The time trickled away for the Texas Longhorns as the California Golden Bears bled the clock on the game’s final possession to come out with a 50-43 victory in Berkeley to continue the road struggles for Texas under head coach Charlie Strong.
Golden Bears running back Vic Enwere appeared to win the game and then potentially gave Texas another opportunity in a bizarre ending before an unfortunate ruling by the officials cost the Longhorns at one last opportunity.
As the road team faced a critical 3rd and 1 with the game on the line, Enwere broke through the defensive line and headed towards the end zone to seal the game. Incredibly, Enwere continued a recent trend of players dropping the football just before the end zone.
Texas safety Dylan Haines eventually picked up the football, but after review, the official ruled that because there was no “immediate continuing action” by the Longhorns to recover the football, the Golden Bears received it back on the goal line.
Out of timeouts, Strong’s team had no choice but to watch the clock tick away for the season’s first loss and another road defeat.
Heading into the game, the connection between Cal quarterback Davis Webb and former walk-on wide receiver Chad Hansen was a key storyline and the two players combined for 196 yards and two touchdowns.
A wild first half resulted in 68 total points before both teams failed to score in the third quarter, which featured five total punts and a much slower pace.
Penalties hurt the Longhorns offense, with a hold by center Zach Shackelford negating a 21-yard gain by D’Onta Foreman and resulting in a missed 49-yard field goal by Trent Domingue. On the next possession, Shackelford turned a 3rd and 3 into a 3rd and 8 with a false start.
Another false start, this time by Patrick Vahe, put Texas behind the chains on the next drive. After a dropped pass by John Burt, the ‘Horns had to punt and end a fruitless third quarter.
Then a holding call on tight end Andrew Beck negated an eight-yard gain on 2nd and 6 to kill a crucial drive following a 47-yard touchdown run by Foreman that briefly gave the ‘Horns a 40-35 lead.
In the end, the Longhorns didn’t click enough on offense due to drive-killing penalties, couldn’t slow down Webb and Hansen, and busted a few too many coverages. The final possession saw Buechele scrambling ineffectively in a three-and-out and taking more big hits.
Now Texas will head into a bye week with a chance to get healthy, attempt to correct those mistakes in coverage, and prepare to finish better against Oklahoma State in Stillwater.