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Cal Football: Sac State Thread - Bears Score First Win of Season, Top Hornets 42-23

Coach Justin Wilcox walks the sidelines on crutches after Tuesday surgery.

Cal claimed its first victory of the season, topping FCS visitor Sacramento State 42-30 in front of 31,982 fans at Memorial Stadium on Saturday.

The big news pre-game was that Cal coach Justin Wilcox would be on crutches on the sideline after undergoing surgery Tuesday for a previous injury he recently re-injured, Cal reported.

Wilcox came onto the field at about 12:30 p.m. with his right foot heavily wrapped.

The Bears got 288 passing yards and two touchdowns from Chase Garbers, who also ran for 68 yards and a score. Damien Moore rushed for 87 yards and a pair of 4-yard touchdowns.

Senior Nikko Remigio woke up the crowd after halftime with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown that pushed Cal's lead to 28-6. Cal led 42-20 early in the fourth quarter.

Certainly the Cal defense didn't excel. A week after allowed 34 points to TCU, it surrendered 30 to an FCS opponent which totaled 467 yards of offense and moved to at least the Cal 25-yard line eight different times.

The Bears played without OLB Kuony Deng and WR Kekoa Crawford, both sidelined by undisclosed injuries.

Our in-game thread, beginning with the third quarter:


14:47 3Q: Nikko Remigio returns the second half kickoff 99 yards - virtually untouched - and the Bears take charge. It was the first KO return for a touchdown by the Bears since Ashtyn Davis did it against Idaho State in 2018. Also, the first TD return for Remigio. Cal 28, Sac State 6.

11:27 3Q: Asher O'Hara scores on a 2-yard keeper one play after Jake Dunniway completed a 26-yard pass to Jared Gipson to the 1-yard line. Drive covers 75 yards on nine plays. The Hornets successfully run in the 2-point try but the play is nullified by holding. So they kick it instead. Cal 28, Sac State 13.

8:54 3Q: Garbers throws his second touchdown pass of the afternoon, a 12-yarder to Trevon Clark, capping a 75-yard, seven-play drive. Damien Moore had runs of 17 and 19 yards on the drive. Cal 35. Sac State 13.

7:33 3Q: That's the fourth touchdown of the third quarter . . . and we're only halfway through it. This time, it's Sac State on a 34-yard strike down the middle of the field to tight end Marshel Martin, capping a 7-play, 74-yard drive that took all of 1 minute, 21 seconds. Sac State now has 331 yards of offense - only 19 fewer than Cal. Cal 35, Sac State 20.

END OF THIRD QUARTER: Cal 35, Sacramento State 20. The quarter ends with Damien Moore going 32 yards to the Sac State 48. Only a trip by defender Marcus Hawkins prevented a touchdown. Cal has 431 total yards. Moore has eight carries for 72 yards.

12:50 4Q: Garbers scrambles 16 yards into the end zone for the TD. Cal went 80 yards in five plays and Garbers also had a 22-yard keeper. Damien Moore began the possession with a 32-yard run, all after Daniel Scott intercepted Dunniway in the end zone with 20 seconds left in the third quarter. Cal with 479 yards of offense - Garbers is 19 for 27 for 268 yards and has run 3 times for 51 yards. Cal 42, Sac State 20.

9:38 4Q: Sentkowski finally was on target, kicking a 39-yard field goal to cap a seven-play, 50-yard drive. Cal 42, Sac State 23. 

1:28 4Q: Dunniway throws a 9-yard TD pass to Pierre Williams, capping an eight-play 65-yard drive. Cal 42, Sacramento State 30.


9:54 1Q: Damien Moore scores on a 4-yard TD run, capping a nine-play, 85-yard drive. The kick is good - honest! Chase Garbers was 6-for-6 for 74 yards on the drive. Cal 7, Sacramento State 0.

5:35 1st Q: QB Asher O'Hara leaps through and over the middle of the Cal defense and scores on a keeper from 7 yards out. A flag was initially thrown against Cal, presumably for targeting on DB Josh Drayden, who appeared to make helmet-to-helmet contact with O'Hara. But the penalty was overturned on review. The Hornets went 65 yards in eight plays, alternating O'Hara and Jake Dunniway at quarterback. Sac State attempted a trick play for two points but it failed. Cal 7, Sac State 6.

2:52 1st Q: The Bears make it 2-for-2 on TDs so far with Damien Moore again going from the 4-yard line. He has five rushing touchdowns this season. Garbers was 4-for-4 for 44 yards - two of those to sophomore Justin Richard Baker - and is 10-for-10 for 118 yards for the afternoon. Cal 14, Sac State 6.

END OF FIRST QUARTER: Cal outgained the Hornets 164 yards to 85. Garbers was 10-for-10 for 118 yards. Damien Moore had 4 rushes for 19 yards and two TDs. Cal has 10 first downs and never ran a third-down play in the quarter. Cal 14, Sac State 6.

9:41 2nd Q: Garbers' first real mistake of the day as CB Munchie Filer III picks him off on a first-and-10 play, giving Sac State possession at its own 44. Cal 14, Sac State 6.

8:09 2nd Q: Cal gets a break as Kyle Sentkowski misses a 37-yard field goal after the Hornets had a first-and-10 at the Cal 19. Cal 14, Sac State 6.

4:01 2nd Q: Garbers throws a perfect deep pass to Jeremiah Hunter, who catches it in strides at the 3-yard on his way to completing a 45-yard scoring play. Hunter's first career TD catch. Earlier, Garbers hit tight end Jake Tonges for a 39-yard gain into Sac State territory. Cal goes 85 yards in just three plays. Cal 21, Sac State 6.

HALFTIME: Cal 21, Sacramento State 6. Garbers is 16-for-20 for 251 yards. Official stats still say 266 yards, but 15 of those were on a completion to Trevon Clark that was wiped out by a holding penalty. Those numbers will be adjusted to 251. Garbers was picked off once and bounced two passes short in front of receivers. Otherwise, nearly perfect. He has completions of 28 yards or longer to four different receivers.

Cal has 287 total yards compared to 192 for the Hornets. Damien Moore has scored twice on 4-yard runs but the Bears have rushed for just 36 yards on 10 attempts. Linebackers Mo Iosefa and Evan Tattersall lead the Bears' defense with 5 tackle apiece.

Cal will get the ball first to start the second half.


Pre-game reading:

*** Our game preview box, with all the nuts and bolts

*** My video interview with Taylor, who talks his love for his alma mater and tells a couple great stories about his time as a Cal player

*** Our story about the crazy road senior wide receiver Trevon Clark took to get to this point

*** Five questions we asked of Sac State beat writer Joe Davidson


Cover photo of Damien Moore by Darren Yamashita, USA Today 

Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo