Sept. 22, 2007
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Lavelle Hawkins told Justin Forsett to sit and rest his bruised thigh. California was cruising to another comfortable victory, and the Golden Bears' tailback had earned a break.
"But then I had to go tell him, 'Justin, please get up,"' Hawkins said.
Forsett returned for a postscript to his latest stellar performance, rushing for 117 yards and two touchdowns as No. 6 Cal settled another year-old score with a 45-27 victory over Arizona on Saturday.
Hawkins had six catches for 95 yards, and the senior receiver scored during a 28-point first quarter by Cal (4-0, 1-0).
But when Arizona got within 11 points late, the Bears flashed back to the schools' meeting last season, when the Wildcats rallied to ruin Cal's Rose Bowl dreams.
Forsett, who limped off the field in the third quarter, wore his helmet on the sidelines while lobbying to get back in. He finished with a flourish: nine carries for 53 yards and a score on Cal's final two possessions.
"There was nothing that was going to stop me from being in there on that last drive," said Forsett, who scored both his touchdowns on direct snaps. "It was too close. They were about to give us our first L of the season."
Forsett might have overestimated the Wildcats (1-3, 0-1) a bit, but the Bears' offensive centerpiece kept their final two drives moving.
"We came in with a good game plan, and they gave us what we wanted early, so we were able to get off to that lead," said Nate Longshore, who passed for 235 yards and a touchdown. "We just need to be more consistent. Justin always brings an edge to our offense. He knows just how to hit the holes."
Jahvid Best and James Montgomery also made scoring runs for the Golden Bears, whose 2006 loss in Tucson 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 by taking a 25-point lead in the first 13 minutes.
"Last year's game was in the motivational tape we watched today," coach Jeff Tedford said. "Our guys were very motivated to play this game after last year's game."
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.
"We tried to get the ball downfield, but they were taking it away," Tuitama said. "We did a good job of bouncing back, but we hurt ourselves in the red zone. That's where we needed to cash in."
Though Arizona's final drive ended on downs with 3:46 left, the Wildcats seemed encouraged by their effort - after the first quarter.
"Our offense is light years ahead of where it had been," Arizona coach Mike Stoops said. "Defensively, we're not that far off. We compete, but we just aren't there yet."
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 injured starters - linebacker Zack Follett and defensive linemen Matt Malele and Rulon Davis.
DeSean Jackson had another quiet game for Cal with three catches for 39 yards, but he still helped. 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 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.
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.