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By Jon Wilner
The afternoon and evening couldn’t have gone any better for Cal receiver/returner DeSean Jackson if it had all been drawn up by Jeff Tedford. Following several do-nothing games, needing a huge performance in a huge game at Oregon to stay in the Heisman hunt, Jackson got it all and more. He played the game of his life, Cal recorded its biggest win of the Tedford era and many of Jackson’s competitors either lost, played poorly or both. Jackson had 11 catches for 161 yards and turned in a highlight play — his 31-yard catch-and-run down the right sideline that gave Cal a 24-17 lead in the fourth quarter. He also scored on a 25-yard pass in the third quarter and made several big, non-scoring receptions. All in all, a Heisman-caliber performance. And on the same day Jackson was leading Cal past the Ducks:
* Florida quarterback Tim Tebow lost to Auburn.
* Rutgers tailkback Ray Rice lost Maryland.
* Hawaii quarterback Colt Brennan threw five interceptions at Idaho.
* USC quarterback John David Booty struggled at Washington.
* West Virginia tailback Steve Slaton did nothing in a loss to USF (albeit on Thursday).
Other than Jackson, the Heisman candidates who played well and won last weekend all beat cupcakes. Jackson had, by far, the best combination of individual performance and team performance in a high-profile game. He might not be in the lead Heisman pack, but nearing the midway point, he’s squarely in the race — and, critically, has given himself a chance to jump into the lead pack when Cal plays UCLA, Arizona State and USC down the stretch.
***Cal receiver DeSean Jackson
Last week: Had 11 catches for 161 yards and 2 TDs (including a go-ahead score in the 4th quarter) in victory at Oregon.
This week: Bye.
Season to date: Is not among national leaders in any category, except highlight plays. (Doesn’t have enough punt returns to qualify.)
How he stacks up: Might have gotten back into the lead group with dazzling performance at Oregon. Mustr do the same against USC to have a chance.