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Friday, December 23, 2005

Cal clips BYU in Las Vegas Bowl

Following last year's suprise loss to Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl, the Cal Bears bested BYU in this year's Las Vegas Bowl.

Here's the AP account of the game:

By GREG BEACHAM AP Sports Writer

LAS VEGAS Dec 23, 2005 — Marshawn Lynch had no time for a loose shoelace. He was too busy carrying California to a victory in the Las Vegas Bowl and during his second touchdown run, his untied shoe stayed on him better than any BYU tackler. "I almost, almost slipped," Lynch claimed of his 23-yard sprint in the second quarter.

Anybody who watched his performance in the Golden Bears' 35-28 over Brigham Young probably wouldn't believe him but everybody got a look at the wealth of offensive talent coming back to Cal in 2006.

Lynch rushed for career highs of 194 yards and three touchdowns to win the MVP award, and DeSean Jackson caught two scoring passes before Cal's defense held off Brigham Young on Thursday night in an entertaining meeting of two programs with big aspirations for next season.

Steve Levy passed for 228 yards in his second career start for the Golden Bears (8-4), who hung on against BYU's fourth-quarter comeback in a high-octane game featuring 915 total yards.

"We didn't want to go into this offseason with a negative, because we grew up so much this year," said Jackson, who capped his impressive freshman season with six catches for 130 yards. "They're an up-and-coming team, but so are we."

Cal took a 21-point lead into the final quarter after Lynch's 35-yard scoring run and Jackson's exceptional 22-yard diving TD catch in the third. But BYU quarterback John Beck responded with scoring passes to Jonny Harline and Todd Watkins, whose 9-yard grab with 5:35 left cut Cal's lead to seven points.

The Bears improbably tried a 50-yard field goal with 2:20 to play, and Tom Schneider's kick was well short. But the Cougars moved just 7 yards before Beck's arm was hit by Cal lineman Phillip Mbakogu, and Daymeion Hughes intercepted the wobbling pass to seal the Bears' second bowl victory in three postseason trips under coach Jeff Tedford.

"It was great to see a reflection of how much we've improved with this young team," Tedford said. "This effort was typical of our team. It doesn't surprise me."


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