California Golden Bears quarterback Zach Maynard and wide receiver Keenan Allen have a special brother-to-brother connection that a lot of football offenses would love to have. They used every bit of it to snatch victory away from the Colorado Buffaloes.
With the ball, trailing 33-30 in the first overtime, facing first and 30 after two offensive line penalties, Maynard delivered a bullet on a needle that Allen hauled in for a first and goal at the three. Two plays later, Maynard lofted a fade on the right side that was a bit underthrown, but Allen leapt up, hauled it in for the game-winning score, and Cal pulled out a thriller in Boulder for a 36-33 win. The Bears improved to 2-0 on the season; Colorado dropped to 0-2.
Victory didn't come easily for the Bears. Trailing 30-27, Colorado quarterback Tyler Hansen had himself quite an impressive fourth quarter drive. After getting burned by deep receptions to wide receiver Paul Richardson on the previous two scoring possessions, Cal brought the safeties back to cover the deep ball, and Hansen had to go short and intermediate to get the offense going.
But Hansen made all the throws he needed to make, and it paid off for Colorado with an impressive 16 play, seven minute drive that took the ball from the Buffaloes 15 to the Golden Bears 15. Hansen fired big completions to Rodney Stewart for 26 yards, Paul Richardson for 8 and 10 yards on 3rd down conversions, and Ryan Deehan for 14 yards. But the drive stalled in the red zone after Colorado offensive line penalties forced them back, and Cal cornerback Steve Williams broke up a pass near the goal-line on second down. Those penalties forced a Will Oliver game-tying 32 yard field goal that tied the game. It should be noted an early extra point by Colorado was blocked. Cal declined to go deep on offense with :20 or so less, settling for overtime.
After winning the toss, Cal decided to go on defense, and it looked like the group was gassed after Stewart burst up the middle for two huge gains and set up first and goal. But Stewart was stopped, and Williams made his second big pass break-up in as many drives, staying with Richardson and knocking that ball down.
Colorado had to settle for a field goal, setting up the heroics from Maynard and Allen. Second-string running back C.J. Anderson also had a big third-and-short carry where he cut, stretched and dived for that crucial extra yard. That set up the first down, and gave Maynard and the Bears a chance to go for the win.
To discuss the game, go to the California Golden Blogs (Cal SB Nation site) and Ralphie Report (Colorado SB Nation site).