Quentin Johnston caught two of Max Duggan's three touchdown passes, with the go-ahead score coming on a nifty catch-and-run as TCU beat California 34-32 on Saturday to remain undefeated against Pac-12 teams under coach Gary Patterson.
Johnston put the Horned Frogs (2-0) ahead to stay with the 45-yard TD catch with 9:53 left, when he twisted around one defender who fell down near the 30 and then shed the attempted tackle by another inside the 10. Johnston finished with five catches for 95 yards.
Zach Evans ran for 183 yards on 22 carries, with a 51-yard TD just before halftime for the Horned Frogs. Duggan completed 17 of 31 passes for 234 yards and added 71 yards rushing on 19 carries with a 9-yard keeper for a TD with 5:47 left for a 34-26 lead.
Chase Garbers threw for 309 yards and two touchdowns for Cal (0-2). He had 235 yards passing in the first half, with 199 of that coming on only four plays (49, 54, 28 and 68 yards).
After starting 0-3 in their pandemic-shorted 1-3 season last year, the Bears have 0-2 starts in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1994 and 1995.
Cal led 19-7 after Garbers threw a 7-yard TD to Nikko Remigio. That was a play after a 68-yard catch by Trevon Johnson, whose only other catch was a 54-yard TD.
But Evans scored with 11 seconds before halftime, and the Frogs opened the second half with a 15-play, 75-yard drive that ended with Johnston's 18-yard catch that gave them their first lead at 21-19.
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California: Another early two-touchdown lead wasted by the Bears, just like in their opener. They had plenty of missed points this time. On their opening drive, they passed up a field goal try and were stopped on fourth-and-1 from the 7. They did go ahead 12-0 on Clark's 54-yard TD catch and Daniel Scott's 8-yard interception return for a touchdown. There was a botched snap on the first PAT try. They made the kick after the second TD, but took that point off the board after a TCU penalty and tried for 2 -- and failed. They had to try a 2-point conversion after Damien Moore's 1-yard TD with 4:09 left, but he was stopped short on that try. Cal led 14-0 after its first two drives at home last week against Nevada before losing 22-17.
TCU: The Frogs are 8-0 against Pac-12 teams in Patterson's 21 seasons, this being only the second of those games at home. The last Pac-12 opponent had also been Cal, in the Cheez-It Bowl three seasons ago, and a planned opener at California last year was canceled because of the pandemic.
TCU could move into the AP Top 25 poll for the first time since spending one week ranked in September 2019. The Horned Frogs just missed being ranked last week, when they were the first team among others receiving votes.
California: The Bears will be at home to play Sacramento State next Saturday in their last non-conference of the season.
TCU: The Horned Frogs have a bye week before playing SMU at home on Sept. 25.
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