Cal got its first win of the season by beating Sacramento State 42-30 on Saturday afternoon in Berkeley. It was the most points scored by a Cal team since 2018 when it beat Oregon State 49-7.
Cal (1-2) was a 25-points favorite over the Hornets (1-2), an FCS team coached by former Cal quarterback Troy Taylor. It was the Bears' final nonconference game, and they face Washington in their Pac-12 opener next Saturday.
Cal head coach Justin Wilcox was on crutches on the sideline during the game after having surgery on Tuesday to repair a previous injury.
Cal quarterback Chase Garbers passed for 288 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, and he ran for 68 yards, including a 16-yard touchdown run. The Bears rolled up 534 yards of offense.
Nikko Remigio returned the second half kickoff 99 yards for a touchdown, the first time in four years the Bears returned a kickoff for a score.
While the Cal offense had no trouble moving the ball, the Bears' defense yielded 467 yards and 30 points to the Hornets offense.
CAL 42, SACRAMENTO STATE 23
RECORDS: CAL (1-2), SACRAMENTO STATE (1-2)
PLAYER AVAILABILITY: Cal outside linebacker Kuony Deng (lower body) and Cal wide receiver Kekoa Crawford (upper body) did not play Saturday because of injuries.
PLAYER OF THE GAME: Cal quarterback Chase Garbers. Garbers completed his first 11 passes and finished 22-of-34 for 288 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He also ran for 68 yards and a touchdown.
TURNING POINT: Sacramento State went three-and-out on its first possession of the game, and Cal then went 85 yards for a touchdown on its first possession for a 7-0 lead. Chase Garbers was 6-for-6 for 74 yards on that drive.
KEY PLAY I: On Cal's first possession, Chase Garbers completed a 20-yard pass to tight end Jake Tonges on the second play of an 85-yard touchdown drive that gave the Bears a 7-0 lead with 9:54 left in the first quarter.
KEY PLAY II: After Sacramento State marched 65 yards for a touchdown, Cal stopped Kaiden Bennett's run on a two-point conversion attempt, leaving Cal with a 7-6 lead.
KEY PLAY III: Chase Garbers threw a perfect 45-yard touchdown pass to Jeremaih Hunter to give Cal a 21-6 lead with 4:01 left in the first half. That came two plays after Garbers completed a 39-yard pass to tight end Jake Tonges.
KEY PLAY IV: Nikko Remigio returned the opening kickoff of the second half 99 yards for a touchdown that gave Cal a 28-6 lead.
KEY PLAY V: With Cal holding a 35-20 lead, Sacramento State moved the ball to the Cal 25-yard line before Bears safety Daniel Scott intercepted a Jake Dunniway pass in the end zone with 20 seconds left in the third quarter.
STAT OF THE GAME: Chase Garbers completed his first 11 pass attempts for 124 yards.
STAT OF THE GAME II: Cal amassed 534 yards of total offense.
STAT OF THE GAME III: Cal's offense did face a third-down situation the entire first quarter, running 16 plays on touchdown drives of 85 and 69 yards.
UGLY STAT OF THE GAME: Cal allowed Sacramento State to put up 467 yards of total offense, including 406 passing yards.
QUARTERBACK STATS: .Cal's Chase Garbers was 22-of-34 for 288 yards. Sac State's Jake Dunniway was 25-of-43 for 370 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. He and Asher O'Hara alternated at quarterback throughout the game for the Hornets.
RUNNING BACK STATS: Damien Moore ran for 87 yards and two scores on 12 carries.
RECEIVER STATS: Jeremiah Hunter had five catches for 78 yards and a touchdown for Cal. Trevon Clark had four catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. Pierre Williams had eight catches for 121 yards and a touchdown for Sacramento State.
WHAT IT MEANS: By winning the Golden Bears avoided becoming the first team in Cal history to start 0-3 in two straight seasons. Cal, which started 0-3 last year, has never started consecutive seasons 0-3 in the history of the Bears football program, which began in 1882.
CAL'S BOWL BAROMETER: Cal did not improve its bowl chances by winning a game it was expected to win comfortably. The Bears have about a 30 percent chance of landing a bowl berth. Oddsmakers put the over/under on Cal's win total for the season at six.
NEXT GAME: Cal at Washington, Saturday, September 25. Kickoff: 6:30 p.m. TV: Pac-12 Networks. This will be the Pac-12 opener for both teams. Washington began the season ranked No. 20, but lost its opener to FCS school Montana 10-7, then lost to Michigan 31-10 before beating Arkansas State 52-3 on Saturday in Seattle.
Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53
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