The California Golden Bears (2-3 Pac-12, 5-3) were the last man standing in Saturdays nights defensive slugfest between the Bears and the Washington Huskies (4-2, 6-3) at Berkeley. The game between the top two defenses in the Pac-12 Conference resembled a classic heavyweight boxing match.
The Huskies scored the games sole offensive touchdown of the game and it took a 37-yard pick-six from linebacker Evan Weaver to score the Bears lone touchdown.
The Huskies drew first blood when Jake Browning hit Ty Jones with a three-yard pass that gave Washington the 7-0 lead with 7:40 left in the first quarter. Ashytn Davis returned the Huskies ensuing kick off 55 yards to the Huskies 42-yard line.
The Bears offense was unable to break down the Huskies defense and had to settle for a Greg Thomas 23 yard field. The Cal defense flexed its muscle and intercepted a Browning pass on the Huskies next offensive possession but the Bears offense was unable to convert and squandered the opportunity when it punted the ball back to the Huskies offense.
The punch counter punch battle between the two teams continued into the halftime break with the Huskies holding a slim 7-6 lead after a 35-yard field goal by Thomas midway through the second quarter. Thomas had a chance to give the Bears the lead before the halftime break but missed wide right as the clock expired for the halftime break.
With both teams defenses continuing going toe to toe at each other and shutting down the opposing offense, Husky head coach Chris Petersen inserted Redshirt freshman quarterback Jake Haener for Browning midway through the third quarter.
“Obviously painful. Painful on offense,” P“Let me start by saying: Pulling Jake (Browning) out, that had more to do with me trying to do something to help this offense way more than it did with Jake. Jake is a competitor. Jake does everything we ask. But, you know, we’ve got to try help this offense out somehow, someway,” Petersen said in his post-game conference.
“We’re not going to just keep banging our head on the wall. But we love Jake (Browning) and we were planning on putting him back in there. But I just wanted to try to shake things up, see if it could get something done.”
Haener’s first pass of the game was incomplete and his second went right into the arms of Weaver who rambled down the sideline for the Cal touchdown.
“I dropped back, he threw me the ball, I caught it and I just didn’t want to fall down,” Weaver said. “Maybe two or three more yards and I would’ve ran out of steam. They didn’t get me this time.”
The Husky defense stopped the Bears two-point attempt and kept the margin to just five points. Browning was reinserted back into the game but the closest the Huskies got was 26-yard field goal by Peyton Henry with 4:51 left in the game.