LAS CRUCES, New Mexico – While Sophomore running back Justin Forsett returned to the Southwest in a big way, it was Cal junior quarterback Joe Ayoob that kept running for paydirt. Forsett rushed for a career-best 235 yards and one touchdown. Ayoob added three additional rushing scores and passed for another as 13th-ranked California rolled to a 41-13 victory over the New Mexico State Aggies.
The Golden Bears improved to 4-0 for the first time since 1996, when they won their first five contests, by surging for 314 yards on the ground. Coming in to the game, California was 11th in the country in rushing yards per game, averaging 264 yards. The NCAA's top rushing team a year ago with over 6 yards per carry, the Bears could repeat in 2005.
Making his second start for the injured Marshawn Lynch, Forsett opened the scoring with a one-yard plunge less than three minutes into the contest. The sophomore back finished the game with the fourth-highest rushing total in school history.
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Ayoob, who threw for 284 yards, helped Cal take a 13-3 lead with a 41-yard TD strike to freshman sensation DeSean Jackson midway through the first. Jackson had nine catches for 130 yards in his best 1st year performance to date.
Chris Williams got the Aggies (0-4) back within three points by returning the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a score. NMSU pulled off a clever double fake to spring Williams who beat kickoff specialist David Lonie down the sidelines.
But Ayoob answered for the Golden Bears with a one-yard burst with 1:43 left in the first. A transfer from the City College of San Francisco, Ayoob took over the starting job after Nate Longshore broke his left ankle in the season-opener. Ayoob made the score 27-10 on a five-yard draw play with two minutes left in the opening half and then added an eight-yard scamper with just under 12 minutes to go that made it 34-13.
Senior Bears tailback Terrell Williams added Cal's final score, rumbling in from 2-yards out.