BERKELEY, California — Quarterback Jared Goff sat on the sideline searching for solace. Wide receiver Kenny Lawler lay on the ground, staring at the scoreboard. Coach Sonny Dykes just shook his head and the opponents' hand, heading into the locker room and into an offseason that's beginning far sooner than he had hoped.
What started as a promising season for California left most in Berkeley feeling unsatisfied.
Christian Stewart threw for 433 yards and five touchdowns, and BYU denied the Golden Bears bowl eligibility with a 42-35 win over Cal on Saturday.
"Indicative of some of the games we had this year," Dykes said. "Seemed like there was a lot of ball games that really came down to the last possession of the game. We won some and we lost some, and you become a good football team when you can win them all. That's something that we're going to try to do."
Stewart tossed a 38-yard TD pass to a wide-open Jordan Leslie with 2:39 remaining for the go-ahead score, setting off chants of "B-Y-U! B-Y-U!" at half-filled Memorial Stadium. The Cougars (8-4) stopped Cal one more time to finish the regular season with four straight victories.
Goff completed 38 of 60 passes for 393 yards and four touchdowns, adding to his own school record for yards passing in a season and breaking Pat Barnes' mark of 31 TD passes in 1996. But he had one interception and threw incomplete on his final four passes to the end zone as the Bears (5-7) ended the season with three consecutive losses.
"It's hard to take in right now. And I think it's hard for the whole team," Goff said after emerging from a silent locker room.
Cal, which had made strides after going 1-11 last year in Dykes' first season in Berkeley, will remember 2014 more for how it ended. The Bears lost 38-30 at Southern California and 38-17 at home to rival Stanford last week before wasting their final shot at a bowl in even more dramatic fashion.
Dykes chose to punt on fourth-and-1 from Cal's 34 with less than 5 minutes to play, and the Cougars capitalized with the winning 66-yard TD drive.
Then Goff guided Cal down field before a 5-yard false start penalty on first down pushed the Bears back to BYU's 14. Goff threw incomplete to Lawler on the final four plays, the last one over the head of the receiver with 10 seconds left.
"They were really just playing good coverage, dropped a lot of people and was trying to find a hole in there, trying to throw it up to Kenny and see if he could make a play," Goff said.
BYU players and coaches jumped around the field, while most of the Bears quietly walked off to the locker room following the final kneel down.
Lawler tied a school record with three TD catches, and Daniel Lasco ran for 130 yards for the Bears — who had another great offensive output to go with another shaky defensive performance. Cal, which scored the second-most points in school history this season (459) and the most since 1920, outgained BYU 566 to 540 yards.
Goff added to his own Cal record for yards passing — set last year as a freshman and eclipsed last week against Stanford — and etched his name deeper into the school record books. The sophomore finished with 3,973 yards passing and 35 touchdowns this season, which is now cut short.
"We were close this year at times to really becoming a good football team," Dykes said, "but ultimately made too many mistakes to overcome it."
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