BERKELEY, California — Jared Goff needed only a few more yards to get California into range for a potential game-winning field goal.
Instead, he tried to go for it all and ended up regretting his decision.
Marcus Rios intercepted Goff's deep pass in the final minute to help seal UCLA's 36-34 victory over the Golden Bears on Saturday that snapped the Bruins' seven-game losing streak at Memorial Stadium.
"It was just not a very smart play by me," Goff said. "It was a similar play that I had thrown a touchdown on earlier, so I thought I'd get it again. I kind of forced it a little bit and it was probably not the best play in that situation."
Cal (4-3, 2-3 Pac-12) had gotten to the UCLA 36 and needed about 10 more yards to get into comfortable field goal range when Goff got greedy.
Rios read the play well and made a juggling interception that helped UCLA (5-2, 2-2) bounce back after consecutive losses to Utah and Oregon knocked them out of playoff contention.
"We got a little bit fooled and their guy made a play on the football," Cal coach Sonny Dykes said.
The play was especially gratifying for Rios, who missed all of last season after contracting a rare fungal infection that hospitalized him for more than two months as he lost more than 50 pounds.
Rios, who was told by doctors he may not survive, eventually recovered and returned to the field this summer. He then saved UCLA's season with the interception that earned him a game ball.
"That felt great," Rios said. "I'm just blessed to be out here. I've been through a lot. If it wasn't for all the fans, my family and all the support, I wouldn't be here right now."
Goff threw for 303 yards and two touchdowns for the Bears, who have lost back-to-back home games after an impressive 4-1 start to the season.
There was a scary moment late in the game when Cal's Trevor Davis had to be taken off the field on a stretcher after being injured on a kickoff return. Davis was down on the turf for several minutes as teammates watched anxiously. He was able to move his legs and talk, and gave a thumb's up to the crowd before being taken to the hospital.
"He said he felt OK," Dykes said. "He's going to the hospital but certainly signs from the field all looked good."
Brett Hundley threw for 330 yards and two touchdowns and added 94 yards and a touchdown on the ground to overcome his own fumble and interception and give the Bruins their first win in Berkeley since 1998.
It wasn't easy with the Bruins not taking the lead for good until Ka'imi Fairbairn kicked his third field goal, a 26-yarder with 3:40 remaining that provided the go-ahead score and helped UCLA get back on the winning track after losses to Utah and Oregon.
"We had to win," Hundley said. "We don't put excess pressure on ourselves, but the harsh reality is we are 5-2. That's good but we still had stuff that we could get to. If we win out and do what we're supposed to do, we can still get to the Pac-12 championship."
UCLA moved the ball with ease for most of the game, punting just three times on 15 drives. But they committed three turnovers that turned into short touchdown drives for Cal, which proved to be a big factor in the game.
The most costly came midway through the fourth quarter when the Bruins had the ball in Cal territory looking to add to a 5-point lead. But Hundley threw behind Jordan Payton and Cameron Walker cut in front for an interception that he returned to the UCLA 32.
That set up Goff's 23-yard touchdown pass down the right sideline to Kenny Lawler that gave the Bears a 34-33 lead with less than 7 minutes to play.
But Hundley responded by leading the field goal drive and then got the big play from his defense to win it.
"There are no moral victories," Cal linebacker Hardy Nickerson said. "Bottom line is that we lost the game and the bottom line is we left some plays out there."
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