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October 21, 2006Marshawn Lynch ran for 150 yards and a 22-yard touchdown in overtime, and No. 11 California recovered from Washington's improbable tying score on a deflected pass as time expired for a 31-24 victory over the Huskies on Saturday.
Linebacker Desmond Bishop made 16 tackles and atoned for his disastrous misplay on Marlon Wood's unbelievable TD catch with a game-ending interception for the Golden Bears (7-1, 5-0 Pac-10), who celebrated wildly after surviving for their seventh straight victory.
Lynch made a 17-yard TD run with 1:52 to play, and Cal appeared to be safe after trailing much of the day against the Huskies (4-4, 2-3) and new quarterback Carl Bonnell, who threw five interceptions in his first start in two years.
But Bonnell drove the Huskies 48 yards to the Cal 40, where he uncorked a long throw to the end zone with 6 seconds left.
Bishop or Robert Peele could have knocked it down, but instead deflected the ball straight to Wood, who caught it and lunged over the goal line with just his second catch of the season - and the first TD of his career.
Washington stretched USC down to the final possession of a 26-20 loss two weeks ago, and coach Tyrone Willingham's club again showed a flair for dramatics - but again couldn't finish it off.
Although Memorial Stadium was deathly quiet when Cal lost the overtime coin flip, Lynch rolled to a 22-yard score on the Bears' second play. Washington then got to the Cal 6, but Bishop intercepted a short pass and returned it about 80 yards with the entire Cal roster chasing him down the field.
Lynch added to the festivities when he commandeered the cart used to carry injured players. The junior tailback drove it onto the field, jubilantly leaving turn tracks on Cal's artificial turf while the student section went crazy.
Nate Longshore passed for 291 yards but no touchdowns as Washington shut down Cal's big-play offensive stars - except Lynch, who rushed for 102 yards after halftime.
Bonnell, who passed for 284 yards, was shaky but resilient in his first start in place of Isaiah Stanback, who's out for the regular season with a severely sprained ankle. Louis Rankin rushed for 88 yards as Washington forced Cal's first close game since its season opener.
Stanback was hurt last week in the Huskies' home loss to Oregon State - the same team beaten by Cal last month in Corvallis. But after a disappointing second half in last week's 21-3 win at Washington State, the Bears remained in their offensive slump.
After scoring 192 points in the first halves of their last six games, Cal managed only Tom Schneider's field goal 2 seconds before halftime. Anthony Russo caught a 49-yard TD pass moments for the Huskies, who led 10-3.
The Bears went ahead in the third quarter, but Bonnell put Washington back in front on a 7-yard TD sneak with 14:13 to play. Cal thought it had taken control with a field goal followed by a 13-play, 86-yard scoring drive, capped by Lynch's run and Justin Forsett's 2-point conversion.