BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Taylor Kelly threw three touchdown passes to help Arizona State send California to its worst start ever under coach Jeff Tedford with a 27-17 victory on Saturday.
Kelly connected with Kevin Ozier twice and Darwin Rogers once, and Arizona State (4-1, 2-0 Pac-12) used six sacks to improve its impressive start under first-year coach Todd Graham.
The start of the season hasn't gone nearly as well for Cal (1-4, 0-2) and Tedford despite the team returning to renovated Memorial Stadium. The Golden Bears have lost three straight games and are off to their worst start since losing their first 10 games in 2001 under Tom Holmoe — who was succeeded the following season by Tedford.
After a strong start to his tenure, Tedford has a losing record since the start of the 2009 season. His only win this year came against Southern Utah of the FCS, and the frustration from fans was evident all afternoon.
The Sun Devils, who lead the Pac-12 in scoring and total defense, harassed Zach Maynard all afternoon, proving they can be just effective against a starting quarterback after feasting on backups the previous three weeks.
Will Sutton and Junior Onyeali spent much of the day in Cal's backfield, giving Maynard little time to throw. Maynard was inaccurate when he did have time.
Maynard finished 9 for 28 for 126 yards with a touchdown. Isi Sofele rushed for 105 yards and scored Cal's only touchdown in the past two games.
Cal also was hurt by 12 penalties for 119 yards.
Kelly completed 26 of 45 passes for 292 yards, but Arizona State was unable to pull away. The Sun Devils settled for field goal attempts on four drives deep into Cal territory. Alex Garoutte made only two of them, hitting the upright on a 39-yard try in the third quarter and having a 38-yarder blocked by Nick Forbes early in the fourth to keep the lead at 20-10.
Cal responded with an 80-yard scoring drive that featured a 44-yard run by C.J. Anderson and a 10-yard TD pass from Maynard to his brother, Keenan Allen, to make it 20-17.
Kelly coolly led Arizona State on 74-yard drive, completing 4 of 5 passes for 45 yards, capped by a 22-yarder to Ozier to make it 27-17 with 6:17 to play.
Cal got booed off the field after falling behind 17-7 at the half. The Bears' offense produced nothing outside of a three-play, 76-yard drive that made the score 7-7 early in the second quarter. Maynard threw a 44-yard pass to Allen to start the drive, and Sofele capped it with a 24-yard run.
Cal had 63 yards of offense and one completion on its other seven drives in the first half against the Sun Devils' stingy defense. Sutton and Carl Bradford each had three tackles behind the line in the first half.
The Sun Devils scored early in the half on Rogers' first catch of the season, a 1-yarder from Kelly. They then capitalized on a fumble by Sofele to score on Kelly's 9-yard pass to Ozier with 53 seconds remaining.