NCF Nation: Cole Linehan

Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller

Some might call football a game of inches, but the Oregon-California classic last year went one better. It was a game of inch.

  

With 22 seconds remaining and Oregon mounting a furious and desperate final drive, Ducks quarterback Dennis Dixon hit receiver Cameron Colvin, who streaked toward the end zone and, while taking a hit from Cal safety Marcus Ezeff, extended the ball toward the pylon marking the goal line.

But the ball came loose. And then rolled through the end zone.

There was hushed moment in Autzen Stadium of "what the heck just happened?" Said ABC announcer Dan Fouts several moments after the play, "We still do not have a signal! This is unbelievable!"

After conferring, the officials ruled it a touchback and gave possession to Cal. The on-field call stood after it was reviewed.

Cal won 31-24 and became a national-title contender -- at least until the Bears lost six of their next seven games.

While the stakes are not as high this time -- last year Cal was ranked sixth and Oregon No. 11 -- the Bears and Ducks are, as usual, in the center of the Pac-10 race.

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