BERKELEY, Calif. — Three California quarterbacks combined to pass for 326 yards and five touchdowns and the team amassed 579 yards of total offense in a 55-14 win over Sacramento State on Saturday at Memorial Stadium.
After falling behind 45-0 nothing, Sacramento State (1-1) scored the final touchdown of the first half and the first of the second to spark life into the team. Garrett Safron connected with Chris Broadnax for a 3-yard completion with 48 seconds remaining in the second quarter to put the team on the board. Early in the third quarter, Safron pulled back a read option and sprinted 73 yards for a touchdown. The run was the longest of the senior's career and the longest by a Hornet since Ryan Mole travelled 87 yards against Northern Arizona in 2004.
The Hornets had an opportunity to trim their deficit later in the third but Safron was intercepted in the end zone on a pass intended for Broadnax. Cal (2-0) capitalized on the turnover and drove 80 for the game's final score.
Cal began the scoring by taking the opening drive 70 yards on 14 plays capped by a 4-yard pass from Jared Goff to Kenny Lawler. The Hornets moved the ball to midfield on its first series before Safron was struck from behind by Todd Barr giving the Golden Bears the ball at the Hornet 22. From there Maurice Harris hauled in a 17-yard pass from Goff to give Cal a 14-0 edge in just under seven minutes. The team tacked on two more first quarter scores with a 60-yard catch and run from Luke Rubenzer to Darius Powe and a 19-yard one-handed grab by Lawler with under two minutes to play.
In the second quarter. Rubenzer punched it in from a yard out and Daniel Lasco followed with a 50-yard touchdown run in which he broke free of several tackles. James Langford converted field goals of 33 and 47 yards before Harper made a diving catch on a 12-yard pass with 1:25 to play in the third quarter for the final points.
Safron finished the game 15-of-33 for 149 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Redshirt freshman Daniel Kniffin also saw time in the game where he completed 5-of-8 attempts for 35 yards. Safron was also the team's leading rusher. The Santa Monica, Calif., native was aided by the 73 yard TD run but also had 41 yards in sacks to finish with a net of 60 rushing yards. Jordan Robinson had 10 carries for 47.
Senior DeAndre Carter caught a game-high seven passes for 72 yards to lead Sacramento State. Nnamdi Agude added three receptions (31 yards) while Chris Broadnax, Justin Cox and Robinson each caught two.
Defensively, Darnell Sankey and Robbie Kendall each set career highs with 15 and 11 tackles respectively. Sankey, who was the Big Sky Defensive Player of the Week last week, was also credited with two forced fumbles as well as a tackle-for-loss. As a team, the Hornets were unable to get to the Cal quarterbacks and saw their streak of 31-consecutive games with a sack come to an end.
Goff was an efficient 17-of-22 for 229 yards and four touchdowns. Rubenzer was 3-of-4 for 84 yards and also rushed for 34 yards. Austin Hinder completed 1-of-3 for 13 yards. Lasco paced the Bears with 94 rushing yards and was part of nine ball carriers who combined for 253 yards on the ground.
Cal's receivers shared the ball with nine catching passes and none had more than 68 yards. Harper led the group with five receptions while Trevor Davis and Powe each had 68.
Sacramento State will host Weber State on Saturday, Sept. 13, in its home opener. The non-conference game will kick off at 6:05 p.m. from Hornet Stadium.
NOTES: Sacramento State is now 2-13 against Football Championship Subdivision teams since 2002…Safron's previous career long rush was a 63-yard touchdown at Southern Utah in 2012…true freshman Isiah Hennie had a 14-yard reception for his first collegiate catch…Sankey picked up a first down with a 2-yard rush — the first carry of his career…a week after having 24 players make a tackle, 23 were credited with stops against Cal…the teams combined for 19 penalties with Cal being flagged 10 times for 100 yards and the Hornets nine times for 98 yards.
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