Cal loses starting QB, but crushes North Texas anyway in blowout win

Starting quarterback Sam Jackson V went out injured barely a minute into the second quarter, but Cal didn’t skip a beat in a 58-21 rout of North Texas

Starting quarterback Sam Jackson V was injured and lost for the game less than a minute into the second quarter, but Cal didn’t miss a beat in a 58-21 rout of North Texas in Denton, Texas, on Saturday.

TCU transfer Jackson appeared to injure his shoulder, though there was no immediate word on the nature of his injury. During the second half, he was on the sideline with his left arm in a sling.

It didn’t matter in this one, as the Bears buried the Mean Green with their highest-scoring game since a 73-14 rout over Grambling State in their 2015 opener with Jared Goff at the helm.

Sophomore Jaydn Ott had 188 yards and two touchdowns on the ground, and backup Isaiah Ifanse, a transfer from Montana State where he set a program record for career rushing yards, had 54 yards and three touchdowns.

Ben Finley, a summer transfer from North Carolina State, took over at quarterback and completed 24 of 34 passes for 279 yards and a touchdown to Washington transfer Taj Davis.

Cal finished with 669 yards of offense, including 312 through the air and 357 on the ground, outscoring UNT 25-0 in the second half.

Jackson, whose dual-threat abilities earned him the starting job, went 3 for 4 for 33 yards, including a 23-yard touchdown pass to Jeremiah Hunter. He also ran the ball three times for 18 yards, including the play that injured him.

Cal’s point total in offensive coordinator Jake Spavital’s return to Berkeley was just one point shy of the team’s season high from last year. The Bears had not scored 50 points in a game since a 52-49 double-overtime win over Oregon in 2016, when Spavital was Sonny Dykes’ coordinator.

In 2015, they defeated Air Force in a bowl game by scoring 55 points.

Jackson’s injury spoiled an otherwise promising first half for Cal, which led 33-21 at the break.

Ott rushed 14 times for 166 yards, scoring twice (4 and 66 yards) and gaining 41 and 38 yards. And Ifanse added 53 yards on eight carries, including touchdowns of 26 and 8 yards. On the first of those touchdown runs, Ifanse broke at least seven tackles.

North Texas was held to 2.3 yards per attempt by Cal’s defense — the Bears averaged 9.2 in the first half — but quarterback Stone Early hurt them with the deep pass, completing 12 of 18 for 174 yards with 3, 59, and 12 yards in the first half.

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