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Cal Football Game Summary: Bears Beat Sacramento State

Cal coach Justin Wilcox was on crutches during Bears' final nonconference game. Pac-12 play starts next week

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.

Justin Wilcox. Photo by Darren Yamashita, USA TODAY Sports

Justin Wilcox. Photo by Darren Yamashita, USA TODAY Sports

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.

The facts:

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.

ATTENDANCE: 31,982

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.

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Follow Jake Curtis of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jakecurtis53

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