Cal Hosts Arizona
Nov. 10, 2002
This Week's Game
Fresh off a 55-38 drubbing of 25th-rated Arizona State in Tempe, California returns home to Memorial Stadium for its final two games of the year - against Arizona this weekend and vs. Stanford in the 105th Big Game next Saturday.
At 6-4 overall-including three road victories over ranked opponents-the Bears have already won five more games than all of last year and have the opportunity to post their first winning record since they were 9-4 in 1993.
Although out-gained by an average of almost 50 yards per game during the year, the Bears have taken advantage of an efficient offense and opportunistic defense to become one of the surprise teams in college football. The result has been a unit that has nearly doubled its scoring output from last year (35.6 ppg compared to 18.3 ppg), while surrendering 25.9 ppg-almost two touchdowns less than in 2001, when they allowed 39.2 ppg.
Senior QB Kyle Boller has keyed the offensive onslaught with 24 touchdown passes-the second-highest total in school history-with only seven interceptions. In the ASU victory, he tossed five scoring strikes for the second time this season (also five TDs at Washington). Boller, who owns the Cal career record with 60 TD passes, ranks second on the Bears' all-time chart with 7,494 yards, trailing only Troy Taylor(8,126, 1986-89).
Five players have at least 27 receptions on the season, led by Jonathan Makonnen's 46 catches and seven touchdowns. TE Tom Swoboda has also become a favorite, hauling in 33 passes overall and scoring five touchdowns in the past six games.
Defensively, Cal has forced 31 turnovers, which has led to a Pac-10-best +17 turnover margin. The Bears caused five more turnovers-four fumble recoveries and an interception-at ASU.
Cal -Arizona Series
Arizona owns a slight 10-9-2 series lead over the Bears, in a series that has been marked with close games throughout its history. Prior to last year's 38-24 Wildcat win, the previous 12 games were decided by seven points or less. Cal's most recent victory in Berkeley was a 56-55 four overtime thriller in 1996, which was highlighted by Pat Barnes' 503 passing yards.
A Quick Look at Arizona
Arizona plays its final road game of the season, when the Wildcats travel to Cal on Saturday. Arizona, which has yet to record a win in Pac-10 play, is coming off a 37-7 loss to UCLA. QB Jason Johnson, with his 133 yards passing against the Bruins, has 2,566 yards, surpassing Tom Tunnicliffe (2,520 in 1983) for the UA single-season record. His favorite target, WR Bobby Wade, has tallied eight 100-yard receiving performances in his last 13 games. He ranks fifth in the country with an average of 7.60 catches per outing.
Jeff Tedford, California (Fresno State '83) is in his first season as head coach of the Golden Bears, taking over as the program's 32nd head coach last December. Tedford, 6-4 as a head coach, arrived at Cal after four highly successful seasons at Oregon, where he served as offensive coordinator and helped the Ducks to a combined 38-10 record, including an 11-1 mark last fall when Oregon won the Pac-10 championship and earned a No. 2 national ranking. Tedford began his coaching career in 1989 as an offensive assistant with the CFL's Calgary Stampeders. In 1992, he returned to his alma mater, Fresno State, as quarterback coach. A year later, he was elevated to offensive coordinator, a position he held through 1997. A native of Downey, Calif., Tedford was a record-setting quarterback as a player at Fresno State, graduating with a degree in physical education in 1983.
John Mackovic (Wake Forest, '65), in his second season as head coach of the Wildcats, has compiled an 8-13 mark. Prior to joining the Arizona staff, Mackovic was head coach at Texas, leading the Longhorns to a 41-28-2 record (1992-97) and berths in three bowls. He was also 30-16-1 from 1988-91 at Illinois and 14-20 at Wake Forest from 1978-80. In the NFL ranks, Mackovic served as head coach of the Kansas City Chiefs from 1983-86, guiding the team to a 30-34-0 mark and a spot in the '86 playoffs.
A 2002 Cal football team poster will be distributed to 10,000 fans at the games. All fans can present their football ticket for free admission to the women's basketball exhibition game that begins at 7 p.m. Saturday.
IKON Office Solutions Play of the Week
Each week throughout the 2002 football season, IKON Office Solutions salutes the Golden Bear Play of the Week. For the Arizona State game, Nnamdi Asomugha intercepted an Andrew Walter pass and returned it 85 yards for a touchdown, giving the Bears a 35-24 third quarter lead.
The Times Player of the Game
Each week throughout the 2002 football season, the Contra Costa Times will recognize the Cal Player of the Game. For the Arizona State game, RB Joe Igber rushed for 112 of his game-high 144 yards in the second half, as he posted the third-best rushing day of his career.
California Eyes First Winning Season in Nine Years
Not only has California rebounded dramatically from last year's 1-10 debacle, but the Bears have established themselves as a nationally respected program almost overnight. By shredding Arizona State, 55-38, in Tempe last Saturday, the 2002 Bears became the first Cal team in history to score three road wins against nationally ranked opponents in the same season. In fact, it had been 52 years since a Cal team had simply beaten three ranked teams in the same campaign, period. And national media have begun to notice. In the Associated Press poll this year, the Bears were ranked 23rd on Sept. 15, received 80 votes-29th most in the nation-Oct. 6, and ranked 30th (26 votes) Oct. 20. To add further credibility, the New York Times' Computer Rankings ranked Cal 12th in the country as the Pac-10's highest-rated school prior to the USC game (Oct. 12). California's six wins are the most since Steve Mariucci's 1996 club finished 6-6, and those six triumphs represent more victories than California registered in its previous two years combined (1-10 in '01 and 3-8 in '00).
Reversal of Fortune: Bears' 5-Win Increase from Last Year Leads Nation & Ranks 3rd Best Ever at Cal
When you finished last season with the worst record (1-10) by a Cal team in 104 years, you know there's only one way to go ... up. But with their impressive 6-4 start, Tedford's Bears have a chance to produce one of the biggest one-year turnarounds in school history. They have already bettered last year's win mark by five games, which is biggest increase among Division I-A teams nationally. It is also the best one-year turnaround at Cal since Joe Kapp's 1982 team posted a 7-4 mark following a 2-9 record the previous year. The greatest one-year flip by a Cal team came in 1947, when a man named Lynn 'Pappy' Waldorf assumed the head coaching reins and promptly led his Golden Bears to a 9-1 record-a six-and-a-half game improvement from the previous season (2-7 in '46 under Frank Wickhorst). Besides equaling the third largest one-year turnaround in Cal history, the Bears' five-game win swing this year also rates as the biggest among NCAA Division 1-A schools.
The Nation's Most Improved QB? Boller Boasts Pac-10's Best TD/INT Ratio in Breakout Year
Senior Kyle Boller has ventured where very few Cal quarterbacks have ever gone. Not Craig Morton, not Joe Kapp, not Steve Bartkowski, not Joe Roth. Becoming the first Pac-10 quarterback to throw for five touchdown passes twice this season, Boller avoided constant ASU pressure to register his eighth 200-yard effort in 10 games this year. His 213-yard, five-TD display last weekend continued Boller's upward journey on Cal's career statistical charts. With a school-record 60 TD strikes, he has thrown for a career high 24 touchdowns and only seven interceptions this year, and has orchestrated upset road wins over two Top 15 opponents-Michigan State (43-22) and Washington (34-27)-in the same season for the first time in school history. His 60 touchdown passes are also tied for eighth on the Pac-10 career chart, while his 24-to-7 TD/interception ratio ranks best among Pac-10 passers this year. The Golden Bear's 24 TD tosses in '02 are also second most on Cal's single season list-trailing Pat Barnes (31 in 1996) by seven with two regular season games left in 2002. Boller also continues to zoom up Cal's all-time passing yardage chart, perched in second-place with his current 7,494 total. Boller, who has leap-frogged previously No. 3 Rich Campbell (7,174) and No. 2 Pat Barnes in his last two games, needs only 633 more yards to surpass all-time leader Troy Taylor (8,126). In 2002, Boller has threaded 54.0% of his attempts (187-346) for 2,329 yards, the 12th-best single season yardage mark in school annals. The Bear signal-caller has also contributed to 28 TDs this year-an average of 2.80 per game-also rushing for three scores and catching a pass for another touchdown. His 16.80 points per game ranks first in the Pac-10 and fourth nationally in Points Responsible For. Some of Boller's success should be credited to Cal's reconstructed offensive line, which has allowed 19 sacks (third lowest in Pac-10) in 10 games this year.
Three of Bears' Losses Decided by Combined 14 Points
The Bears have come oh-so-close to being 9-1 through their first 10 games. Three of their four losses have come by a combined total of 14 points to three nationally ranked teams-Pac-10 leaders Washington State (now 9-1) and USC (7-2), and Air Force (7-3)-that have posted a current aggregate record of 23-6 this year.
Jensen Named Lou Groza Award Semifinalist, Passes Chuck Muncie to Secure 6th Place on Cal Scoring List
Always a consistent performer, Cal's senior Mark Jensen has emerged as one of the country's most prolific kickers in 2002. Last week, the Bears' kicker was named one of 20 semifinalists for the 2002 Lou Groza Collegiate Place-kicker Award. The Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week Sept. 21 when he reeled off a school-record five field goals in a 23-21 loss to Air Force, the Bears' senior currently is tied for second in the Pac-10 and 18th nationally in scoring with 90 points (9.0 per game). He has nailed 16 of 21 FG attempts-his 1.60 FGs per game ranks sixth nationally-and 42-for-42 in PATs, and has boomed career-best 51-yard (at Michigan State) and 50-yard (at Oregon State) field goals. He is one of only seven kickers in Cal history to convert two field goals from 50 yards or beyond in their career, and is one of only five kickers to accomplish that feat in the same season. Jensen's 42 career FGs also rank fourth all-time at Cal, trailing only Doug Brien (56), Jim Breech (50) and Robbie Keen (47). With his scoring onslaught this year, Jensen has moved into the school's career Top 10 in scoring. His current 227 points rank sixth on the list, bypassing former Heisman Trophy runner-up Chuck Muncie (224 points, 1973-75) last week in Tempe. He's now 15 points away from No. 5 Russell White (242).
Bears Boast +17 Turnover Margin to Rank Second Nationally; Cal's 19 Fumble Recoveries Leads Nation
The Golden Bears, despite allowing 396.6 yards per game to rank last in Pac-10 defense, continue to be one of the nation's best in the all-important turnover department. Thus far in 2002, Cal has forced 31 turnovers and committed only 14 for a conference-leading TO margin of +17-the nation's second-best figure (+1.70 per game) behind Arkansas (+2.0). In fact, that +17 figure is the school's best turnover margin since 1951, when Pappy Waldorf's 8-2 Bears finished with a +21 differential. The Bears lived on the other side of the turnover ledger in 2001, finishing 114th out of 115 Division I-A schools with a woeful -17 margin. The club's 31 takeaways (3rd in NCAA) this fall are already 13 more than Cal managed all of last season. Included in that total are a nation-leading 19 fumble recoveries this year, which also is nine more than last season's entire output. What's more, Cal has scored no less than 115 points off turnovers this season. The TO wars have been particularly telling in first halves this year, when the bend-but-don't-break Bears have coughed up only six turnovers all year in posting a collective +13 mark during the first 30 minutes of their games. Cal ranks second in the conference in turnovers gained with its 31 total. While the Bears rank first in the Pac-10 and second nationally in turnover margin, Arizona stands at the opposite end of the spectrum, checking in at 10th in the conference and 83rd nationally with a -0.60 figure. Interestingly, a year ago when Cal hosted Arizona at Memorial Stadium in the eighth game of the season, the Bears ranked last (115th) in the nation in turnover margin at -18!
Bears Rank Second in Pac-10 Red Zone Offense
The Bears rank second behind Oregon (37 of 40, 92.5%) in Pac-10 red zone offense, having converted 37 of 41 scoring opportunities (90.2%) inside the opponent's 20-yard line this year with 26 TDs and 11 field goals. Conversely, opponents have scored on only 26 of 37 (70.2%) red zone chances. Arizona's offense ranks last in the Pac-10, converting 69.6% of its red-zone chances (16 of 23). Cal has also committed only 14 turnovers-15th fewest in the nation-this season and has allowed QB Kyle Boller to be sacked only 19 times. In 2001, Tedford's Ducks turned the ball over a NCAA-low 11 times and led the Pac-10 in both fewest sacks (11) and best red zone offense (37-of-39, 94.9%).
Bears Play Tough Schedule for 2nd Straight Year
A year ago, the University of California's football schedule was ranked sixth toughest in the nation by the USA Today/Sagarin Ratings with the Bears' 2001 opponents posting an aggregate winning percentage of .659 (85-44). Well, Cal's 2002 slate isn't a cakewalk, either. Entering Week 11 of the season, the opponents on the Bears' schedule have churned a .568 winning percentage, registering a combined 63-48 mark. The Bears, who play the nation's 35th-toughest cumulative schedule (according to current NCAA rankings), has played eight schools this year that are-or have been-nationally ranked in '02.
Golden Bears Set Aim at First Winning Season Since '93
Perhaps the most compelling story this year about Cal football is this: can Jeff Tedford revive a Golden Bear program that once went 50 games without a defeat in the 1920s, won 33 straight contests in the Pappy Waldorf days of the late '40s, and 11 years ago went 10-2 and earned a No. 7 ranking under Bruce Snyder? A man who helped build winning programs at Oregon and Fresno State, Tedford is laying the foundation for success in Berkeley. Yet, while Cal boasted an all-time winning percentage of .557 (559-439-51) entering 2002, the Bears have not enjoyed a winning season since 1993 when Keith Gilbertson's club etched a 9-4 mark that concluded with a 37-3 win over Iowa in the Alamo Bowl. Since then, Cal has registered marks of 4-7, 3-8, 6-6, 3-8, 5-6, 4-7 and 3-8, before Tom Holmoe's 2001 squad endured the worst record (1-10) in the last 104 years of Cal football. With a win over Arizona Saturday or Stanford Nov. 23, that winning season drought will end.
McArthur, Makonnen & Ward Form Cal's WR Triumvirate
Cal's wide receiving corps has been upgraded considerably from last year, with City College of San Francisco transfer Jonathan Makonnen leading the charges with 46 receptions for 594 yards and seven touchdowns. Other key pass-catchers from the wideout spots include senior LaShaun Ward (33 rec., 576 yds., 6 TDs) and sophomore Geoff McArthur (33 rec., 389 yds., 1 TD). Makonnen has caught three passes or more in all 10 games this year.
Igber Rips off 144 Rushing Yards at Arizona State, Now 122 Shy of 3rd Place on Cal's All-Time List
After being harnessed to only 133 combined yards in his previous three games, senior running back Joe Igber burst loose for his third-best rushing game of his career with 144 yards on 30 carries at Sun Devil Stadium Saturday. He has now rushed for 814 yards on 196 attempts through 10 games this year, inching upwards on the Bears' all-time rushing and all-purpose charts. Igber has cranked out nine 100-yard rushing performances in his career-the fourth most in Cal history-trailing only Russell White and Chuck Muncie, who both rushed for 100 yards 15 times, and the late John Olszewski, who accomplished the feat on 10 occasions. Averaging 81.4 ground yards per game this season-the fourth-best figure in the Pac-10-Igber has increased his career rushing total to 2,808 yards. His 814 yards this season more than doubles his entire output of last year, when he rushed for only 399 yards on 94 carries before missing the Bears' final four games with a fractured clavicle. He needs only 123 yards to surpass No. 3 Paul Jones (2,930) on Cal's all-time list. In addition, the diminutive Igber-who dissected the ASU defense for 177 all-purpose yards-has shot into Cal's career Top 10 in all-purpose yardage with 3,516, the sixth-highest total in school annuals.
Something's Got to Give: Arizona's Stingy Defense (23.5 ppg) Braces for High-Scoring Bears (35.6 ppg)
Perhaps the most intriguing match-up this weekend will be Arizona's sturdy defense, which ranks fifth in Pac-10 scoring defense, against Cal's high-scoring offense, which cranks out 35.6 points per game to rank second in the Pac-10 and 11th nationally. In parceling out only 23.5 points per outing, the Wildcats rank 45th among NCAA Division I-A schools in scoring defense. Cal has already outscored last year's team by 155 points, cashing in 44 touchdowns and 356 points in its 10 games this season. In comparison, last year's Cal squad tallied 24 TDs and 201 points total over an 11-game schedule and ranked 104th nationally in scoring average (18.3 ppg). In fact, Jeff Tedford's club has rattled off 34 points or more six times this year. A season ago, the Bears didn't score 34 points even once all year (season high: 28 points twice, vs. Washington and at Stanford). The 356 points this season are the most scored by a Cal team in a regular season since 1993, when the Bears tallied 373 points in a 12-game regular season schedule. Saturday's 55-point outburst at ASU marks the first time Cal has scored 55 points or more twice in a season since 1922. That '22 club reeled off wins of 80-0 vs. the Mare Island Marines, 61-0 vs. Washington State and 61-13 over Nevada.
Banta-Cain One Sack Away from No. 4 on Career List
Tully Banta-Cain, who has pillaged opposing quarterbacks for 10 sacks this year and 17 over the past two campaigns, currently rests in fifth place on Cal's career list with 23.5 career sacks. His next sack will tie him for fourth place with Brandon Whiting (24.5). His 10 sacks rank fourth (1.00) among Pac-10 leaders this year, while his 17.5 tackles for loss are third in the conference.
Bears Have Outscored Foes by Eye-Bulging 204-96 Margin in First Halves This Year
Roaring out of the gates like few others, the new-and-improved Cal Bears have feasted on 2002 opponents in the first half this year. The Bears, who have trailed at halftime only once this season (at Oregon State, 21-10, Oct. 26), have outscored their foes by a whopping 204-96 margin through their first 10 games. That's a complete reversal from last season, when California was outscored by a 231-105 count in first halves. Arizona this year, however, has been outpointed, 136-105, in first halves. Cal has been particularly lethal in first quarters this year, outscoring its opponents, 103-36, in opening periods this season. While Jeff Tedford's squad has been lights out in the first two quarters, they have been outscored 98-50 in third periods this year (thanks mostly to a 29-7 meltdown in the third quarter against Washington StateSept. 28).
Led by Special Teams, Bears Uncorking a Bushel of Big Plays This Season
Another contributing factor to Cal's comeback season has been the big play. In their first 10 games, the Bears have unleashed no less than 18 plays that have measured 50 yards and beyond. Special teams have paved the way, churning out significant chunks of yardage with regularity. Cal currently ranks first in kickoff return average (24.8, 8th in the NCAA) and tied for fourth in punt return average (11.3) in the Pac-10. Kick returner LaShawn Ward, who has sprung loose for 56 (at Michigan State) and 55 (at Oregon State) yard returns this year, owns a 28.2-yard average to date (1st in the Pac-10, 8th in the NCAA), while Jemeel Powell-the school's No. 3 all-time punt returner (11.8 avg.)-averages 10.3 yards per punt return (8th in the Pac-10). Powell's 90-yard TD punt return in the first quarter at Michigan State Sept. 14 was the longest punt return by a Cal player in 43 years. Meanwhile, Cal's coverage units have been very respectable, limiting their foes to a 17.2-yard kickoff return average (1st in Pac-10) and 9.7 punt return figure. The Bears' kicking game has also been solid, with placekicker Mark Jensen already setting his all-time high for FGs in a season with 16, including the fifth (51) and sixth (50) longest in Cal history. Jensen's 16 three-pointers are tied for fourth place with Jim Breech (1977) on Cal's single season field goal list, trailing only Randy Pratt (22 in 1983), Robbie Keen (21 in 1988) and Doug Brien (19 in 1991).
Divine Intervention: Powell's Next Interception Will Tie Him for 5th Place on Cal's All-Time List
Senior cornerback Jemeel Powell is destined to finish his collegiate career as one of the greatest interception artists in Cal football history. Powell, who ranks second among Pac-10 leaders and 15th nationally with five interceptions (0.50) this year, has made 10 career picks, which ties him for seventh place on the school's all-time list. His next interception will catapult him into a three-way tie for fifth place with Deltha O'Neal and Ron Coccimiglio. Powell has also broken up 11 passes in 2002, giving him 30 for his career to rank second on Cal's all-time list (Chidi Iwuoma leads with 35 passes broken up from 1997-2000).
Swoboda Ranks 3rd in Receptions, 2nd in TD Grabs among Pac-10 Tight Ends
The Bears' Tom Swoboda, who has snared six or more passes in a game four times this season, plays a key role in Cal's passing offense. He is tied for second on the team in both receptions (33 for 347 yards) and TD catches (6). His 33 grabs also rank third among Pac-10 tight ends (tied with Oregon's George Wrighster) and are 15 more receptions than the entire tight end corps snagged all last season at Cal. His six TD grabs are second most by a conference tight end. And talk about a personal turnaround, Swoboda had caught only a combined eight passes for 89 yards and no TDs during his three previous seasons in Berkeley.
Two-Time All-Pac-10 Linebacker Lance Briggs Heads 10 NorCal Players from State of ArizonaTen Wildcats with Northern California roots return to their home turf on Saturday, headed by one of the nation's top linebackers in Lance Briggs of Sacramento. Briggs, who hails from Elk Grove High School, is vying to become one of the few players in history to earn All-Pac-10 first team honors for three straight years. He currently ranks second in the conference in tackles per game (8.9) and has been listed among the Pac-10's top six tacklers in each of the last three seasons. The other Northern California products are tight end Justin Levasseur (Antioch HS), defensive back Kirk Johnson (Oakland, Skyline HS), wide receiver Scott Altick (Palo Alto, St. Francis HS), defensive linemen Matt Lam (San Jose, Valley Christian HS), Isaac Watts (Alameda, Encinal HS), Copeland Bryan (San Jose, Bellarmine Prep), Andre Torrey (San Francisco, Alameda HS) and Carl Tuitavuki (Alameda, San Leandro HS), and offensive lineman Tanner Bell (Castroville, No. Monterey County HS).
The One-Year Switcheroo: Cal Changes for the Better in '02
Very few college football programs have undergone such positive one-year transformations the likes of California. After 10 games last year, the Bears were saddled with an 0-10 record and were being outdistanced by an average score of 42.1 points to 18.1 points. Ten games into this season, Cal sports its best start (6-4) since 1996 and is outscoring its opponents by a margin 9.7 points (35.6 to 25.9).
What About Bob? Arizona's Underrated Wade May Be Best Wide Receiver Cal Has Faced This Season
Another week and another national-caliber wide receiver awaits the Bears' defense. And while there have been more publicized names that have tested Cal's secondary-namely All-America candidates as Michigan State's Charles Rogers, Washington State's Devard Darling, Washington's Reggie Williams, USC's Mike Williams and Arizona State's Shaun McDonald-the best of the lot may very well be Arizona's Bobby Wade. Wade, who has posted eight 100-yard receiving games over his last 13 contests, currently leads the Pac-10 in receptions per game (7.60), and all-purpose yardage (150.7), and is second in both receiving yardage per game (105.8) and punt return average (13.6). His 76 receptions this year are tied for No. 2 on Arizona's single-season charts, while his 213 career receptions rank second to Dennis Northcutt (223) on the school's all-time list and are the fifth-most in conference history. Wade needs only 11 catches to vault into third-place on the Pac-10 list ahead of Northcutt and Stanford's Darrin Nelson, who both snared 223. The all-time conference leaders are Stanford's Troy Walters (248) and DeRonnie Pitts (228).
Cal, Arizona Have Played 4 Common Opponents, With Bears Holding 2-Game Edge
California and Arizona have played four common opponents this season. The Golden Bears have etched a 2-2 record against those teams, while the Wildcats have gone 0-4.
Gould, Robertson Headline 4 Bears With Ties to AZ
California running back coach Ron Gould and sophomore backup quarterback Reggie Robertson grew up in the shadow of the University of Arizona campus. Gould was born in Tucson and prepped at Santa Rita High School before becoming a standout defensive back at Scottsdale Community College in 1984-85. Robertson, a Nashville, Tenn. Native, also spent his childhood in Tucson, where he enjoyed a record-setting career at Sahuaro High School. During his prep tenure, he passed for 7,106 yards in his career-second best in state history-and established the city's single-season passing record as a senior with 2,933 yards. Gould and Robertson are two of four Golden Bears with Arizona state ties. The others are starting inside linebacker Matt Nixon, a Phoenix native who was all-state at Sunnyslope High, and backup offensive lineman Derek Joyce, who grew up in Scottsdale, Ariz. and was all-state at Paradise Valley High School.
12 of Last 13 Cal-Ariz Games Decided by 7 Points or Less
When Cal and Arizona meet on the gridiron, it's almost a sure bet that the game's outcome will come down to the final minutes. Twelve of the last 13 meetings between the schools have been decided by seven points or less, including overtime games in 1996 and '97, and a 23-23 tie in 1987. The only exception was last year's game at California Memorial Stadium, when the Wildcats ambushed the Bears,38-24. The '96 contest remains the longest in Cal history, won by the Bears, 56-55, in four overtimes at Berkeley, thanks to a remarkable 503-yard, eight-touchdown display by quarterback Pat Barnes. In '97, Arizona prevailed in a 41-38, triple-overtime thriller in Tucson. Appropriately, both Cal and Arizona have posted 6-6-1 records in those past 13 games.
Saturday's victory at Arizona State was only Cal's second victory in November in the past five years (the Bears also beat Rutgers in last year's season finale, 20-10, in New Jersey) ... The Bears' defense, fueled by six sacks for 46 yards in losses, held Arizona State to minus-2 yards in rushing last week ... Cal running back Adimchinobe Echemandu, who finally was cleared for full practice recently following an extensive knee rehab that has sidelined him all season, underwent an appendectomy last Friday and will be unavailable for at least the Arizona tilt ... The Wildcats' defensive coordinator Larry MacDuff was on the Memorial Stadium turf 20 years ago, serving as Stanford's defensive coordinator when college football's wackiest play unfolded in the 1982 Big Game. The 20th anniversary of 'The Play' will be recognized at this year's Cal-Stanford game on Nov. 23 in Berkeley ... Arizona is still seeking its first Pac-10 win of the season, having gone 0-6 thus far in the conference. The Wildcats are trying to avoid their first winless Pac-10 season since joining the conference 25 years ago. U of A is also 2-17 in its last 19 conference games-the school's worst stretch since joining the Pac-10 in 1978 ... Last year, it was the Golden Bears who were 0-5 when they played Arizona in Berkeley. Cal went on to an 0-8 slate in the Pac-10 last season and posted a 1-10 overall mark which was the worst record in 104 years at the school ... Sacks were big news last week as the Bears faced the nation's No. 1 sack artist in Terrell Suggs at ASU, and it figures to be one of the storylines again this weekend. Arizona has allowed the most QB sacks in the Pac-10 with 44-an average of 4.4 per game-while Cal ranks fourth in the conference in most times getting to the quarterback (33). What's more, the Bears have yielded only 19 sacks on offense, the third-fewest in the Pac-10, while Arizona's defense ranks last with only 18 sacks to its credit ...Another intriguing matchup is Cal's rushing defense, which ranks ninth in the league (127.9), against Arizona's rushing offense, which averages only 1.5 yards per rush and ranks dead last among Division 1-A schools at a paltry 46.9 yards per contest ... Wildcat QB Jason Johnson has quietly broken Arizona's all-time single season passing yardage mark. He threw for 133 yards last weekend against UCLA, giving him 2,566 yards this season to surpass Tom Tunnicliffe's 2,520 in 1982 ... Arizona's John Mackovic (Kansas City Chiefs) is the third former NFL head coach that Cal has faced this season. The others are USC's Pete Carrroll (New England Patriots and New York Jets) and Oregon State's Dennis Erickson (Seattle Seahawks) ... Under the tutelage of Tedford, Boller is completing almost 9% more of his passes this year over his career percentage entering this season. Boller owned a 45.1% figure through his first three years in Berkeley, but this season, he's connecting at a 45.0% clip ... Cal head man Jeff Tedford has been associated with teams that have carved out a 27-7 record since the start of the 2000 season, as Oregon reeled off 11-1 and 10-2 marks in 2000 and '01 with Tedford serving as offensive coordinator, while Cal has posted a 6-4 record thus far in '02 ... Coincidence or not? Cal is 5-1 in games that are televised this year, 1-3 when there's no live TV ... Cal has scored on its first possession of the game in six of its 10 games this year (4 TDs, 2 FGs). The only times the Bears failed to score on their first possession have been road games at Michigan State, Washington, Oregon State and Arizona State ... Thus far this season (prior to Monday's selections this week), Cal has landed five Pac-10 Players of the Week, tied for second most in the conference. QB Kyle Boller has won the award twice this year, following road upset victories Michigan State and Washington, while K Mark Jensen boomed a school-record five field goals in the Air Force loss to win the award, and PR Jemeel Powell was cited after the Michigan State game for his 90-yard TD punt return. Most recently, LB Tom Canada earned the award vs. UCLA Oct. 19, following his two-sack, two-forced-fumble effort ...This week is the 48th anniversary of Cal's greatest single-game rushing game, as Jerry Drew sprang loose for 283 yards on only 11 carries-25.7 yards per carry-against Oregon State at Memorial Stadium on Nov. 13, 1954 ... Cal and Arizona are two football programs that have operated for more than 100 years. The Bears, whose first season was 1882, sport a 565-443-51 record for a .558 winning percentage, while the Wildcats, who played their first contest in 1899, own a 534-359-32 mark for a .595 figure.
Thu 5/25 | 6:00pm PTLive
Fri 5/26 | 10:30am PTLive
Fri 5/26 | 4:00pm PTLive