No. 21 Cal Dominates Portland State, 42-16
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  09/16/2006

Sept. 16, 2006

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BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -The least imposing game on California's schedule turned out just about right for coach Jeff Tedford.

His Golden Bears played well enough for a comfortable win, yet showed enough flaws to provide plenty of fodder for next week's practices.

Marshawn Lynch ran for 112 yards and a touchdown on just six carries, and No. 21 Cal tuned up for its Pac-10 schedule with a 42-16 victory over Portland State on Saturday.

Nate Longshore passed for 225 yards and two scores in the first half for the Bears (2-1), who substituted liberally after rolling to a 32-point lead midway through the second quarter. DeSean Jackson caught five passes for 103 yards and a score as the Bears gained even more confidence in themselves after a rocky start to the season - but still saw much to improve.

"We did well, but we all know we can play better in the Pac-10 next week," said cornerback Daymeion Hughes, who returned an interception 30 yards for a score. "Coach Tedford is going to make sure we're ready, because we've still got some improvements to make."

Cal's defense knocked two of the Division I-AA Vikings' quarterbacks out of the game with injuries on crushing hits in the first quarter. The schools played a scoreless second half while Cal tinkered with its offense and used nearly every player in uniform.

Cameron Morrah also caught a TD pass for the Bears, while Lynch, Justin Forsett and Marcus O'Keith all rushed for scores as they racked up 375 total yards by halftime. Their 42 points were the fourth-most in a half in school history.

After opening the season with a big loss at Tennessee and a big home win over Minnesota, Cal soon will find out whether its No. 9 preseason ranking was justified. Arizona State visits Memorial Stadium next weekend, with Oregon coming in two weeks later.

"Our chemistry is where it's supposed to be right now," Jackson said. "We feel good going into Pac-10 play. The league is a lot improved this season, and this game helped us get ready."

Not everything went well: Cal allowed two quick touchdowns shortly before halftime, and the Bears committed nine penalties for 103 yards and made three turnovers. Cal also lost starting right tackle Scott Smith to a sprained knee, which will be evaluated Sunday.

"It's something we're definitely going to address this week," Tedford said. "We had way too many penalties and turnovers, and we're not going to tolerate it. There were poor decisions by a couple of guys."

Receiver Tremayne Kirkland caught a TD pass and threw another for Portland State (2-1), which beat New Mexico in its season opener. With a defensive line featuring four Division I-A transfers, the Vikings seemed to be a tougher matchup than the usual I-AA foe - but Cal's starters were too much.

"They're as good as advertised on offense, because I think we're good on defense, and they totally dismantled us," Portland State coach Tim Walsh said. "I don't think we played really well, but a lot of that probably had to do with them."

Portland State quarterback Sawyer Smith and freshman backup Tygue Howland both left the field with injuries in the first quarter, forcing Rob Freeman into the game. Howland sprained his knee and Smith bruised his hip, but Freeman went 12-for-17 for 119 yards.

The Bears did little wrong offensively after Longshore's first pass, which was intercepted by Micheal Dorsey to set up Eric Azorr's 24-yard field goal just 4 1/2 minutes in. O'Keith returned the ensuing kickoff to midfield, and Cal went ahead for good on third-string tight end Morrah's 3-yard TD catch.

Lynch made his most impressive run early in the second quarter, escaping a midfield pile and dodging two more tacklers before rumbling 71 yards into the end zone. The run was the longest of Lynch's career, besting a 70-yard TD run at Washington two years ago.

Cal inserted several backup defenders midway through the second quarter, but Kirkland threw a 42-yard trick pass to Brendan Ferrigno, the son of Cal receivers coach Dan Ferrigno. Kirkland beat Hughes for a 4-yard TD catch 1:19 before halftime, but Jackson's 27-yard TD catch capped a 55-second scoring drive moments later.

"Cal is just fast at every position," Brendan Ferrigno said. "A couple of teams (in the Big Sky Conference) might have a couple of fast guys, but they are just fast all over."