By:|John Rickel:|4.0 Sports Media
BERKELEY, Calif. – No. 19 Oregon Ducks rebounded back from last week’s loss to Stanford to defeat the No. 24 California Golden Bears 42-24 at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, California in front of 43,448.
Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert threw two touchdown passes to propel the Ducks offense. On defense, No.19 Oregon had 5 turnovers and two defensive touchdowns to beat No. 24 California 42-24 on Saturday night.
“We had a lot of naysayers saying we were going to be back to the old Oregon way,” linebacker Troy Dye said. “We had a bad taste in our mouth. We had a lot to prove this week. We came out and we proved some points.”
Ducks La’Mar Winston Jr. returned a fumble for a touchdown in the first half and Ugochukwu Amadi had an interception return for a TD in the second half for the Ducks (4-1, 1-1), who let a 17-point lead dwindle against Stanford.
Herbert threw a 30-yard touchdown pass to senior tight end Kano Dillon to take a 7-3 first-quarter early lead.
Bears quarterback Brandon McIlwain took the lead back with a 28-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, but the Ducks then scored three consecutive touchdowns to end the half up 28-10.
Oregon was up 35-10 early in the third quarter before the Golden Bears answered with a touchdown of their own by Patrick Laird. All hope was lost when Travis Dye fumble the ball to cut into the Oregon deficit.
Oregon defense played lights out anytime the Bears were driving the ball, intercepting a pass from Chase Garbers in the end zone and stopping Brandon McIlwain for a 2-yard loss on fourth-and-goal from the one early in the fourth quarter. Free safety Amadi put the game away with a 32-yard interception return against McIlwain for a score that made it 42-24.
“The mindset was to redeem ourselves,” Amadi said. “We were eager to get back on the field. We wanted to give the world what they needed to see and that was playing Oregon football.”
The Golden Bears gave up too many big plays defensively and couldn’t develop any consistency throwing the ball down the field. Cal used two quarterbacks Garbers and McIlwain throughout the game but neither was effective throwing the ball in the game. McIlwain had two interceptions and lost a fumble, and Garbers also was intercepted twice against that Oregon defense.
“Everybody feels awful. You invest so much time and energy and when it doesn’t go like you want it to go, it stings. You only get so many opportunities to go out and play, so it hurts and it should hurt. We’ll learn from it.” Cal coach Justin Wilcox said.