For Ashtyn Davis, whose track and field specialty was running 110 meters littered with 10 hurdles, the game-changing bursts he made against Idaho State must have felt easy.
The junior safety and return specialist certainly made it look that way.
Here is what Davis contributed — all in the first half — to Cal’s 45-23 win over the Bengals on Saturday:
* He logged his second pass interception of the season — the seventh in three games by the Bears — to disrupt an early Idaho State possession.
* He chased down ISU receiver Mitch Gueller after a 63-yard play where two other Cal defenders collided, tackling him at the 8-yard line to save a touchdown.
* Then, after the defense forced a field goal on that possession, Davis returned the ensuing kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown, pushing the Bears into a 21-3 lead early in the second quarter.
Davis couldn't decide on which of his three plays was bigger.
“I always love the getting the takeaway,” he said, initially leaning toward his pick. “I don’t know . . . I don’t know if I could put any in front of the other. That kick return, that just opened right up and I just ran through it.”
Then he shrugged indecisively.
In fact, quarterback Chase Garbers pointed to the play where Elijah Hicks and Jaylin Hawkins knocked each other down and Gueller seemed on his way to the end zone. Davis merely accelerated and reeled in the ISU receiver.
“Ashtyn Davis, whenever he's on the field, he has the ability to do whatever he can to cause havoc for the offense,” Garbers said. “Hawking down that guy to prevent a touchdown was definitely a big momentum swing for us.”
Coach Justin Wilcox was not happy with how that sequence started, but said the play will show up in film sessions this week.
“Our corner and safety ran into each other, which we’ve got to play that play better,” he said. "And then Ashtyn chased him down. Just the effort and intention to go make the play and not give up on it, absolutely that will be one we show.”