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Cal Football: Oregon Game Thread - No. 9 Ducks Hold Off Bears 24-17 in Thriller

Bears move the ball to the Oregon 2-yard line in the final seconds but come up short.

Cal came up 2 yards short of a miracle finish against No. 9 Oregon on Friday night at Autzen Stadium.

The Bears drove from their own 25 with 4:50 left to get to the Oregon 8-yard line, where they faced a fourth-and-4 play.

With Oregon star defender Kayvon Thibodeaux about to record the sack, somehow Chase Garbers flipped a back-handed pass to Kekoa Crawford, who caught it at the 3 for a first down with 15 seconds left.

On fourth and goal from 2, Garbers threw incomplete under great pressure up the middle and Oregon took over with 2 seconds left.

Cal (1-5, 0-3 Pac-12) remains winless on the road against AP Top-10 opponents since a 17-14 in at No. 10 Indiana in 1969. Oregon (5-1, 2-1) scored the game's final 14 points to pull off the come-from-behind victory.


8:34 3rd Q: The Bears move to a first-and-10 at the Oregon 24 before a holding penalty on Will Craig, trying to slow Kayvon Thibodeaux, pushes them back 10 yards. But Dario Longhetto ties the game with a season-best 45-yard FG Key play on the drive for the Bears - a 26-yard pass from Garbers to Jeremiah Hunter to the Cal 47. Cal 10, Oregon 10.

END OF THIRD QUARTER: The Bears have moved the ball from their own 20 to the Oregon 13, where they will face a second-and-8 as the fourth quarter begins. Garbers threw 31 yards to Hunter and had a 10-yard keeper for a first down to the Oregon 25. Total yards now closer: Oregon 321, Cal 308. Cal 10, Oregon 10.


13:37 4th Q: Garbers completes a 15-yard pass to Tonges to the 3 for the first down. Then, on second-and-goal from the 4, Garbers rolls left and tosses the ball to Gavin Reinwald, who becomes the second Cal TE to score a touchdown tonight. An impressive 80-yard drive for the Bears, who also convert the PAT. Garbers' 43rd career TD pass, tying him for eighth on Cal's career list with Aaron Rodgers. You've heard of him, right? Cal 17, Oregon 10.

11:23 4th Q: Oregon strikes back quickly. A 33-yard KO return by Hutson gets things started, Dye then bolts 20 yards on first down before Brown runs for 11 yards and another first. Brown fires a 20-yard TD pass to WR Jaylon Redd and it's all even again.Now it's the Bears' turn. Cal 17, Oregon 17.

4:50 4th Q: Anthony Brown scrambles 11 yards for a touchdown, as the Ducks go 70 yards in seven plays to take the lead. Travis Dye, who has 150 rushing yards, picked 39 of them to get the Ducks into Cal territory. Oregon 24, Cal 17.



Oregon wins the coin flip and opts to receive the opening kickoff. Cal kicks it deep for a touchback but the Bears are offsides so the Ducks start at their own 30.

10:42 1st Q: The Ducks take the lead but it could have been worse. Oregon sliced through Cal's defense, moving from its own 30 to the Cal 21. But a holding penalty on third-and-4 pushed the Ducks back to the 31, and Camden Lewis delivered the 49-yard field goal. Travis Dye had 3 carries for 47 yards on the drive. Oregon 3, Cal 0.

5:23 1st Q: Cal answers emphatically with its best drive in weeks. The Beas march 75 yards in 13 plays, mixing the pass and the run. Chase Garbers is 5 for 7 for 42 yards, including a 9-yard TD pass to tight end Jake Tonges, who catches the ball in the right flat and stretches it out across the goal line before tumbling to the ground. Damien Moore and Christopher Brooks combined for 6 carries and 33 yards. Cal 7, Oregon 0.

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2:29 1st Q: Cal's defense denies Oregon on a fourth-and-6 play from the Cal 32 as freshman LB Femi Oladejo makes a clean tackle on pass receiver Travis Dye, limiting him ti a 2-yard gain. Cal takes over at its 30. Cal 7, Oregon 0.

10:30 2nd Q: Oregon threatens, driving to the Cal 17. But an illegal block penalty pushes the Ducks back to the 27. Then, on third-and-14 from the 21, Elijah Hicks strips the ball from receiver Hutson and Hicks also recovers for the Bears at the 11.  Cal 7, Oregon 3.

5:17 2nd Q: The Ducks take the lead on an 11-yard touchdown run by Travis Dye. Oregon went 67 yards in just seven plays, with Anthony Brown completing passes of 21 and 19 yards to Devon Williams. Oregon 10, Cal 7.

HALFTIME: Oregon 10, Cal 7. The Bears got another timely takeaway as LB Marqez Bimage knocked the ball loose from QB Anthony Brown, then recovered at the Bears' 46-yard line with 16 seconds left in the half. Oregon was close to being in FG range. Ethan Saunders had a sack for the Bears earlier on the possession.

Cal gets the ball to start the third quarter and should feel good it's this close, given how the offense struggled to do much after the first TD drive. But the Ducks get edge rusher Kayvon Thiboeaux (a potential No. 1 NFL draft pick) in the second half - he was forced to sit out the first as a penalty for drawing a targeting penalty in the second half vs. Stanford in the Ducks' most recent game.

Oregon has 288 total yards to 144 for the Bears. But the two Oregon turnovers -- they had just two through their first five games -- were the difference.

Garbers was 10 for 17 for 72 yards and a touchdown but had just 29 yards after the first possession. Oregon's Brown was 16 for 21 for 166 yards and running back Travis Dye has rushed 13 times for 110 yards and a touchdown.



Here is some pre-game reading:

— Our comprehensive game preview

— The second-half challenge posed by Oregon’s highly toured edge rusher Kayvon Thibodeaux

— Cal safety Elijah Hicks’ latest efforts to help others

— Our courageous (and recently miserable) efforts to pick the Pac-12 winners

— An Oregon beat writer answers our 5 Questions about the Ducks

What has happened to Cal’s once-ferocious defense?

Cover photo of Oregon's Autzen Stadium by Troy Wayrynen, USA Today

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