Texas quarterback David Ash throws a pass during the Longhorns' victory… (Gregory Bull / Associated…)
Third quarter, down by four points. First down, on the edge of the red zone.
Two minutes later, the season was finished.
That was the ghastly ending with which California will have to live until the new season dawns.
Texas beat Cal, 21-10, in an uninspiring Holiday Bowl on Wednesday, leaving the Golden Bears muttering about how poorly they played and how close they came anyway.
The Pac-12 Conference has lost its first two bowl games, with five to play. Arizona State was routed by Boise State, 56-24.
This was not the caliber of a Texas team that should warrant its own television network. The Longhorns scrambled to find a quarterback all season, lost all four games against ranked opponents and posted a losing record in conference play.
After the Holiday Bowl, Coach Mack Brown tried his best to polish the Longhorns' overall record, generally regarded as unsatisfactory in Austin, Texas.
"There's a huge difference between 8-5 and 7-6," Brown said.
Cal (7-6) also failed to beat a ranked opponent and posted a losing record in conference play.
In the Holiday Bowl, the Golden Bears committed five turnovers, were sacked six times and rushed for seven yards.
And yet there they were, late in the game and within striking distance of taking the lead.
First down at the Texas 27, with 1 minute 13 seconds to play in the third quarter and the Golden Bears down 14-10.
"We felt like we were in pretty good shape right there," Coach Jeff Tedford said.
Cal first down: incomplete pass.
Second down: loss of two yards and a personal foul. The Golden Bears were out of field-goal range.
Third down: sack, fumble, turnover. Possession over in less than a minute.
Texas first down: 37-yard run, first and goal.
Two plays later: Touchdown, Texas ahead, 21-10. Scoring drive in less than a minute.
Cal, first down: Incomplete pass, nearly intercepted.
Second down: Sack.
Third down: Incomplete pass, nearly a sack, possession over in less than a minute.
Cal ran six plays on those two drives, none for a gain. Total time of those three drives: 2:15. See you next year.
"We shot ourselves in the foot a lot," receiver Marvin Jones said.
Cal depends on a successful rushing attack, but the Golden Bears were worn down by the Texas defense. When you have 97 yards rushing but lose 90 yards rushing, well, a net in single digits doesn't cut it.
"It's hard to build momentum that way," quarterback Zack Maynard said.
Maynard completed 19 of 33 passes for 188 yards. On a night when Cal put up 195 yards, Jones and fellow receiver Keenan Allen accounted for 179.
Texas freshman David Ash completed 14 of 23 passes for 142 yards.
The Longhorns had been expected to split the quarterback duties between Ash and Case McCoy, but Ash's turnover-free game established him as the Texas quarterback of the future.