SEATTLE – Two big plays that bridged halftime proved to be too much for Cal’s football team to overcome, and the Bears fell to Washington 41-17 at Husky Stadium on Saturday night.
Quarterback Jared Goff threw for 336 yards and a touchdown and wide receiver Chris Harper hauled in six catches for 98 yards and a touchdown, but Washington scored touchdowns at the end of the second quarter and early in the third to pull away from the Bears (1-7, 0-5 Pac-12).
After falling behind 17-0 in the first quarter, the Bears put together a 13-play, 75-yard drive that culminated in a 5-yard pass from Goff to Harper for a touchdown. Running back Khalfani Muhammad got Cal going with a 16-yard run to the Bears’ 41-yard line. Goff then got it going, completing 8 of 9 passes on the possession for 37 yards. The touchdown pass to Harper made the score 17-7 with 12:48 left before the half.
Cal’s defense was up to the task for most of the rest of the quarter, keeping the Huskies (5-3, 2-3) at bay and the game close until Washington running back Bishop Sankey broke free for a 59-yard touchdown run with 1:08 remaining before halftime. That gave the Huskies a 24-7 lead at the intermission.
“They popped a long run there,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. “Right now, we’re just not executing well enough on either side of the ball that we need to beat a good football team. Washington is a very good football team. We just have to go back to work.”
Washington received the second-half kickoff and went 80 yards on six plays, with quarterback Keith Price finding wide receiver Jaydon Mickens for a 47-yard touchdown pass to make it 31-7 early in the third quarter.
After the Huskies made it 38-7, Cal sustained another long drive late in the third quarter, going 68 yards on 10 plays and getting a 25-yard field goal from kicker Vicenzo D’Amato on the first play of the fourth quarter. Goff was 4 of 5 for 43 yards during the possession.
“I really like our players,” Dykes said. “They are giving it everything they have every Saturday. They show up on Sunday and keep working. I’m really proud of them. We’re not about losing or moral victories, but our guys play hard. We have really good kids with great character. I’m proud of them from that standpoint. We just have to get better.”
The Bears got another score when Muhammad reeled off a 73-yard touchdown run midway through the fourth quarter to make it 41-17. It was the longest run by a Cal player this season.
Defensive back Cameron Walker led the Bears with 10 tackles.
“The results on the scoreboard may not come as quickly as we want. Everyone in our program is frustrated and upset about that,” Dykes said. “At the same time, I’m around these guys every day and the way they work and care about each other and what they are trying to do for the University of California – I really have to tip my hat to these guys. This is going to be a good football team. This is going to be a good program. It’s just a matter of time.”
The Bears will now return home for their next two games, beginning next Saturday against Arizona at 12:30 p.m. The game will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.