Bears Beat NMSU, Improve To 2-0
Sept 7, 2002
BERKELEY, Calif. - Kyle Boller threw for 180 yards and two touchdownsas California got off to its first 2-0 start in five years, beating New MexicoState 34-13 Saturday.
Joe Igber rushed for 87 yards and a score as the Golden Bears won againunder new coach Jeff Tedford, though they did it without the spectacularscoring and trickery of their season-opening 70-22 win over Baylor.
The Bears had not won their first two games since 1997, when Tom Holmoe gotoff to a strong start in the first of his five straight losing seasons. Cal haswon two straight at Memorial Stadium after going 1-10 last season.
Tedford, Oregon's offensive coordinator for the past four seasons, alreadyhas improved the performances of Boller and Igber, the Bears' senior offensivestars.
Boller completed 19 of 32 passes and rushed for a score, while Igber'sshifty running kept the Bears' offense moving toward a methodical victory. MarkJensen, another senior, kicked two field goals for Cal.
Buck Pierce passed for 121 yards and rushed for 62 for the Aggies, who had aclose loss at South Carolina in their season opener. Pierce left the game afterbruising his left shoulder while getting sacked by three Bears late in thethird quarter.
New Mexico State hurt itself with eight penalties for 85 yards, and theAggies fumbled four times, losing two of them. Dario Aguiniga kicked two fieldgoals, including one from a career-best 50 yards.
The Aggies outgained the Bears 321-298 thanks to a last-minute 26-yard TDpass, but Cal capitalized on every break and almost kept the Aggies out of theend zone entirely.
Last week, Cal jump-started its win with a double pass on the first play.New Mexico State beat Cal to the punch on trickery with an onside kick to beginthe game - but the Aggies touched the ball too soon, putting the Bears in primefield position. They went on a 44-yard drive capped by LaShaun Ward's 15-yardTD catch.
Following a New Mexico State fumble inside the Aggies' 20, Tom Swobodacaught a 5-yard TD pass from Boller late in the first quarter, putting Cal up17-3 and forcing the Aggies to abandon the option.
The Golden Bears went up 24-6 on Igber's 4-yard TD run in the third quarter.
Lorenzo Alexander blocked a punt to set up Boller's 1-yard TD dive over thepile with 2:53 remaining.
The Cal crowd chanted 'Undefeated!' in the closing seconds, moments beforeNew Mexico State backup quarterback Paul Dombrowski hit Ronshay Jenkins for ascore with 10 seconds left.
By GREG BEACHAM
AP Sports Writer