BERKELEY (AP) -- Chase Garbers threw for 288 yards and two touchdowns, Nikko Remiglio returned the second-half kickoff for a score and California beat Sacramento State 42-30 Saturday for its first win of the season.
The Golden Bears (1-2) had lost their first two games of the season to Nevada and TCU in tight contests but had an easier time against the FCS-level Hornets (1-2) to avoid their first 0-3 start in a full season since 2001. Cal also lost its first three games in last year's pandemic-abbreviated four-game slate.
Garbers led the Bears to TD drives on their first two possessions of the game on drives capped by 4-yard TD runs from Damien Moore.
Garbers got into the act himself when he connected on a 45-yard TD pass to Jeremiah Hunter late in the first half and a 12-yard touchdown to Trevon Clark in the third. He also ran for a 16-yard score in the fourth.
Remiglio helped Cal take control when he took the opening kickoff of the second half back 99 yards for the score for Cal's longest kickoff return score since Trevor Davis' 100-yarder against Washington State in 2014.
Sacramento State mixed quarterbacks, using Asher O'Hara as a running option. O'Hara scored on two TD runs for the Hornets, while Jake Dunniway threw for 370 yards and two TDs.
Sacramento State: The Hornets knew they had to take some chances playing up a level and even called for a wide receiver pass off a reverse on the first play from scrimmage that fell incomplete. But they were overmatched and fell to 2-21 against FBS teams over the past 20 years. They weren't helped out by a pair of missed short field goals in the first half from Kyle Sentkowski, who missed from 37 and 20 yards.
California: There isn't much to take away from a lopsided game against an overmatched opponent other than it could give the Bears some confidence heading into the Pac-12 portion of the schedule.
Bears coach Justin Wilcox was on crutches on the sideline with his right foot taped after undergoing surgery Tuesday. Cal said Wilcox needed the surgery after re-injuring a previous injury.
Cal was also without linebacker Kuony Deng, who had a boot on his right foot after getting hurt last week, and receiver Kekoa Crawford (upper body injury).
Cal: Visit Washington on Saturday to begin Pac-12 play.
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