After California coach Justin Wilcox opened the season with a couple of narrow defeats, he will take every win – even if it was tighter than he wanted against a subordinate team.
Chase Garbers tossed 288 yards and two touchdowns, Nikko Remigio kicked off in the second half for a score, and Cal beat Sacramento State 42-30 on Saturday for his first win of the season.
“You never minimize a win,” said Wilcox. âIn college football, itâs hard to win no matter who you play against. … It is good to have a victory. But we all know that we have to get much, much better. ”
The Golden Bears (1-2) had lost their first two games of the season in tight competitions to Nevada and the TCU, but finished with the FCS-level Hornets (1-2) to make their first 0-3 start in one Avoiding full season since 2001 Cal also lost his first three games in last year’s pandemic-abbreviated four-game list.
Garbers led the Bears to TD drives on their first two possessions of the game on drives bordered by Damien Moore’s 4-yard TD runs.
Garbers himself came into play when he hit a 45-yard TD pass to Jeremiah Hunter late in the first half and a 12-yard touchdown to Trevon Clark in the third. He also ran for a 16 yard score in fourth.
“We’ve got better every week,” Garbers said of Cal’s offense. âWe have taken steps forward. In the course of the season and the weeks we will take the next step. “
Remigio helped Cal take control when he took the opening kick of the second half 99 yards to get Cal’s longest kickoff return score since Trevor Davis’ 100-yard game against Washington State in 2014.
Sacramento State mixed quarterbacks with Asher O’Hara as the run option. O’Hara scored two TD runs for the Hornets while Jake Dunniway threw for 370 yards and two TDs while Cal fought defensively.
âIt wasn’t great. It wasn’t great, âsaid Wilcox. “It was good enough to win and we always appreciate it very much, but we have to be better.”
Sacramento State: The Hornets knew they had to take some risks to level up and even called for a wide receiver pass-off for a reverse on the first move after an incomplete scrimmage. But they were overwhelmed and fell back to 2-21 against FBS teams over the past 20 years. They were not helped by two missed short field goals in the first half by Kyle Sentkowski, who missed from 37 and 20 yards.
“We played hard all along,” said coach Troy Taylor. âIt was disappointing to give up 14 points to special teams – two missed field goals, a missed 2-point conversion and a cal kickoff return for a touchdown – and we lose at 12. You just can’t do that against good teams. â
California: There’s not much to take from a one-sided game against an overwhelmed opponent other than that it might give the bears some confidence to go into the Pac-12 portion of the game board.
Wilcox stood on crutches on the sidelines after an operation on Tuesday, his right foot was stuck together. Cal said Wilcox needed the surgery after recurring a previous injury.
“I’m fine. I had an old injury that got worse over the past week,” said Wilcox. “I had to get it fixed quickly. … It won’t affect the way the team proceeds in any way. “
Cal was also without linebacker Kuony Deng, who had a boot on his right foot after his injury last week, and receiver Kekoa Crawford (upper body injury).
State of Sacramento: Visit the state of Idaho on Saturday.
Cal: Visit Washington on Saturday to start the Pac-12 game.