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Cal gave Texas the ball back with one last chance, but the refs didn't let the Horns take it

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The Longhorns got a bad deal, and Cal got lucky.

College football players have been doing some pretty stupid things with the ball recently. Clemson channeled DeSean Jackson by dropping the ball in celebration on the way into the end zone last week, and Oklahoma kick returner Joe Mixon did the same earlier on Saturday. Jackson's alma mater didn't want to be left out.

What you're seeing here: Cal running back Vic Enwere had ripped off a 55-yard touchdown run to seal a Cal win against Texas. But Enwere just ... dropped the ball. That's a fumble with the Bears up seven points.

Texas picked up the ball within about three seconds of Enwere's dropping it, without any audible officials' whistles until right after UT's recovery.

But the Horns weren't allowed to keep the ball, because replay officials judged they hadn't picked it up in the play's "immediate continuing action," as required by the NCAA's football rulebook. So Cal got to keep the ball on Texas' 1-yard line, which meant the Bears could just kneel out the clock. A touchdown would've somehow been better for Texas.

This was kind of silly.

Texas coach Charlie Strong was angry. He had a right to be. This was, by the way, a Big 12 officiating crew that made a similar crucial error in 2015.

Cal won, 50-43, but instead of the Bears scoring an insurance touchdown or getting to keep possession, the Longhorns should've gotten another shot with the ball. They did not.

***

The teams scored 68 points in the first half, then went scoreless in the third quarter. The lead kept changing hands, with a Davis Webb-powered Cal offense trading blows with a ground-based Texas attack. Webb and Chad Hansen had mojo all night, connecting 12 times for 296 yards and two scores. Hansen made what would've been the catch of any other night but, on this night, wasn't:

Texas went over 300 rushing yards and kept its offense humming for most of the evening, even when freshman quarterback Shane Buechele missed a swath of the first half with an apparent chest injury.

Both teams are headed toward conference games now. Next up for Texas: a bye week, followed by a trip to Oklahoma State for a game on the first day of October. Cal visits Arizona State next week, followed by a home game against Utah.