Kevin Riley will start the season opener at quarterback for California against Michigan State with former starter Nate Longshore expected to play as a reserve.
Coach Jeff Tedford made the announcement Thursday. The Golden Bears open the season Aug. 30 at home against the Spartans.
Riley saw action in four games last year as a redshirt freshman, throwing for 563 yards and five touchdowns.
In Riley's first career start last season, he tried to run with the ball in the final seconds instead of throwing it away, costing the Bears the chance at a game-tying field goal in a 31-28 loss to Oregon State. Cal would have been in position to move up to No. 1 in the poll with a win, but instead lost six of its final regular-season games.
Riley did excel in the Armed Forces Bowl, entering with a 21-0 deficit in the second quarter and leading Cal to a 42-36 victory over Air Force. Riley was 16 for 19 for 269 yards and three TDs, earning game MVP honors.