Jared Goff took another step toward cementing his status as the most prolific quarterback to play at California.
The Golden Bears defense also took a significant step forward after giving up an easy touchdown on the opening drive of the game, a big reason why Sonny Dykes’ team stayed unbeaten despite an uneven performance from the offense.
Goff threw for two touchdowns in a 21-second span to break open a tight game and California forced two turnovers to overcame a sluggish start and beat San Diego State 35-7 on Saturday.
One week after putting up 73 points against Grambling State in the season opener, the Golden Bears (2-0) sputtered on both sides of the ball early and couldn’t shake the pesky Aztecs until pulling away in the second half.
“It just shows our character,” Goff said. “For (San Diego State) to go down and score on the first drive . that was it for the rest of the game. They just couldn’t score. When you have a defense that can do that, it helps so much.”
Goff completed 17 of 24 attempts for 321 yards and three touchdowns. He moved within 16 yards of breaking Troy Taylor’s school record for passing yards and is also closing in on the records for touchdown throws and completions.
“He’s certainly going to be one of the great ones to ever play here, if he’s not right now,” Dykes said. “I wouldn’t trade him for any other quarterback in college football. I wouldn’t even consider it.”
San Diego State (1-1) used two different quarterbacks but was shut down after scoring on its opening possession. Redshirt freshman Christian Chapman replaced starter Maxwell Smith early in the second quarter, though Smith returned to play in the second half.
The Aztecs’ offense crossed midfield just three times the rest of the game, one of them coming on the final drive.
“It was good to have our defense carry us through the game and have the offense feed off our energy instead of the other way,” Cal linebacker Michael Barton said. “Our veteran leadership showed a lot and we made big plays when we needed to.”
Goff, who played only one half in the win over Grambling, didn’t get a chance to rest against San Diego State. He was chased out of the pocket by a heavy pass rush for much of the first half and made an awful throw that was intercepted by J.J. Whitaker.
The lanky quarterback found his rhythm after Darius White’s interception deep in Cal territory just before halftime. Goff needed only three plays to get the Bears into the end zone with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Maurice Harris with 11 seconds left in the second quarter.
Goff followed that with an 80-yard touchdown to Trevor Davis just 10 seconds into the third quarter to extend Cal’s lead.
Dykes pulled Goff in the fourth quarter, preventing the quarterback from getting the passing record at home. Cal plays at Texas next week.
Daniel Lasco added a 3-yard touchdown run to help the Bears pull away. Lasco finished with 123 yards on 19 carries.