Sept. 5, 2009
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Jahvid Best and his California teammates were wide awake from the start of their rematch against Maryland.
Best ran 73 yards for one of his two first-quarter touchdowns and the 12th-ranked Golden Bears avenged an early-season loss to the Terrapins last season with a 52-13 victory Saturday night to open this season.
Kevin Riley added a career-high four touchdown passes for the Bears, who jumped on top 45-6 in a drastic turnabout from last year's meeting won by Maryland 35-27.
That game was played in East Coast humidity with a noon start, with Cal falling behind 21-3 early in the second quarter. This year, it was the Maryland players who had to adjust to the time change with a game that started just after 7 p.m. PDT.
The Terps never did and had their most lopsided season-opening loss since the first game in school history, a 50-0 loss to St. John's of Annapolis in 1892.
Best made his own highlight reel in this game, starting with the long touchdown run that opened the scoring. On the first play of Cal's second possession, Best burst up the middle and broke away from the Maryland defense. He slowed up at the 25 to wait for a block by Verran Tucker on defensive back Nolan Carroll, before finishing off his ninth career run of at least 60 yards.
It's those kinds of runs that have made Best a trendy Heisman contender and the Bears a team to be reckoned with in the Pac-10. Best finished with 137 yards on 10 carries, including a 40-yarder that was sprung by a block from Riley, before ending his night early.
But it's the play of Riley and the passing game that will probably determine how far Cal goes this season. Riley completed 17 of 26 passes for 298 yards, including a 42-yarder that dropped right into Marvin Jones' hands in the end zone to make it 45-6.
Riley's first completion was a 20-yard strike to Jones that came after Torrey Smith fumbled the kickoff following Best's first TD. Best leaped in from the 2 on the following play for his second score in a 42-second span.
That was Riley's only completion in five attempts in the first quarter. But he found his stride in the second, connecting on a 39-yard pass to Tucker that set up a 3-yard TD pass to Skyler Curran. Riley did a good job avoiding a sack by Jared Harrell before finding Curran for the score that made it 24-6.
Riley then found a wide-open Nyan Boateng on a 39-yard pass in the final minute of the half to give the Bears a 31-6 lead at the break.
Maryland was supposed to be the team with the pressure defense after bringing in coordinator Dan Brown and his blitzing schemes. But the Bears had no problems moving the ball, going over the 500-yard mark midway through the fourth quarter.
It was Cal that constantly pressured Chris Turner, sacking him six times and keeping the Terps out of the end zone until Da'Rel Scott's 39-yard run made it 45-13 midway through the third quarter.
Turner finished 17 for 30 for 167 yards.