NCAA

Behind Bowers' big debut, Wilcox era at Cal starts with upset win over UNC

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USATSI

Behind Bowers' big debut, Wilcox era at Cal starts with upset win over UNC

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Ross Bowers threw for 363 yards and four touchdowns in his first college start, helping California beat North Carolina 35-30 on Saturday in the Golden Bears' first game under Justin Wilcox.

Bowers, a sophomore, had never thrown a pass in a college game and had to win a preseason battle for the starting job. But he shook off two interceptions and came up with several good throws to help Cal (1-0) win its first East Coast day game since 2012.

Vic Wharton III had five catches for 156 yards for Cal, which trailed 17-7 in the second quarter. But a targeting penalty on UNC's Jalen Dalton extended a drive to set up Wharton's 67-yard score just before halftime, a game-changing sequence that helped Cal outscore UNC 28-7.

Michael Carter scored twice for UNC (0-1), which started LSU graduate transfer Brandon Harris at quarterback but leaned more on redshirt freshman Chazz Surratt.

THE TAKEAWAY

California: Cal figured to look different after the past four years of the prolific "Bear Raid" offense and porous defense. The offense still put up strong numbers on the strength of several huge gains, while the defense never let a young UNC offense build any sustained momentum. Hard to imagine Wilcox could've asked for much more in his debut.

UNC: The Tar Heels entered the offseason and preseason camp with a lot of questions on offense, most notably with the departure of No. 2 overall NFL draft pick Mitch Trubisky at quarterback. And this game showed that the Tar Heels are going to need a lot of work to look anything like the fast-paced and high-scoring unit of past years.

UP NEXT

California: Cal hosts Weber State in its home opener next weekend.

UNC: Things only get tougher. The Tar Heels host No. 16 Louisville and reigning Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson next weekend.

Former Cal running back suffers scary spine injury, taken to hospital

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AP

Former Cal running back suffers scary spine injury, taken to hospital

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The New Orleans Saints say running back Daniel Lasco has feelings in his extremities after suffering a spinal injury making a tackle on a kickoff return during today's game at Buffalo.

Lasco was loaded into an ambulance on the field and taken to a hospital.

He was hurt six minutes into the second quarter when he appeared to lower his head while tackling Bills returner Brandon Tate. 

Lasco played four seasons at the University of California, Berkeley. He gained 1,471 yards from scrimmage with 14 touchdowns his junior year. In 2015 as a senior, Lasco was limited to nine games and only totaled 355 yards. 

The Saints selected Lasco in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Associated Press contributed to this report

On for the long haul: Saint Mary's awards Bennett with new 10-year contract

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AP

On for the long haul: Saint Mary's awards Bennett with new 10-year contract

MORAGA, Calif. – Coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history, Saint Mary’s College men’s basketball head coach Randy Bennett has been rewarded with a new 10-year contract, President James Donahue and Director of Athletics Michael Matoso announced today.
 
Bennett enters his 17th season at Saint Mary’s, which begins Saturday at McKeon Pavilion. He is the school’s all-time leader in wins and ranks second in all-time wins for any coach in the West Coast Conference. His contract will run through the 2026-27 season at Saint Mary’s.
 
Last year the Gaels finished the season with a school record 29 wins for the second straight year, earned a No. 7 seed in the NCAA Tournament, and reached the round of 32.
 
“I’m appreciative and thankful to President Donahue, Mike Matoso and the Saint Mary’s administration for their support. It’s an honor to have this opportunity to work at such a great institution,” Bennett said. “We’ve had great student-athletes and assistant coaches who have put a lot of hard work and effort into building the program to this level. My family and I truly enjoy being in such a supportive community and raising our family around this environment. We are excited to continue what we have started here 17 years ago.”
 
Over the past 10 years, Bennett has led the Gaels to an impressive 263-76 overall record for a .776 winning percentage. The winning percentage is the best in California and ranks fifth nationally during that stretch.
 
“Randy represents what Saint Mary’s College is all about. He exemplifies the College’s ongoing commitment to the development of our student-athletes,” Donahue said. “He is not only a remarkable coach, but he is a valued and respected leader on our campus. We are excited to have him committed to this long-term agreement and look forward to him leading Saint Mary’s basketball for the next decade.”
 
Bennett has led his teams to the post season 11 times, with six NCAA Tournament appearances (2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2017) and the school's first NIT appearances (2009, 2011, 2014, 2015 & 2016). No other SMC coach has guided his squad to more than one post-season appearance.
 
“It is an exciting day for Saint Mary’s College to announce a 10-year extension for Coach Bennett. Randy embodies the core values of the college and we are very fortunate to have him,” Matoso said. “He has built this program from the ground up and we envision great things for the program in the future under his leadership. His teams have performed extremely well on the court and have matched that success both in the classroom and in the community.”
 
In addition to team accomplishments, Bennett has had 20 different players earn All-WCC recognition, with a total of 29 first team and eight honorable mention selections. He also coached former Gaels Patty Mills and Matthew Dellavedova, who currently play for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs and Milwaukee Bucks, as well as many others professionally around the world.
 
In 2017, senior Jock Landale was named the first Gael to be in the top-5 for the Kareem Abdul Jabaar award under Bennett’s tutelage. The center was an AP Honorable Mention and member of the WCC First Team after averaging 16.9 points and 9.5 rebounds per game.
 
Also under Bennett’s tenure, in 2012, Dellavedova gave the Gaels the first back-to-back WCC players of the year since 1962. He also became the school's first-ever male first-team Academic All-America selection and was among five finalists for the Bob Cousy Award, given to the nation's best point guard. He earned all-WCC honors three times and twice was a honorable mention All-America selection.

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