BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) _ J.R. Redmond caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Kealy and ran 5 yards for another score as No. 15 Arizona State held off a late rally to defeat California 28-21 Saturday night.
It was the fourth straight victory for the Sun Devils (7-2, 5-1 Pac-10), who also scored on a 67-yard pass from Kealy to Creig Spann. Robert Nycz added two field goals.
Cal (3-6, 1-5) scored on Derrick Gardner’s 72-yard return of Redmond’s fumble early in the third quarter and, after coming alive in the fourth, on an 18-yard dash by Tarik Smith and an 8-yard pass from Justin Vedder to Bobby Shaw.
Kealy, the Pac-10 player of the week after throwing four touchdowns for 245 yards last Saturday against Washington State, finished 14-of-23 for 277 yards and two touchdowns against Cal. He was replaced in the fourth quarter by Steve Campbell.
Jason Simmon’s interception of Vedder’s pass put the Sun Devils on their 41 at 10:28 of the second quarter. On the ensuing series, however, Cal sacked Kealy twice and forced a punt.
On the next play, Vedder fumbled the snap and Arizona State recovered on the 8. That set up ASU’s first touchdown, Redmond’s 5-yard run, at 7:31.
The Sun Devils made it 14-0 at 5:55 of the second quarter with Kealy’s 67-yard pass to Spann, Arizona State’s longest scoring pass of the season.
Robert Nycz added a 42-yard field goal just before the half to give the Sun Devils a 17-0 lead. He added a 23-yarder in the third before Redmond’s 28-yard scoring catch with 4:40 to go in the quarter.
Forty-five seconds into the second half, Gardner recovered Redmond’s fumble in the air and ran it back 72 yards for Cal’s first touchdown. Smith and Shaw added scoring runs in the fourth quarter as Cal rallied from a 28-7 deficit.
The Sun Devils, who moved up five spots in the national rankings after last week’s victory over the previously undefeated Washington State Cougars, lead the series against Cal 11-8.