Jeremy Ross hasn't had a sterling career as a California Golden Bear. No one's going to put him in the same category as DeSean Jackson, Geoff Macarthur, Lavelle Hawkins, Robert Jordan or Marvin Jones. But he has had some big moments the past few seasons. Like catching two crucial passes from Kevin Riley in Minnesota to put Jahvid Best in position to score the go-ahead touchdown in Minneapolis, and some more crucial grabs in the desert in Tempe last season to narrowly edge out the Sun Devils. He's had a couple of impressive punt returns when he was handed the spot last year, and is frequently used in wide receiver handoffs (he scored one last week for instance). And the hurdles, oh the hurdles.
Still, his most epic contribution as a Golden Bear might have come in Pullman with Cal nursing a 14-13 lead in the fourth quarter against hapless Washington State. With Cal facing a 3rd and 20 and not want to make big mistakes down the stretch, Andy Ludwig dialed up a simple wide receiver screen from quarterback Brock Mansion to Ross, probably to set up Bryan Anger for a punt. I doubt Ludwig was thinking that Ross might pick up a first down.
Oh, but a first down did happen. And it probably saved Cal's chances at a bowl.
(via PRD74, HT California Golden Blogs)
Apparently the Cougar defenders tried to go for the strip rather than make the tackle. The aggressive intent backfired. Cal picked up the first down and went on to score a touchdown to give them decent breathing room in their 20-13 victory.
Cal still needs to win one more game to get bowl eligibility, but it's unlikely we'd be in that place without another big contribution from Ross. Keep working out son.