Rusty Simmons, Chronicle Staff Writer
Tennessee's coach may have let his bravado get the best of him. Phillip Fulmer backed up his pregame talk, punting the ball to Cal's dynamo DeSean Jackson. But Fulmer made that mistake only once. Jackson dodged a tackler as he caught the ball, reversed field while avoiding two other Volunteers and stopped and backed out of yet another tackle. Finally, he got started downhill and went untouched to the 50-yard line, where he turned on the afterburners and raced to a 77-yard score. "Our players know that with DeSean, you always have to keep playing," coach Jeff Tedford said. "You never know where he's going to go." The best guess is the end zone. Jackson has six career punt-return touchdowns on 27 opportunities. Tennessee punter Britton Colquitt kicked the next two punts out of bounds for an average of 29 yards. Hold the (mega)phone: Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen said the conference didn't allow Cal to pass out 50,000 megaphones as part of a planned promotion. The conference has a rule against artificial noisemakers.
"It's because we don't want overwhelming noise," Hansen said. "If you pound them on the ground, nobody would ever be able to hear the quarterback's signals." That basically happened without the megaphones. The student section was rowdy, consistently forcing Tennessee quarterback Erik Ainge to step away from the line of scrimmage and use hand signals. "The crowd was awesome," said Tedford, who twice had to remove his headset to hear a coach standing next to him." Fifth finger: The much-talked-and-written-about broken pinky finger of Ainge, had no effect on the game. He completed his first 10 passes and finished the first half going 15-for-17 with 165 yards and two scores. He completed only five passes that covered more than 10 yards in the air, but he was accurate on all of his short patterns. He finished completing 32-of-47 for 271 yards and three touchdowns.
Kay debut: Jordan Kay, a walk-on kicker from Peninsula High-Rolling Hills, was perfect on six extra points and a 27-yard field goal in his collegiate debut. He replaced Tom Schneider, who ranks fourth all-time in Cal scoring but pulled a quad during the pregame.
Best debut: Freshman Jahvid Best made his offensive debut on Cal's fourth possession, zipping for an 8-yard run on his first carry. He was smacked by linebacker Rico McCoy after a 2-yard run on his next touch, but responded on the next play by zig-zagging 34 yards to the Tennessee 4. Best finished with 103 all-purpose yards.
Briefly: D.J. Holt, a highly-touted freshman linebacker from Crespi Carmelite High-Encino, was on the sidelines after joining the team this week. ... Will Ta'ufo'ou played the majority of the snaps at fullback, just two weeks after spraining his MCL. He accounted for 29 yards from scrimmage. ... Thomas DeCoud chased down Arian Foster at the 3-yard line after a 43-yard run. Cal's defense responded with a goal-line stand and forced a turnover on downs.