How many teams have beaten a top 25 team on the road and added a road win against an SEC team this season? No. 23 Cal (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) has after picking up a 28-20 victory at Ole Miss on Saturday. Chase Garbers passed for 344 yards and four touchdowns. But this one was all about how the game ended.
With no timeouts, Ole Miss was held short of the goal line on the final play of the game. Clock management, to put it kindly, was not ideal for the Rebels. Ole Miss ran successive running plays without a chance to stop the clock in the final minute. Without a chance to dial up a different play, Ole Miss tried pushing across the goal line for a chance to tie the game with a two-point conversion, but the Bears stood firm.
The biggest blow of the game from Cal was a 60-yard touchdown to a streaking Jake Tonges midway through the third quarter. Cal had taken a 21-13 lea don Ole Miss on their previous offensive series, and the defense forced a quick three-and-out to get the ball right back. On 2nd & 10 from the Cal 40-yard line, Garbers and Tonges connected on the pass attempt and Tonges ran away from a pair of stumbling Ole Miss defenders and had enough gas to reach the end zone before anyone could catch him.
Ole Miss had a chance to make things closer in the fourth quarter but opted to try a 29-yard field goal from the Cal 2-yard line on 4th & Goal. Similar to the decision of Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi last week against Penn State, this decision by head coach Matt Luke backfired in a big way when Luke Logan missed the short field goal attempt.
Cal is now 4-0. They have completed their non-conference schedule with a 3-0 record against UC Davis, North Texas and Ole Miss. Cal also picked up a win on the road against Washington (who was No. 14 at the time). Next up for Cal will be a home game against Arizona State in what is suddenly a fairly significant game in Pac-12 play. Arizona State also entered this week 3-0 with a game against Colorado coming up later tonight). Cal’s defense gave up some yards and plays against Ole Miss, but Cal is looking to be a team to keep an eye on in the Pac-12. Cal is 4-0 for the first time under head coach Justin Wilcox and the first time since 2015.
Ole Miss will get a bye week to rest up for their next game on the schedule. They’ll need it. Ole Miss travels to Alabama in two weeks.