EditorsNote: tweaks seventh graf, eliminates extraneous word
California quarterback Chase Garbers set career highs with 357 yards passing and four touchdown passes and the No. 23 Golden Bears held off a late Mississippi comeback engineered by true freshman John Rhys Plumlee for a 28-20 victory over the host Rebels on Saturday afternoon.
Garbers completed 23 of 35 passes with one interception while leading Cal (4-0) to four touchdown drives of 70 yards or longer and 433 yards total offense. Linebacker Evan Weaver recorded 22 tackles, including a key one on the final play of the game.
Plumlee completed a 41-yard pass to Demarcus Gregory to put the ball on the Cal 10-yard line in the final minute, and Plumlee's completion to Elijah Moore moved the ball six inches from the goal line with nine seconds left.
But the Rebels were out of timeouts, and Plumlee was stopped short of the goal by Weaver on a hurried final play as time expired. A replay upheld the ruling.
The Bears have given up 24 or fewer points to each of their last 11 opponents.
Redshirt freshman quarterback Matt Corral completed 22 of 41 passes for 266 yards and rushed for 56 yards and a touchdown for the Rebels (2-2), who had a two-game winning streak broken and will visit No. 2 Alabama next Saturday.
In the second half, Garbers threw a 9-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Duncan and a 60-yard touchdown pass to Jake Tonges for a 28-13 lead with 9:03 left in the third quarter. Duncan caught five passes for 63 yards and Tonges had three catches for 88 yards.
Ole Miss halfback Jerrion Ealy scored on a 15-yard run with 4:29 remaining to make it 28-20, one play after Plumlee replaced Corral at quarterback and rushed for 47 yards on a called run.
Plumlee completed 7 of 7 passes for 82 yards on the final drive.
Moore had 11 receptions for 102 yards for the Rebels.
Cal won its first four games for the first time since 2015 and is 9-0 in nonconference games in coach Justin Wilcox's three seasons.
Garbers was removed from the game after being sacked with 4:25 remaining in the third quarter and missed one play before returning on the next drive.
--Field Level Media