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No. 9 Oregon holds off tenacious California 24-17

Ducks stop Cal on fourth-and-2 with 2 seconds to play

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Oregon running back Travis Dye (26) dives into the end zone over California safety Daniel Scott (32) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, in Eugene, Ore.
Oregon running back Travis Dye (26) dives into the end zone over California safety Daniel Scott (32) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Andy Nelson) Photo Gallery

EUGENE, Ore. — Anthony Brown scored on an 11-yard keeper with 4:50 left and ninth-ranked Oregon held off surprisingly tenacious California 24-17 on Friday night.

The Golden Bears took a 17-10 lead early in the final quarter, but Brown answered with a 20-yard touchdown pass to Jaylon Redd to tie it. The Ducks (5-1, 2-1 Pac-12) pulled in front on Brown’s scamper into the end zone.

Cal threatened on the ensuing possession. The Golden Bears got to the Oregon 3 after Chase Garbers’ fourth-down pass to Kekoa Crawford preserved the drive, but his fourth-and-2 attempt with just 2 seconds left fell incomplete.

Oregon was coming off a bye following an overtime loss at Stanford. The rebound win was the Ducks’ 16th straight victory at Autzen Stadium.

Travis Dye ran for 145 yards and a score as Oregon leaned on him in the absence of CJ Verdell, who was injured against Stanford and is out for the season. Brown threw for 244 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for 44 yards and another score.

California (1-5, 0-3) has not defeated an FBS opponent this season — the team’s lone win came against Sacramento State.

Garbers, who went into the game leading the league in total offense (281.2 yards per game) and ranked third in passing yards (249 per game), threw for 242 yards and two touchdowns.

Cal, also coming off a bye, defeated Oregon last season in Berkeley, 21-17, with Garbers accounting for a pair of touchdowns, one via pass and the other on a keeper.

Verdell, who led Oregon with 406 yards rushing and six touchdowns, injured his left leg during the Ducks’ 31-24 overtime loss to Stanford. Bennett Williams, who had three interceptions this season, broke his leg in practice before the game and was also out for the season.

Camden Lewis’ 49-yard field goal gave the Ducks the early lead, but Garbers answered with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Jake Tonges.

Oregon looked out of sorts at times on offense. The Ducks were driving late in the second quarter before Kris Hutson fumbled on the Cal 11 and the Golden Bears recovered.

Oregon went up 10-7 on Dye’s 11-yard touchdown run and took the lead into halftime. Cal tied it in the third quarter on Dario Longhetto’s 45-yard field goal.

Garbers found Gavin Reinwald with a 4-yard touchdown pass to give the Golden Bears a 17-10 lead.

THE TAKEAWAY

California: Wide receiver Nikko Remigio and offensive lineman Will Craig were back from injuries this week. … Garbers has 43 career touchdown passes, tying him for eighth all-time at Cal with Aaron Rodgers.

Oregon: Oregon was without its marching band for the game because of a coronavirus outbreak among members. The university said 14 members tested positive. … The Ducks saw the return of offensive coordinator Joe Moorhead, who missed the game against Stanford because of illness. … Defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux played the second half after sitting out the first because of a targeting penalty at Stanford.

UP NEXT

Oregon visits UCLA at the Rose Bowl next Saturday.

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