Sunday, September 02, 2007

WVLT: Tennessee Falls Into Bear Trap

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BERKELEY, Calif. (WVLT) - The California Golden Bears talked redemption all summer long. Saturday night, they got it.  The Golden Bears used a mix of speed and power to avenge last year's humiliating defeat, 45-31, in front of a raucous home crowd and a national television audience. Tennessee (0-1) answered many of Cal's repeated offensive and special teams attacks, but was unable to keep up late in the game.  All-America wide receiver DeSean Jackson led the Bears with 143 total yards, including a dexterous 77-yard punt return in the first quarter. Justin Forsett dominated the Vols on the ground, pinning 156 yards on the Tennessee defense.  Erik Ainge was 32-for-47 for 273 yards and 3 touchdowns in the loss.  Tennessee hopes to rebound Saturday at home against Southern Miss.  Arian Foster returned the opening kickoff to the 24 yard line. The VOls picked up a first down on catches by Austin Rogers and Lucas Taylor.

A personal foul penalty on Cal propelled the Vols into Cal territory on the first drive of the game, but on the subsequent play, Cal's Zach Follett hit Ainge from behind and the ball popped into the air. Linebacker Worrell Williams plucked it off the turf and scampered 48 yards for the Cal touchdown. Cal's Zach Follett hit Ainge on a first-down play inside Cal territory. Ainge fumbled the ball, and linebacker Worrell Williams picked it up and ran 48 yards for a Bears touchdown. On the next drive Ainge found Chris Brown for a 27-yard pickup inside the Cal 30. Two plays later, Ainge found Arian Foster on a short route, and Foster eluded defenders for the score to tie the game. The Vols' scoring drive covered 70 yards in 8 plays.  Lavelle Hawkins returned the subsequent kickoff to the Cal 46 after Daniel Lincoln's first kick went out of bounds. The Bears entered Vol territory on a 17-yard pass to DeSean Jackson, the Cal receiver's first catch of the game. On third and one at the Tennessee 26, Justin Forsett ran for 16 yards and a Bear first down. Longshore then found Jackson for an 8-yard gain to the Vol 2. Nate Longshore finished the drive with a quarterback sneak from two yards out. The Bears' drive included three third-down conversions. But on the Cal kickoff, Arian Foster stormed through the Cal coverage to the Bear 25. Erik Ainge found Rogers on a slant route to get the Vols inside the Cal 5. Montario Hardesty plunged over the Bear defensive front to even the score at 14 with 3:03 left in the initial stanza. On the first three Tennessee drives, Ainge completed all 9 of his passes for 90 yards and a score.  The Vols got their first defensive stop on the next series. Demonte Bolden snuffed out a screen pass to Forsett to end the first quarter.

The Cal punt went through the end zone, and Tennessee started at its own 20.  A pass interference call by Cal linebacker Zach Follett on a short pass to Jeff Cottam gave the Vols a first down. Two consecutive Arian Foster runs tallied 9 yards and set up third and one at the Tennessee 37. But Cal cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson, much maligned in last year's UT-Cal game, snuffed out an Ainge bootleg pass to Arian Foster for a two-yard loss and forced the first Vols punt of the game. DeSean Jackson eluded four Volunteer defenders and sprinted 77 yards for the Cal touchdown.  The Vols went three-and-out on the next drive, forcing another Colquitt punt. This time the Vol punter kicked a line drive out of bounds to protect against Jackson's devastating dexterity. After Colquitt pinned the Bears on their own 15-yard line, the Vols held Cal and forced a punt. Tennessee took over at its own 39.  On the ensuing drive, Ainge found Lucas Taylor for a 43-yard pickup that brought the Vols inside the Cal 5. On second and goal, Ainge hit Chris Brown out of the backfield for a three-yard score to tie the game at 21. Cal surged deep into Tennessee territory thanks to a 34-yard Jahvid Best run. Cal receiver Robert Jordan finished the job with a 2-yard screen pass from Longshore. Freshman Denarius Moore returned his first kickoff to the Vol 33. Freshman running back Lennon Creer saw his first action on the next Tennessee drive. Cal linebacker Worrell Williams surged through the Tennessee line and forced an improvised, errant Ainge pitch to Lennon Creer. Creer bobbled the ball and fell on it, forcing fourth down. On the first play of Cal's next drive, Justin Forsett rumbled 49 yards through missed tackles. After a Cal holding penalty, Longshore found Lavelle Hawkins for 21 yards to put the Bears inside the Vol 10. On third and goal, Longshore threw behind Hawkins and forced a 27-yard field goal by Jordan Kay to give the Bears a 31-21 advantage.  On the opening kickoff of the second half, Cal was assessed an illegal substitution penalty for having two players (DeSean Jackson and Worrell Williams) on the field with the same number (No. 1). After the 5-yard penalty, the Bears returned the kick to their own 36. Jackson took a double reverse __ yards to the Vols 27. A short screen pass to Lavelle Hawkins put Cal ahead, 38-21, with 13:36 left in third quarter.  But Arian Foster and the Vols would not fade into the placid Pacific night. Arian Foster took an Ainge handoff 43 yards to the Cal 3. On third down, Lucas Taylor lined up at quarterback, but was stuffed at the 1-yard line by Cal defensive end Rulon Davis. The Vols went for it on fourth down from the one, but Ainge's screen pass to Foster was broken up by the Cal defender and the Bears took over on downs.

The Vols held Cal and took over at their own 27-yard line. Ainge found Taylor for 21 yards on the ensuing drive to get to midfield. After a first-down pass to Josh Briscoe, Foster carried the ball 11 yards to move the chains again. On third down, Ainge found Foster for a 15-yard pickup to get to the Cal 10. On second and goal, Ainge found a wide-open Brown for their second touchdown connection, this one a 5-yard play-action pass, to make the score 38-28.  After forcing a three-and-out, the Vols took over at their own 29. The Vols crossed midfield on a 23-yard Josh Briscoe reception.  After the Vols failed to convert, Daniel Lincoln nailed his first collegiate field goal attempt to bring the Vols within a possession, 38-31.  The Vols forced another Cal three-and-out and got the ball at their own 29, but failed to gain a first down.

Cal looked to put distance between themselves and the Vols, as Longshore threw a 24-yard pass to Lavelle Hawkins, then found H-Back Cameron Morrah for 23 yards and Robert Jordan for 10. Forsett ended the drive -- and made things a lot harder on the Vols -- with a ten-yard touchdown run to make the score 45-31. Tennessee could not respond to Cal's offensive advances, as Ainge threw two incomplete passes and a short pass to Hardesty that went for a loss. Cal's offensive line obliterated the tired Tennessee defensive front, rolling into Volunteer territory and allowing time to tick away earnestly.

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