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Originally published Sunday, December 7, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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California's Jahvid Best lives up to his name in record-setting day

California football coach Jeff Tedford juggled a number of issues Saturday. Not the least of them was putting running back Jahvid Best back...

Special to The Seattle Times

BERKELEY, Calif. — California football coach Jeff Tedford juggled a number of issues Saturday. Not the least of them was putting running back Jahvid Best back on the field when the Bears were trampling winless Washington.

"He had his helmet off, but we found out he needed 15 yards for the school record," Tedford said in the wake of the Bears' eighth victory in 12 games.

Tedford didn't need encouragement to hand off the ball to Best. The second time Best touched the ball, he burst 60 yards for the first touchdown of the day. A second-quarter, 1-yard high dive took care of Cal's second TD, a 20-yarder was the final TD of the opening half and a weaving, 84-yard journey through the befuddled Huskies made the nightly highlights.

The running back finished with 311 rushing yards on only 19 carries, including four touchdowns in a 48-7 Bears victory. Best broke Jerry Drew's 54-year-old school record of 283 yards during a 34-yard run early in the third quarter.

"He is fast, he is bursty," said Huskies linebacker Donald Butler in trying to explain the situation while adding to the English language.

For the Bears, it's on to San Francisco's Emerald Bowl on Dec. 27, more than likely against Miami. The Hurricanes can spend the time figuring out how to stifle the shifty Best.

The Huskies sure couldn't get a handle on Best, which won't be much of a surprise around Puget Sound. Departing coach Tyrone Willingham accepted the obligatory hug from Tedford, saying later, "I become a normal citizen today."

Most citizens, no matter don't carry around an 0-12 season as a résumé line.

"I feel for Tyrone," Tedford said. "He has always been a great competitor, a quality guy who cares about the game of football and college football and student athletes. I wish him all the best in the future."

Best, as soft-spoken off the field as he is bombastic on it, wasn't boasting about his accomplishment after the game. He did recognize that the Huskies "were getting tired as the game was going on."

But as far as knowing how many yards he was compiling, Best said, "I had no idea."

Neither did the Huskies as they admired Best on his way to those 311 yards.

Tedford said he wasn't satisfied with the eight-win season "because we want to compete nationally." There's still room for improvement, even for Best on his best of days.

When asked if Tedford will find some sort of fault in his performance on a perfect day for football, Best replied: "He'll think of something."

Pac-10's biggest rushing days
Jahvid Best's 311 yards Saturday is the fourth-best rushing performance by a Pac-10 player. Three of the top five performances have been against Washington:
No. Player School Year Opponent
357 Rueben Mayes Washington St. 1984 Oregon
347 Ricky Bell USC 1976 Washington St.
322 Maurice Drew UCLA 2004 Washington
311 Jahvid Best California 2008 Washington
301 DeShaun Foster UCLA 2001 Washington
299 Bill Enyart Oregon St. 1968 Utah
296 Hugh McElhenny Washington 1950 Washington St.
294 Reggie Bush USC 2005 Fresno St.
289 Marcus Allen USC 1981 Washington St.
288 Trung Canidate Arizona 1998 Arizona St.
Source: Pac-10 Media Guide

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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