Scores

Final

California 31

(1-0, 1-0 away)

Northwestern 24

(0-1, 0-1 home)

Coverage: ABC/ESPN2

3:30 PM ET, August 30, 2014

Ryan Field, Evanston, IL

1 2 3 4 T
CAL 14 10 7 031
NW 0 7 14 324

Top Performers

Passing: J. Goff (CAL) - 281 YDS, 3 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: J. Jackson (NW) - 8 CAR, 40 YDS, 1 TD

Receiving: T. Davis (CAL) - 3 REC, 93 YDS, 1 TD

Goff, Jefferson lead Cal over Northwestern 31-24

Associated Press

EVANSTON, Ill. -- Jared Goff threw for 281 yards and three touchdowns, Jalen Jefferson had a key interception, and California hung on to beat Northwestern 31-24 Saturday in the season-opener.

The Golden Bears looked like they were on their way to an easy victory up 31-7 in the third quarter. Instead, they had to sweat this one out.

Northwestern got two touchdowns in a 25-second span late in the third to pull within 10. Jack Mitchell added a 24-yard field goal with 5:18 left in the game to make it 31-24, and the Wildcats were threatening to score again when Jefferson came up big.

With Northwestern on the California 27, he sacked Trevor Siemian for an 11-yard loss. On the next play, he picked off a tipped pass that was intended for Pierre Youngblood-Ary at the 15, and the Golden Bears came away with the win after dropping 16 straight to FBS opponents.

The late rally aside, it was a rough afternoon for Northwestern.

The Wildcats are trying to steer attention toward their play after being engulfed by the unionization debate with former quarterback Kain Colter leading the movement, and this was not what they had in mind.

Coming off a 5-7 season, they couldn't slow Cal's up-tempo offense or get anything going when they had the ball.

Goff, who threw for more than 3,500 yards as a freshman, was 21 of 34 with an interception.

Trevor Davis caught a 76-yard touchdown. California racked up 414 yards to come away with the win after going 1-11 in coach Sonny Dykes' first season.

Northwestern's Trevor Siemian, who shared the quarterback job with Colter the past two years, threw for 229 yards.

Cameron Dickerson had a 54-yard touchdown reception, but the Wildcats came up short after making things interesting down the stretch. It started with that 25-second stretch late in the third, when Justin Jackson scored on a 7-yard run and Siemian hauled in a 17-yard pass off a flea-flicker from Jayme Taylor following an interception by Collin Ellis. That made it 31-21 with just over 2 minutes left in the third quarter. Until then, Northwestern got dominated.

Cal asserted itself right from the start, going 79 yards for a touchdown on the game's opening possession.

Goff, who threw for 450 yards and two scores in last year's loss to the Wildcats, hit Bryce Treggs on fourth down at the 1 to make it 7-0. And things just mounted from there.

Northwestern was then threatening to score when Warren Long got stopped on fourth-and-1 at the Cal 22, and the Golden Bears responded with another touchdown.

This time, Goff hit a leaping Kenny Lawler in the end zone for a 7-yarder that made it a 14-point game, and the Golden Bears continued to pour it on.

Cal started its next possession early in the second quarter on the Northwestern 29 after a short punt out of the end zone by Chris Gradone off a bounced snap. That led to a 20-yard field goal by James Langford to bump the lead to 17-0.

Northwestern finally broke through when Siemian connected with Dickerson on a short slant for a 54-yard touchdown with 6:26 left in the half. But any thoughts of a rally got squashed on the next play from scrimmage, when Goff found an open Davis for a 76-yard touchdown, making it 24-7.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
CAL
NW
1st Downs2322
Total Yards414354
Passing300246
Rushing114108
Penalties6-591-0
3rd Down Conversions8-178-20
4th Down Conversions2-32-4
Turnovers22
Possession31:3428:26

Passing Leaders

CaliforniaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Jared Goff21/342818.331
Luke Rubenzer2/5193.801
NorthwesternC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Trevor Siemian23/442295.212
Jayme Taylor1/11717.010

Rushing Leaders

CaliforniaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Luke Rubenzer11484.4011
Khalfani Muhammad8232.917
NorthwesternCARYDSAVGTDLG
Justin Jackson8405.0111
Treyvon Green13372.809

Receiving Leaders

CaliforniaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Trevor Davis39331.0176
Darius Powe46516.3040
NorthwesternRECYDSAVGTDLG
Tony Jones7649.1016
Cameron Dickerson26331.5154

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERCALNW
TD8:42Bryce Treggs 1 Yd pass from Jared Goff (James Langford Kick)Watch Highlight 70
TD0:03Kenny Lawler 7 Yd pass from Jared Goff (James Langford Kick)Watch Highlight 140
SECOND QUARTERCALNW
FG11:15James Langford 20 Yd Field Goal Watch Highlight 170
TD6:26Cameron Dickerson 54 Yd pass from Trevor Siemian (Jack Mitchell Kick)Watch Highlight 177
TD6:07Trevor Davis 76 Yd pass from Jared Goff (James Langford Kick)Watch Highlight 247
THIRD QUARTERCALNW
TD9:05Khalfani Muhammad 1 Yd Run (James Langford Kick)Watch Highlight 317
TD2:31Justin Jackson 7 Yd Run (Jack Mitchell Kick)Watch Highlight 3114
TD2:06Trevor Siemian 17 Yd pass from Jayme Taylor (Jack Mitchell Kick)Watch Highlight 3121
FOURTH QUARTERCALNW
FG5:18Jack Mitchell 24 Yd Field Goal Watch Highlight 3124