California overcame the loss of starting quarterback Sam Jackson V, amassing 669 total yards of offense behind backup Ben Finley in the Golden Bears’ 58-21 victory over host North Texas on Saturday at Denton, Texas.
Jackson left the game with a left shoulder injury with 13:58 remaining in the second quarter after he was tackled on a designed run.
He connected on 3 of 4 passes for 33 yards and a touchdown before his injury.
Finley completed 24 of 34 passes for 279 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.
Jaydn Ott rushed for 188 yards on 20 carries with two touchdowns for Cal. Isaiah Ifanse added 54 yards on 10 rushes with three touchdowns, and Ashton Stredick ran the ball 13 times for 51 yards and a touchdown.
California finished with 357 yards rushing.
California’s new run-game coordinator Mike Bloesch was the offensive coordinator at North Texas under Seth Littrell, who was fired after last season. Offensive coordinator Jake Spavital returned to Cal after serving as head coach at Texas State the last four years.
The 58 points for California are its most since Oct. 21, 2016, when it beat Oregon 52-49 in double overtime.
California established control in the first half, taking a 33-21 lead into halftime.
Touchdown runs of 26 yards by Ifanse and 66 yards by Ott in consecutive possessions in the second quarter built the Golden Bears’ lead to 27-14 with 5:42 left in the half.
After North Texas scored on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Stone Earle to Xzavior Kautai, Finley engineered a quick scoring possession with seven seconds to spare before halftime.
The nine-play, 75-yard drive lasted only 1:40 and was capped by Ifanse’s 8-yard run.
California scored on three of its first four possessions of the second half to pull away.
North Texas had only eight offensive plays in the third quarter because of an interception after one play, a three-and-out possession, and turnover on downs after four plays.
The Mean Green finished with 17 offensive plays in the second half, compared to 50 for California.
They had only 9 yards of total offense in the second half.
–Field Level Media