He completed 11 of 21 passes for 148 yards.
Peyton Henry’s 26-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter pulled Washington to 12-10, but California milked the final 4:51 off the clock to secure the win.
Greg Thomas added two field goals as the Bears ended a four-game home losing streak to the Huskies before a sparse crowd at Memorial Stadium.
Washington drove 64 yards in 14 plays on their opening drive but did little offensively after that. After Browning found Ty Jones in the back of the end zone for a 3-yard touchdown pass, the Huskies repeatedly broke down.
One series ended when Browning was intercepted on a pass where he appeared to be throwing the ball away. The Huskies gained one first down on their next possession then went 3-and-out on their final drive of the first half.
Thomas kept Cal close early with field goals of 23 and 35 yards but missed a 41-yard attempt that would have given the Bears the lead as time expired in the first half.
Washington: The Huskies were without running back Myles Gaskin which hurt the running game but it was the change at quarterback in the second half that was most puzzling and wound up costing Washington. Browning wasn’t very sharp but Haener’s interception was the turning point. To get in the Pac-12 title game Washington will need a lot of help now.
California: Beating Oregon State one week earlier was nice but this win will bring more legitimacy to the Bears. It wasn’t pretty and the rotating quarterbacks continues to hinder the offense but Cal’s defense came up with a second straight strong performance to pave the way for the first win over a Top 25 team since the Bears stunned then-No. 6 Washington State 37-3 on Nov. 6 last year.
The door was open for the Huskies to move up a few spots in the poll. Now the question is how far they will drop following a loss to an unranked and mediocre Cal team.
Washington: Hosts No. 24 Stanford on Nov. 3.
California: Plays at No. 14 Washington State on Nov. 3.
More AP college football: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
Source: The Associated Press