Nov. 17, 2007
And that caused more misery for free-falling California.
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Rankin's second 200-yard day in three weeks for Washington (4-7, 2-6 Pac-10) made moot an ineffective day for backup quarterback Carl Bonnell. Locker, the exciting redshirt freshman who sprained his neck in a scary scene the previous week at Oregon State, apparently will return to start next week's Apple Cup against Washington State.
"Jake will be ready next week," offensive coordinator Tim Lappano said.
One week after USC rolled to 239 yards rushing against the Bears, Washington stomped on Cal for 334. Even Rankin's backup, freshman Brandon Johnson, gained 121 yards on 23 carries.
Justin Forsett ran for 141 yards for the Bears (6-5, 3-5), who got screamed at by coach Jeff Tedford in the locker room afterward.
"It's not hard to tell that we didn't deserve to win today," said Cal receiver Robert Jordan, who added his team currently lacks confidence. "What he's saying is right."
Since Oct. 13, Cal has dropped from No. 2 in the country with realistic hopes for the BCS title game to seventh in the Pac-10, clinging to one of the Pac-10's final spots in a minor bowl. This is Cal's worst stretch since it lost its first 10 games in 2001. That got coach Tom Holmoe fired and brought Tedford to Berkeley.
"It's just baffling," quarterback Nate Longshore said of the losing, adding the Bears are merely "trying not to let the wheels fall completely off" before The Big Game at Stanford Dec. 1.
The target of intense criticism after completing less than 50 percent of his passes and committing three turnovers in last week's loss to USC, Longshore completed 20 of 28 throws for 236 yards with three first-half touchdowns and one interception Saturday.
After his tirade that echoed down hallways outside Cal's locker room, Tedford took the blame publicly.
"The responsibility has to fall somewhere and I'm not going to point the finger at the kids. I'll take the responsibility on my shoulders," Tedford said. "Turnovers and mistakes are killing us, so we've got to find a way to stop that. And the only way I know how to stop that is to try and coach it better."
Rankin's romp came despite missing the final 1½ quarters because of a hip pointer he called minor. He became the first Husky to gain 1,000 yards rushing in a season since Rashaan Shehee in 1997. Rankin also joined Napoleon Kaufman and Corey Dillon as the only Washington runners to eclipse 200 yards in more than one game during a season.
"Oh, it's definitely an honor," Rankin said. "I don't compare myself to those guys, but it's great to have my name there with them."
Most of Rankin's yards came between the tackles, including a 46-yard run on the opening drive of the second half that put him over 200 yards. That set up a 45-yard field goal by Ryan Perkins for a 31-20 lead.
"We said coming into this ball game that this was not the defensive front we've seen (at Cal) in years past," Washington coach Tyrone Willingham said. "They'd always had one or two guys who were first- and second-round draft choices."
Bonnell, a fifth-year senior making his first start this season, completed just 7 of 19 passes for 108 yards and a touchdown but got praise from Willingham for not committing a turnover.
Washington took a 34-23 lead after three quarters, after Bonnell converted a 3rd-and-24 by finding Cody Ellis down the sideline for a 51-yard pass. Perkins then kicked a 30-yard field goal.
An overturned call by a replay review allowed Washington to take a 28-20 lead into halftime. Cal's Brandon Hampton, back to return a punt because dangerous DeSean Jackson was on the bench with a bruised thigh, tried a fair catch. Washington's Chris Stevens shoved Cal's Cameron Morrah into Hampton, causing a muff that UW's Joshua Gage recovered at the Cal 21 with 35 second left in the half. Officials initially ruled Hampton had not touched the ball, but a review by television replay reversed that.
Marcel Reece then jumped inside Chris Conte and made a leaping catch of Bonnell's 12-yard pass for a touchdown 12 seconds before halftime.
Washington took a 14-0 lead by running 16 times on its first 18 plays, with the Bears looking overwhelmed. Rankin ran for 125 yards in the first quarter, including a 5-yard touchdown run. After Rankin's 28-yard run on which he cut back across the entire field, Johnson ran for another 5-yard score.
Longshore completed his first nine passes and got the Bears back in the game with three touchdown throws in the first half, 19 yarders to tight ends Morrah and Craig Stevens plus a 14-yard lob to James Montgomery.