Dec. 27, 2008
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. - Jahvid Best rushed for a record 186 yards and Nate Longshore tossed a game-winning 2-yard touchdown pass to Anthony Miller with under three minutes remaining as California defeated Miami, 24-17, before an Emerald Bowl-record crowd of 42,268 on Saturday at AT&T Park.
The winning drive was set up by a Cameron Jordan fumble recovery inside the Miami 10-yard line and returned to the 2-yard line with 4:24 remaining. Emerald Bowl Most Outstanding Defensive Player Zack Follett caused the fumble after hitting Miami quarterback Jacory Harris at the 9-yard line.
After Best was stopped for no gain on first down, Longshore rolled to his right and hit Miller in end zone for the winning score that lifted the Golden Bears (9-4) to their fourth straight bowl victory and fifth in six years under head coach Jeff Tedford.
Miami, making its first bowl appearance under second-year head coach Randy Shannon, concluded its 2008 season with a 7-6 record.
Follett was named the game's top defensive performer after recording eight tackles, including two quarterback sacks and three tackles for losses.
Best, who was dominant from the outset, carried 20 times for 186 yards and two touchdowns en route to being named the Emerald Bowl's Most Outstanding Offensive Player.
Entering the game as the Pac-10's leading rusher, Best accounted for both of Cal's first-half touchdowns, scoring on runs of 1 and 42 yards to give the Golden Bears a 14-0 lead. His second touchdown, a 42-yard run with 5:05 left in the first quarter, was the longest run in Emerald Bowl history.
Longshore, who was completing Cal career, finished the night 10-for-21 for 121 yards and a touchdown as he earned his 20th career victory as the Golden Bears' starting quarterback.
Harris, the freshman quarterback who was making his second career start and first since the opening week of the season against Charleston Southern, went 25-for-41 for 194 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
The game matched contrasting styles as Cal demonstrated a quick-strike offense while Miami was more methodical as all three of its scoring drives were more than 10 plays and consumed more than four minutes each.
Meanwhile, Cal scored three touchdowns in a total of eight plays that took less than three minutes in total elapsed time.
Best scored the first points of the game as he scored from a yard out with 7:15 remaining in the first quarter. The score was set up after Nate Longshore connected with Verran Tucker on a 74-yard pass play that gave the Golden Bears a first down at the Miami 2-yard.
The connection was the longest pass play of Longshore's career and a California bowl record, eclipsing the previous mark of 54 yards set by Bob Celeri and Frank Brunk versus Ohio State in the 1950 Rose Bowl.
Miami's lone points of the first half came on a 9-yard hook-up between Harris and wide receiver Laron Byrd with 12:54 remaining in the second quarter.
The Hurricanes tied the game at 14-14 on their second possession of the second half as they drove 69 yards in 10 plays, culminating the drive on a 6-yard pass play from Harris to Thearon Collier with 7:34 remaining in the third quarter.
First Quarter Cal - Jahvid Best 1 yard run (Giorgio Tevecchio Kick); 7:15 Cal - Best 42 yard run (Giorgio Tevecchio Kick); 5:05
Second Quarter Miami - Laron Byrd 9-yard pass from Jacory Harris (Matt Bosher kick); 12:54
Third Quarter Miami - Thearon Collier 6-yard pass from Jacory Harris (Matt Bosher Kick); 7:34 Cal - Giorgio Tevecchio 23-yard Field Goal; :27
Fourth Quarter Miami - Matt Bosher 22-yard Field Goal; 9:13 Cal - Anthony Miller 2-yard pass from Nate Longshore (Giorgio Tevecchio Kick); 2:41
Emerald Bowl Records Attendance: 42,268 Longest Pass Play: 74 yards; Nate Longshore to Verran Tucker (California) Most Yards Rushing: 186 yards, Jahvid Best (California) Longest Rush: 42 yards, Jahvid Best (California) Quarterback Sacks By: 2, Zack Follett (California) Most Total Plays: 124 Miami (73) vs. California (51)