SJSU piles on second-half points in route of UC Davis

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SJSU piles on second-half points in route of UC Davis

Dating back to the 2011 season, the last three games played by SJSU were all decided by three points. Saturdays win over UC Davis may have seemed similarly close in the first half, but by the end, it was clear this result was another story.The first 28 minutes of the game were controlled by UC Davis but every minute after belonged to the Spartans, who outscored UC Davis 45-6 from the 1:21 mark in the second quarter through the end of the game to bring a final score of 45-13, the largest win by SJSU since 2007. We got ourselves on our heels on defense, said SJSU head coach Mike MacIntyre about the first half of play.MacIntyre added that winning was the goal and that the lopsided score was not what the team was aiming for but is something he would like to continue to see from SJSU. It is important for us to win, and then it is important for us to put on more gas, he said. Put the pedal to the metal and keep going.We need to finish teams off. We didnt do that last year and I think thats the next phase. Thats what we have to be able to do.The Spartans were led offensively by senior running back DeLeon Eskridge, who ran for three touchdowns on 136 yards rushing and revived an SJSU offense that made mistakes and looked very flat in the first half. Eskridges first two appearances in the end zone happened late in the second quarter and in rapid succession. He scored two touchdowns within 28 seconds of game clock, the second coming with 1:21 left in the second quarter to give the Spartans a 14-7 halftime lead that seemed would never happen the way the majority of the first half transpired. They were phenomenal runs, I was very impressed, MacIntyre said.Eskridge said he gives all his thanks to the offensive line and echoed MacIntyres goal of finishing football games. In football, things go up and down, the team that finished is going to win.The majority of the first half belonged to a UC Davis team that moved the ball very effectively through the air. Quarterback Randy Wright, whose arm helped win the last meeting between the two teams in 2010, continued to shine against the Spartan defense two years later. On the second play of the game, Wright connected with sophomore wide receiver Alex Cannon on a 45-yard touchdown strike to take a seven-point lead after less than a minute of play. Wright finished with 194 yards on 14-of-23 passing 123 of those yards coming in the first half. We realized we needed to pick it up a lot more, said senior defensive end Travis Johnson. We got back into our rhythm and played from start to finish. Once we did that our defense started working together and we were able to stop them the rest of the game.SJSU failed to break into UC Davis territory on its first two drives until a muffed punt reception by Aggie wide receiver Anthony Soto allowed the Spartans to take over on the 33 yard line. Still, the SJSU offense could not capitalize but instead coughed up a turnover on a third-down fumble by junior quarterback Fales.The Spartans did not score until Eskridges first TD run, but once they did the scoring did not stop. SJSU scored on seven straight possessions that spanned from the end of the second quarter to the 2:02 mark when a fumble ended the streak. A 10-yard touchdown pass from junior backup quarterback Blake Jurich to Chandler Jones on the first possession of the second half brought the Spartan lead to 21-7. Another touchdown catch by Jones, this time thrown by Fales on SJSUs following possession made it 28-7. After Eskridges third rushing touchdown of the night, a 25-yard field goal by freshman Austin Lopez and a rushing touchdown by Jurich and the Spartans closed their scoring for the evening. Fales finished the win with 277 yards on 23-of-32 passing, helping the Spartan out-gain the Aggies on offense 510-252. The 510 yards is the most by SJSU since on loss to Louisiana Tech on Nov. 27, 2010. Defensively, no Spartan played better than senior defensive end Travis Johnson. Johnson tied a career-high with four sacks and collected six tackles for a loss.Hes a beast, MacIntyre said of Johnson. Thats why hes the best sacker in America, best in WAC history. He just has a motor I feel bad for those guys on the offensive line.Fales said he very much enjoyed the win and is loving the quality receivers SJSU has to offer.Those guys are good, he said. Its nice getting a win like this, being able to build your confidence and get our rhythm. We are still going week-to-week but tonight was a good win.

How Texas-made quarterback Davis Webb fell in love with Berkeley

How Texas-made quarterback Davis Webb fell in love with Berkeley

Texas is all Davis Webb knew for the first 21 years of his life. The 6-foot-5 NFL hopeful grew up in the Dallas area of Prosper, excelled at Prosper High School and became the second true freshman ever to start at quarterback for Texas Tech University — a five-hour drive from his hometown. Calling his transition West to Berkeley a whole new world is easily an understatement. 

"I knew it was going to be different, but I don’t think I knew how different it is compared to Dallas, Texas, or Lubbock, Texas," Webb told CSNBayArea.com in an exclusive phone interview. "It’s a complete 180 from where I spent the first 21 years of my life. 

"But at the same time, I’m in love with Berkeley."

Webb's love for Berkeley began where you might expect — on the gridiron. As soon as he arrived on campus in late May, Webb hit the field to throw with his eventual leading receiver, Chad Hansen, and other new teammates as well.

"I created a bunch of new friendships and we competed and got after it hard that summer," Webb said. "I fell in love with Cal, I fell in love with my teammates and I fell in love with the university.”

After acclimating with his new teammates and feeling more comfortable in his new home, Webb soon indulged all the Bay Area has to offer. The new guy on campus frequented the press box atop Memorial Stadium and gaze out to the Golden Gate Bridge and the arresting view before it. He attended Oakland A’s games at the Coliseum, San Francisco Giants games at AT&T Park, and Cal basketball games at Haas Pavilion.

“I love that place,” Webb said. “I love the [Berkeley] strip, I love my teammates, I love the Bay Area. I love the weather, obviously. The food was great and there’s beautiful women everywhere.”

Coming from one of the most conservative areas in the country, Webb quickly immersed himself in Berkeley's liberal landscape.

“It was a great experience and it was different," he said, "but I was prepared for it and my teammates helped me along the way.”

He made it an easy transition, but it wasn't one Webb ever expected to make. He broke Big 12 records as a true freshman at Texas Tech and ended his first season with an upset win over No. 15 Arizona State in the Holiday Bowl, earning MVP honors. His efforts on the field even helped force 2016 Heisman runner up Baker Mayfield to transfer to Oklahoma. But a torn left labrum and a subsequent ankle injury limited him to eight games as a sophomore and he eventually lost his starting job to Patrick Mahomes II (another top prospect in the 2017 draft). In Webb's junior year, head coach Kliff Kingsbury went with Mahomes, spurring Webb's transfer.

Webb initially signed financial aid papers in January 2016 to enroll in the University of Colorado, but when Cal hired Jake Spavital -- who Webb calls the best offensive coordinator in the country -- he maintained an open mind. 

And there was one specific attribute that cemented Cal as the gunslinger's final decision.  

"It’s 'QB U.' It really is," Webb professed. "It’s kinda 'Silent QB U,'" he added, rattling off a list of the school's first-round draft picks.

The decision to join Cal in 2016 put Webb at the helm of former head coach Sonny Dykes' Air Raid Offense.

“Everybody wants to hate on the Air Raid system, but it’s a fun game and without the Air Raid system I wouldn’t be where I’m at today,” Webb said.

At Texas Tech, Webb experienced the highs and lows of a college athlete on the biggest stage. After losing his job, a sour taste could have followed him to Cal. But Webb took the same approach he always has — to lead on and off the field. Webb was named a captain after just eight weeks at Cal, a goal he made coming to the school after wearing the "C" for Texas Tech.

Academically, Webb maintained just under a 4.0 GPA in Cal’s graduate public health school. Webb is taking a break from his studies to pursue an NFL career, but he understands Cal's academic prestige, and, with one third of his graduate degree complete, Webb vows to finish what he started.

“To get a Cal degree is something not many people can say and I want that degree, and I’m gonna get it” Webb said. “It’s just a matter of needing a little break right now and focusing on my football abilities. Having that public health degree, being the No. 1 public institution in the country isn’t something I take lightly.”

With most of Cal’s games coming on Saturdays, Webb knocked out as much schoolwork as possible on Sundays and Mondays and then it was all football for him, either in the facilities or on the field from 7:30 a.m. to nearly 11 p.m. every day.

“It was a great day. It was a great three months that I had there and I’m never gonna forget it,” Webb said.

Four years of college at two different schools put Webb on a long, winding road toward the draft. Through it all, Webb moves on from collegiate sports bleeding just under 10,000 yards and 83 touchdowns of Red Raider and Golden Bear blood. 

“I got everything I wanted out of Cal and then some,” says Webb. “I’m gonna call Cal my home for the rest of my life. Cal and Texas Tech are always gonna have a place in my heart. I’m just thankful Cal gave me an opportunity. I’m gonna go back there and get my degree and be around Cal as much as I can for the rest of my life.”

Three months on campus is all it took for the Texas-made quarterback to fall in love with Berkeley. With unfinished business in the classroom, he will be back in the Bay Area — perhaps for the long haul in the place he can already call home.

***

Check out Part 1 of our interview with Davis Webb as he looks at the NFL Combine and how he's preparing to separate himself from the other quarterbacks in the 2017 draft class.

Landale leads with double-double in Saint Mary's dominant win

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USATSI

Landale leads with double-double in Saint Mary's dominant win

BOX SCORE

MALIBU -- Jock Landale had 23 points and 14 rebounds to lead No. 20 Saint Mary's to a 78-49 victory over Pepperdine on Thursday night.

The Gaels (25-3, 15-2 West Coast) continued to roll in winning 10 of their last 11 games. Their only loss in that stretch was to No. 1 Gonzaga.

Lamond Murray Jr. had 17 points for Pepperdine (9-20, 5-12), which lost its third consecutive game.

A power outage caused the lights to go out with 18:41 left in the second half. Pepperdine official Roger Horne said power surges throughout campus caused the 15-minute delay. Players stayed loose by shooting in the dark.

The delay didn't slow down Saint Mary's, which led 41-21 before the lights went out. Landale, the junior center from Australia, had an empathic dunk for the first basket after play resumed and the Gaels cruised from there.

BIG PICTURE:

Saint Mary's did what it needed to do in recording another road victory. The Gaels and Landale continued to flex their usual muscles as they dominated in the paint and outrebounded the Waves 47-29.

Pepperdine has weathered the storm of an injury-plagued season and played with its 10th lineup of the season. Chris Reyes (heel) was ruled out for the season on Thursday, but the Waves still suited up nine players.

UP NEXT:

Saint Mary's returns home to play its regular-season finale against Santa Clara on Saturday, the final tuneup before the WCC Tournament. The Gaels won the last matchup, 72-59.

Pepperdine plays its last home game on Saturday against San Francisco. It's the final game at Firestone Fieldhouse for guard Jeremy Major, who is scheduled to make his 122nd career start, which would become most in school history.