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CGBRoundtable: Greatest Plays of the BCS Era [with Videos]

Given the last few years of Cal Football, it's sometimes good to look back at when Cal was a Pac-10 power and toast of the CFB world. With exciting players, fans, and teams, Cal Football has produced some memorable plays and moments in the BCS era. We asked our resident CGBRoundtablers to list some of their favorite moments.

Jed Jacobsohn

Avinash Kunnath:

Here is my list of plays:

Cal vs Baylor 2002 Highlights - Jeff Tedford's First Game (via Swamphunter)

Double pass to start Tedford era (2002 Baylor)

Cal-USC football 2003 34-31 3OT (via bmdavll)

Fredrickson 3OT FG (2003 USC)

My memories of 2004 are fuzzy because every play seemed like a great play.
Marshawn crazy run (2004 Big Game)

Marshawn ties things up in Autzen (Oregon 2005)
Desean punt return (Oregon 2006)

DeSean Jackson punt return in HD vs. Oregon 2006 (via TouchedTheAxeIn82)

Desean punt return, Decoud maims poor Bruin (UCLA 2006)

Cal's Thomas Sandman Decoud's Monster Block to free Desean Jackson for the touchdown... (via nxcrx)

Follett strip, Williams return (Tennessee 2007)

Zack Follett brings the Pain Train in HD vs. Tennessee 2007 (via TouchedTheAxeIn82)

Desean punt return (Tennessee 2007)

DeSean Jackson punt return in HD vs. Tennessee 2007 (via TouchedTheAxeIn82)

Marcus Ezeff strips Colvin (Oregon 2007)

Oregon vs Cal 2007 (Touchback) (via PRD74)

Shane Vereen debuts (2008 Michigan State)

Shane Vereen: Cal football vs. Michigan State (via Dzastaownz)

Hook and ladder to Jahvid (2008 Big Game)

2008 Big Game - Stanford vs. Cal Golden Bears Part 1 (Full Game 1/2) (via CalBearsArchive)

Jahvid Best 93 yard run (UCLA 2009)

Jahvid Best 93-yard TD run in HD (via TouchedTheAxeIn82)

Mike Mohamed interception (2009 Big Game)

2009 Big Game - #25 Cal Golden Bears vs. #17 Stanford (Full Game) (via CalBearsArchive)

Jeremy Ross drags a thousand Cougs (2010 WSU)

Jeremy Ross gets a First Down against WSU 2010 (via PRD74)

Bigelow spins and goes (2012 Ohio State)

Cal's Brendan Bigelow - 81 yd TD run (via ESPN)

Fake FG (2013 Northwestern)

FAKE FIELD GOAL! Cal executes to perfection, scores TD (via ESPN)

Nick Kranz:

From 2004, maybe Geoff McArthur's fingertip TD grab to take a 28-27 lead over Oregon? Funny, there wasn't much spectacular in 2004, just game after game of brutal efficiency. Arrington, 6 yard run. Arrington, 7 yard run. Rodgers, 8 yard pass to McArthur. Arrington, 5 yard run, Arrington, 14 yard run, Lynch, 9 yard run, Rodgers, 7 yard TD pass to Makonnen.

Leland Wong:

Zack Follett's sack and forced fumble recovered by Cameron Jordan (2008 Emerald Bowl)

2008 Emerald Bowl California vs. Miami (FL) (via jcbakkar)


I like game after game of brutal efficiency.


Does Marshawn's joyride in the injury cart after UW '06 count?

Marshawn Lynch Ghost Ride The Whip (via nxcrx)


This reminds me, are we going to do like the worst plays of the BCS era too?

Because if so, that UW hail mary in (can't remember the year) to take the game to overtime would probably be up there.

And the 2007 Oregon state game time expiring.

And the 2004 cal/usc game with Makonnen slipping in the endzone...

Man, sad times remembering those plays.

Avinash Kunnath:

We'll let Nam do that post.


Cal Football: Marshawn Lynch Cal Debut 9/4/2004 - 92 Yards Rushing (via Cal Bears)

Marshawn Lynch's first touchdown against Air Force 2004 (runs into pile, and then all of a sudden emerges on other side)

Desean Jackson's first quarter touchdown from Steve Levy 2005 Big Game for 56 yards

Cal Football Highlights 2005 - Big Game (via PRD74)

Desean Jackson punt return vs. Arizona 2006


Desean fakes Jarius Byrd so badly, he falls and DJax is in the end zone alone just waiting for Nate's pass (2006? I think this is 2006)

2006 #11 Oregon vs. #16 Cal Golden Bears Football (Full Game) (via CalBearsArchive)

Riley to Desean Jackson in the 2nd quarter of the Armed Forces Bowl

Cal Highlights - 2007 Armed Forces Bowl - 2nd QTR (via PRD74)


Any more thoughts, guys?

Vlad Belo:

(Vincent S: I could not find highlight videos of most of these plays)

Since we're talking "BCS era," I guess there are some from the pre-Tedford years that are worth considering.

Deltha O'Neal 100 yard INT return for TD vs. Oregon (1999)
O'Neal 100 yd kickoff return for TD in Big Game (1999)
O'Neal 58 yard punt return for TD in Big Game (1999)

Jemeel Powell intercepts pass in EZ in third OT to win game vs. UCLA (2000)

Which then brings us to the truly great plays from the Tedford era. In addition to those already mentioned:

Jemeel Powell's 90-yd punt return for TD at Michigan State (2002)
Game-ending safety to run out the clock where Boller threw it backwards to Makonnen from a 40-yard loss (2002) -- memorable because it was so damn weird
Powell's punt return TD in Big Game (2002)
Igber's TD run in Big Game (2002)

Rodgers TD pass to Burl Toler & subsequent 2-point conversion at the end of regulation to tie UCLA and send game to OT (2003) -- yeah, we lost, but that play was pretty damn awesome.
Rodgers to MacArthur on 79-yard TD on Cal's first play from scrimmage vs. Washington (2003) -- Cal's 54-7 win
Rodgers to MacArthur for TD near end of 3rd Q in Big Game (2003)

JJ Arrington's 89 yard run at Air Force; caught from behind at 1-yd line but still awesome (2004)
Terrell Williams to Chase Lyman for long TD on halfback pass at Oregon St (2004)
Rodgers TD pass to Garrett Cross vs. UCLA (2004) -- still not sure I've seen a more accurate pass to a well-covered receiver
Mixon pick 6 against Andrew Walter vs. ASU (2004)

The Oregon WR drops the ball on 4th down; would've given UO a 1st down in FG range in final 2 minutes (2004)
Blocked PAT and 2-point return by Wendell Hunter at Southern Miss (2004)

Ayoob to Hawkins GW TD vs. Wazzu (2005)
Halfback pass from Williams to Craig Stevens for TD in Big Game (2005) - because humiliating them felt good

Desmond Bishop absolutely clocks TAMU QB Stephen McGee in Holiday Bowl (2006)

Riley TD pass to Desean for Cal's first TD in Armed Forces Bowl (2007)

Riley TD pass to Cameron Morrah who looked like he was waiting for a bus all by himself (2008 Big Game)
Cal forces Toby Gerhart fumble and recovers, killing Furd drive inside the 10 (2008 Big Game)
Best's exclamation point TD run that gave Cal a 37-3 lead (2008 Big Game)

Best's 72-yard TD run vs. Maryland (2009)
Mychal Kendricks pick 6 at UCLA (2009)

Cal Bears play defense with just 10 guys (via TouchedTheAxeIn82)

Keenan Allen reverse field TD run vs. UC Davis (2010)

Keenan Allen Vs UC Davis Highlights (via Dallas McMurry)

Kendricks' famous tackle vs. UCLA (2010)

Mychal Kendricks vs. Derrick Coleman (via schmeezed)

Maynard to Allen for a 1st down on 2nd and 30 in overtime at Colorado (2011)
Maynard to Allen on fade for the GW TD at Colorado (2011)

Cal Football Highlights 2011 - Colorado - Part 6 (via PRD74)

Maynard 90yd TD pass to Allen on 3rd and 20 at Washington (2011)

I'm gonna skip '12 and '13.