BERKELEY — Jaydn Ott rushed for 165 yards and a touchdown and Cal earned its first Pac-12 Conference victory of the season with a 24-21 win over Arizona State in front of 34,353 at Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Bears (3-2, 1-1) never trailed but never could pull away from the Sun Devils (1-4, 0-2), who still have not beaten an FBS team.
Cal nearly put the game away with just under 3 minutes left but ASU stopped Ott on a fourth-and-goal run to take over at its own 1-yard line.
The Sun Devils got to their own 39-yard line before running out of time after a fourth-down incompletion by Bourguet.
Cal started Sam Jackson V at quarterback and he was 12 for 29 for 130 yards with a touchdown and no interceptions.
The Bears got a significant contribution from punter Lachlan Wilson, who averaged 49.7 yards on seven kicks, with four of at least 50 yards and four downed inside the 20-yard line, including at the 2 and 5.
Cal padded its three-point halftime lead when Jackson delivered a 21-yard back-shoulder touchdown pass to Jeremiah Hunter for a 17-7 margin with 9:11 left in the third quarter.
ASU responded with what looked like touchdown, but the play was wiped out because the Sun Devils had 12 men on the field. Instead, former Cal kicker Dario Longhetto made a 24-yard field goal, pulling the Devils within 17-10 with 5:29 left in the quarter.
Another Longhetto field goal of 29 yards made it 17-13 before an interception by Cal defensive back Matthew Littlejohn and 20-yard return to the ASU 10-yard line set up a 1-yard TD run by Ott with 10:52 left in the third quarter for a 24-13 advantage.
ASU scored once more on a 3-yard keeper by Bourguet, who then completed a two-point conversion pass to Elijah Badger to make ti 24-21 with 9:18 left.
Cal led 10-7 after a first half that featured very little offense but no turnovers until ASU lost a fumble on the final play of the second quarter.
The Bears scored first with transfer running back Isaiah Ifanse going over from the 1-yard line with 6:!6 left in the opening quarter to cap a seven-play, 68-yard drive. Ott had a pair of 9-yard runs, Jackson passed 31 yards to Jeremiah Hunter and freshman Jaivian Thomas of Oakland gained 16 yards on a reserve to get the ball to the 3-yard line.
ASU answered on the ensuing possession, going 75 yards in 13 plays with Cam Scattebo converting a fourth-down play with a 2-yard plunge. The drive’s big play was a 34-yard pass from Trenton Bourguet to Melquan Stovall to the Cal 19.
Cal regained the lead when freshman placekicker Mateen Bhaghani converted a 37-yard field goal with 8:18 left in the half on his first collegiate attempt. He has replaced Michael Luckhurst, who was just 3 for 9 on field goals through the first four games.
Up next for the Bears is No. 19 Oregon State next Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.