Top 50 Cal Sports Moments -- No. 29: Cart Blanche, 2006

Marshawn Lynch totaled 203 yards and scored twice against Washington but his joyous post-game jaunt around the field at Memorial Stadium at the wheel of an injury cart is all anyone remembers.
Marshawn Lynch behind the wheel
Marshawn Lynch behind the wheel / Cal Athletics

As the Pac-12 Conference era comes to a close after more than a century, we count down the Top 50 moments involving Cal athletics.

THE MOMENT: After linebacker Desmond Bishop’s interception in overtime clinched Cal’s 31-24 win over Washington on Oct. 21, 2006, Marshawn Lynch celebrated by commandeering an injury cart and careening across the Memorial Stadium floor. 

THE STORY: The game action was non-stop. Cal intercepted Washington quarterback Carl Bonnell five times and Marshawn Lynch rushed for 150 yards and a pair of touchdowns and caught four passes for 53 additional yards.

The Bears seemed destined to win when Lynch dashed 17 yards into the end zone for a 24-17 lead with 1:52 left. Amazingly, UW tied things when Bonnell, from the Cal 40-yard line, heaved the ball to the 6, where Cal defenders Desmond Bishop and Robert Peele each went into the air to knock down the pass.

But it caromed into the arms of Husky receiver Marlon Wood, who dived into the end zone as time expired, knotting the score a 24-all and forcing overtime.

Lynch gave the lead back to Cal with a 22-yard TD romp but the outcome wasn’t clinched until Bishop — who also had 16 tackles — made up for his previous gaffe by intercepting Bonnell. 

The victory lifted the Bears to 7-1 overall, 5-0 in the Pac-10, and that was worth celebrating, Lynch decided. 

“I got the interception at the end of the game. There was a crowd (on the field), and we were walking back. Then we see Marshawn whipping it, ghost riding the cart,” Bishop told ESPN 10 years later. 

“At first, a lot of people thought it was me because we both wore No. 10. He was all excited. We didn't really think nothing of it. It was funny at the time. That was it. But after the game, you found out it was such a big deal.”

Fellow running back Justin Forsett saw it unfold on TV from the locker room. “I remember looking up and seeing Marshawn in the cart driving around, across the field, going crazy.” Forsett said. “It was just widespread laughter. That's Marshawn, man.”

Cal celebrated the event’s 10-year anniversary by giving the first 10,000 fans at the 2016 Washington game a bobblehead of Lynch in the cart. 

Lynch was on the field, and when he saw an unmanned cart during pregame, he went all Beast Mode after jumping in behind the wheel. His mother, Delisa Lynch, and Bay Area rap legend E-40 took turns riding shotgun.

* Top 50 Moment No. 30: Frightening Fall

* Top 50 Moment No. 31: Serendipity Rodgers

Only specific acts that occurred while the team or athlete was at Cal were considered for the Top 50 list, and accomplishments spanning a season or a career were not included. 

Leslie Mitchell of the Cal Bears History Twitter site aided in the selection of the top 50 moments.

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo

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Jeff Faraudo


Jeff Faraudo was a sports writer for Bay Area daily newspapers since he was 17 years old, and was the Oakland Tribune's Cal beat writer for 24 years. He covered eight Final Fours, four NBA Finals and four Summer Olympics.