Oct. 2, 2006
CORVALLIS, Ore. (AP) -Lavelle Hawkins might as well have called his quarterback Nate the Great.
He did everything but that after No. 16 California defeated Oregon State 41-13 on Saturday.
"That's the best quarterback I've ever played with in my life," Hawkins said. "Nate is the guy. Nate is the man."
Nate Longshore completed 22 of 31 passes for 341 yards and four touchdowns. It was Longshore's third game this season with four touchdowns, and he has thrown for 14 scores in the last three games.
In Cal's Pac-10 opener, a 49-21 victory over Arizona State, Longshore threw for 270 yards and four touchdowns.
"He is playing very well and seeing the field and making great decision," coach Jeff Tedford said. "He is putting us in a great position to be successful with his knowledge and the way he is running the offense.
Longshore beat out Joe Ayoob for the starting job in training camp last season, but broke his ankle in the first half of Cal's first game. Ayoob took over, but eventually lost his job to Steve Levy after throwing 11 interceptions in his final four starts.
Then Tedford waited until the last minute to name Longshore the starter this season, while the sophomore recovered from a back injury. Longshore struggled in the opener against Tennessee, which then-No. 9 Cal lost 35-18, but Tedford's confidence in him did not waver.
Longshore was efficient against the Beavers, who could not muster the defense they displayed in a 38-0 victory over Idaho the week before.
Longshore's 39-yard TD pass to Hawkins gave Cal (4-1, 2-0) the early lead. Before the first quarter was over, Longshore found DeSean Jackson with a 27-yard scoring pass and Marshawn Lynch's TD run made it 21-0. Lynch had his second touchdown reception of the season, a 27-yard pass from Longshore, midway through the second quarter.
Tom Schneider kicked a 37-yard field goal to make it 31-0, before Oregon State's Alexis Serna, last season's Lou Groza award winner for the nation's top kicker, hit a 58-yarder to make it 31-3 at the half.
After Serna added a 40-yard field goal, Lynch caught a 28-yard scoring pass from Longshore.
The Beavers capitalized on Sabby Piscitelli's interception in the fourth quarter that set up Yvenson Bernard's 5-yard scoring run.
Lynch ran for 106 yards and added 59 yards receiving. It was his fourth straight game, and 13th in his career, with at least 100 yards on the ground. He has seven touchdowns.
Hawkins had 128 yards receiving for the Bears.
"We were doing good things," Longshore said. "I felt like we made some mistakes. If we limit those things I feel we can drive the ball down the field any drive."
Cal will have to limit the mistakes next week, when it hosts No. 11 Oregon, which beat Arizona State 48-13 on Saturday.
Tedford said the decisive victory over the Beavers will have no bearing on their approach to the Ducks.
"Next week is a different week and we need to focus on Oregon and what they do well," he said.