Nov 15, 2003
By JANIE McCAULEY
AP Sports Writer
BERKELEY, Calif. - Geoff McArthur had six catches for a career-high 180 yards, including a 79-yard touchdown reception in the opening seconds, and California set a school record with 729 total yards in a 54-7 rout of Washington on Saturday.
Aaron Rodgers was 20-for-33 for a career-high 348 yards and three touchdowns and also ran for a score in one of Cal's most dominating games of the season.
Cal ended a 28-year home losing streak to the Huskies with the Golden Bears' most lopsided victory in the series since 1921 when they won 72-3.
J.J. Arrington carried 14 times for 185 yards in place of starter Adimchinobe Echemandu, the Pac-10's second-leading rusher held out with a sprained ankle, and the Bears averaged more than 10 yards per carry while rushing for 381 yards.
The Huskies couldn't do anything right in the first half as Washington coach Keith Gilbertson returned to Memorial Stadium to face his former team for the first time since taking over as coach when Rick Neuheisel was fired during the summer.
And a sour reunion it was.
With a bowl berth on the line for both teams, the Huskies (5-6, 3-4 Pac-10) struggled to protect quarterback Cody Pickett and routinely missed tackles on the way to giving up a season high in yards, 378 more than they allowed No. 2 USC last month.
Washington now must beat powerful Washington State in the Apple Cup next weekend at Husky Stadium to make the postseason.
Cal (6-6, 4-3) scored on its first six possessions in a game it had to win to avoid being eliminated from the bowl picture all together. The Bears need to beat Stanford in the Big Game next Saturday. The Pac-10 has six bowl berths and a chance at a seventh if the conference can get two teams into the BCS.
McArthur, the nation's second-leading receiver, had four catches for 131 yards in the first quarter and broke the school's all-time single-season record for receiving yards. McArthur now has 1,259 yards and has gone over 150 yards receiving four times this season.
Zach Tuiasosopo, with big brother Marques of the Oakland Raiders watching from the sideline, scored Washington's lone touchdown on a 3-yard run in the second quarter. The Huskies suffered their worst loss of the year are on the brink of their first losing season since 1976.
Cal punted for the first time midway through the third quarter - drawing loud cheers from the Huskies' faithful - but Charles Frederick muffed the return to give the Bears the ball back at the 26.
The Bears have won the last two against Washington, including a 34-27 victory in Seattle last season to snap a 19-game, 26-year losing streak in the series. Washington had won 10 in a row in Berkeley. Four of the previous five meetings had been decided by eight or fewer points.
Cal leveled Pickett several times with its aggressive blitzing defense that led to three first-half sacks, and the Bears often used double coverage on star Washington receiver Reggie Williams, who was held to four catches for 23 yards.
This was the second straight embarrassing loss for Washington, stunned 27-22 at Arizona last week. Pickett struggled against the Wildcats and Gilbertson said he had considered going to backup Casey Paus but didn't.
Paus did play Saturday, relieving an unproductive Pickett in the fourth quarter. Pickett was 22-of-39 for 225 yards and threw two interceptions.
Cal's third- and fourth-string running backs scored fourth-quarter touchdowns, with Michael Porter capping the blowout with a 51-yard TD run with 2:44 left. Fans chanted "We love Tedford!" for second-year coach Jeff Tedford as the school compiled its most yards since gaining 670 against Utah in 1958.