Elijah Hicks and Ashtyn Davis scored on interception returns for touchdown in the first quarter to lead a defense that forced a season-high five turnovers, and California rolled past Colorado 33-21 on Saturday night.

Chase Garbers passed for 116 yards and two touchdowns while absorbing several big hits early as the Golden Bears (7-4, 4-4 Pac-12) clinched their first winning season since 2015 despite nearly blowing a 17-point lead.

California linebacker Evan Weaver (89) tackles Colorado quarterback Steven Montez (12) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
California linebacker Evan Weaver (89) tackles Colorado quarterback Steven Montez (12) during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The Bears were already assured of a bowl bid and can improve their prospects next week against Stanford in a game that was delayed due to unhealthy air conditions stemming from the deadly wildfire in Northern California.

California running back Patrick Laird (28) runs against Colorado during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
California running back Patrick Laird (28) runs against Colorado during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Colorado, on the other hand, will begin a coaching search after ending the season with seven straight losses. The skid cost coach Mike MacIntyre his job a week earlier and the Buffaloes (5-7, 2-7) showed little improvement in his absence.

The Bears have improved steadily in two seasons under Justin Wilcox, most significantly on defense, a point that was driven home emphatically in the first two minutes of the game.

Colorado running back Kyle Evans (21) is congratulated by teammates after scoring against California during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Colorado running back Kyle Evans (21) is congratulated by teammates after scoring against California during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Hicks put Cal ahead with a 34-yard pick-6 off Colorado quarterback Steven Montez. Davis followed with a 35-yard interception return for a touchdown 45 seconds later. Davis added another interception late in the second quarter

Colorado interim head coach Kurt Roper gestures during the first half of his team's NCAA college football game against California in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Colorado interim head coach Kurt Roper gestures during the first half of his team’s NCAA college football game against California in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Garbers threw touchdown passes of one and seven yards. The second came after the Buffaloes cut the Bears lead to 27-21.

California head coach Justin Wilcox walks on the sideline during the first half of his team's NCAA college football game against Colorado in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
California head coach Justin Wilcox walks on the sideline during the first half of his team’s NCAA college football game against Colorado in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Montez passed for 170 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Kyle Evans added a 1-yard touchdown run for Colorado.

THE TAKEAWAY

California running back Patrick Laird, left, is congratulated by wide receiver Nikko Remigio after scoring against Colorado during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
California running back Patrick Laird, left, is congratulated by wide receiver Nikko Remigio after scoring against Colorado during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

Colorado: The Buffaloes have a lot of work to do in a short amount of time. With recruiting already in full swing, it’s imperative that the administration decide on a full-time replacement for MacIntyre. A handful of names have been thrown around but there is no clear front-runner. Whoever takes the job will inherit a program in flux. Colorado has 25 seniors, including eight starters, but will return most of the key starters on offense and defense.

California cornerback Ashtyn Davis (27) runs past Colorado wide receiver K.D. Nixon, right, as he returns an interception for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
California cornerback Ashtyn Davis (27) runs past Colorado wide receiver K.D. Nixon, right, as he returns an interception for a touchdown during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

California: The Bears set the tone early with their defense, which was key in a game when their offense sputtered much of the day. Garbers had a pretty efficient game and showed some grit with his running. That was critical because the Buffaloes made running back Patrick Laird mostly a non-factor. Greg Thomas helped bail out Cal’s offense with a pair of field goals.

California cornerback Elijah Hicks, right, returns an interception for a touchdown against Colorado during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
California cornerback Elijah Hicks, right, returns an interception for a touchdown against Colorado during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

UP NEXT

Colorado: The Buffaloes season is over.

California quarterback Chase Garbers passes against Colorado during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
California quarterback Chase Garbers passes against Colorado during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

California: The Bears host Stanford on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.

Colorado quarterback Steven Montez passes against California during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Colorado quarterback Steven Montez passes against California during the first half of an NCAA college football game in Berkeley, Calif., Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

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More AP college football: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Source: The Associated Press

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