15th Annual Cactus Bowl - Fiesta Bowl | Fiesta Bowl

Whoever said “it’s never over until it’s over, must have had a front row seat at the 15th Annual Cactus Bowl. California kicker Tyler Fredrickson nailed a 35-yard field goal as time expired to give the Golden Bears a 52-49 win over Virginia Tech in one of the wildest bowl games ever played.

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Virginia Tech’s Bryan Randall and Cal’s Aaron Rodgers both flirted with 400 yards passing in an aerial duel that saw both teams rally from 14-point deficits. Randall was 24-for-34 for 398 yards and four touchdown passes, while Rodgers was 27-for-35 for 394 yards and two touchdowns.

The Golden Bears, making their first bowl appearance since 1996, scored six consecutive touchdowns after falling behind 21-7 in the first quarter to take a 49-35 lead.

The Hokies came back, though, to pull within seven points on a 28-yard touchdown pass from Bryan Randall to Chris Shreve and tie the game on a spectacular 52-yard punt return by DeAngelo Hall with 3:11 remaining.

Rodgers, who was named offensive player of the game, calmly led Cal down the field for the winning field goal by Fredrickson as the Golden Bears’ bench emptied in exhilaration.

The two teams played to near perfection throughout the game with 1,081 yards of total offense, no turnovers and only 10 penalties combined. The 101 total points scored set a Cactus Bowl record, surpassing the 96 between Texas Tech (55) and Air Force (41) in 1995.

California took the opening kickoff and went 79 yards in nine plays with Rodgers sneaking over from the 1 for an early 7-0 lead. The Hokies answered with three consecutive touchdowns all by Randall – one on the ground and two through the air.

Kevin Jones had 153 yards rushing on 16 carries and a touchdown in his final game for Virginia Tech. He added four receptions for 25 yards.

  • Stadium:

    Chase Field

  • Attendance:

    42,364

  • Offensive Player of the Game:

    Aaron Rodgers, California

  • Defensive Player of the Game:

    Ryan Gutierrez, California

  • Sportsmanship Award:

    Doug Easlick, Virginia Tech

  • Head Coaches:

    Jeff Tedford, California - Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech

  • Weather:

    Roof closed (clear outside)

Quarter Scores

Scoring1234F
California714211052
Virginia Tech21702149

Yardstick

CALVT
27First Downs27
41-136Rushes-Yards26-153
394 Passing Yards398
27-35-0Passes24-36-0
85Return Yards209
4-39.8Punts2-41.0
1-0Fumbles-Lost0-0
4-25 Penalties-Yards 6-40

How They Scored

CALVT
70Aaron Rodgers 1-yard run (Tyler Fredrickson kick)
77Bryan Randall 2-yard run (Carter Warley kick)
714Keith Willis 3-yard pass from Bryan Randall (Carter Warley kick)
721Marcus Vick 36-yard pass from Bryan Randall (Carter Warley kick)
1421Chase Lyman 33-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers (Tyler Fredrickson kick)
1428Kevin Jones 11-yard run (Carter Warley kick)
2128J.J. Arrington 13-yard pass from Aaron Rodgers (Tyler Fredrickson kick)
2828Chris Manderino 3-yard run (Tyler Fredrickson kick)
3528Adimchinobe Echemandu 9-yard run (Tyler Fredrickson kick)
4228Aaron Rodgers 8-yard run (Tyler Fredrickson kick)
4235Keith Willis 22-yard pass from Bryan Randall (Brandon Pace kick)
4935Vincent Strang 13-yard run (Tyler Fredrickson kick)
4942Chris Shreve 28-yard pass from Bryan Randall (Brandon Pace kick)
4949DeAngelo Hall 52-yard punt return (Carter Warley kick)
5249Tyler Fredrickson 35-yard field goal

Individual Statistics

Rushing
CALJ.J. Arrington 11-37, Adimchinobe Echemandu 13-34, Aaron Rodgers 10-30, Vincent Strang 4-24, Chris Manderino 3-11.
VTKevin Jones 16-153, Marcus Vick 3-5, Cedric Humes 1-3, Bryan Randall 6-(-8).
Passing
CALAaron Rodgers 27-35-0-394.
VTBryan Randall 24-34-0-398, Marcus Vick 0-1-0-0, Richard Johnson 0-1-0-0.
Receiving
CALBurl Toler 6-84, Chase Lyman 5-149, J.J. Arrington 5-38, Brandon Hall 3-62, Adimchinobe Echemandu 3-28, Chris Manderino 3-23, John Rust 1-7, David Gray 1-3.
VTErnest Wilford 8-110, Marcus Vick 4-82, Kevin Jones 4-25, Chris Shreve 3-93, Richard Johnson 2-55, Keith Willis 2-25, Mike Imoh 1-8.