BERKELEY, Calif. -- California had the ball last, and that ended up being the determining factor.
The Golden Bears took a bizarre path to get to the win but eventually were able to fend off Oregon 52-49 in double overtime.
In what was accurately billed as The Game Defense Forgot -- the teams obliterated the over-under total of 90 points -- Cal's offense and special teams couldn't seal the deal, as Matt Anderson missed a 41-yard field goal at the end of regulation. Instead, it was defense that put the ball -- and victory -- in the Bears' hands to finish it off. Linebacker Jordan Kunaszyk intercepted Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert to pound the gavel.
The Bears and Ducks entered this game with the Pac-12's two worst defenses, so the fact that it turned into a wild affair of blown coverages and wide-open spaces was little surprise. The teams combined for over 1,000 yards and 100 points on the night. They tied the FBS record by running 203 combined plays. They also joined forces for a staggering total of 28 penalties for 285 yards.
In short, this game turned into a mockery of statistics.
And for Oregon, a large portion of it turned into another mockery of good defensive football; it was just one more example of the most glaring issue that has dragged the Ducks to a 2-5 record overall and 0-4 in Pac-12 play.
For the third straight game, the Ducks allowed over 600 yards of total offense. That is something that only happened three times total in the eight seasons prior to this one. The Ducks also allowed over 300 rushing yards for the second straight week.
It might be hard to believe now, but Oregon was in the national championship game just 21 months ago. Tangible bright spots are almost impossible to unearth when a team has taken this kind of plunge, but if there was one in this game, it came through the fact that the Ducks showed enough fight to erase a 34-14 deficit midway through the third quarter.
But Oregon came up short. Outside of overtime, the Ducks have played 240 minutes of Pac-12 football this season. They've led for only 10 minutes and 28 seconds of them. In other words, the Ducks have only led for only about 4 percent of the time in conference play.
"We're not where we want to be or where anybody wants us to be," Oregon coach Mark Helfrich told ESPN's Tom Rinaldi on College Gameday last week. "We know how to solve it, and we will."
After another wild night of Pac-12 football, it looks like Oregon might still pack a semblance of the past's excitement, but the Ducks are still running short on solutions -- especially on the defensive end.