Cal's junior speedster frustrates Jairus Byrd and Walter Thurmund III to the tune of 161 yards on 11 catches
By: Kevin Hudson
Leading up to Oregon's showdown with California Saturday, many college football analysts who were picking the Bears to win were doing so based on a big day for Cal junior wide receiver/punt returner DeSean Jackson. And while the directional punting of Oregon punter Josh Syria kept Jackson quiet in the return game, he torched the Duck defense for 161 yards and two touchdowns on 11 catches. "DeSean Jackson was difficult to handle in the passing game," said Oregon coach Mike Bellotti. "I don't know that he hurt us in any return game, but we did give up some field position by some of the things that we did." One of his touchdown grabs, a 25-yard pass from quarterback Nate Longshore to tie the score at 10-10 late in the third quarter, was against Oregon cornerback Walter Thurmond III in one-on-one coverage. Thurmond bit on a Jackson fake and was unable to recover, leaving the receiver wide open in the corner of the end zone. "I call that the Lavelle Hawkins (senior Cal wide receiver) move, he always does that you know," said Jackson. "Me and him, we have great moves and we keep doing the best we can do to let our team win."
"DeSean is a good athlete, when he gets the ball he can make anything happen," said Thurmond. "As you saw today he scored two touchdowns against the secondary, unfortunately. One against the sideline and one against me in man coverage. We have to play almost perfect against fast teams like that." Bellotti referred not to any fault by the secondary, but to the amount of time that Longshore had in the pocket as a reason for Jackson's big day. "I think they caught us sometimes in man, sometimes in zone, it didn't really make a difference," said Bellotti. "We did not get enough pressure on the quarterback. "We knew that Jackson was difficult to cover and that we needed help in terms of getting to Nate Longshore. I don't think we got to him very much and it's difficult to cover a guy with the speed and athleticism of DeSean Jackson," he said.