Northwestern vs. Cal 2013 final score: Wildcats pick off Bears, 44-30

Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Collin Ellis returned two interceptions for touchdowns to lead Northwestern to a road win at Berkeley in its season opener.

The No. 22 Northwestern Wildcats staved off an upset bid on the road to capture their season opener over the California Bears, 44-30, in a shootout on Saturday night. The Wildcats won thanks to a pair of interception returns for touchdowns by linebacker Collin Ellis.

Northwestern trailed in the third quarter when Ellis returned a pass from Cal quarterback Jared Goff 56 yards for a 27-24 lead. Cal tied the game at 27-27 when kicker Vincenzo D'Amato opened the fourth quarter with one of his three field goals on the night.

The WIldcats answered with a field goal of their own to retake the lead, then followed it up with their second pick-six of the night. Ellis intercepted Goff and returned it 40 yards for a touchdown to give Northwestern a 37-27 lead with 7:57 remaining in the fourth quarter.

The teams combined for more than 1,000 yards of offense, with Cal out-gaining Northwestern 548 yards to 508.

Box Score Hero: Tailback Treyvon Green ran for 129 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries for Northwestern. His biggest run of the game was a 55-yard run up the sideline on the Wildcats' final drive to put the game on ice, a drive punctuated by a six-yard touchdown run by Green.

Rankings Ramifications: The Wildcats were ranked No. 22 in both polls, and could rise a few spots after the road win.

But Did They Cover? Northwestern was favored by 6 points, and thanks to its fourth quarter output, was able to cover the spread with ease.

For More On This Game: Check out Sippin' on Purple for your latest Northwestern needs, and read California Golden Blogs for all things Cal.

Next Week's Schedule: Northwestern hosts Syracuse in its home opener on Sept. 7, while Cal stays in Berekley to host Portland State on Sept. 7.

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