Fernando Mendoza threw a pair of touchdown passes to Jeremiah Hunter, Jaydn Ott returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown and Cal gained bowl eligibility for the first time since 2019 with its 33-7 rout of UCLA on Saturday in Pasadena, Calif.
The Golden Bears (6-6, 4-5 Pac-12) fell behind 7-6 in the second quarter when Dante Moore threw a 5-yard scoring pass to Logan Loya. The UCLA score was set up by Laiatu Latu, who picked off Mendoza and took the return deep into Cal territory.
Ott returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, reclaiming the lead the Golden Bears built in the first quarter on a pair of Mateen Bhaghani field goals. Ott’s touchdown began a deluge, with Cal scoring 27 unanswered points.
Hunter matched a season high with eight receptions and set a season high with 101 yards, hauling in scoring receptions of 14 yards just before halftime and 13 yards in the fourth quarter.
Both touchdown receptions came after takeaways. David Reese set up the first one by forcing a fumble from Moore, who stepped in after Bruins starter Ethan Garbers left with an undisclosed injury in the first quarter. Brett Johnson recovered to set up the Cal offense in the red zone.
After Bhaghani kicked his third field goal to open the fourth quarter, the Golden Bears’ special teams forced a fumble from Colson Yankoff that placekicker Michael Luckhurst recovered. The takeaway led to Hunter’s second scoring catch.
UCLA (7-5, 4-5) outgained Cal 380-302, with 266 of those yards coming on Moore’s 23-of-38 passing. The Bruins had three possessions end on turnovers, while another three concluded with UCLA turning the ball over on downs.
Cade Uluave helped key the Cal defensive effort with 12 tackles, including two for loss, a sack and an interception. Craig Woodson picked off a pass, and Reese recorded three sacks.
Mendoza went 19-for-30 for 178 yards and was intercepted twice. Ott rushed 21 times for 80 yards.
–Field Level Media