California snapped a four-game losing streak when Washington State kicker Dean Janikowski missed a 48-yard field goal with 50 seconds left that could have tied the game, helping the Golden Bears post a 42-39 victory on Saturday at Berkeley, Calif.
California (4-6, 2-5 Pac-12) almost blew an 18-point lead in the fourth quarter.
Washington State (4-6, 1-6) and the Golden Bears must win their last two games be eligible for a bowl.
The Cougars have lost six straight games.
Washington State quarterback Cameron Ward got the Cougars into field-goal position, to the Cal 31-yard line, after completing a 16-yard pass to Josh Kelly.
After an incomplete pass, setting up fourth down, Janikowski missed the 48-yarder wide left. He failed on a 42-yard attempt earlier in the fourth quarter.
Washington State used its three timeouts to force California to punt with 28 seconds left.
The Cougars got the ball to their 47 after two pass plays.
Ward’s Hail Mary attempt at the end was intercepted at the goal line by Cade Uluave, who had a 51-yard fumble return for a touchdown in the first quarter.
Ward attempted a career-high 60 pass attempts and completed 35 of them for 358 yards. He threw three touchdown passes and was intercepted once.
With 9:26 remaining, Ward fumbled while being sacked and Nohl Williams returned the ball 52 yards for a touchdown, increasing California’s lead to 42-24.
Ward then led the Cougars 70 yards in seven plays on a touchdown-scoring drive that took only 1:49 left in the clock.
His 21-yard scoring strike to Kelly and subsequent successful 2-point conversion pass to Djouvensky Schlenbaker with 7:33 remaining cut the lead to 42-32.
California running back Jaydn Ott fumbled on the ensuing possession and Washington State’s Sam Lockett III recovered it at the California 37 with 6:38 remaining.
A 20-yard pass from Ward to Lincoln Victor set up a 5-yard scoring connection between Ward and Schlenbaker with 5:23 left to cut the lead to 42-39.
California had a three-and-out possession, forcing it to punt to Washington State with 3:42 remaining.
Janikowski’s missed field goal came at the end of the possession.
Ott rushed for 167 yards on 27 carries to lead a California offense that mustered 327 total yards.
–Field Level Media