JACKSON CATAPULTS THE BEARS TO REVENGE
BERKELEY, Calif - DeSean Jackson was only given one chance to return a punt all night, but for Tennessee, it was one time too many.
Jackson broke a 14-14 tie in the second quarter with a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown, and Cal would never fall behind for the rest of the game, as the Bears beat the Volunteers 45-31 to open the 2007 season at Memorial Stadium.
"I was hoping that I would get at least one chance," Jackson said. "I was happy to have the chance and it's a big win for our team."
But Jackson didn't carry Cal to victory, just about all the Bears had a game to remember.
Everybody helped from linebacker Worrell Williams, who picked up a fumble and rumbled 45 yards for a touchdown on the opening drive of the game, to quarterback Nate Longshore, who redeemed himself after a horrific performace against Tennessee last year by completeing 19-of-28 of his passes for 241 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Everybody didn't chip in for Tennessee, most notably the defense. Cal racked up 471 yards (241 passing, 230 rushing) and the Vols defense was only able to force one turnover, but that came with just 2:30 left in the game and Tennessee was down 14.
What can be looked at as a positive for Tennessee was the play of Erik Ainge. The senior quarterback was 32-of-47 for 271 yards and three touchdowns. The Vols also had success on the ground, with Arian Foster running 13 times for 90 yards and a touchdown.
Jeff Tedford on the win:
"It was a big win, no question about it. We've been carrying this with us for a year. Our guys played very, very well. They were ready emotionally and physically. I'm just real proud of them."
Phillip Fulmer on the loss:
"There were a number of occasions when we just looked bad. We looked bad trying to tackle those guys. Their front did a good job moving usmore than we would have liked, so you have to give them cedit."
Fulmer on Jackson:
The guy is electritying, as we saw today. WE did a good job on him last year, but today he got away from us."
Player of the Game: Nate Longshore. He was a question mark going into the game, but he dominated a defense that dominated him last year
Play of the Game: It was probably four plays in a row. Cal lead 38-21 early in the third quarter, but Tennessee had a first-and-goal on Cal's 4-yard line.
But then Tennessee had a two yard run, a rush for no gain, a one yard run and an incompletion on fourth down. It was a momentum stopper and gainer, and it might have been the difference in the game.
Next Up: Tennessee will host Southern Miss next week, before going to The Swamp in Week 3. Cal will head to the Rocky Mountains to meet Colorado State. And for you Cal fans that are curious, USC comes to Memorial Stadium in 10 weeks. Let the coutdown begin...