BERKELEY (AP) — Arizona running back Zach Green couldn’t bring himself to watch California’s two-point conversion attempt in overtime and instead stared at his helmet.
Tight end Bryce Wolma tried to look away, too, but forced himself to take a peek — just in time to see freshman linebacker Colin Schooler’s game-saving deflection.
“I was looking at the scoreboard throughout overtime when we were on defense,” said Wolma, whose touchdown moments earlier put the Wildcats ahead. “The very last played I turned. I’m like, ‘I have to watch this.’ I’m glad I did.”
Quarterback Khalil Tate ran for 137 yards and a touchdown and passed for two more, including a 22-yarder to Wolma in the second overtime, and Arizona held on to beat California 45-44 on Saturday night.
The two teams combined for 984 yards of offense but it was Schooler’s defensive play that made the difference.
Green scored the Wildcats touchdown in the first overtime and had a 3-yard run to open the second extra period before Tate scrambled in the backfield to avoid a sack and found Wolma open near the goal line for the game-winner.
California answered with Vic Enwere’s 1-yard touchdown run but came up short on the two-point conversion try when Schooler knocked away Ross Bowers’ pass intended for Jordan Duncan near the back of the end zone.
“We felt like the overtime two-point was that our best chance to win,” Cal coach Justin Wilcox said. “It was my call. We were playing to win the game and that’s what I felt like was the best.”
That the Bears went for two instead of trying to force a third overtime rankled some of the Wildcats defenders.
“We took it kind of personally how they thought that they could go for two when they didn’t need to,” Schooler said. “Luckily they didn’t get it.”
Bowers completed 29 of 49 throws for 301 yards and two touchdowns, one in the first overtime, but was intercepted twice.