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ASU falls to Cal

October 31, 2009

Giorgio Tavecchio kicked a 24-yard field goal with 21 seconds left, and California rallied for a sloppy 23-21 victory over Arizona State on Saturday afternoon.

Tavecchio's kick capped an 11-play, 74-yard drive that began at Cal's 19 with 3:16 to go. Golden Bears quarterback Kevin Riley was 5-of-6 on that march, and he finished with 351 passing yards and two touchdowns.

The Golden Bears (6-2, 3-2 Pac-10) have won three straight.

It was an ugly, penalty-filled game, with two middle-of-the-Pac-10 teams combining for 23 penalties for 238 yards. They also had five turnovers.

Danny Sullivan passed for 244 yards and a touchdown for ASU (4-4, 2-3), but he also threw two interceptions.

Tavecchio also connected from 25 and 51 yards.

The weather was gorgeous - 74 degrees and sunny at kickoff. The first half was hideous.

In the first two quarters, the Golden Bears and Sun Devils combined for four turnovers, five fumbles and 145 penalty yards.

The Sun Devils rank 120th, and last in the nation, in penalty yards per game, with 84.4. They had 85 at halftime - with 75 coming on personal fouls.

Cal jumped ahead 7-0 on an 11-yard pass from Riley to Jahvid Best five minutes into the game. The Bears made it 14-0 on a 12-yard strike from Riley to Marvin Jones.

That's when Cal imploded. After forcing a fumble by ASU's Ryan Bass near their own goal line, the Bears gave the ball right back when Riley fumbled at his own 3.

On the next play, ASU backup quarterback Samson Szakacsy hit Jovon Williams for a 3-yard TD pass - the first pass of Szakacsy's career.

ASU tied it at 14-14 on its next snap. Sullivan, back in at quarterback, found Kyle Williams for an 80-yard TD.

But then Sullivan threw an interception to Syd'Quan Thompson, who returned it 38 yards to set up a 25-yard field goal by Tavecchio, giving Cal a 17-14 halftime lead.