for this game

Jackson, California outlast Colorado State

Sep 9, 2007 - 12:13 AM FORT COLLINS, Colorado (Ticker) -- DeSean Jackson and California narrowly avoided a serious letdown.

Jackson raced to his second long touchdown in as many weeks, but the 10th-ranked Golden Bears were forced to stave off a furious late comeback en route to a 34-28 triumph over Colorado State on Saturday afternoon.

The tight victory came one week after California (2-0) posted a convincing 45-31 triumph over then-No. 15 Tennessee - a win highlighted by Jackson's electric 77-yard touchdown on a punt return.

California appeared to be headed toward another rout in this one, using a balanced running attack to build a 20-point lead with 5:49 remaining. Jackson scored a 73-yard score on an end-around in the opening quarter - the first of California's four rushing scores in the contest.

The Golden Bears trailed, 7-0, with five minutes remaining in the first quarter when Jackson turned in his second highlight-reel TD of the season.

Lined up in the right slot, Jackson took a pitch from quarterback Nathan Longshore and sped around the left end before juking past defensive back Joey Rucks, reversing his field back to the right and cruising up the sideline to forge a 7-7 tie.

"The outside corners had (the left side) covered up, so I just stuck my foot into the ground, hit it right up the middle and put the move on a couple of DBs," Jackson said. "And I did what I do best, which is get into the end zone."

However, Cal coach Jeff Tedford was not impressed with the performance of his junior superstar, who finished with just 141 all-purpose yards.

"We got (Jackson) a reverse and some passes, and he dropped some passes," Tedford said. "He broke some tackles and kept running when I thought he was down.

"It wasn't the best game I've seen him play. It didn't seem like he played with much passion."

Justin Forsett, James Montgomery and Jahvid Best also scored touchdowns on the ground for the Golden Bears, who finished with 245 rushing yards.

Cal overcame a sub-par effort from Longshore, who completed 19-of-29 passes for just 146 yards. The junior had a hard time finding Jackson, who finished with five receptions for 39 yards.

"We went downfield on a few drives, and (Longshore) was long throwing to receivers," Tedford said. "When (Longshore) did hit them, they couldn't hold on. We weren't as crisp as we needed to be."

Jordan Kay drilled a 47-yard field goal with 51 seconds remaining to give Cal the lead for good at 17-14.

Kay chipped in a 41-yarder in the third quarter, and Montgomery plunged in from two yards out with 10:20 remaining to make it 27-14.

The game appeared to be well in order when Best raced into the end zone from 64 yards out with 5:49 left to make it 34-14.

But Colorado State refused to go away, as Caleb Hanie hooked up with Damon Morton for a 66-yard TD with 3:47 remaining, slicing the Rams' deficit to 34-21.

"It's always frustrating because you are so close and it is in your grasp, but you just can't grab it," said Morton, who had 114 yards on five receptions. "It was pretty hard.

"We definitely knew we could play with them. We watched their defense. They are talented, but we also have talent on our side."

After recovering the ensuing onside kick, Colorado State drew within 34-28 on Kyle Bell's three-yard TD run with 2:54 left in the contest.

However, Cal was able to run off the remaining three minutes of the clock thanks to Montgomery, who had first-down runs of two and 12 yards on the game-clinching drive. The freshman finished with 43 yards and a TD on nine carries.

"We had a lot of opportunities throughout the course of the game," Bell said. "There were a lot of things we could have done to turn momentum back our way, but we misses opportunities."

Hanie was outstanding in this one, completing 21-of-30 passes for 301 yards. Bell ran for 102 yards and two scores for Colorado State (0-2), which lost despite amassing 458 yards of total offense.

"I think Cal is a good football team, and we played three quarters neck-and-neck with them," Rams coach Sonny Lubick said. "We played well and only allowed one big play in the first half."