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September 29, 2007
Cal tops Oregon in Pac 10 shootout
EUGENE, Ore. — DeSean Jackson had 11 catches for 161 yards and two touchdowns, while Justin Forsett ran for 101 yards and another two scores to lead No. 6 California to a 31-24 victory over No. 11 Oregon on Saturday.
The Golden Bears (5-0, 2-0 Pacific-10 Conference) snapped a seven-game losing streak at Autzen Stadium - they hadn't won there since 1987 - and needed a close call to go their way to hang on.
With 22 seconds to go, Oregon's Dennis Dixon hit receiver Cameron Colvin, who fumbled trying to reach the ball into the end zone when he was hit by Marcus Ezeff. The loose ball went through the end zone and was ruled a touchback and possession for Cal. The play was reviewed, the call stood and time ran out for Oregon (4-1, 1-1).
Nate Longshore completed 28 of 43 passes for 285 yards and two scores for the Golden Bears.
Oregon's Dennis Dixon, who was the only Pac-10 quarterback who had not thrown an interception, threw a pair late in the game. Dixon was 31-of-44 for 306 yards and a touchdown.
It was billed in advance as a high-scoring, offense-driven game, but both teams had trouble getting into the end zone through the first three quarters.
With the game tied at 10 in the third, Dixon hit Colvin with a 32-yard touchdown pass. Fans in Oregon's student section held up a large yellow sign reading "Dixon for Heisman."
Cal tied it again early in the fourth with Forsett's 1-yard scoring run, then pulled ahead with Longshore's 31-yard touchdown pass to Jackson.
Dixon ran a keeper in for a yard to tie it again at 24 with 7:06 left.
The Golden Bears got a scare late in the game when Longshore was hit hard by linebacker Kwame Agyeman and briefly left the game.
Dixon was picked off by Anthony Felder and Forsett went on to put the Bears ahead again on a 1-yard touchdown run with just more than three minutes to go.
Oregon moved the ball to the Cal 17 on the ensuing series, but a Dixon pass was tipped by Cal tackle Mika Kane and intercepted by Tyson Alualu.
Jonathan Stewart, who was leading the league in rushing, had 21 carries for 121 yards for the Ducks.
Last season Cal defeated Oregon 45-24 at Berkeley. The loss was pivotal for the Ducks, who at the time were 4-0 and ranked 11th. Oregon went on to lose five of its next eight games for a 7-6 finish. Cal, at the time ranked 16th, went on to win five of the next seven and wrap up the season 10-3 as the co-conference champions with USC.
For two teams with potent offenses, it was all about defense early. The Ducks got a 32-yard field goal from Matt Evensen with 47 seconds to go in the first quarter, and the Golden Bears matched it with Jordan Kay's 34-yarder midway through the second.
Dixon struggled, missing key passes including a potential TD pass to Colvin, who was wide open in the end zone.
Oregon put together an efficient drive before the half, capped by Jonathan Stewart's 5-yard scoring run right through a crowd of California defenders to make it 10-3.
Oregon's defense, meanwhile, was able to effectively key in on Forsett and Jackson.
Still, Cal also had its chances.
Kay's 33-yard field goal attempt early in the second half went wide left. Cal succeed later in the third quarter when Longshore found Jackson with a 25-yard scoring pass that tied it at 10.
Saturday's game also marked the return of Oregon's Duck mascot to Autzen Stadium. The Duck was suspended the last home game because he beat up the Houston Cougar in the season opener.
The game drew 59,273 fans, an Autzen record.
Cal coach Jeff Tedford, Oregon's former offensive coordinator, had never won with the Golden Bears at Autzen.