Oct. 14, 2000
California pulled off a heart-stopping 46-38 upset of No. 13 ranked UCLA in triple-overtime, ending a four-game losing streak and seeming to find an offense in the process. After averaging only 13 points a game in the first five contests, Cal exploded for 46 points, the most by a Bear team since Nov., 2, 1996 when the Bears were defeated by Arizona 56-55 in quadruple overtime.
Cal had every chance to win the game in regulation, but two fourth quarter turnovers led to a pair of UCLA touchdowns as the Bruins rallied from a 28-14 deficit in the final nine minutes to send the game into overtime.
Cal finally prevailed in the third overtime, after matching touchdowns and field goals in the first two extra periods. When Joe Igber went in for a three-yard TD run in the third overtime, NCAA rules mandated Cal go for a two-point conversion. A slant pattern to Geoff McArthur resulted in an 8-point Cal lead. Two plays later, the game was over as Jemeel Powell made an interception in the Golden Bear endzone.
After the Cal defense ended a Bruin threat on their first possession when Scott Fujita stopped a 4th-and-1 run by UCLA, the Bears took advantage. It took seven plays for Cal to march 65 yards for a 7-0 lead with 6:34 left in the first quarter. It was a 23-yard screen pass to Joe Igber that culminated the drive.
The Bruins bounced right back for a score of their own on their very next possession. UCLA needed just 2:46 on seven plays, to go 80 yards, as Corey Paus connected with Bryan Fletcher on a 15-yard touchdown pass to even the score, 7-7.
A Nick Harris punt downed at the Bruin 1-yard-line early in the second period eventually paid off. After stopping UCLA on three plays, Cal took advantage of a short punt and had the ball on the Bruin 36-yard-line. On the very next play, Boller again connected with Igber, this time on a slant pass for 36-yards and another Bear touchdown, giving Cal a 14-7 lead.
Three plays later, the Bears defense came up big once again. Cal safety Nnamdi Asomugha stepped in front of a Cory Paus pass for an interception and a 31-yard touchdown return, giving the Bears their biggest lead of the game, 21-7 with 9:09 left in the half.
Cal made another big defensive stand in the final two minutes of the half when Asomugha broke up a 4th-and-goal pass from the 1-yard-line. With just over a minute to go before the intermission, the Bears ran two straight quarterback sneaks, but Boller fumbled and UCLA recovered at the 5-yard-line.
Cal held on the first two plays, but finally caved in with :38 left in the first half, as Paus hit tight end Flether for the TD.
Cal built back a commanding lead midway through the third quarter on a long 11-play, 70-yard TD drive. A 24-yard pass to tight end Keala Keanaaina set the Bears up on the Bruin 36-yard-line. After two more first downs, Joseph Echema took it in for a 1-yard TD and a 28-14 lead with 4:48 left in the quarter.
Cal's defense was in control until a pair of Golden Bear turnovers made things interesting, The first came with 10:24 left in the game. On a 3rd-and-9, Keala Keanaaina almost made a circus catch for a first down. However, the ball bounced loose when his back hit the ground and landed in the arms of Bruin safety Marques Anderson at the Cal 39-yard-line.
UCLA converted a 4th-and-4 situation to keep the ensuing drive alive and it paid off when Paus connected on a screen pass to Akil Harris and he went 20 yards for a TD to make it 28-21 with 8:43 left.
Cal quickly moved into UCLA territory, but disaster struck again when Joseph Echema fumbled a handoff and Tony White picked the ball up and returned it 12 yards to the Cal 41. Three plays later, the Bruins tied it on a pass to Freddie Mitchell for a 35-yard TD.
Neither team could score the rest of the way and the fireworks began. UCLA won the coin toss and elected to go on defense first. Cal took the ball from the 25-yard-line to start their drive. Boller called his own number and took the keeper for a three-yard gain to the Bruin 22-yard-line. On the next play, he connected with Derek Swafford on a pass to the endzone. After a Marcus Jensen PAT, the Bears took the early 35-28 lead in first overtime.
UCLA got their chance from the 25-yard-line to match the score by the Bears. The Bruins needed 11 plays including a pair of fourth down conversions, but Paus tied things up with a one-yard QB sneak.
After the teams changed ends of the field, UCLA took the first possession in the second overtime. Four plays and six yards later, Chris Griffith kicked a 36-yard field goal, giving the Bruins their first lead of the game, 38-35.
For the Bears, they too took four plays and drove five-yards, as Jensen connected on a 37-yard field goal, tying the score one again.
Igber put Cal ahead for good and, with the ensuing conversion pass to McArthur, the 8-point lead finally stood up.
It was clearly a breakthrough game for the Cal offense as Igber accounted for three TDs while running for 49 yards and catching five passes for 126 yards.
Kyle Boller had the best day of his young career as he hit 16-of-34 passes for a career best 252 yards and three TDs with just one interception. His stats would have been far better except for a half dozen dropped passes.