(Saturday, August 30th)
Final Score: California 38, Michigan State 31
Berkeley, CA (Sports Network) - Memorial Stadium played host to an offensive shootout, as the Kevin Riley threw two touchdowns to lead the California Golden Bears to a thrilling, 38-31 victory over the Michigan State Spartans.
Riley completed 17-of-24 passes for Cal (1-0), finishing the game with 202 yards. Tailback Jahvid Best led the ground attack for Cal, rumbling for 111 yards and one touchdown on 24 totes.
"It's a win. We've got things to work on," said Riley. "But overall, for the first game against a tough opponent, I thought we played well. We passed the ball well and blocked the ball well. The new receivers' first game, they all made plays when they had a chance to. It was a good first game to improve on."
Brian Hoyer threw for 321 yards and one touchdown for Michigan State (0-1), but the signal caller only completed 20-of-48 pass attempts. Javon Ringer was the top offensive performer for the Spartans, as the RB tallied 81 rushing yards and two scores in the loss.
The Golden Bears first points of the new campaign were a product of hard work on the behalf of the special teams, as Bryant Nnabuife returned a blocked punt for a five-yard score midway through the opening frame.
A 13-play, 66-yard drive stalled for the Golden Bears early in the second quarter, but Cal was able to add three points on a 26-yard field goal by David Seawright.
As for the Spartans, their offense was ineffective for most of the first half, but the defensive unit made sure Michigan State found the scoreboard thanks to a 31-yard interception return for Otis Wiley.
However, it did not take long for Cal to answer back, as Best scored on a two- yard run, pushing the Golden Bears lead to 17-7.
Michigan State's offense finally found a groove earlier in the third quarter and the result of the team's solid play was a one-yard touchdown run by Ringer, cutting the Spartans deficit to 17-14.
Once again, however, the Golden Bears answered back with a touchdown, as Riley connected with Cameron Morrah on a four-yard scoring striking midway through the third frame.
The Spartans continued to fight, however, using a 14-play, 97-yard drive which was capped off by a 10-yard touchdown run by Ringer early in the final frame.
Riley marched the Golden Bears right down field on their next possession and hit Will Ta'ufo'ou with a five-yard scoring strike, pushing Cal's lead to 31-21.
A 35-yard field goal by Brett Swenson cut the Spartans deficit to 31-24 with just over four minutes remaining in regulation.
It only took one play for Cal to extend its lead to 38-24, as Shane Vereen found an opening and dashed down the field for an 81-yard touchdown run.
The Spartans would not go away, using an eight-play, 64-yard drive which result in a 29-yard touchdown pass from Hoyer to Mark Dell. The score cut Michigan State's deficit to 38-21, but the team would come no closer, as Cal was able to hold on for the seven-point victory.
08/31 01:32:50 ET