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Ott and Cal defense step up in 24-21 win over Arizona State

BERKELEY -- Jadyn Ott rushed for 145 yards and a touchdown, California's defense made a pivotal interception then forced a turnover on downs to stop Arizona State's final drive, and the Golden Bears beat the Sun Devils 24-21 on Saturday.

Sam Jackson V passed for 130 yards and a touchdown as the Golden Bears (3-2, 1-1 Pac-12) bounced back from last week's lopsided loss to No. 8 Washington to beat the Sun Devils for the second time in the last five meetings between the conference rivals.

Cal's defense came up big despite allowing 430 yards. The Bears held the Sun Devils to 3 of 15 on third downs and 686 total rushing yards.

Trenton Bourguet passed for 344 yards for the Sun Devils (1-4, 0-2). Cam Skattebo added 59 yards on 24 carries.

With their quarterback situation in flux all season as Jackson and Ben Finley have vied for the starting job, the Bears focused on their running game against the Sun Devils.

Isaiah Infanse ran for 26 yards and a score while Jackson scrambled often and had 49 yards on two keeper plays wiped out by penalty.

There wasn't much Arizona State could do to contain Ott until late in the fourth quarter. Cal's sophomore repeatedly broke the Sun Devils' front line and made big, physical gains while helping the Bears find some consistency to their offense.

Arizona State - California Football
California running back Jaydn Ott runs ahead of Arizona State linebacker Caleb McCullough Sept. 30, 2023. Jed Jacobsohn / AP

Ott scored Cal's first touchdown of the second half on a 2-yard run following an interception by nickel back Matthew Littlejohn.

Bourguet came back and scored on a 3-yard keeper then made the two-point conversion to pull the Sun Devils within 24-21.

Cal missed a chance to seal the win when Ott was stopped short on a 4th-and-goal from the 1 but Arizona State couldn't capitalize. Defensive back Patrick McMorris knocked down Bourguet's last-ditch throw on fourth down.


Arizona State: The Sun Devils had plenty of chances to take control of the game but couldn't make a play big enough to sway momentum in their favor. They also hurt themselves by failing on their fourth-down attempts. On the bright side Jalin Conyer's caught a short pass from Bourguet in the first quarter to take sole possession of the school record for receptions by a tight end. It was the 56th catch of Conyer's career, breaking a tie he shared with Chris Coyle.

California: The Bears were in desperate need of a win of any kind and they'll definitely take a victory over Arizona State to get back on the winning path. It wasn't always pretty, like a lot of Cal's games this season, but it was enough to get the W.


California: Hosts No. 19 Oregon State at Memorial Stadium next Saturday.

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