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September 23, 2006

No. 21 ASU can't hang with No. 22 California

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BERKELEY, Calif. - DeSean Jackson caught one of Nate Longshore's four touchdown passes and returned a punt 80 yards for a score in No. 21 California's 42-point first half, and the Golden Bears rolled to a 49-21 victory over 22nd-ranked Arizona State on Saturday.

Longshore passed for 270 yards and Marshawn Lynch ran for 124 in Cal's third straight impressive victory after a season-opening loss at Tennessee.

Daymeion Hughes and Mickey Pimentel returned two of Cal's four interceptions for scores, punctuating a terrible day for Arizona State's Rudy Carpenter in both teams' Pac-10 opener.

Lynch, Lavelle Hawkins and Justin Forsett also caught TD passes for the Bears (3-1, 1-0), who won easily despite Ryan Torain's career-high 191 yards rushing and two scores for the Sun Devils (3-1, 0-1).

Hughes had two interceptions, returning one for a 47-yard TD to cap the Golden Bears' highest-scoring half in their Pac-10 history - one week after they scored the same number of first-half points against Portland State. Cal has racked up 1,442 total yards and 133 points in its last three games.

Torain gouged the Cal defense for huge chunks of yardage after starter Keegan Herring strained his hamstring, but Carpenter's struggles doomed the Sun Devils.

The sophomore, who beat out now-transferred Sam Keller for the starting job, went 16-of-35 for 177 yards and two touchdowns, but had a key fumble in addition to his four interceptions. Carpenter has thrown eight interceptions this season after throwing just two in 228 attempts last season.

Arizona State's latest trip to Memorial Stadium went downhill from its game-opening 12-play scoring drive, culminating in Torain's 9-yard TD catch.

After throwing two incompletions on Cal's first drive, Longshore competed nine straight throws for 172 yards and three TDs. Cal drove 80 yards for Forsett's 9-yard TD catch later in the first quarter, then took the lead with back-to-back dynamite plays.

Linebacker Desmond Bishop recovered Carpenter's fumble on a sack at the Arizona State 31, and Longshore then hit Hawkins in tight coverage down the Cal sideline for a score on the next snap.

Jackson caught a short punt early in the second quarter and sped through the Sun Devils' coverage team for an 80-yard score. Two minutes later, Longshore hit Jackson for 52 yards and then found Lynch for a 23-yard TD.

Carpenter struggled in his first game of the season against a good defense, missing open receivers and making a handful of terrible decisions - including two passes intercepted by Hughes, who has five picks in three games.

Hughes got his second in the final minute of the first half, stepping in front of a short pass and rollling to his fourth career interception return for a touchdown.

Carpenter hit Terry Richardson for a 49-yard TD early in the third quarter, but the Sun Devils never found a rhythm. Pimentel finished off the Sun Devils with 8 minutes left, blitzing and deflecting Carpenter's pass to himself before leaping over the goal line for a 20-yard score.

Syd'Quan Thompson grabbed Cal's final interception with 5 1/2 minutes to play.

Rudy Burgess, Arizona State's top wide receiver, didn't make the trip after injuring his neck last week. Herring, who averaged 6.4 yards per carry in the Sun Devils' first three games, didn't touch the ball.

For more coverage of the Arizona State Sun Devils, visit ASUDevils.com; for more on the California Golden Bears, visit BearTerritory.net.



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