Sunday, September 02, 2007

Napa Valley Register: Freshman sparks No. 12 Cal past No. 15 Tennessee

BERKELEY — California scored one for the West Coast with a redemptive win over Tennessee.  DeSean Jackson scampered 77 yards for his sixth career punt return for a touchdown, and the 12th-ranked Golden Bears avenged last season’s humiliating loss to the No. 15 Volunteers with a 45-31 victory on Saturday night.  Justin Forsett rushed for 156 yards and a score, and Nate Longshore passed for 241 yards and two TDs as the Bears (1-0) racked up the most points scored against the Volunteers in 12 years to win the opening weekend’s only matchup between ranked schools. Though both teams struggled on defense, Cal’s offensive creativity and athleticism were too much for its SEC foes. The win also should quiet some of those Pac-10 detractors who cited Cal’s 35-18 blowout loss in Knoxville last year as a prime example of the conference’s shortcomings outside top-ranked Southern California. Coach Jeff Tedford’s club scored early and often against Tennessee. Cal linebacker Worrell Williams returned a fumble 44 yards for a score just 1:51 into the game, while Jackson — the junior receiver with almost unearthly returning skills — broke free early in the second quarter with a dizzying series of moves on the way to the end zone. Robert Jordan and Lavelle Hawkins had TD catches from Longshore, with Hawkins catching seven passes for 90 yards.


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