San Diego, CA (Sports Network) - David Ash passed for a touchdown and caught another, as Texas played mistake-free football while forcing five turnovers to earn a 21-10 victory over California in the Holiday Bowl.
Ash completed 14-of-23 passes for 142 yards, 47 coming on a go-ahead touchdown pass to Marquise Goodwin in the third quarter.
The Longhorns (8-5), back in the postseason after last season's disappointing 5-7 campaign, held the Golden Bears (7-6) to a seven yards rushing in the defensive slugfest.
"This was a pivotal game for us in my estimation. [We] let the seniors show they have us headed back up the hill," Texas head coach Mack Brown said.
California's Zach Maynard tossed for 188 yards but threw an interception and lost a fumble to end his junior season on a sour note.
Maynard guided an 11-play, 69-yard drive to start the second half, and Isi Sofele's six-yard touchdown on a toss to the right gave the Bears a 10-7 lead.
But Goodwin scored shortly thereafter, getting behind the secondary and hauling in Ash's bomb with 8:06 remaining in the third.
Sofele fumbled on the ensuing drive, and Adrian Phillips caused Maynard to cough it up in the final minute of the quarter.
Texas recovered Maynard's fumble at the California 44-yard line, and Goodwin's 37-yard gallop up the right sideline set up Cody Johnson's four-yard touchdown run on the first play of the fourth quarter.
The Bears, who averaged 32 points per game over their last four Pac-12 tilts, punted on their next two touches, and Marvin Jones fumbled another away with 3:24 remaining to seal the outcome.
"You can't go into a football game like that and expect to turn the ball over and win," Cal head coach Jeff Tedford said.
Giorgio Tavecchio booted a 47-yard field goal on California's first possession, but Maynard threw an interception and C.J. Anderson lost a fumble on the next two Bears drives.
The Longhorns failed to take advantage of the latter turnover, as Justin Tucker missed a 38-yard field goal early in the second quarter.
But an ineffective punt later in the half gave Texas a short field, and Ash completed passes of 14 and 30 yards before hauling in Jaxon Shipley's four- yard lob on a reverse pass with 6:08 showing.
Texas had appeared in 18 straight bowl games before getting shut out of the postseason last year...The Longhorns improved to 26-22-2 all-time in bowls...Texas has played in five Holiday Bowls since 2000, going 3-2...California fell to 10-10-1 all-time in postseason play...Texas has won all five meetings against California...Jones had eight receptions for 88 yards, while teammate Keenan Allen caught nine passes for 82 yards.