AUSTIN, Texas — The California defense was exhausted and bracing for overtime. Quarterback Jared Goff was strapping on his helmet, figuring he’d have about one minute to push for a last chance to win.
Then, with the miss of a Texas extra point, the Golden Bears were trotting off the field with a wild 45-44 win Saturday night.
Texas had stormed back from a 21-point deficit behind an electric performance from Longhorns freshman quarterback Jerrod Heard, who set a school record with 527 total yards of offense. His third rushing touchdown, a 45-yard burst up the middle of the California defense, brought Texas within a point with 1:11 left.
But then Texas senior kicker Nick Rose, who booted an 80-yard practice field goal in a video that was posted online over the summer, shanked the extra point, sending it wide right.
Rose left the field with his hands on his helmet. Heard stood on the sideline with his hands on his hips in disbelief.
California’s Darius White, who rushed the kick from the outside, insisted he got a piece of the ball even though the box score didn’t credit him with a block.
“We saw on the edges they were kind of weak,” White said. “We knew if we went really hard, really fast, everything was gonna work out.”
Texas coach Charlie Strong was stunned by the loss.
“This one hurts,” he said. “An extra point is automatic. I didn’t even look … (Then) I saw one of their players running down the field and said ‘Oh my God.”
Goff, considered a potential top NFL draft pick in 2016, passed for 268 yards and three touchdowns for the Pac-12’s last undefeated team. Heard, who was making just his second career start, nearly upstaged him.
Heard passed for 364 yards and ran for 163 and three touchdowns, becoming the first Texas quarterback to pass for 300 and run for 100 in a game since Colt McCoy in 2009. He also nearly had his helmet ripped off late in the third quarter when a rushing defensive lineman grabbed his facemask, but Texas (1-2) rallied from that point, trailing 45-24.
Khalfani Muhammad ran for 164 yards for California (3-0), including a 74-yard touchdown.
California seemed in complete control when Muhammad burst through the middle of the Texas defense, breaking tackles and outracing several tacklers to the end zone. The touchdown capped 31 straight points by California.
Texas stormed back behind Heard. The home crowd got into the game when California’s James Looney grabbed Heard’s facemask and turned his head backward. Heard stayed on the ground for a few minutes, but got up and Texas finished the drive with Heard’s zig-zagging, sideline-to-sideline 13-yard touchdown run.
California didn’t score in the fourth quarter and Texas kept grinding out yards and touchdowns. D’Onta Foreman’s 27-yard run cut California’s lead to 45-38 before Texas started its final drive from its 19. Heard’s long run for the end zone had the game likely headed for overtime before Rose missed the kick.
Rose had to stay on the field to attempt an onside kick, which skipped across the field and out of bounds. Goff then took a knee to run out the clock.
“It was a big win to go on the road and beat a power five conference. A huge win.”
Both teams rolled up and down the field mostly at will. California had 548 yards total offense and Texas had 650. Goff threw two touchdown passes to Kenny Lawler.
“We just assumed after they scored we were going to overtime,” California coach Sonny Dykes said. “I’m still in a little bit of shock.” — AP