Chase Garbers threw for four touchdowns, but No. 23 California needed a game-saving tackle at the one-yard line from linebacker Evan Weaver on the game’s final play to defeat Mississippi 28-20 on Saturday in Oxford, Miss.
Cal (4-0) was in control until the final six minutes, when reserve quarterback John Rhys Plumlee led Ole Miss (2-2) on a late rally to wipe out a 28-13 deficit. Plumlee was stopped by Weaver for no gain on fourth down at the one-yard line as time expired.
Weaver crashed hard from the right flank, wrapped up Plumlee and stopped his progress as help arrived to finish the play.
“Just stop the guy with the ball. Keep him from crossing the white stripe,” Weaver said. “We got some push in the middle.”
Garbers completed 23 of 35 passes for 357 yards, including touchdowns of nine and 60 yards to Jordan Duncan and Jake Tonges on the opening two possessions of the third quarter, setting up the late defensive heroics.
Cal coach Justin Wilcox, whose team is 4-0 for the first time since 2015, was not surprised. Weaver led every statistical category defensively for the Golden Bears.
“Weaver has 22 tackles. When was the last time we didn’t talk about what a great player he is? He produces every week,” Wilcox said. “He’s a really good player. We’re proud of him.”
The Rebels got strong performances from quarterbacks Matt Corral and Plumlee, who led the final two possessions. Corral had a one-yard scoring run and was 22-of-41 passing for 266 yards before leaving with a rib injury. The Rebels had 525 yards of total offense but failed on two scoring opportunities with missed field goals.
No. 16 Oregon 21, at Stanford 6: Justin Herbert threw two of his three touchdown passes to Jacob Breeland, and the Ducks (3-1, 1-0) won their Pac-12 opener for the first time since 2014 by beating the Cardinal (1-3, 0-2) in Palo Alto.
Oregon used an efficient day from Herbert and another smothering defensive performance to end a three-game losing streak to Stanford. The Cardinal have lost three games in a row for the first time since 2008.
Herbert finished 19 for 24 for 259 yards. He connected with Jaylon Redd and Breeland on scoring strikes in the first half and put the game away with a 24-yard pass to Breeland that made it 21-3 five plays after K.J. Costello was intercepted by Jevon Holland.
No. 22 Washington 45, at Brigham Young 19: Jacob Eason threw for 290 yards and three touchdowns, and the Huskies (3-1) scored two touchdowns off three turnovers by the Cougars (2-2) to coast to a victory in Provo, Utah.
Washington totaled 470 yards on offense, with Eason completing 24 of 28 pass attempts. Aaron Fuller, his top target, tallied 91 yards on eight catches. Fuller had one touchdown catch and returned a punt 88 yards for another score.
Zach Wilson threw for 277 yards and a touchdown on 26-for-42 passing to lead BYU. It wasn’t nearly enough to help the Cougars prevent the Huskies from dominating in all three phases of the game.
Colorado 34, at No. 24 Arizona State 31: Steven Montez threw for 337 yards and had three touchdown passes to Tony Brown, lifting the Buffaloes (3-1, 1-0) to a win over the Sun Devils (3-1, 0-1) in Tempe, Ariz.
Arizona State won its first three games behind its defense, allowing 21 combined points. But Colorado scored 24 points by halftime and racked up 477 total yards against the Sun Devils, despite playing most of the game without star receiver Laviska Shenault because of injury.
Brown, who had three career touchdowns entering Saturday’s game, picked up the slack with nine catches for 150 yards.
Arizona State’s Jayden Daniels threw for 345 yards and two touchdowns, connecting with Brandon Aiyuk nine times for 122 yards to keep the Sun Devils within reach.