SAN FRANCISCO — Miami knew Jahvid Best was Cal's only offense, and the Hurricanes still couldn't stop him.
Best rushed for an Emerald Bowl-record 186 yards and two touchdowns Saturday night, leading the Bears to a 24-17 win at AT&T Park.
With the Bears' passing game floundering — a recurring theme this season — Cal depended on Best to carry the load. He averaged 9.3 yards on 20 carries.
"We've been talking about it all week that he is a great player, and it would be key for us to top the run and contain him," Miami linebacker Glenn Cook said. "We didn't do enough."
Best scored on runs of 2 and 42 yards, and seven of his rushes went for at least 10 yards. His total gave him 1,580 for the season, the second-best all time at Cal. He also tied a school record with 15 rushing touchdowns.
In typical selfless fashion, Best heaped all the praise on senior fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou, who made several key blocks on Best's runs.
"This game meant so much to me, playing for these seniors," Best said. "I was playing a lot for Will Ta'ufo'ou. He doesn't get a lot of the recognition that he deserves. I'm with him there every day at practice and at meetings. I was laying it out there on the line for him."
In the three weeks between the end of the regular season and the Emerald Bowl, Best garnered a lot of national attention and was being named as a possible top candidate for next year's Heisman
"I don't really feel any pressure," Best said. "I don't really pay attention to all that kind of stuff. My main goal is to just memorize the game plan, go out there and execute and do whatever I can to help the team win."
Alex Mack's decorated college career closed with Saturday's game. Mack is an All-American who won the Draddy Award this year as the top football scholar-athlete in the country. The center is expected to go during the top two rounds of the NFL draft. "It was kind of surreal," he said. "It didn't hit me until about 12 seconds left. I was running around all over the field after the game saying hi to all the fans. It was amazing. To have so many Cal fans here for my final game was special."
Best set the Cal single-season record for all-purpose yards, finishing with 2,247. ... Nate Longshore's 74-yard pass to wide receiver Verran Tucker in the first quarter was the longest of Longshore's career and of the season for Cal. ... Miami tight end Dedrick Epps missed the game with a leg contusion
— Jonathan Okanes