AUSTIN, Texas – A shootout came down to a shocking missed extra-point kick, and California survived for a 45-44 win over Texas at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday night. What we learned:
What the win means for Cal: The Golden Bears added a road win to their resume and head into their Pac-12 opener at Washington feeling confident at 3-0. Junior quarterback Jared Goff was tremendous and ended the night as Cal’s new school record holder for career passing yardage. Cal’s run game didn’t miss a beat without Daniel Lasco thanks to big nights from Khalfani Muhammad and Vic Enwere. It's hard to truly judge where its defense stands, though, after how much trouble Texas quarterback Jerrod Heard gave them in his second career start.
What the loss means for Texas: The Longhorns go into Big 12 play at 1-2 with big challenges against Oklahoma State, TCU and Oklahoma up next. That’s a recipe for a rough start. Heard was electric once again, with 364 passing yards and 163 rushing yards, but he can’t do it all by himself. Charlie Strong will exit this one with more concerns about his defense, which lost starting safeties Dylan Haines (targeting ejection) and Jason Hall (injured) in the first half and got exposed in the secondary. That group has more growing up to do if they hope to keep up in the next three games.
How the game was won: After forcing a three-and-out, Texas got one more shot with 1:51 left. Heard started from his own 18 and drove the Horns all the way in six plays, capped by his 45-yard touchdown run on a well-timed QB draw. But Texas kicker Nick Rose missed the extra point that would've tied the game up at 45-45. It's unclear whether the try was at all deflected, but Rose's kick drifted wide right with 1:11 left in the game. His ensuing onside kick went out of bounds, and Cal kneeled to escape with the win.
The game turned when ... Cal went on a run of 31 unanswered points, flipping this game from a 24-14 Texas lead to a 45-24 rout. Two Heard turnovers late in the second quarter helped Cal tie it up right before halftime. Then the Bears racked up 190 yards on just 18 plays in the third quarter, highlighted by Muhammad’s 74-yard touchdown run right down the middle of the Texas defense. Goff was mighty hard to stop during this stretch, completing seven of his eight throws, and his efficiency eventually wore down the Texas defense.