Arizona beats Cal 45-44 in 2OT thriller
It took everything they had and then some, but the Arizona Wildcats defeated the California Golden Bears in double-overtime by a final score of 45-44. Freshman linebacker Colin Schooler broke up a two-point conversion pass in the back of the end zone to seal a Wildcat victory in Berkeley, Calif.
The win moves Arizona to an overall record of 5-2, 3-1 in the Pac-12 and keeps them at second place in the Pac-12 South, behind USC.
Arizona quarterback Khalil Tate was once again at the forefront of UA’s third straight conference win as the sophomore completed 10-15 passes for 166 yards with two touchdowns and ran for 137 yards and a touchdown. Tate had several magical plays once again, but none more important than a 22-yard touchdown pass to tight end Bryce Wolma in the second overtime, which wound up being the winning score.
Arizona started the game much like it had in the past two contests: fast. Cal drew first blood in the first quarter but UA answered with three straight scores, highlighted by a 76-yard TD run from Khalil Tate, to take a 21-7 lead into halftime.
But the Wildcats let the Bears back into the game due to penalties and the inability to stop Cal on third down. Cal eventually tied the game at 28-28 early in the fourth quarter with an 18-yard run from running back Patrick Laird.
After Arizona kicker Josh Pollack gave the Wildcats the lead again on a 36-yard field goal with five minutes remaining, Cal quarterback Ross Bowers calmly led the Bears right back down the field and kicker Matt Anderson tied the game at 31-31 with just under two minutes to go.
Khalil Tate would try to answer but his time would have to wait a few more plays as he had a deep pass near the end zone get intercepted to send the game into overtime.
Arizona elected to defer after winning the toss, giving Bowers and the Cal offense the ball first. They had no problem against a Wildcat defense that ended up surrendering 473 yards of total offense as Bowers connected with wide receiver Kanawai Noa for a 13-yard touchdown.
However, Arizona answered in the blink of an eye on a 25-yard touchdown run by Zach Green on the first play from scrimmage. Green finished the game with 130 yards and two touchdowns after watching teammates Nick Wilson and J.J. Taylor leave the game. Wilson exited due to an injury and Taylor was ejected.
In the game’s second overtime period, Arizona started out with the ball and that’s when Khalil Tate happened. The young signal caller calmly evaded the Golden Bear rush on a second down play from the 22-yard line and lofted a perfectly placed ball into the hands of Bryce Wolma, who barreled into the end zone for the go-ahead score to make it 45-38.
Cal, once again, answered with a touchdown drive on a 1-yard run from Vic Enwere on a 4th and goal play. Cal coach Justin Wilcox decided to go for the win with a two-point conversion attempt. Arizona’s defense had trouble stopping the Golden Bears almost the entire second half, but the team came up with one of the biggest stops of the year, thanks to Schooler to come away with the victory.
Arizona will host No. 15 ranked Washington State next week at 6:30 p.m.
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