BERKELEY — Jared Goff made several big plays in another impressive performance by the California freshman quarterback.
None was more satisfying than his kneeldown that milked the final seconds off the clock and clinched coach Sonny Dykes first win with the Golden Bears.
Goff passed for 485 yards and two touchdowns, and scored a third on the ground leading Cal to a 37-30 win over Portland State on Saturday.
“With the receivers I have . . . we should be doing stuff like that every game,” Goff said. “It’s more them than it is me, really. I just give them the ball and they run.”
Goff completed 33 of 51 attempts and was 19 yards shy of breaking the school’s single-game passing record. He became the first Cal quarterback since 1996 to throw for 400 yards or more in back-to-back games.
Goff passed for 450 yards in Cal’s season-opening loss to No. 19 Northwestern and was just as sharp against the Vikings.
He scored on a 1-yard touchdown run and threw a 10-yard touchdown to Maurice Harris in the first half, then connected with Richard Rodgers on a 75-yard score in the third quarter to help the Bears complete a comeback after falling behind 20-10.
“(Goff is) going to be a star and I think that’s obvious,” gushed Portland State coach Nigel Burton. “He’s a big guy and he’s mobile enough to buy some time with his feet, which bit us in the butt a couple of times on third down.”
Vincenzo D’Amato added two field goals for the Bears, who face four ranked teams over the next six weeks including back-to-back games against No. 3 Ohio State and No.2 Oregon.
Cal also got a boost from running back Khalfani Muhammad, who scored a touchdown and had 160 yards in total offense.
The two teams combined for 1,169 yards of total offense and 54 first downs. There were 42 plays of 10 yards or more, including four that went 50 or longer.
Dykes brought a wide-open offense with him and found the perfect quarterback to run it in Goff.
Goff’s 485 passing yards are the second-most in Cal history behind Pat Barnes’ 503 in 1996. Barnes is also the only other Bears quarterback to throw for 400 or more in consecutive games.
Cal needed every bit of it against a plucky but overmatched Vikings team that rattled the Bears early.
The two teams went back-and-forth in a first half that was full of big plays.
On the second play of the game Portland State quarterback Kieran McDonagh got Cal safety Alex Logan to bite on a play-fake and found Kasey Closs streaking past the coverage for an 89-yard touchdown. Closs later left the game with an injury in the second quarter.
After Cal quickly tied it on Muhammad’s 4-yard run, Portland State (1-1) again exploited gaping holes in the Bears defense. McDonagh and Closs connected twice for 47 yards, and running back DJ Adams went 12 yards untouched into the end zone to help put the Vikings up 14-7.
“I was a little bit shocked,” Dykes said. “They came out with a new scheme and leveraged us and did a good job getting the ball out on the perimeter. It took us a while to recover and settle in.”
Adams, who rushed for 139 yards, scored again on a 25-yard run to make it 20-10 with 13:33 left in the first half before the Bears seized momentum following a fumble by the Vikings.
Goff connected with Bryce Treggs on a 50-yard pass down to the Portland 1-yard line, then scored on a keeper up the middle.
After Portland State went three-and-out on its next series, Goff engineered a 13-play scoring drive capped by his 10-yard touchdown throw to Harris. Harris beat cornerback Aaron Sibley off the line of scrimmage then had to make a leaping one-handed grab at the back of the end zone to help give Cal its first lead at 27-20.
Nick Fernandez’s 46-yard field goal pulled the Vikings within 27-23 at the half.