BERKELEY, California — On a day when Colorado scored eight touchdowns and gained 629 yards, it was the final one of the Buffaloes' 110 offensive plays that will haunt them.
Sefo Liufau was hit for a loss on fourth down from the 1-yard line on the opening possession of the second overtime and Colorado lost 59-56 Saturday to California on James Langford's 34-yard field goal.
"We have had our fair share of losses but I think since I have been here this is the probably the toughest one I have been a part of," said Nelson Spruce, who had 19 catches for 176 yards and three touchdowns.
Liufau faked a handoff and then kept the ball before he was hit by Jalen Jefferson. Spruce said the play called for Liufau to pitch to another back after the fake handoff but that option was not there because of a miscommunication.
"We had something that was definitely going to beat it," Liufau said. "If we run the play right the last play I think we score easy."
On a day that Jared Goff and Liufau both threw seven touchdown passes and had 449 yards passing, and the teams combined for more than 1,200 yards offense it ended up being defense and the kicker that won the game for the Golden Bears (3-1, 1-1).
The win came a week after Cal allowed five touchdowns in the fourth quarter of a 49-45 loss at Arizona, including a 47-yard desperation heave on the final play for the heartbreaking loss.
"It's definitely a big confidence builder, especially off of last week when we played so well and didn't win," Goff said. "This week was maybe the opposite where we didn't play as well as we wanted to but came out on top."
After Liufau was stopped, Cal failed to get a first down on its possession. But Langford came on and calmly drilled the kick that gave the Bears their first conference win since beating Washington State on Oct. 13, 2012.
"My cheeks kind of hurt from smiling for so long right now," Langford said.
Goff finished 23 for 41 for 449 yards, hitting Bryce Treggs on a 25-yard score on the first possession of overtime.
Liufau was just as prolific, going 46 for 67, including a 25-yard score to Spruce that tied the game after one overtime. Liufau set single-game records for attempts, completions and yards passing.
"As an offense I think we played well today, I'm not going to take that away from us," Liufau said.
Goff and Liufau traded big plays down the stretch with each throwing a pair of touchdown passes in the final 3:23 of regulation to send the game to overtime.
Liufau started the scoring barrage with a 6-yard TD pass to Spruce that put Colorado up 42-35.
But that lead was short-lived as Goff was flushed out of the pocket to his right and threw back over the middle where he hit Stephen Anderson in stride for the game-tying 75-yard score.
But a week after allowing five touchdowns, including a last-second Hail Mary in a 49-45 loss at Arizona, the Bears once again wilted late when Bruce Bobo got behind Cedric Dozier for a 30-yard TD catch with 21 seconds to play that tied the game at 49.
Both teams missed field goals early in the fourth quarter with Will Oliver going wide left for Colorado from 45 yards and Langford missing to the right from 42 yards for Cal. Oliver also missed a pair of 39-yard attempts in the first half for Colorado.
"This is a real first where you feel completely responsible but it is the beauty and terrible part about being a kicker," Oliver said.
Cal trailed 28-14 at halftime before taking the lead by scoring touchdowns on its first three drives of the second half, including a pair of throws from Goff to Kenny Lawler.
But Colorado responded and tied the game at 35 in the final minute of the third on a 12-yard pass from Liufau to Spruce.
Liufau threw three TD passes in the first quarter and Colorado added a late score with help from three Cal penalties to go up 28-14 on George Frazier's 1-yard run.
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