Bears Bounce Sun Devils
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Kevin Riley passed for 240 yards and two touchdowns, Shane Vereen continued his march up California's career scoring charts and the Golden Bears bounced back from their most lopsided loss of the season to beat Arizona State 50-17 on Saturday.
Vereen rushed for 91 yards and scored his 12th and 13th touchdowns this season while Chris Conte scored on a 17-yard blocked punt return for Cal (4-3, 2-2 Pac-10).
Arizona State (3-4, 1-3) scored its only touchdowns on a blocked punt return by Oliver Aaron and a 25-yard fumble return by Clint Floyd. The Sun Devils, who were coming off a bye, played the second half without quarterback Steven Threet due to injury.
Riley started off slowly before throwing a 4-yard score to Keenan Allen and a 52-yarder to Marvin Jones. He missed a third touchdown when his 6-yard pass to Jones just before halftime was ruled out of bounds by replay.
Riley completed 19 of 29 passes and did not throw an interception.
Vereen scored on runs of 8 and 5 yards, giving him 26 career rushing touchdowns. That moved him into a fifth-place tie with Justin Forsett on Cal's all-time list. Russell White holds the school record with 35.
All four of Cal's wins this year have come at Memorial Stadium, which is set to undergo a renovation next year. The Bears will play their 2011 home schedule at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
Arizona State wouldn't have minded a change in scenery this year. The Sun Devils haven't won in Berkeley since beating the Bears 28-21 in 1997 and have lost seven of the last eight meetings overall between the two schools.
Coach Dennis Erickson's team looked rusty from the beginning.
Before leaving at halftime, Threet threw two interceptions and was out of sync all afternoon. Threet went into the game leading the Pac-10 in passing yards per game but completed only 9 of 17 attempts for 125 yards.
Backup Samson Szakacsy didn't fare much better, going 8 of 17 for 52 yards with an interception.
Sun Devils running back Deantre Lewis, who rushed for 100 yards or more in each of his first three games, managed only 23 yards on eight carries on the rain-slicked turf. Arizona State had only 57 yards rushing overall.
Vereen's first touchdown, set up by a 28-yard punt return from Jeremy Ross and 19 yards in penalties against Arizona State, put Cal up 10-3. Vereen took the handoff from Riley and started to his right, cut left, then came back around the right end for an 8-yard score.
Riley followed with his short score to Allen, then after a 23-yard field goal by Giorgio Tavecchio launched a 52-yard strike to Jones, who had to turn around with his back to the end zone to catch the ball at the 3-yard line and stumbled in for the touchdown.
Tavecchio made three field goals, hitting from 40 and 26 yards in addition to the 23-yarder.
The Bears reached 50 points for the third time this season, following back-to-back 52-point games in their season-opening wins over UC Davis and Colorado. The last time the Bears had three 50-plus point games in a season came in 2003. Cal had never done it in Memorial Stadium, with the only time they have scored 50 or more points in three games in Berkeley happening at California Field in 1922 the year before Memorial Stadium was built.
Cal led 26-3 at halftime, then blew the game open with two big plays in a span of 2:18 of the third quarter. Vereen capped a short scoring drive with a 5-yard touchdown run and Conte followed with his blocked punt and subsequent return to make it 40-3.
Ross later had a 32-yard punt return that set up his own 19-yard touchdown run, pushing Cal's lead to 50-10.