If this was indeed Jared Goff‘s last game in a Cal uniform, he made it a statistically memorable — and record-breaking — finale that came at the expense of Air Force.
Expected to leave his remaining eligibility on the table and make himself available for the NFL draft next April, Goff riddled the service academy’s air defense systems throughout the afternoon, setting Armed Forces Bowl records with 467 yards passing and six passing touchdowns in leading the Golden Bears to a 55-36 win over the Falcons. The win was Cal’s first in a bowl game since dropping Miami (Fla.) in the 2008 Emerald Bowl.
Goff has now thrown for 300 or more yards 22 times — 10 this season in 13 games — in his three-year career as Cal’s starting quarterback. He’s also gone over 400 yards eight times and surpassed 500 on three different occasions. It was also the fifth time he’s thrown five or more touchdowns in a single game, including each of the last two.
In the process, Goff, expected to be in a fight with Memphis’ Paxton Lynch for the right to be the first quarterback selected in the draft, broke the Pac-12 single-season records for passing yards (4,719) and passing touchdowns (43), the latter of which was set by Oregon’s Marcus Mariota (42) during his Heisman run last season. The yardage record was previously held by Oregon State’s Sean Mannion (4,662 in 2013).
The last two games alone, Goff passed for 1,009 yards as he threw for a career-high 542 yards in the regular-season finale against Arizona State. He totaled 11 touchdowns in those two contests for good measure, a number that’s more than 13 FBS teams have thrown for all season.
Three of Goff’s scoring tosses on the day came in the second quarter as Cal took a 35-21 lead into the halftime locker room. That was as close as the Falcons would get the rest of the way as they were outscored 20-15 over the final two quarters in what turned into their third bowl loss in their last four postseason trips.
Kenny Lawler caught three of Goff’s touchdowns, while Bryce Treggs accounted for 143 receiving yards. Nine different Golden Bears caught passes as Goff completed 25-of-37 passes in putting up a season-high passer rating of 227.1.
Air Force, champions of the MWC’s Mountain division, finishes 2015 at 8-6. The 18 wins for the Falcons the last two years (10-3 in 2014) are the most in back-to-back seasons for the program since they won 22 in 1997 and 1998.