Cal rolls past North Texas 58-21 a day after getting word of switch to ACC from Pac-12
DENTON, Texas (AP) — Jaydn Ott rushed for 188 yards and two touchdowns, Isaiah Ifanse scored three times and California beat North Texas 58-21 on Saturday, a day after the Golden Bears agreed to join the Atlantic Coast Conference.
Cal (1-0) was playing about 40 miles from SMU, another ACC newcomer along with longtime Bay Area and Pac-12 rival Stanford.
On the day the ACC invitations became official Friday, the Golden Bears were at the headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys making final preparations for their first opener at a so-called Group of Five opponent since Air Force in 2004.
Cal was a 56-14 winner in that game in Colorado, and outgained UNT 669 yards to 225 while scoring the final 31 points in this one.
Stone Earle had three TD passes but was intercepted twice in the debut of North Texas coach Eric Morris and the first game for the Mean Green (0-1) as members of the American Athletic Conference, the league SMU will be leaving. UNT just left Conference USA.
Ott ran 41 yards on Cal’s first play to set up Sam Jackson V’s 23-yard scoring pass to Jeremiah Hunter. The sophomore ran 66 yards for a 27-14 lead in the second quarter after a 4-yard TD run late in the first.
Ifanse broke several tackles and kept churning in a pile inside the 5 on a 26-yard scoring run before an 8-yard score for a 33-21 lead 7 seconds before halftime.
Jackson started in his Cal debut after transferring from TCU, another Dallas-Fort Worth school, but was replaced in the second quarter by Ben Finley, who threw for 279 yards and a TD. There were indications coach Justin Wilcox intended to play multiple QBs.
Two of Earle’s TDs tosses were to Ja’Mori Maclin, who set up the first UNT score with a 58-yard catch before scoring on a 59-yarder. Maclin averaged 30.5 yards per catch (122 yards, four receptions) after finishing second in the country last year at 24.7.
Cal defensive tackle Brett Johnson started but didn’t record a tackle in his first game in almost three years. The junior missed the past two seasons with injuries.
Cal: Ott fumbled to set up Earle’s third TD pass, which pulled UNT within 27-21 late in the second quarter. But the Golden Bears responded with a 75-yard drive to score in the final seconds of the first half, starting the run of 31 consecutive points.
North Texas: Louisiana-Monroe transfer Chandler Rogers was expected to get playing time behind Earle, and it finally came late in the third quarter after Finley threw an interception. His first possession ended on downs without a first down, and Rogers threw an interception the next time out.
Cal: Auburn makes its first trip to Berkeley next Saturday. It’s the first visit from an SEC team since Mississippi in 2017.
North Texas: The Mean Green visit a pair of former CUSA partners the next two weeks, going to Florida International next Saturday, then to Louisiana Tech on Sept. 16.
AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll