BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- DeSean Jackson reversed his field,
turned the corner and sprinted down a golden corridor stretching to
the end zone.
California broke out some garish yellow jerseys for a pivotal
game with Oregon, yet the Golden Bears' knack for big plays didn't
change a bit.
After a dreadful performance in Cal's season-opening loss to Tennessee, Nate Longshore has been a model of consistency -- and excellence. The Bears, now 3-0 in conference, have won all five games since that early September day by no fewer than 21 points (Saturday's 45-24 thrashing of No. 11 Oregon was the closest). Translation: That Nov. 18 showdown with the Men of Troy will likely be played with the Pac-10 title hanging in the balance. Without further ado, Longshore's numbers:
In three Pac-10 games, all Cal wins, Longshore's numbers are:
65.1 Comp. pct., 266.7 YPG, 11 TD, 3 INT
As for the fashion-conscious Ducks? They simply didn't match.
Jackson caught one of Nate Longshore's three touchdown passes
and returned a punt 65 yards for his most electric score yet,
leading No. 16 Cal to a 45-24 victory over 11th-ranked Oregon on
The Bears (5-1, 3-0 Pac-10) took control almost from the moment
they ran out of the Memorial Stadium tunnel wearing the surprising
shirts that looked just like something the inventive Ducks (4-1,
2-1) would wear.
But after Jackson's outstanding punt return put Cal ahead 28-3
in the second quarter, the Bears were perfectly dressed for their
fifth straight blowout victory.
"I was following yellow jerseys," said Jackson, who reversed
field and slid through several potential tacklers on his third
career punt return for a score. "I couldn't even see one Oregon
jersey all the way in."
These West Coast powers have similarities ranging from their
intertwined coaching staffs to their high-octane offenses, but Cal
coach Jeff Tedford easily landed his second victory over former
mentor Mike Bellotti in front of a raucous sellout crowd -- a rarity
at Memorial Stadium, where even the laid-back fans realize
something special could be brewing.
Cal's players chose the jerseys to fire up themselves and the
crowd. Even Tedford claimed he loved them -- and said they might
"I loved it that we came out with something new that looks
good," tailback Justin Forsett said. "We thought we could shock
the fans a little bit, especially against the team that has every
uniform in the world. That was a great thing for us to show
Forsett ran for 163 yards and a touchdown in place of injured
Marshawn Lynch for the Bears. Robert Jordan and tight end Craig
Stevens also caught TD throws from Longshore, who passed for 189
yards and rushed for a score in Cal's fifth win since its
season-opening loss at Tennessee, when the Bears were ranked No. 9.
Cal has scored 171 points in the first halves of those five
victories, and the Bears have scored at least 40 points in five
straight games for the first time in school history. Bellotti, who
employed Tedford for four years, could only applaud.
"Am I surprised by how well they played? Yes," Bellotti said.
"It was not what I anticipated. ... It's the most crowd noise I've
ever heard here, too. Sometimes there hasn't been a crowd here."
Lynch rushed for 50 yards and caught a 23-yard pass, but
re-sprained his troublesome ankle in the second quarter. Cal kept
rolling with Forsett, his more-than-capable understudy, in just the
Bears' second win over Oregon in the last 10 meetings.
Pac-10 rushing leader Jonathan Stewart managed just 25 yards on
18 carries for the Ducks, whose spread offense never clicked with
"We thought we were ready, but we just didn't come out to
play," Stewart said. "It seemed like they were right on top of
our whole game plan."
Oregon quarterback Dennis Dixon, who grew up 15 miles away in
San Leandro, had an awful game in front of 60 friends and family
members. Taking constant hits from Cal's pass rushers, he finished
20-of-35 for 263 yards and three interceptions. He tossed two TD
passes in the final 16 minutes.
Cal's Brandon Hampton intercepted Dixon's terrible off-balance
throw on the Ducks' first play, and Stevens scored moments later.
Jackson then made a 36-yard TD catch when his defender fell down
late in the first quarter. Longshore threw an interception on a
tipped pass inside the Oregon 5 on Cal's next possession -- but
after Stewart fumbled, Lynch's 24-yard run set up Longshore's TD
Cal then went up by 25 points on another unbelievable return by
"If you can get the ball in his hands like that with some
blockers, forget about it," Longshore said.
Oregon's offense repeatedly stalled until a faked field goal set
up its first TD on Stewart's 3-yard plunge 1:04 before halftime.
But Cal scored 10 points on its first two possessions of the
second half, including a clock-killing 80-yard drive ending in
Jordan's TD catch.
Tedford has turned Cal into a football power -- but it's still
Cal. Cosmologist George F. Smoot, who won the Nobel Prize in
physics on Tuesday, was introduced before the game to the cheering
student section, which chanted "Nobel Prize! Nobel Prize!"
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