No. 12 Cal Hosts Arizona
Sept. 26, 2005
Television: TBS with Ron Thulin (play-by-play), Charles Davis (analyst) and Craig Sager (sideline).
Radio: Cal Radio Network (Flagship: KGO AM 810, San Francisco) with Joe Starkey (play-by-play), Troy Taylor (analyst) and Todd McKim (sideline).
Rankings: California is ranked No. 12 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 11 in the USA Today Poll. Arizona is not ranked.
THIS WEEK'S GAME
California returns to Memorial Stadium Saturday seeking its first 5-0 start since 1996. The Golden Bears host Arizona at 4 p.m., and the contest will be televised nationally by TBS.
In defeating its first four opponents by more than four touchdowns per game, Cal has featured a running game that leads the Pac-10 and ranks sixth nationally in rushing average (275.3 ypg). Under Jeff Tedford, the Bears have increased their production on the ground each season, from 108.1 ypg in 2002 to 168.3 ypg in '03 to 256.8 ypg last year. If this season's figure holds, the Bears will post their highest rushing average since the 1952 squad ran for 317.0 ypg.
Cal entered the fall expecting sophomore tailback Marshawn Lynch to carry the load. But after Lynch produced a career-high 147-yard effort vs. Sacramento State in the opener, he broke a bone in his left hand the following week at Washington. In his absence, junior Marcus O'Keith had a 103-yard performance against the Huskies, while sophomore Justin Forsett rushed for 187 yards vs. Illinois and 235 yards at New Mexico State last weekend - the third-highest back-to-back total in school history.
At quarterback, junior Joe Ayoob has settled into his role as starter. Since an inauspicious 0-for-10 day in a relief role against Sac State, he has completed 42 of his last 70 attempts (60.0 percent) for 676 yards and six touchdowns.
On the outside, true freshman wide receiver DeSean Jackson had his most productive game yet against the Aggies, hauling in nine catches for 130 yards - a Cal record for receiving yards by a freshman (old mark: 118 yards by Greg Woodard vs. Oregon State in 1979).
Cal's defense continues to pace the Pac-10 in both scoring (13.25 ppg) and pass efficiency defense (96.08 rating), while the Bears are second to Washington State in both total defense (309.25 ypg) and rushing defense (105.75 ypg). Cal has surrendered only 13 second-half points all year, with only Washington reaching the end zone on a third-quarter touchdown.
Saturday is Homecoming for the Bears with events planned throughout the weekend. For more information, visit homecoming.berkeley.edu. Free samples of CalBears Blend coffee, presented by Liquid Planet, will be distrubuted to 10,000 fans as they exit the stadium (while supplies last). Cal's official tailgate party, FunZone, begins at 1:30 p.m. on Maxwell Family Field and features the SBC College Football Experience, while the March to Victory starts at 1:40 p.m., next to Maxwell Field.
A Quick Look at Arizona
Arizona enters Saturday's game vs. Cal with a 1-2 record and is coming off a bye week, having not played since losing a 31-24 decision to then-No. 12 Purdue in Tucson. The Wildcats lead the Pac-10 in passing defense, surrendering just 164.3 ypg and have allowed only two touchdown passes. However, they are also giving up 202.0 ypg rushing, 10th in the conference. QB Richard Kovalcheck is completing 58.3 percent of his passes and has thrown for 793 yards and seven scores, while RB Mike Bell averages 88.1 ypg on the ground. TE Brad Wood already has four TD catches (12 receptions total) and paces the squad in scoring with 24 points.
Arizona Head Coach Mike Stoops
Mike Stoops (Iowa '86) is in his second season at Arizona and owns a 4-10 record with the Wildcats. Prior to his hiring in Tucson, he was the defensive coordinator to brother Bob Stoops at Oklahoma from 1999-2003. A two-time first team All-Big Ten safety for Iowa (1983-84), Stoops' first coaching job was as a Hawkeye graduate assistant from 1986-87. He was a volunteer assistant for the Hawkeyes' linebackers and defensive backs (1988-91) before becoming Kansas State's defensive ends coach (1992-95). Stoops was promoted to co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at KSU before joining the Oklahoma program.
The California Golden Bears, now 4-0 on the season and 1-0 in Pac-10 play, have completed non-conference play with a perfect record and will again turn their attention to the league race as they host the Arizona Wildcats (1-2, 0-0) at Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.
For the second straight week, the Bears are appearing on national television. This week's game will be televised nationally by TBS. Last week, California appeared on ESPN's Friday night telecast and recorded a 41-13 win at New Mexico State.
California enters the week as one of 28 teams that remain undefeated one month into the season. There are 11 teams that are 4-0, 16 squads are 3-0 and LSU was 1-0 entering Monday's game against Tennessee.
California enters the Arizona game ranked No. 12 in the Associated Press poll and No. 11 in the USA Today poll. The first Harris poll of the season has been announced and California is ranked 11th.
California enters the Arizona game ranked in the national polls for the 17th consecutive week, every week since the 2004 preseason poll. It is the longest such streak for the Bears since they entered the polls in the middle of the 1949 season and remained there until November of 1952 during the heyday of the Pappy Waldorf era. That streak included 36 straight appearances by the Bears as a ranked team. California's last appearance as a non-ranked team came Dec. 26, 2003, in the Insight Bowl. Cal won that game, 52-49.
Arizona Comes To Town
The Bears play their first Pac-10 home game of the season Saturday afternoon when they host Arizona. Cal opened league play on Sept. 10 with a 56-17 win at Washington. Arizona will be playing its first league game of the season after a 2-6 Pac-10 record in 2004, its first season under the direction of head coach Mike Stoops.
Last Year Against The Wildcats
California recorded its first shutout under Jeff Tedford in a 38-0 win at Arizona Stadium. Aaron Rodgers tossed three first-half touchdowns as the Bears ran out to a 28-0 halftime lead. J.J. Arrington ran for 135 yards on 24 carries as California outgained Arizona, 459-245.
California is 4-0 for the first time under Jeff Tedford and for the first time overall since 1996 when the Bears won their first five games under Steve Mariucci on their way to a 6-6 record. California has started a season 4-0 just 10 times since World War II.
The Bears will hit the turf on Saturday looking for just their fifth 5-0 start since 1950.It would mark California's fourth 5-0 getaway since the 1991 season. Below is a look at Cal's 5-0 season starts and where those starts eventually propelled the Bears.
California enters the Arizona game having won 11 straight regular-season games, dating back to Oct. 9, 2004, when the seventh-ranked Bears lost at No. 1 USC, 23-17. The regular-season winning streak is the longest for California since the Bears won 33 consecutive regular-season games from Nov. 1, 1947, to Nov. 25, 1950.