WSU Falls to Cal in Home Opener

Sept. 6, 2008

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) - Jahvid Best ran for 200 yards and three touchdowns Saturday as California defeated Washington State (0-2, 0-1) 66-3, spoiling coach Paul Wulff's first game back in Pullman since he was a star player in the late 1980s.

Best made his first career start and California (2-0, 1-0) produced 505 yards on offense.

Best rushed 14 times for an average of 14.3 yards per carry. The 5-foot-10, 193-pound speedster earned the start by rushing for what had been a career-high 111 yards last week against Michigan State. The Bears finished with 391 yards rushing, including runs of 80 and 86 yards by Best.

Wulff, hired in December, is the first WSU alum to lead the team since Phil Sarboe in 1949. Washington State opened the season with two losses for the first time since 1999.

Washington State mustered only 167 yards of total offense, but preserved their string of scoring in 275 consecutive games, second longest streak in the nation after Michigan's 300 straight. They have not been shut out since 1984.

Cal jumped to an early lead, scoring on its first three possessions and piling up 171 yards to take a 21-3 lead after one quarter.

Best set the tone on the first play of the game, darting 80 yards up the middle for a 7-0 Cal lead.

On WSU's first possession, Gary Rogers was intercepted by Syd'Quan Thompson, who returned it 18 yards to WSU's 12. Kevin Riley hit Sean Young for a 12-yard touchdown pass and a 14-0 lead only 1:31 into the game.

On Cal's next possession, freshman Shane Vereen dashed up the middle for a 39-yard touchdown run and a 21-0 lead.

WSU's Chris Ivory returned the kickoff 68 yards to Cal's 22, but the Cougars were pushed back and had to settle for Nico Grasu's 43-yard field goal.

Cal's Zack Follett returned a blocked field-goal attempt 65 yards for a touchdown and Riley dashed 27 yards for a score to make it 34-3 in the first half.

Thompson's 90-yard interception return set up Best for a 5-yard TD off a direct snap that put Cal up 42-3 at the half.

Kevin Lopina replaced Rogers at quarterback for WSU to open the second half, and marched the Cougars to California's 13 before throwing an interception. On the second play, Best ran 86 yards for a touchdown and a 49-3 Cal lead.

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