BERKELEY, California – Sophomore tailback Marshawn Lynch and an aggressive defense have No. 12 California off to its best start in nine years. Returning from a two-game absence due to a broken finger, Lynch ran for 107 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries as the Golden Bears shut down Pac-10 Conference rival Arizona, 28-0, for the second consecutive season.
En route to their first 5-0 start since 1996, the Bears (5-0, 2-0 Pac-10) limited the Wildcats to just 74 first-half yards and 200 overall. Lynch opened the scoring with a one-yard TD run with 47 seconds left in the opening quarter. He exited the contest after appearing to aggravate his finger injury while losing a fumble early in the second period but soon returned.
Junior quarterback Joe Ayoob made it 14-0 with a one-yard run with 5:42 left in the half. Sophomore running back Justin Forsett rushed for 50 yards on the 79-yard drive. Arizona quarterback Richard Kovalcheck was intercepted by cornerback Daymeion Hughes at the Cal 18 early in the second half. Ayoob took advantage of the turnover, tossing a 39-yard TD to sophomore wideout Robert Jordan on a broken play with 9:45 left in the third quarter. Ayoob had rolled out to his right, found nothing, reversed course, spotted Jordan wide open behind the defense and launched the ball to the Bay Area native.
Later in the period, the Wildcats had 1st-and-goal from the 2 but were unable to punch it in. Kovalcheck was intercepted by Hughes for a second time with 4 ½ minutes to play. Ayoob threw a 10-yard TD to senior fullback Chris Manderino five plays later for a 28-0 cushion.
Kovalcheck completed 19-of-36 passes for 169 yards and three interceptions for Arizona (1-3, 0-1), which has lost three straight meetings with the Bears. Ayoob went 14-of-20 for 137 yards, two TDs and an interception for Cal, which visits No. 20 UCLA next week. He was sacked five times.