Carson Strong passed for 312 yards and two touchdowns, and the visiting Nevada Wolf Pack surprised the California Golden Bears 22-17 in the non-conference opener for both teams.
The Wolf Pack held California to three points over the final three quarters.
Strong, the reigning Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year, connected with Romeo Doubs on a 43-yard touchdown in the second quarter and with Elijah Cooks from 16 yards out for the go-ahead score in the third period.
Nevada beat Cal for the third time in four all-time meetings.
Brandon Talton added 44-, 35- and 49-yard field goals for the Wolf Pack, who trailed 14-0 after Cal’s first two possessions before tightening the defensive screws on the Pacific-12 Conference team.
Seeking its first win over Nevada since 1996, Cal used a powerful running game to dominate the first period and build a 14-0 lead.
The Golden Bears scored at the end of 63- and 72-yard drives. Damien Moore plunged in from 1 yard out to open the scoring in the game’s 10th minute before Chase Garbers connected with Nikko Remigio for a 2-yard touchdown with three seconds left in the period.
But Cal’s only scoring after that came on a 24-yard field goal by Dario Longhetto with 12:59 remaining in the game, setting the stage for Nevada’s comeback.
The Golden Bears got possession of the ball twice after Longhetto’s field goal, but Isaiah Essissima intercepted a Garbers pass with 4:29 to go and Cal failed to get a first down after taking over one final time at its own 20 with 1:55 to go.
Strong finished 22-for-39 with one interception. Tory Horton was the club’s big receiver, gaining 94 yards on his three catches.
Garbers went 25-for-38 for 177 yards with one interception for Cal, which got away from a successful running game after one quarter, finishing with 11 more pass attempts (38) than runs (27).
Moore led all rushers in the game with 79 yards on 15 carries.
–Field Level Media