There’s ugly. And there’s whatever that was Friday night in Berkeley, Calif.
But when all the turnovers had been recovered and all the yellow laundry had been cleared from the field (on one play, there were four separate penalties), the Washington Huskies emerged with a 21-13 victory over California. It was Washington’s first road win of the season and snapped a six-game road losing streak for the Huskies. The win moves Washington (5-4, 3-3 Pac-12) one step closer to bowl eligibility.
Cal (3-7, 2-5) is officially eliminated from postseason contention for the second time in three seasons -- and questions surrounding the future of coach Jeff Tedford are sure to heat up with this latest loss.
The teams combined for eight turnovers (four apiece) and 19 penalties for a total of 168 yards (12 for 108 from Washington).
But amid the sloppiness, there were bright spots. Washington tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins -- playing on a bum ankle -- turned in a gritty performance with eight catches for 151 yards and a score. Bishop Sankey had a season-high 189 yards on the ground for Washington to go with a pair of scores.
However, it's hard to overlook a stretch in the fourth quarter in which four consecutive drives ended in turnovers -- including four turnovers over a span of 11 snaps.
The Huskies jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter when they turned an Isi Sofele fumble into an 11-play, 79-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard Sankey touchdown run.
The Bears battled back to match the score in the second quarter when Chris Harper scored on a 14-yard end-around. Cal then took a six-point lead in the third following a pair of Vincenzo D’Amato field goals.
But Seferian-Jenkins -- who came out of the locker room at halftime limping badly -- made his presence known late in the third quarter. He made a leaping 43-yard reception that later helped set up his jumping 29-yard touchdown from Keith Price that gave Washington a 14-13 edge at the end of the third quarter.
Price completed 16 of 29 passes for 237 yards with a touchdown and an interception. His Cal counterpart, Zach Maynard, was 15-of-29 for 175 yards with no touchdowns and a pick. C.J. Anderson led Cal on the ground with 160 yards on 22 carries.
The loss also puts a damper on an outstanding game from Cal linebacker Nick Forbes, who tallied 10 tackles with an interception and two fumble recoveries.
It was a Maynard interception in the fourth that set up Sankey’s second touchdown run of the game and gave Washington the final margin.
Making matters worse for Cal, Maynard was sidelined near the end of the game with what appeared to be a knee injury. He was helped off the field and then carted to the locker room. Allan Bridgford relieved Maynard on Cal’s final drive but was unable to get the Bears into the end zone.