Arizona’s defense took advantage of four turnovers by California quarterback Brandon McIlwain in the second half to pull away for a 24-17 victory Saturday night at Tucson, Ariz.
The Wildcats (3-3, 2-1 Pac-12) turned two interceptions thrown by McIlwain into touchdowns. Arizona safety Scottie Young Jr. had two interceptions in the fourth quarter, including one that he returned 24 yards for a score.
Cal (3-2, 0-2) has lost 14 straight conference road games dating to Sept. 26, 2015.
Arizona took a 17-14 lead with 3:19 left in the third quarter on a fluke play after linebacker Colin Schooler intercepted a pass thrown by McIlwain. Schooler ran 39 yards before Cal receiver Jeremiah Hawkins knocked the ball loose from behind. Azizi Hearn picked up the ball and ran 34 yards to the end zone.
On Cal’s next possession, McIlwain engineered a drive down to the Arizona 3 for a fourth-and-1 situation. He ran up the middle off was stopped by four Arizona tacklers short of the first down with 12:15 left in the fourth quarter.
A wild turnover sequence followed, with Arizona running back J.J. Taylor fumbling the ball away near midfield only for McIlwain to throw another interception — snagged by Young — on the next play.
Arizona’s Josh Pollack missed a 40-yard field goal, once again giving Cal hope, but McIlwain turned it over on a fumble caused by a sack by JB Brown.
After Cal forced Arizona to punt, McIlwain threw another interception on the first play, returned by Young for the touchdown.
The Bears closed the scoring on a 35-yard field goal by Greg Thomas with 16 seconds left. Cal was unsuccessful with the onside kick.
Khalil Tate finished 15 of 25 for 141 yards with a touchdown and interception for Arizona. He exited the game briefly when a Cal defender landed on his ankle in the second quarter, returning a series later.
Tate also rushed for a season-high 40 yards on eight carries.
Cal entered halftime up 14-10 in the strength of two second-quarter touchdown runs by McIlwain, who threw for 315 yards to go with his three picks.
—Field Level Media