No. 12 California Blasts New Mexico State In Home-opener

Sept. 11, 2004

AP Sports Writer

BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - J.J. Arrington ran for 177 yards and threetouchdowns, and Aaron Rodgers completed 19 of 26 passes for 260 yards and twoscores in No. 12 California's 41-14 victory over New Mexico State on Saturday.

Chase Lyman made four receptions for 111 yards with a touchdown and atwo-point conversion for the Golden Bears (2-0), who played their only homegame at Memorial Stadium until they host UCLA on Oct. 16.

Arrington now has six rushing TDs in two games this season, including a69-yard burst midway through the third quarter.

The Bears lost two first-half fumbles, but still outgained the Aggies 353-96in the half and didn't punt until their first series of the second half.

Cal now must turn around and play Thursday night in a nationally televisedgame at Southern Mississippi, a 21-17 winner at Nebraska on Saturday.

The Bears drew 58,949, the largest crowd for a Cal home opener in schoolhistory by nearly 3,000 fans. Third-year coach Jeff Tedford has changed thespirits in a hurry for students who in recent years would have rather wanderedthe downtown streets checking out handmade crafts than spend a Saturdayafternoon watching football.

Now, with a top team to watch, their football.

Rodgers hit Lyman for 37 yards in the second quarter that set up Arrington'ssecond TD, a 12-yard run 4:52 before halftime. Arrington also scored on a2-yard run on Cal's first offensive series of the game.

The Aggies (0-2), who lost their opener 63-13 at Arkansas, split quarterbackduties between starter Buck Pierce and backup Paul Dombrowski. Both also linedup at receiver for several plays, but the offense was ineffective.

Pierce was 12-for-19 for 90 yards before he limped off the field in thethird quarter and didn't return.

The Bears were determined to have a fast start on defense after they had topull away in the second half to beat Air Force 56-14 last week. The Bearsstruggled early with the Falcons' triple-option offense.

When the Aggies got as close as the 36 on their second series of the game,they proceeded to false start on consecutive plays and had to punt.

They got the ball at the 44 early in the second quarter after DominiqueJacobs recovered a fumble by Cal's Marshawn Lynch. Pierce hit Kenneth Buckleyfor a 28-yard completion that gave New Mexico State first down on the 16.Moments later, Pierce connected with Tim Tolbert for a 6-yard TD and convertedthe kick for a 7-6 lead.

But that was as good as it got for the Aggies.

Dombrowski scored the other TD on a 1-yard run late against Cal's reserves.

Geoff McArthur's 15-yard reception in the second quarter moved him intosecond place on Cal's career list for receiving yardage. He now trails BobbyShaw, who compiled 2,731 yards from 1994-97.

The Bears won 34-13 in the only other meeting between the schools Sept. 7,2002, in Berkeley. Cal will travel to Las Cruces next season for the thirdmeeting in a three-game series.

Cal honored Olympic champion swimmer Natalie Coughlin before the game.

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