Sept. 4, 2007
BERKELEY - California junior DeSean Jackson has been named the Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week for the opening week of college football. After their 45-31 victory over Tennessee on Saturday, the Golden Bears have climbed to No. 10 in both polls. Cal goes on the road this weekend to face Colorado State (Saturday, 11 a.m. Pacific, CSTV).
Jackson was a key player in Cal's victory over Tennessee, tallying 143 all-purpose yards on just six touches. His most spectacular play came on his first punt return of the season as he fielded the ball on the near sideline. After dodging a Volunteer gunner, he maneuvered to his right, picked up a pair of crunching blocks and then accelerated. However, as the next Tennessee would-be tackler approached, Jackson stopped on a dime and back-stepped two steps to avoid any contact at all. From there, he had an open line to the end zone for a 77-yard score - his sixth career punt return touchdown (on just 27 returns).
That play was selected as ESPN's No. 2 play of an exciting opening weekend of college football.
Tennessee's remaining punts were directed well-away from Jackson.
In addition to the return, Jackson tallied four catches for 45, one a spectacular grab along the sideline as he was leveled by a defender. He also helped the Bears when the team was backed up in its own end zone. As he sprinted down the left sideline, quarterback Nate Longshore let fly a deep ball. Despite being interfered with and drawing the flag for a 15-yard penalty, Jackson managed to get one hand on the ball and nearly held on.
He also added a career-long 21-yard run on a double reverse with senior running back Justin Forsett.
In addition to Jackson's nomination, senior running back Forsett was nominated for Offensive Player of the Week and junior linebacker Zack Follett was a nominee for Defensive Player of the Week honors.