SAN FRANCISCO — By the end of the first quarter, the Cal football team had scored two touchdowns and was in position for a third. Presbyterian, meanwhile, had zero yards of offense.
So with what was almost certainly the easiest of his 75 career victories, Jeff Tedford became the winningest coach in program history.
On paper, the Blue Hose looked like the weakest team Cal would play in 2011. After their 63-12 loss at AT&T Park, they made a strong case for being the weakest team Cal has played in its 125-year history.
The Bears (3-0) totaled nine touchdowns — all in the first three quarters — and 581 yards of offense against a defense that offered little resistance. Quarterback Zach Maynard tossed three touchdowns, but had some of his usual issues with accuracy. Although his statline was decent enough — 15-of-25 with 215 yards and three touchdowns — the junior sometimes overthrew receivers and had one particularly ugly pick six.
“He still needs to be more consistent,” Tedford said. “He missed a couple of balls. He got fooled on the interception, thought it was zone and it was man. We just need to be more accurate and consistent.”
Marvin Jones was the lefty’s primary target, snagging seven balls for 123 yards, scoring a touchdown on a 51-yard strike. Keenan Allen added 85 yards and a score of his own.
On the ground, Isi Sofele and C.J. Anderson both churned out career-high rushing totals of 110 and 45 yards, respectively. Sofele also tied a career high with two touchdowns, while Anderson, Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson and Dasarte Yarnway tucked in one each.
Their performances, and Presbyterian’s ineptitude, helped mask a sloppy start by Cal. The Bears’ first drive fizzled quickly after a pair of penalties, bringing out Bryan Anger early for a 50-yard punt. The trend continued, as Cal handed the Blue Hose 89 yards with nine penalties before halftime.
“That’s why I was so disappointed in the first half,” Tedford said. “It was about us, and we were shooting ourselves in the foot with penalties.”
Cal safety Sean Cattouse was also a major beneficiary of the feeble competition, picking off Presbyterian quarterback Ryan Singer twice for his first two interceptions of the season, the first multiple-interception game of his life.
His second pick was followed three plays later by Maynard’s touchdown to Jones in the second quarter, and he nearly returned his first to the end zone before being pulled down eight yards short.
“It was pretty disgusting, in my opinion, that I didn’t score,” said Cattouse, who now has a total of six career interceptions.
Singer finished with a 4-of-14 performance for 23 yards and a quarterback rating of 13.8. Senior Brandon Miley, who replaced Singer briefly, completed two of his six passes for five yards.
And despite subbing in practically every uniformed player, the Bears had little trouble padding a 42-12 first-half lead. On the opening kickoff of the second half, true freshman Brendan Bigelow weaved between defenders before finding daylight on the left side. Playing in his first game of the season, he took the ball 88 yards into the end zone untouched.
After missing his senior season of high school ball with two ACL tears, Bigelow — and his knee — looked just fine as he also toted two carries for 15 yards.
“I was really happy to finally get to do something, after not being able to play for about a year and a half,” Bigelow said. “That was pretty special, and to get out there and really show what I can do, it was pretty fun.”
That the Bears so thoroughly annihilated Presbyterian (1-2) isn’t all that surprising. The Blue Hose are a team transitioning into the FCS, and aren’t eligible for postseason play until 2012. Limiting an offense like that to 48 yards of offense, while laudable, isn’t anything to write home about.
“With all due respect, that’s not a group that we’re going to see every week,” Tedford said.
The lone bright spot for Presbyterian was senior cornerback Justin Bethel, who was responsible for all 12 of his team’s points. Bethel — who was named to the Big South second-team last year — blocked a punt and picked off a Maynard throw, returning both for touchdowns in the second quarter.
The Blue Hose missed the extra point on their first score, and couldn’t complete a two-point conversion on their second.
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