PASADENA, Calif. (AP) Jaydn Ott had a 100-yard kickoff return, Jeremiah Hunter had a pair of touchdown receptions and California became bowl eligible for the first time in four years with a 33-7 victory over UCLA Saturday night in the final regular-season game under the current iteration of the Pac-12 Conference.

Fernando Mendoza had a pair of TD passes and Mateen Bhaghani kicked four field goals for the Golden Bears (6-6, 4-5 Pac-12), who won their last three games after four straight losses.

“It was a month ago there wasn't a lot of positivity around the program. I think it just speaks to the character of the guys in the room,” Cal coach Justin Wilcox said.

UCLA, which announced with Southern California last June that it was moving to the Big Ten Conference in 2024, has dropped three of its last four. The Pac-12 then was hit by a massive wave of defections in late July and August after the conference was unable to secure a lucrative television extension. Cal will join the Atlantic Coast Conference next year.

The Bruins (7-5, 4-5) committed four turnovers that resulted in 13 Cal points. The loss will also increase speculation about Chip Kelly's future despite last week's victory over USC. Kelly is 34-34 in six seasons in Westwood.

Quarterback Ethan Garbers’ night ended after 12 plays due to a right shoulder injury. Freshman Dante Moore was 23 of 38 for 276 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. He was also sacked six times.

“We didn’t do what we needed to do, and it’s disappointing because in phases I think we’ve played really, really well," Kelly said. "But we got to put it together. And in five games we didn’t put it together.”

After UCLA took a 7-6 lead on Logan Loya's 5-yard touchdown catch, Ott fielded R.J. Lopez's kick at the goal line. The sophomore found a seam near the Cal 20-yard line and then went up the right sideline the rest of the way.

It is tied for the third-longest kickoff return in Cal history and the sixth time it has had one of 100 yards or more with the last one coming nine years ago.

It was also the first kickoff return for Ott this season. Wilcox said the plan was to use Ott as a returner because UCLA came into the game leading the nation in run defense, and he didn't think Ott would get many opportunities with the ball.

“We know that Jaydn is an electric player. I give a lot of credit to our special team staff as well for getting it schemed up,” Wilcox said.

Ott also had 80 yards on 21 carries. Mendoza completed 19 of 30 for 178 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

“Not a lot of people believed in us, especially when we said in the interviews that we were going to burn the boats (beat Washington State) and burn the forest (defeat Stanford) and then now burn the city (beat UCLA). It was more of a lot of people probably thought that we just saying that for good media presence and having a positive mindset," Mendoza said. "But everyone in that locker room really believed that and we knew that was gonna happen.”

Cal led 6-0 at the end of the first quarter on a pair of field goals by Bhaghani. After UCLA linebacker Laiatu Latu picked off Mendoza's pass and returned it to the Cal 8, the Bruins took the lead three plays later when Moore connected with Loya for a 5-yard TD.

UCLA's advantage would be short lived though as Ott ran back the ensuing kickoff.

Cal extended its lead to 20-7 late in the first half. Three plays after Brett Johnson recovered Moore's fumble at the UCLA 11, Hunter scored on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Mendoza with 10 seconds remaining.

Bhaghani had a 32-yard field goal early in the fourth quarter and Hunter caught a 13-yard pass in the left corner of the end zone to further the Golden Bears' advantage. Hunter finished with eight receptions for 101 yards.


California: The Golden Bears snapped a three-game losing streak to their in-state rival. The two teams have played every year since 1933, but with conference realignment it is anyone's guess when they might meet again.

UCLA: The Bruins finishing under .500 in the conference - in a season in which they did not face Oregon and Washington - and a slump in November for the second straight season have put Kelly on the hot seat.


Both teams will await their bowl destination and opponent.


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