Cal’s final week of preparation before taking on Air Force in the Armed Forces Bowl is here. Whether the bowl game next week will add a positive or negative footnote in the school’s program history remains to be seen. Here is a quick flash back to some previous Cal bowl moments that took place this week in Cal history.
December 22, 2005: Las Vegas Bowl
California 35, BYU 28
Marshawn Lynch put Cal on the scoreboard first early in the first quarter of the 14th Las Vegas Bowl, setting the tone for a big night on the ground for the Cal running back. Lynch ended the game rushing for 194 yards on 24 carries in Cal’s 35-28 win, which had to hold off a fourth-quarter rally by BYU. BYU tied the game at 14-14 late in the first half, but Cal went to the locker room with a lead after Steve Levy tossed a 42-yard touchdown pass to Desean Jackson. Lynch added a 35-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and Levy and Jackson connected once more to build a 35-14 lead heading to the fourth quarter.
December 23, 2009: Poinsettia Bowl
Utah 37, California 27
The fifth Poinsettia Bowl was not kind to Cal, as the school’s bowl winning streak was snapped at four by future conference foe Utah. The Utes won their sixth straight bowl game under Kyle Whittingham since he took over as head coach. Things actually started well for Cal with a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, thanks to Shane Vereen’s 36-yard touchdown run and Edie Young’s pick-six, but Utah gained control after the shaky start. The Utes scored the next 27 points before Vereen got Cal back on the scoreboard in the third quarter. Down 27-21 heading to the fourth quarter, Utah scored the next 10 points to pull away.
December 26, 2003: Insight Bowl
California 52, Virginia Tech 49
In a game played in the home of baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks, the Golden Bears were a three-point underdog against Frank Beamer’s Virginia Tech Hokies. This one turned out to be one of the highest-scoring bowl games as the Bears and Hokies each put up some big numbers from start to finish. Virginia Tech jumped out to a 21-7 lead in the first quarter, but Cal battled back in the second quarter. Aaron Rodgers helped string together 21 straight points in the third quarter. Virginia Tech tied the game at 49-49 with an 80-yard touchdown drive following a punt return by DeAngelo Hall. Rodgers was named the game’s offensive most valuable player after passing for 294 yards and two touchdowns. Rodgers set school records for most completions, most touchdowns and most rushing touchdowns in a bowl game.
Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.