Scores

Final

Michigan State 31

(0-1, 0-1 away)

California 38

(1-0, 1-0 home)

Coverage: ABC

8:00 PM ET, August 30, 2008

Memorial Stadium (Berkeley, CA), Berkeley, CA

1 2 3 4 T
MSU 0 7 7 1731
CAL 7 10 7 1438

Top Performers

Passing: B. Hoyer (MSU) - 321 YDS, 1 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: J. Ringer (MSU) - 27 CAR, 81 YDS, 2 TD

Receiving: M. Dell (MSU) - 9 REC, 202 YDS, 1 TD

Riley, Bears offense too much for scrappy Spartans

Associated Press

BERKELEY, Calif. -- Kevin Riley passed for 202 yards and two second-half touchdowns, and Shane Vereen broke an 81-yard scoring run with 4:21 left in California 's 38-31 victory over Michigan State on Saturday night.

Jahvid Best rushed for 111 yards and a score, while tight end Cameron Morrah and fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou caught Riley's TD passes in a solid debut for the Golden Bears' brand-new collection of starting offensive skill players.

Brian Hoyer passed for 321 yards, hooking up with Mark Dell for nine catches and 202 yards, the fifth-biggest yardage total for a receiver in Michigan State history. Javon Ringer rushed for 81 yards and two touchdowns for the Spartans, but they couldn't catch up in a back-and-forth second half featuring 45 total points and 503 yards of total offense.

Bryant Nnabuife returned a blocked punt for the first score as Cal won for the fifth time in seven openers under coach Jeff Tedford. Cal rebuilt its entire offense in the wake of its second-half collapse during a 7-6 campaign last year, and Riley looked sharp in his second career start along with Best and Vereen, who ran for 101 yards in his Cal debut.

Otis Wiley returned an interception 31 yards for an early TD for the Spartans, whose trip to the West Coast was a long-delayed return of Cal's visit to East Lansing in 2002. The Bears upset the nationally ranked Spartans 46-22 on that trip, propelling Tedford's first team into the rankings just three games removed from a 1-10 season.

Perhaps looking to recapture a bit of that 2002 magic, the Bears called a double pass for their opening offensive play -- nearly the same play Tedford used for a stunning touchdown on Cal's first snap of his rookie season against Baylor. Vereen underthrew it, but the redshirt freshman made up for it later.

After struggling on offense for three quarters, Michigan State converted three third downs and got a roughing-the-punter penalty during a 97-yard drive that ended with Ringer's 10-yard TD run with 10:45 to play, pulling within 24-21.

Cal replied with its own lengthy drive ending in Ta'ufo'ou's scoring catch with 5:45 left. Michigan State trimmed the lead to seven points, but Vereen then broke his impressive scoring run on an innocuous first-down play.

After an apparent interception by Cal's Darian Hagan was overturned by replay, Dell caught a 29-yard TD pass with 3:09 left. Michigan State got one last chance, but Hoyer threw four straight incompletions at midfield.

Much of the near-sellout crowd trekked up the hill to Memorial Stadium past the four remaining tree-sitters protesting Cal's plan to remove a small grove of oak trees to make way for a new training complex and a stadium renovation. A small group of supporting protesters held banners beneath the trees advocating the beleaguered cause, which recently took a major hit in a court ruling favoring the school.

Down 10-0 early, Michigan State got back in it with the help of Cal quarterback Nate Longshore, whose awful play down the stretch last year played a large role in the Bears' 1-6 finish to the regular season.

Longshore lost his job to Riley in training camp, but was promised playing time by Tedford. The senior threw terrible interceptions on both of his possessions, including an inexplicable throw into quadruple coverage that was returned by Wiley for the Spartans' first score.

The Cal crowd roared when Riley returned to the game, and the sophomore immediately threw back-to-back lengthy completions to Best and Sean Young, setting up Best's 1-yard sprint around the end.

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Team Stat Comparison

 
MSU
CAL
1st Downs2322
Total Yards402467
Passing321264
Rushing81203
Penalties8-828-67
3rd Down Conversions6-164-10
4th Down Conversions0-10-0
Turnovers12
Possession27:5632:04

Passing Leaders

Michigan StateC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Hoyer20/483216.711
CaliforniaC/ATTYDSAVGTDINT
Riley17/242028.420

Rushing Leaders

Michigan StateCARYDSAVGTDLG
Ringer27813.0210
Martin122.002
CaliforniaCARYDSAVGTDLG
Best241114.6120
Vereen910111.2181

Receiving Leaders

Michigan StateRECYDSAVGTDLG
Dell920222.4152
Cunningham56312.6018
CaliforniaRECYDSAVGTDLG
Morrah59318.6150
Young48120.3042

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERMSUCAL
TD07:32Bryant Nnabuife 5 Yd Return Of Blocked Punt (David Seawright Kick) 07
SECOND QUARTERMSUCAL
FG09:48David Seawright 26 Yd
Drive: 13 plays, 66 yds, 7:11
010
TD02:30Otis Wiley 31 Yd Interception Return (Brett Swenson Kick) 710
TD01:36Jahvid Best 2 Yd Run (David Seawright Kick)
Drive: 3 plays, 70 yds, :54
717
THIRD QUARTERMSUCAL
TD10:43Javon Ringer 1 Yd Run (Brett Swenson Kick)
Drive: 4 plays, 12 yds, 1:37
1417
TD05:58Cameron Morrah 4 Yd Pass From Kevin Riley (David Seawright Kick)
Drive: 8 plays, 76 yds, 4:45
1424
FOURTH QUARTERMSUCAL
TD10:45Javon Ringer 10 Yd Run (Brett Swenson Kick)
Drive: 14 plays, 97 yds, 5:06
2124
TD05:45Will Ta'Ufo'Ou 5 Yd Pass From Kevin Riley (David Seawright Kick)
Drive: 9 plays, 59 yds, 5:00
2131
FG04:38Brett Swenson 34 Yd
Drive: 5 plays, 59 yds, 1:07
2431
TD04:21Shane Vereen 81 Yd Run (David Seawright Kick)
Drive: 1 plays, 81 yds, :17
2438
TD03:09Mark Dell 29 Yd Pass From Brian Hoyer (Brett Swenson Kick)
Drive: 8 plays, 64 yds, 1:12
3138