Sophomore fullback Jake Anderson slotted the go-ahead penalty kick for the Golden Bears with no time remaining as California beat Utah, 23-22, Saturday at Rio Tinto Stadium.
Anderson made all three of his attempts after taking over the duties midway through the second half from flyhalf Alex Aronson, who subbed out after converting three of his six attempts.
Replacement forward Alex Muehle had just given Utah its only lead in the contest with his try before Utah was whistled to set up Anderson's gamewinner from 45 meters on an angle into a stiff breeze.
"Utah was every bit as good as we thought they might be, especially at this venue," said head coach Jack Clark. "It was pretty clear that they were more physical than us, but needless to say, we're happy to achieve the victory."
The pitch at Rio Tinto was plowed clean for the contest following snow earlier in the week and the match kicked off in dry conditions under cloudy skies, with temperatures in the 30s.
Cal's lone try was scored by Anthony Lombardo in the ninth minute, the conversion missed by Aronson. The Bears looked to be in control throughout the first half, entering the break up by the score of 11-0, but awry kicks and other missed opportunities left the door open for Utah and the Utes exited the break ready to run through it.
Cal received the second-half kickoff but went out of bounds with the ball at its 22-meter line, and the Utes went straight to work with a try by scrumhalf Don Pati. Outside center Tonata Lauti added another try for Utah, and although the Bears' backline managed to initiate breaks behind the Utah defense, the Utes did not yield another try before Muehle put the Utes on top with two minutes remaining.
Flyhalf Danny Christensen connected on 2-of-3 conversions and added a penalty kick for Utah.
Cal improves to 11-1 while the Utes go to 4-3 on the season. The Bears travel next to Los Angeles, where they face UCLA at 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 10, on the North Athletic Field on the Bruins' Westwood campus.
The Scoring Timeline vs. Utah:
5:00 Alex Aronson 3
8:00 Anthony Lombardo 5
20:00 Alex Aronson 3
Halftime: California 11, Utah 0
42:00 Utah (Don Pati) 5, (Danny Christensen) 2
51:00 Utah (Danny Christensen) 3
55:00 Alex Aronson 3
64:00 Jake Anderson 3
67:00 Utah (Tonata Lauti) 5
70:00 Jake Anderson 3
78:00 Utah (Alex Muehle) 5, (Danny Christensen) 2
82:00 Jake Anderson 3
Final Score: California 23, Utah 22
The Team vs. Utah:
15. Anderson, 14. Tucker, 13. Kelly ©, 12. Harrington (Okusi @ 60:00), 11. Lombardo, 10. Arsonson (Bosco @ 60:00), 9. Ring, 1. Klaas (Davenport @ 51:00), 2. Wrobel, 3. Deterding (Mohr @ 75:00), 4. Coleman, 5. Daly, 6. De Nysschen, 7. O'Beirne, 8. Barrett
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