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September 22, 2007

California cruises past Arizona

Box score

BERKELEY, Calif. Justin Forsett rushed for 117 yards and two touchdowns, and No. 6 California settled another year-old score with a 28-point first quarter in a 45-27 victory over Arizona on Saturday.

Nate Longshore passed for 235 yards and a touchdown, while Jahvid Best and James Montgomery made scoring runs for the Golden Bears (4-0, 1-0), whose 24-20 loss in Tucson last season denied them an outright Pac-10 championship and a probable trip to Cal's first Rose Bowl in nearly a half-century.

Three weeks after the Bears avenged last year's season-opening loss to Tennessee, they flattened the Wildcats (1-3, 0-1) by taking a 25-point lead in the first 13 minutes. The Bears were sloppy after their fast start, committing 14 penalties for 121 yards, but Forsett did more than enough to secure Cal's 10th straight win at Memorial Stadium.

Willie Tuitama set school records for pass attempts and completions, going 42-of-61 for 309 yards, but Arizona couldn't escape its huge early hole despite a strong second half. Mike Thomas had a career-high 12 catches, second-most in school history, for 105 yards and a score, but Arizona's final drive ended on downs with 3:46 left.

Cal defensive end Tyson Alualu scored on a fumble recovery during the first-quarter blitz, and the Bears defense fared well against Arizona's spread attack despite missing three starters because of injuries.

Forsett scored both of his touchdowns on direct snaps near the Arizona goal line, another new wrinkle in coach Jeff Tedford's game plan. Lavelle Hawkins also caught six passes for 95 yards and a score.

DeSean Jackson had another quiet game for Cal with three catches for 39 yards, but he still helped the Bears. Arizona pooched a 19-yard punt away from Jackson after its opening drive, and Cal quickly drove for its first score when Forsett broke four tackles on a 9-yard TD run.

Hawkins then caught an 18-yard TD pass to cap a 77-yard drive that lasted 34 seconds, and Best rushed for a score on Cal's next drive as the Bears broke Arizona tackles on seemingly every play. Safety Thomas DeCoud blitzed Tuitama and forced the fumble Alualu recovered in the end zone with 2:12 left in the first quarter, putting the Bears up 28-3.

Arizona, using a no-huddle spread offense that Cal already has seen twice this season, steadily climbed back in the second half, with Tuitama scoring on a 1-yard run and Thomas catching a 4-yard TD pass early in the fourth. Montgomery's fumble handed a field goal to the Wildcats with 13:46 to play.

Forsett sat out a few series for Cal after limping off the field in the second half, but the senior came back strong in the fourth to finish up the ninth 100-yard game of his career.

Tuitama, who passed for 446 yards in a loss to New Mexico last week, surpassed Marc Reed's school-record 56 attempts in 1966 and Jason Johnson's 31 completions in 2002 against Cal.

Cal defensive linemen Matt Malele and Rulon Davis both sat out with foot injuries from last week's win over Louisiana Tech, and linebacker Zack Follett missed the first game of his career with a stinger.

Cal's 14 penalties were the most called on the Bears in Tedford's six seasons at the school.

For more coverage of California, visit BearTerritory.net; for more on Arizona, visit GoAZCats.com.



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