Coming into today's game vs. Maryland the Golden Bears were questioning the true ability of their offense. Was Jahvid Best going to be the same play maker he was last year or were teams going to key onto him? Was Kevin Riley going to step up and show some "intangibles" that are necessary to play? Who was going to step up and be Kevin Riley's go to receiver? How would the O-line respond to the loss of 1st team All-Pac 10 Center Alex Mack?
Those questions were put to rest in a 52-13 blowout of Maryland. Every player looked calm and collected. They all played with an intensity that could carry them to a Pac-10 title.
Jahvid Best exploded for a 73 yard touchdown run, on his second carry of the season, which prompted the game commentators to address his Heisman candidacy. After that kick off the Bears forced a fumble and Best punched it in again. Best finished the game with 10 carries for 136 yards and 2 TDs, 2 receptions for 23 yards, and a kick return of 18.
Kevin Riley looked like the Kevin Riley of the past; shaky, nervous, and somewhat errant in his throws, but through all that he did a good job of staying in the pocket to begin the game. As the Cal offense started to roll Riley looked more and more poised in his throws and his confidence shined through when he was able to weave the ball into a tight space for receiver Marvin Jones. Riley's first touchdown pass of the season come on a play that he created by himself. Riley escaped the clutches of a Terrapin DE and connected with back-up senior tight-end Skylar Curran. Riley finished the game going 17 of 26 for 298 yards and 4 touchdowns.
Paving the way for Riley and Best were the hogs up front who might just make the fans say "Alex who?" California was able to run the ball at will and also ran screens left and right (pun intended) while only allowing 2 sacks.
The receiving crew looked solid as whole and other than a dropped pass on a deep throw to Jahvid Best there were no glaring problems. Marvin Jones, Vernan Tucker and Nate Boateng combined for 8 receptions, 168 yards and 2 touchdowns. The backs looked good on the screens and swing passes out of the back field and the tight ends made some plays in the red zone.
This Cal squad looked like a team on a mission today. Whether it be a Rose Bowl, a Pac-10 Title or a National Championship on their minds, the Golden Bears seemed to be teeming with anticipation of the bright season ahead.