Bears Mush Huskies to End 25-Year Streak

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SEATTLE-Hey, alumni: "Go..."

The faint sounds of the traditional Memorial Stadium cheer somehow broke through the din of 75,000 purple-clad fans, and you could almost sense a quarter century's worth of Cal football alumni trying to will the Bears to a win.

For the past 25 years and 19 games, no Cal player had experience victory over the Huskies.

The Bears had found a seemingly endless number of ways to lose to Washington, giving up fourth-quarter leads in the last three meetings.

Not this Saturday.

The Bears (4-2, 1-1 in the Pac-10) knocked off No. 12 Washington (3-2, 0-1) 34-27 to end a two-game losing skid as well as a curse of sorts.

"I was thinking about the streak," rover Nnamdi Asomugha said. "Players were saying on the sideline, 'Forget about the streak, there is no curse.' It got me to start thinking about it and i realized we have to win this game."

Behind five touchdowns from Kyle Boller and a determined second-half effort from the defense, Cal did just that.

"We killed it today," Asomugha said.

Not only did they kill the streak on Saturday, but the Bears defeated their second top-15 team on the road in one season for the first time in school history.

"It means a lot to our players and and past players who have dealt with many years of frustration," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "We just focus on this year's team and how history is going to write about the 2002 Cal Bears."

Staff/Ramin Rahimian
LaShaun Ward caught a 2-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to seal the game for Cal. The receiving corps helped quarterback Kyle Boller, who was 13 for 24 with 266 yards, set a career mark in touchdown passes, and assured Cal fans that there was no curse on the 2002 Bears.

Boller's five touchdown passes established a career high and helped the Bears finally build a lead that Washington couldn't overcome.

Boller's first touchdown of the game came on what seems to have become a fixture in the Cal playbook-a trick play.

With 8:32 left in the first quarter, the Bears ran a flea-flicker resulting in a 40-yard touchdown pass to a wide open Jonathan Makonnen to give Cal a 7-0 lead.

After consecutive scores by the Huskies put them up 10-7 at the end of the first, Asomugha joined the "career day" bandwagon.

Washington tailback Rich Alexis fumbled a handoff on his first touch of the game, and Asomugha recovered the ball on the Washington 8-yard line.

Playing cornerback because of his size, and also the success of freshman Donnie McCleskey at safety, Asomugha spent the day matched up against star receiver Reggie Williams.

Williams finished with eight catches for 116 yards, but the Cal defense kept him out of the endzone.

Asomugha, who also had two pass deflections on the day, intercepted Huskies quarterback Cody Pickett on the Cal 3-yard line.

Pickett, who threw for 400-plus yards in each of his previous two games, finished the day with two interceptions and went 35-for-59 for 399 yards but no touchdowns.

"I know he wasn't nearly in the 60 percent range," Washington coach Rick Neuheisel said of Pickett. "When you are just slightly off, you have to find other ways to move the ball, and we just didn't move it well."

Following another Washington field goal, Boller threw his third touchdown pass, this one a 55-yarder to walk-on wide receiver Vincent Strang for his second career catch.

After the Huskies' third field goal of the day, this one a 26-yarder, the Bears went into halftime with a 21-16 lead.

Coming out of halftime with a lead for the third consecutive game, the Cal defense held up its end of the bargain, sacking Pickett five times and blanketing his receivers, while holding the Huskies out of the endzone in the third quarter.

Jemeel Powell intercepted Pickett's second pass of the fourth deep in Washington territory to set up Boller's final touchdown of the day, a 2-yard touchdown pass to LaShaun Ward.

The Huskies engineered a 19-play, 82-yard touchdown drive, but ate up more than six minutes, leaving them down two scores with just over four minutes left.

Even after getting the ball back from an Igber fumble just 21 seconds later and converting a 37-yard field goal, Washington needed an onside kick to have a chance.

Geoff McArthur, who barely played at receiver because of a hamstring pull, ensured there would be no late heroics for the Huskies this time by fair catching the kickoff.


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