Cal Hosts Stanford in 105th Renewal of the Big Game
Nov. 17, 2002
This Week's Game
Cal concludes the 2002 regular season with the 105th renewal of the Big Game, hosting Stanford Saturday afternoon at 12:30 in Berkeley's Memorial Stadium. At 6-5 overall, the Bears not only have an opportunity to post their first winning record since 1993, but they would do so by capturing the Axe for the first time in eight years.
Although Cal lost its most recent outing vs. Arizona, this season has seen a number of streaks come to an end. The Bears snapped a 26-year losing streak to Washington in October, beat Arizona State in Tempe for the first time since 1990 and defeated three ranked teams in one year for the first time in 52 seasons.
Cal has made a remarkable turnaround in Jeff Tedford's first year as head coach, rejuvenating a program that won just one game in 2001 and facing the prospects of its first .500 mark in Pac-10 play since the Bears were 4-4 in 1993.
Leading the offensive charge is senior QB Kyle Boller, who has tossed 26 touchdown passes, including five each in wins over Washington and Arizona State. One of 14 semifinalists for the Davey O'Brien Award, Boller has earned conference Offensive Player of the Week honors three times this season.
Defensively, senior end Tully Banta-Cain has registered 20 tackles for loss (tied for seventh on the Cal season list), including 12 sacks (4th). As a result, his career sack total has reached 25.5, perching him in third place in school history behind only Andre Carter (31.0) and Regan Upshaw (28.0).
Cal -Stanford Series
Stanford and Cal will battle for the Axe for the 105th time since the two teams began meeting in 1892. Stanford leads the series, 54-39-11, and has possessed the Axe for seven consecutive years. This year's game represents the 20th anniversary of 'The Play,' Cal's five-lateral kickoff return in the 1982 Big Game that provided the winning margin in a 25-20 Bear victory. Last year, the Cardinal held on for a 35-28 victory that went down to the wire at Stanford Stadium. The rivalry has a history of tight scoring games, with 50 Big Games having been decided by one touchdown or less. The Bears have not defeated the Cardinal since 1994, a 24-23 win at Memorial Stadium.
A Quick Look at Stanford
Stanford plays its final game of the season, when the Cardinal travels to Cal on Saturday. With just one win in conference play, Stanford is coming off a 31-21 loss to Oregon State. Freshman quarterback Kyle Matter, who hails from the same high school as Cal's Kyle Boller (Newhalls' Hart HS), has thrown for 1,068 yards and seven touchdowns. Three running backs have gained more than 300 yards on the ground, led by Kerry Carter's 490.
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, 6-5 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.
Buddy Teevens (Dartmouth '79), in his first season as head coach of the Cardinal, has compiled a 2-8 mark. Prior to joining the Stanford staff, he served as an assistant and head coach in the college ranks for 23 years. Most recently, Teevens was an assistant on Steve Spurrier's staff at Florida (1999-2001), participating in three consecutive bowl games. His other coaching stops included Depauw (running backs, 1979-80), Boston University (offensive coordinator, 1981-84), Maine (head coach, 1985-86), Dartmouth (head coach, 1987-91), Tulane (head coach, 1992-96) and Illinois (offensive coordinator, 1997-98).
Cal Flip Books (sponsored by the Contra Costa Times and Good Guys) commemorating the 20th Anniversary of 'The Play' will be given away to the first 20,000 fans.
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 game, Lorenzo Alexander blocked a Wildcat field goal attempt and James Bethea returned it 60 yards for a touchdown.
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 game, LaShaun Ward returned a kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown and caught a 25-yard pass for another score.
California Eyes First Winning Season in Nine Years
Not only has California rebounded dramatically from last year's 1-10 debacle, the Bears have established themselves as a nationally respected program almost overnight. A victory in this week's Big Game will clinch Cal's first winning season since 1993, when Keith Gilbertson's club etched a 9-4 mark. By shredding Arizona State, 55-38, in Tempe two Saturdays ago, 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 nationally 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).
Three of Bears' Losses Decided by Combined 14 Points
The Bears have come oh-so-close to being 9-2 through their first 11 games. Three of their five 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 (8-2), and Air Force (8-3)-that have posted a current aggregate record of 25-6 this year. A closer look at those three reed-thin defeats:
Air Force 23, Cal 21 (Sept. 21): In the narrow setback to Air Force, a two-point conversion try went awry when a Kyle Boller to Joe Igber pass was batted away at the last second with only 31 seconds left on the clock-a play that probably would have sent the game into overtime if successful.
Washington State 48, Cal 38 (Sept. 28): Cal settled for a game-tying field goal (38-38) by Mark Jensen with 7:33 remaining in the game against then-nationally No. 16 ranked Washington State, the Pac-10 pre-season favorite. But the Cougars rallied with 10 points down the stretch to avoid a Bear upset.
USC 30, Cal 28 (Oct. 12): The Bears bolted out to a 21-3 early advantage over USC, only to lose the lead in the second half before rallying in the late going. Trailing 27-21 with 3:23 left in the game, Cal forced a Trojan fumble and had a chance to go ahead before a Boller interception pass squelched any comeback notions.
Cal's No. 1 Ranked Offense (36.1 ppg) Squares Off Against Stanford's No. 10 Defense (34.7 ppg)
On paper, it would appear Cal's scoring juggernaut would carry a decided edge into this week's Big Game. Spewing out 36.1 points per game, the Bears rank first in scoring offense among Pac-10 teams and are rated ninth nationally. They will be matched against a Stanford defense that has been dented for 34.7 points per contest, the highest yield in the conference and 100th worst mark in Division I-A. Cal has already outscored last year's team by 196 points, cashing in 49 touchdowns and 397 points in its 11 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 seven 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 397 points this season are the most scored by a Cal team in a regular season since 1991, when the Bears tallied a school modern-day record 406 points in a 11-game regular season schedule. Its 55-point outburst at ASU two weeks ago marks the first time Cal has scored 55 points or more twice in a season since 1922 (also 70 vs. Baylor). That '22 club reeled off wins of 80-0 vs. the Mare Island Marines, 61-0 vs. Washington State and 61-13 over Nevada.
The Nation's Most Improved QB? Boller Named Davey O'Brien Award Semifinalist Last Week
Kyle Boller continues to gain national respect during his remarkable senior campaign. Last Wednesday, he was named one of 14 semifinalists for the Davey O'Brien Award, which is presented annually to college football's top quarterback. Capping his collegiate career as a four-year starter with a monster final season, Boller has ventured where very few Cal quarterbacks have ever gone. Not Craig Morton, not Joe Kapp, not Steve Bartkowski, not Joe Roth. The only Pac-10 quarterback to throw for five touchdown passes twice this season and the conference's only player to win Pac-10 Player of the Week honors three times in 2002, Boller registered his 10th 200-yard passing game of the season in Saturday's 52-41 loss to Arizona. His 22-of-45, 298-yard effort against the Wildcats continued his upward journey on Cal's career statistical charts. With a school-record 62 TD strikes, Boller has thrown for a career high 26 touchdowns (tied for tops in Pac-10 with ASU's Andrew Walter) and only nine 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 62 touchdown passes are also tied for seventh on the Pac-10 career chart, while his 26-to-9 TD/interception ratio ranks among the best in the league this year. The Golden-armed Bear's 26 TD tosses are also second most on Cal's single season list-trailing Pat Barnes (31 in 1996) by five-and tied for seventh in Pac-10 annals. Boller also continues to zoom up Cal's all-time passing yardage chart, perched in second-place with his current 7,792 total. Boller needs only 335 more yards to surpass all-time leader Troy Taylor (8,126). In 2002, Boller has threaded 53.6% of his attempts (209-390) for 2,627 yards, the sixth-best single season yardage mark in school annals. The Bear signal-caller has also contributed to 30 TDs this year-an average of 2.72 per game-also rushing for three scores and catching a pass for another touchdown. His 16.36 points per game ranks second in the Pac-10 (behind USC's Carson Palmer) and sixth nationally in Points Responsible For. Some of Boller's success should be credited to Cal's reconstructed offensive line, which has allowed 23 sacks (third-lowest in Pac-10) in 10 games this year.
Bears Boast +16 Turnover Margin to Rank Fifth Nationally; Cal's 20 Fumble Recoveries Leads Nation
The Golden Bears, despite allowing 404.8 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 33 turnovers and committed only 17 for a conference-leading TO margin of +16-the nation's fifth-best figure (+1.45 per game). In fact, that +16 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 33 takeaways (tied for 3rd in NCAA) this fall are 15 more than Cal managed in an 11-game slate last season. Included in that total are a nation-leading 20 fumble recoveries this year, which also is 10 more than last season's output. What's more, Cal has scored no less than 121 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 seven turnovers all year in posting a collective +13 mark during the first 30 minutes of their games. Cal is tied with Arizona State for the conference lead in turnovers gained with its 33 total. Interestingly, a year ago when Cal played at Stanford in the 10th game of the season, the Bears were ranked last in the Pac-10 in turnover margin at -17.
Divine Intervention: Powell's Next Interception Will Tie Him for 5th Place on Cal's All-Time List
Senior cornerback Jemeel Powell-who missed last year's Big Game with a groin injury-is destined to finish his collegiate career as one of the greatest interception artists in Cal football history. Powell, who is tied for second among Pac-10 leaders and 19th nationally with five interceptions (0.45) 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 12 passes in 2002, giving him 31 for his career to rank second on Cal's all-time list (Chidi Iwuoma leads with 35 passes broken up from 1997-2000).
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). Cal's 2002 slate hasn't been quite as suffocating. Entering Week 12 of the season, the opponents on the Bears' schedule have churned a .559 winning percentage, registering a combined 71-56 mark. The Bears, who play the nation's 32nd-toughest cumulative schedule (according to current NCAA rankings), have 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? If his first season at Cal is any indication, the answer is a resounding yes. A man who helped build winning programs at Oregon and Fresno State, Tedford has laid 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 Stanford Saturday, 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 47 receptions for 613 yards and seven touchdowns. Other key pass-catchers from the wideout spots include senior LaShaun Ward (37 rec., 656 yds., 7 TDs) and sophomore Geoff McArthur (36 rec., 454 yds., 1 TD). After 10 straight contests, Makonnen failed to catch at least three passes in a game last weekend (he was held to one reception for 19 yards).
Igber Could Become Bears' 1st 1,000-Yard Rusher in 9 Years, Needs 33 Yards for 3rd Place on Career List
After being harnessed to only 133 combined yards in his previous three games, senior running back Joe Igber has burst loose for 234 yards on 49 carries over his past two outings against Arizona State (30-144) and Arizona (19-90). He has now rushed for 904 yards on 215 attempts through 11 games this year, inching upwards on the Bears' all-time rushing and all-purpose charts. With 96 yards on Saturday, the Nigerian native Igber can become Cal's first player to rush for 1,000 yards in a season since 1993 (Lindsey Chapman, 1,037) and only the ninth Bear to do so in history. Igber also 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 82.2 ground yards per game this season-the fourth-best figure in the Pac-10-Igber has increased his career rushing total to 2,898 yards. His 904 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 33 yards to surpass No. 3 Paul Jones (2,930) on Cal's all-time list. In addition, the diminutive Igber-who has stockpiled 297 all-purpose yards over his past two games-has shot into Cal's career Top 10 in all-purpose yardage with 3,636, the sixth-highest total in school annuals. With 90 more all-purpose yards, he will zip ahead of Jones (3,726, 1975, 1977-79) into fifth place.
Stanford's WR Luke Powell Has Been California Nemesis in Past Two Big Games
Although his numbers (21 for 242 yards, 1 TD) pale in comparison to his totals last year (40-790, 7 TDs), Stanford wide receiver Luke Powell poses a serious threat any time he faces the Golden Bears. In his first two Big Games, he has blazed through Cal's defense for a combined 253 yards on eight catches, averaging a whopping 31.6 yards per reception. He's also gathered in three touchdown passes against the Bears, including a 75-yarder in 2000 and 79-yarder last year. It seems every week this season, Cal has faced a dangerous home run threat at wide receiver. The list includes Michigan State's Charles Rogers, Washington State's Devard Darling, Washington's Reggie Williams, USC's Mike Williams, Arizona State's Shaun McDonald, and Arizona's Bobby Wade.
Banta-Cain Claims 3rd Place on Cal's Career Sack List
Tully Banta-Cain, who has pillaged opposing quarterbacks for 12 sacks this year and 20 over the past two campaigns, leap-frogged two positions into third place on Cal's career list with two sacks against Arizona. His 25.5 career sacks are only 2.5 shy of No. 2 Regan Upshaw and 5.5 away from all-time leader Andre Carter. His 12 sacks (1.09) and 20.5 tackles for loss both rank second behind ASU's Terrell Suggs among Pac-10 leaders this year.
Bears Have Outscored Foes by Eye-Bulging 221-120 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 last week trailed at halftime (24-17) for only the second time this season (first time: Oregon State, 21-10, Oct. 26), have outscored their foes by a whopping 221-120 margin through 11 games. That's a complete reversal from last season, when California was outscored by a 231-105 count in first halves. Cal has been particularly lethal in first quarters this year, outscoring its opponents, 106-36, in opening periods this season. While Jeff Tedford's squad has been lights out in the first two quarters, they have been outscored 105-64 in third periods this year (thanks mostly to a 29-7 meltdown in the third quarter against Washington State Sept. 28).
Pac-10 Scoring Leader Jensen Named Lou Groza Award Semifinalist, Eyes 4th Place on Cal Scoring List
Always a consistent performer, Cal's Mark Jensen has emerged as one of the country's most prolific kickers in 2002. Two weeks ago, the Bears' kicker was named one of 20 semifinalists for the 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 leads the Pac-10 in scoring and ranks 18th nationally with 101 points (9.18 per game). He has nailed 18 of 23 FG attempts-his 1.64 FGs per game ranks fourth nationally-and a school-record 47-for-47 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 44 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 238 points rank sixth on the list, but seven points in the season finale can vault him into fourth place ahead of Russell White (242) and Robbie Keen (244).
Reversal of Fortune: Bears' 5-Win Increase from Last Year Ties for Nation Lead & 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. And with their impressive 6-5 mark this season, 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 ties for the biggest increase among Division 1-A teams this season. 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). According to NCAA records, if the Bears win their final game to post a 7-5 record, their six-game improvement from 2001 would match the sixth-biggest Division I-A turnaround in history. The greatest swing ever is 8.5 games by Hawaii in 1999.
Swoboda Ranks 1st in Receptions & TD Grabs among Pac-10 Tight Ends
The Bears' Tom Swoboda, who has snared six or more passes in a game five times this season, plays a key role in Cal's passing offense. He ranks second on the team in receptions (40 for 430 yards) and his seven TD catches equal the club high. His 40 grabs also rank first among Pac-10 tight ends and are 22 more receptions than the entire tight end corps snagged all last season at Cal. His seven TD grabs are tied with Oregon's George Wrighster for 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.
Bears Rank Second in Pac-10 Red Zone Offense
The Bears rank second behind Oregon (38of 41 92.7%) in Pac-10 red zone offense, having converted 39 of 43 scoring opportunities (90.7%) inside the opponent's 20-yard line this year with 27 TDs and 12 field goals. Conversely, opponents have scored on only 29 of 40 (72.5%) red zone chances. Stanford's offense ranks ninth in the Pac-10, converting 73.0% of its red-zone chances (27 of 37). Cal has also committed only 17 turnovers-22nd fewest in the nation-this season and has allowed QB Kyle Boller to be sacked only 23 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%).
The Switcheroo: Cal Changes for the Better in '02
Very few college football programs have undergone such positive one-year transformations the likes of California. In their 11-game schedule last year, the Bears were saddled with an 1-10 record and were outdistanced by an average score of 39.2 points to 18.3 points. Eleven games into this season, Cal sports its best record (6-5) since 1994 and is outscoring its opponents by a margin of 7.9 points (36.1 to 28.2).
Led by Special Teams, Bears Rip off Big Plays in '02
Another contributing factor to Cal's comeback season has been the big play. In their 11 games, the Bears have unleashed no less than 20 plays that have measured 50 yards and beyond. Cal currently ranks first in kickoff return average (24.9, 3rd in the NCAA) and is fifth in punt return average (11.1) in the Pac-10. Kick returner LaShaun Ward, who has sprung loose for 94 (last week vs. Arizona), 56 (at Michigan State) and 55 (at Oregon State) yard returns this year, owns a 29.6-yard average to date (1st in the Pac-10, 5th in the NCAA). If he can maintain that 29.6 figure this weekend, he will set a Cal single season mark. Ward, who has already tied Isaac Curtis for most KO yards (799) in a season, also has moved into fourth place on Cal's career KO average chart (24.5 avg., 44 for 1076). 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 11.1 punt return figure. What's more, Cal special teams have blocked four punts and three kicks this season, providing another momentum dimension to the '02 club. The Bears' kicking game has been solid, too, with placekicker Mark Jensen already setting his all-time high for FGs in a season with 18, including the fifth (51) and sixth (50) longest in Cal history. Jensen's 18 three-pointers are the fourth most 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).
Stanford Has Won 29 of Last 40 Big Games, Dating Back to 1961
Prior to 1961, the California Golden Bears held a 28-25 edge over Stanford in the Big Game rivalry. In fact, the Bears posted a 10-2-2 mark against Stanford from 1947-60, including a 7-1-2 showing under the legendary Pappy Waldorf during the years of 1947-56. However, since 1961, the Cardinal has reeled off a 29-11 record against its arch rival, going 7-0 since 1995 and 12-2-2 dating back to 1987.
Trading Places: Cal, Stanford Players Grew up on Other Side of Rivalry
Two Stanford players will be returning to the East Bay this weekend when the Cardinal plays at California's Memorial Stadium. Placekicker Eric Johnson grew up in nearby Antioch and starred at Antioch High School, while reserve wide receiver Evan Combs hails from Vallejo. On the Cal side, four Golden Bears spent their childhoods close to the Farm, although two of those four players will not participate in the 105th Big Game due to season-ending injuries. Defensive end Tully Banta-Cain, the Bears' top sack artist the past two years, and wide receiver Jonathan Makonnen, a transfer from City College of San Francisco, will play prominent roles this Saturday. Banta-Cain schooled at Fremont High School in Mountain View, earning the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League's Defensive Player of the Year. Makonnen, a member of the 2001 national championship team at CCSF, caught 62 passes for 1,246 yards and 21 TDs at Woodside High in Woodside as a prep senior after attending Mountain View's St. Francis High for three seasons. Those injured Bears who are peninsula products are linebacker John Klotsche (knee), who grew up in the backyard of Stanford at Palo Alto High School and was voted the DeAnza League's Defensive Player of the Year, and wide receiver Chase Lyman (hamstring), who hails from Los Altos Hills and earned the West Catholic Athletic League's Player of the Year at St. Francis High School.
A Series of Nail-Biters: Nearly Half of Big Games Decided by 7 Points or Less
Fifty of the 104 previous Big Games-almost half of the games-have been decided by seven points or less, including four of the last five meetings, six of the last nine, and 10 of the last 18 contests. What's more, 25 of the games-nearly 25 percent-have been decided by a field goal or less. Stanford's 36-30 overtime win in 2000 marked the fifth time the Big Game has been decided on the game's final play.
Cal, Stanford Share 6 Common Opponents, With Bears Holding 1-Game Edge
California and Stanford have played six common opponents this season. The Golden Bears have registered a 2-4 record against those teams, while the Cardinal has managed a 1-5 mark.
24 Cal Seniors to Play in Final Big Game
This will be the last Big Game for 24 Cal seniors, all of whom have never tasted victory against Stanford They include 13 starters: CB Nnamdi Asomugha, DE Tully Banta-Cain, QB Kyle Boller, DE Tom Canada, MLB Marcus Daniels, TB Joe Igber, NT Daniel Nwangwu, CB Jemeel Powell, TE Tom Swoboda, LG Scott Tercero, OLB Paul Ugenti, CB WR LaShaun Ward and FS Bert Watts. Parents of these seniors will participate in pre-game, on-field introduction ceremonies this Saturday. A list of the 2002 Cal senior class, which will be honored:
Nnamdi Asomugha, CBTully Banta-Cain, DEKyle Boller, QBTom Canada, DEJamaal Cherry, DEMarcus Daniels, LBTerrance Dotsy, TEJeremy Drake, FSJosh Gustaveson, DEChad Heydorff, WRCalvin Hosey, LBJoe Igber, TBMark Jensen, KRyan Jones, CJohn Klotsche, LBMatt Nixon, LBDaniel Nwangwu, NTJemeel Powell, CBDerek Swafford, WRTom Swoboda, TEScott Tercero, GPaul Ugenti, LBLaShaun Ward, WRBert Watts, FS
Cal Looks to End Another Long Drought This Week: Bears Try to Snap 7-Game Losing Streak in Big Game
Under the direction of new head coach Jeff Tedford, many long-time Cal stigmas have ended this season. On Oct. 5, the Bears halted a 19-game, 26-year losing streak to Washington, beating the Huskies, 34-27, in Seattle. Then on Nov. 9, Tedford's club ended a 5-game, 12-year victory drought in Tempe, Ariz., by bouncing the Arizona State Sun Devils, 55-38. Now this week, the Bears turn their attention towards severing a seven-game losing streak to Stanford. Cal has not claimed a Big Game victory since Keith Gilbertson's club rode the 205-yard rushing effort of Tyrone Edwards to a stirring 24-23 win at Berkeley in 1994.
Cal has scored first in every game this season ... Arizona's 52 points-more than triple its season average of 15.5 entering the game-were a season high for a Bear opponent ... The 93 combined points last week ranks No. 5 on the school's all-time list ... Kicker Mark Jensen is the fourth player in school history to score 100 points in a season and is Cal's first player to hit the century mark without the benefit of a TD ... LaShaun Ward's 94-yard KO return on Saturday was the seventh-longest in school history and the first for a TD since Deltha O'Neal returned a kick 100 yards in the 1999 Big Game ... Ward amassed 234 all-purpose yards (151 KOs/80 rec/3 rush) last week and now ranks fourth in Pac-10 all-purpose yards per game (135.5) ... James Bethea's 60-yard TD return is the first off a blocked kick in 23 years (Darnell Chapman, 76 yards vs. USC, 1979) ... Cal's 55-38 win at Arizona State two weeks ago was only the second Bear win in November in the past five years (they also beat Rutgers in last year's season finale, 20-10, in New Jersey) ... Clearly, Stanford enters this week's game with an advantage in the running game. The Cardinal are churning out 137.1 yards on the ground per contest-fourth best in the Pac-10-while the Bears' defense ranks seventh in the conference in rushing defense (115.8 ypg). However, the Bears' defense has held its last two opponents to minus rushing yards. Arizona State netted -2 yards on the ground Nov. 9, while Arizona checked in at -5 ... Conversely, California has surrendered 969 passing yards over its past two games (477 at ASU, 492 vs. Arizona) ... Cal running back Adimchinobe Echemandu, who finally was cleared for full practice recently following an extensive knee rehab that had sidelined him all season, underwent an appendectomy on Friday, Nov. 8 and will most likely not be available this weekend ... 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 53.6% clip ... Cal head man Jeff Tedford has been associated with teams that have carved out a 27-8 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 6-5 record thus far in '02 ... Coincidence or not? Cal is 5-1 in games that are televised this year, 1-4 when there's no live TV ... Cal has scored on its first possession of the game in seven of its 11 games this year (4 TDs, 3 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 six Pac-10 Players of the Week, joining USC as the school with the most in the conference. QB Kyle Boller has won the award three times this year-more than any other player in the Pac-10 this year-by orchestrating road victories at Michigan State, Washington and Arizona State. K Mark Jensen boomed a school-record five field goals in the Air Force loss Sept. 21 to win the award, while PR Jemeel Powell was cited after the Michigan State game for his 90-yard TD punt return and DE Tom Canada earned the award vs. UCLA Oct. 19, following his two-sack, two-forced-fumble effort ... While Stanford has been the perennial winner of the annual Sears Director's Cup as the nation's top athletic program, Cal almost matched the Cardinal in national team championships last year. Stanford claimed four titles in 2001-2002 (men's water polo, and women's volleyball, water polo and tennis), while the Bears were national champs in softball, rugby and men's crew.