Davis Webb

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Cal drops Texas in a wild game to put Big 12 playoff hopes in peril

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Just three weeks into the season and the Big 12’s chances of putting a team into the College Football Playoff are suddenly in peril. After Saturday night, one probably wouldn’t be all that wrong in saying they’re hanging on by a thread.

That’s the case after the conference’s top-ranked team Texas fell to California 50-43 in just about the wildest way possible.

After a back-and-forth shootout of a first half gave way to a scoreless third quarter, the two teams traded scores once again in the final 15 minutes before Cal quarterback (and Texas Tech transfer) Davis Webb marched the Bears down the field on a seven play, 65 yard touchdown drive. That gave the Bears the lead for what turned out to be for good with 3:41 left in the game but it wasn’t quite that easy for either squad.

Texas ended up getting the ball back needing a score to tie but promptly went three and out. Head coach Charlie Strong bizarrely punted the ball away with the Longhorns on their own 21 yard line and just under two minutes left on the clock. That was the only opening the Bears needed to salt away the game but not before some strange Pac-12 after dark magic popped up in Berkeley.

Needing just a yard to ice the game away for good on third down, Cal tailback Vic Enwere busted through the UT defense for what appeared to be a 55 yard touchdown run. But in a move that was appropriate for the alma mater of DeSean Jackson, Enwere actually dropped the ball before crossing the goal line.

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Despite a Texas player picking up the ball as it rolled on the ground in the end zone, officials ruled that there was “no immediate recovery” and Cal was allowed to keep the ball. Two kneel-downs later and the Bears had bizarrely concluded a two-year sweep of the Lone Star State school.

Freshman quarterback Shane Buechele played solidly in his first road start (196 yards, one TD, one INT) for the Longhorns but missed time early after suffering an injury. The night was his counterpart’s in blue and gold though, with Webb throwing for 396 yards and four scores. Receiver Chad Hansen went off against a shaky Texas secondary to the tune of 196 yards and two touchdowns as the primary target in the passing game.

As big of a win as it was for Sonny Dykes’ Golden Bears though, it was a crusher for Strong’s young Longhorns and in particular the Big 12. The loss gives the league just two undefeated teams after three weeks and likely none in the top 15 of the polls after Oklahoma was crushed by Ohio State on Saturday night.

The Big 12 isn’t completely out of the running to place a team in the final four but the result in Berkeley coupled with the one in Norman certainly makes it an uphill battle in 2016 for a conference that has already been left out of the playoff once before.

Bonkers in Berkeley: Cal leads Texas 35-33 in wild first half shootout

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You just knew that a late night college football game involving two schools from Berkeley and Austin was bound to get weird. California and Texas certainly delivered on that front in the first half on Saturday.

The Bears took a narrow 35-33 lead into the locker room thanks to a simply bonkers sequence to end the half that pretty much summed the night up for both teams.

Texas freshman Brandon Jones had just blocked a punt that rolled through the back of the end zone for a safety and a 33-28 lead with 1:38 left before halftime. Freshman phenom Shane Buechele, who suffered a hard hit to the chest and temporarily left the game, returned at quarterback the following series and promptly threw an interception that Cal safety Luke Rubenzer returned to the Texas 24 yard line.

Two plays later, Bears quarterback Davis Webb dropped an absolute perfect pass into the arms of Chad Hansen to improbably give Cal the lead after the offense spent most of the game playing catch up. It was the third touchdown throw of the night for Webb, a former Texas Tech signal-caller who has seen his fair share of the Longhorns.

Aside from the interception, his counterpart Buechele was impressive in his first road start in college, finding the end zone in impressive fashion when he a fired a 41-yard strike to a waiting Jacorey Warrick in the end zone. The UT offense didn’t seem to miss much of a beat with Buechele out and backup Tyrone Swoopes in, with the latter leading the team on two touchdown drives to help keep pace with the Bears.

Still, neither head coach can be all that happy with their defense after seeing plenty of big plays, missed tackles and numerous mental mistakes. Of course for those of us at home, it makes for must-see late night college football action that is bound to have a crazy second half encore.

Cal handles Hawaii in Down Under opener

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The 2016 college football season started with… an onside kick. In his first game as Hawaii’s head coach, Nick Rolovich opened with a surprise, which Cal’s Patrick Laird alertly covered. Khalfani Muhammad raced in from 34 yards out just six plays later, and it was off to the races for the Bears.

Hawaii fought back to tie the game at 7-7 and again at 14-14 late in the first quarter, but the Bears closed the first half on a 20-0 run, keyed by a pair of Davis Webb touchdown tosses, to put the game away en route to a 51-31 win. Hawaii never pulled closer than 17 points in the second half.

Played at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium, the game was the first-ever college contest played in Australia.

Webb dazzled in his Bears debut, hitting 38-of-54 throws for 441 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. Chad Hansen was his top target, collecting 14 grabs for 160 yards and two of those scores. Muhammad, meanwhile, led the Bears’ ground game with 10 carries for 96 yards and a score.

Ikaika Woolsey led Hawaii with 234 passing yards and one touchdown.

Overall, Cal achieved 630 yards of total offense (30 first downs) on 7.1 yards per play, while allowing Hawaii to gain 6.7 yards per play and 482 total yards.

Cal takes next week off before a date with San Diego State, while Hawaii must turn around and prepare for a road trip to No. 7 Michigan on Saturday.

Backup QB Cade Apsay one of two dismissed by Buffs

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Thanks to an injury sustained last season, Colorado may or may not have starting quarterback Sefo Liufau for the 2016 season. Thanks to an off-field issue this offseason, they definitely won’t have the player who replaced the starter at the end of 2015.

On the eve of the start of spring practice, head coach Mike MacIntyre announced that sophomore quarterback Cade Apsay, along with junior safety Evan White, have been dismissed from his football program. Other than the standard unspecified violations of team rules, no reason for the twin dismissals was given.

This is at least the second time in less than a year that Apsay has been disciplined as he was suspended for the first two games of the 2015 season for team rules violations.

After returning from that suspension, Apsay resumed his duties as the primary backup to Liufau. When Liufau went down in mid-November with the Lis Franc injury that has left his future somewhat up in the air, Apsay started the final two games of the year.  He ended up completing 59 of 92 passes (64.1 percent) for 582 yards, three touchdowns and five interceptions.

With Liufau sidelined for at least spring practice and Texas Tech transfer Davis Webb not arriving until summer, the quarterbacking onus in the short-term will fall on redshirt freshman Steven Montez and senior Jordan Gehrke.

As for White, he played in 11 games as a true freshman in 2014, starting three of those contests.  However, the defensive back’s playing time significantly diminished a year later as he played in just three games in 2015.

After leaving Texas Tech, QB Davis Webb lands at Colorado

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Exactly four weeks after officially leaving his first college football home, Davis Webb has unofficially found his second.

In a move that’s been expected for a week or more, Webb confirmed to FOXSports.com‘s Bruce Feldman that he has committed to continuing his collegiate playing career at Colorado. With starter Sefo Liufau likely out for the 2016 season because of a left-foot fracture — specifically, the dreaded Lis Franc diagnosis — sustained in mid-November, Webb, who will be eligible to play immediately, will enter spring practice as a favorite to win the starting job for the Buffaloes.

Webb made his decision before taking a planned official visit to Auburn.

“I just know it’s a good fit with Colorado,” Webb told Feldman. “I really like what [head coach Mike MacIntyre] and [offensive coordinator Brian] Lindgren are doing with the offense. I like that they are scheduled to play eight preseason Top 25 teams. I’ll have a good chance to showcase my ability on the road at Oregon and at Michigan. I will get plenty of exposure to pursue my dream of playing in the NFL.

“I really feel Colorado is just a couple of players from taking that next step to where the Colorado Buffaloes have been before (in the Top 25) and where Colorado should be.”

Webb, who will have one year of eligibility remaining, also took to Twitter to confirm his commitment.

Webb started 14 games combined for Texas Tech in 2013 and 2014. He lost a competition the following year to Patrick Mahomes, whose record-setting year at Tech in 2015 set him up to be a preseason favorite for the 2016 Heisman Trophy. Sitting behind the redshirt freshman last season, Webb played in five games, mostly in mop-up duty.

For his career in Lubbock, Webb completed 62 percent of his 747 passes for 5,557 yards, 46 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.