Armed Forces Bowl | Cal receivers lead spectacular rally
Stuck on the sideline for disciplinary reasons, DeSean Jackson and Robert Jordan could do nothing to help as California quickly fell behind...
The Associated Press
FORT WORTH, Texas — Stuck on the sideline for disciplinary reasons, DeSean Jackson and Robert Jordan could do nothing to help as California quickly fell behind by three touchdowns Monday.
"They were champing at the bit to get in," Golden Bears coach Jeff Tedford said. "They were prancing around on the sideline. And so, when they finally got let loose, they were ready to roll."
They had a sudden impact.
Jackson made an acrobatic, 40-yard grab of a Kevin Riley pass for Cal's first touchdown shortly after entering the game and Jordan had six catches for 148 yards and a score as Cal rallied to beat Air Force 42-36 in the Armed Forces Bowl.
Ranked No. 2 in the nation in October before losing six of seven games, the comeback gave California (7-6) its sixth consecutive winning season.
Jackson, Jordan and leading tackler Thomas DeCoud were held out of the starting lineup and didn't play the first quarter because of unspecified violations of team rules that reportedly occurred before the team got to Fort Worth for the bowl.
While the starting receivers watched helplessly, Air Force (9-4) built a 21-0 lead after scoring twice in a two-minute span early in the second quarter with help of a botched kickoff.
"The hard part about it was the score," said Jordan, who was about to finally get in the game with Jackson when the Falcons recovered the fumbled kickoff. "That just made me play harder. I haven't felt all year the way I did today about trying to prove a point and help the team."
Jackson caught three passes on his first possession, including the TD on which he turned and backpedaled a few steps in the end zone before twisting and diving to make the catch. He finished with five catches for 81 yards.
"It gave them a spark," Air Force linebacker Drew Fowler said. "As soon as they got in, it was a different story."
Jordan had an 18-yard TD reception in the third quarter, and a 52-yard catch to set up a 1-yard touchdown run by Justin Forsett with 1:33 left in the third quarter. Jordan Kay's extra point put Cal ahead 28-27 and Forsett scored on a 21-yard run with 10:59 to play to increase the lead.
Forsett, playing his final collegiate game — about 30 minutes from his home with about 300 family and friends watching — ran for 140 yards and two TDs on 23 carries.
Forsett's first TD came after Air Force lost four-year starting quarterback Shaun Carney because of a right-knee injury when his leg buckled awkwardly while being tackled near the Cal goal line.
Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said after the game that Carney had ligament damage.
Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company
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