PULLMAN, Wash. - Cal's athletic department might have been one year premature in promoting a Heisman Trophy candidate.

The Bears' season is only two games in, but tailback Jahvid Best has been one of the nation's most exciting players. After registering 277 all-purpose yards in the season-opening victory over Michigan State, Best rushed for 200 yards and three touchdowns Saturday in Cal's 66-3 rout of Washington State. He had two scoring runs of at least 80 yards.

Last season, Cal launched a Web site to promote wide receiver/punt returner DeSean Jackson as a Heisman candidate, but Jackson's candidacy never got legs. If Best continues to produce like he has during the first two games, he will become part of the national conversation.

"They're going to know who he is after this game," Cal quarterback Kevin Riley said. "When I hand the ball off, I know it's going to be a touchdown. He's special."

Best flashed some of his potential as a freshman last season, but his touches were limited. When a serious hip injury ended his season in November, his future became uncertain.

"Knowing that I might not have been able to play this season, and just coming out and playing period, it's a blessing," Best said. "I thank God every day."

Best will have a chance to introduce himself to the country next weekend because Cal's game at Maryland is on national television, either ESPN or ESPN2.

"I think he'll be well-known now," Cal center Alex Mack said.


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"He has pretty incredible speed."

A GOOD OMEN: A sign it was Cal's day occurred when defensive end Rulon Davis blocked Nico Grasu's 42-yard field-goal attempt and linebacker Zack Follett returned it 65 yards for a touchdown.

Davis had jumped offside on the previous play.

The block took a perfect bounce, and Follett scooped it up in stride and raced for the end zone.

"I've dreamed of a play like that for so long," Follett said. "I finally got it."

It was Cal's first blocked-field-goal return for a touchdown since 2002, when James Bethea went 60 yards against Arizona.

NICE CATCH: Wide receiver Nyan Boateng made his first catch at Cal and ended up as the Bears' leading receiver with four receptions for 44 yards.