No. 23 Cal Resumes Play At No. 15 Oregon
Oct. 31, 2005
Television: ABC with Keith Jackson (play-by-play), Dan Fouts (analyst) and Todd Harris (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. 23 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 21 in the USA Today Poll. Oregon is ranked No. 15 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 13 in the USA Today Poll.
This Week's Game
California returns to the gridiron Saturday, Nov. 5 following its only bye week of the season, when the Golden Bears travel to Eugene, Ore., to face the Oregon Ducks. The game kicks off at 12:30 p.m. and will be televised regionally by ABC.
The Bears hope that their time off between games will help several players get healthy enough to return to action, most notably three starters who missed the 42-38 come-from-behind victory over Washington State Oct. 22 - OT Ryan O'Callaghan (concussion), WR Robert Jordan (collarbone) and WR DeSean Jackson (shoulder). DT Brandon Mebane also sat out all but a few plays of the WSU game with a sprained ankle.
Even short-handed, Cal responded with its biggest fourth-quarter comeback of the Jeff Tedford era against the Cougars. Trailing 38-28 with just over five minutes left, QB Joe Ayoob connected with walk-on WR LaRayelle Cunningham for a 57-yard scoring strike. The junior signal-caller put the Bears in the lead for good with a nine-yard touchdown toss to former City College of San Francisco teammate Lavelle Hawkins with 1:50 to go in the game.
In the backfield, sophomore tailbacks Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett both went over the 100-yard mark in the same game for the second time this year. Lynch finished with a career-high 160 yards on 25 carries, while Forsett had 111 yards on 12 attempts. The players also topped 100 yards each at UCLA. For the season, each back is averaging just over 108 ypg, with Forsett rushing for an amazing 8.18 yards-per-carry.Defensively, Cal continues to lead the Pac-10 in scoring defense (20.1 ppg) and pass efficiency defense (106.5 rating). Cornerbacks Daymeion Hughes (13) and Tim Mixon (11) rate 1-2 in the league in passes defended, respectively. As a group, Cal is tied with USC for second in the conference with 11 interceptions. Hughes (four) and Mixon (three) have combined for seven of those picks.
A Quick Look at Oregon
Like Cal, Oregon had a bye week prior to the Nov. 5 match-up. The key task facing the Ducks is preparing sophomore Dennis Dixon for his first start at quarterback vs. the Bears. Dixon replaces senior Kellen Clemens, who broke his leg in the third quarter of Oregon's 28-21 win at Arizona Oct. 22. Dixon has completed 15-of-20 passes for 130 yards and one touchdown this season. Senior WR Demetrius Williams leads the squad in receiving with 46 catches for 895 yards (111.9 ypg), and senior TB Terrence Whitehead is Oregon's top rusher with an average of 55.4 ypg. On the other side of the ball, Oregon ranks third in the Pac-10 in total defense, allowing 359.8 ypg, and the Ducks are third in the league in rushing defense (121.4 ypg). Senior safety Anthony Trucks a league-best has 8.0 sacks among his 11.0 tackles for loss.
Oregon Head Coach Mike Bellotti
Mike Bellotti is in his 11th season at the helm of the Oregon program and has an 87-41 record with the Ducks. A Bay Area native, Bellotti starred at tight end and wide receiver for UC Davis. He began his coaching career on the Aggies' junior varsity staff (1973-74) before becoming the JV head coach (1975-76). He was offensive coordinator at Cal State Hayward (1977-78, 1980-83) and Weber State (1979) before taking the head coaching job at Chico State (1984-88), where he was 21-25-2 with the Wildcats. Bellotti's tenure at Oregon began in 1989 as the Ducks offensive coordinator until his hiring as head coach in February 1995.
The California Golden Bears, now 6-2 overall and 3-2 in Pacific-10 play, return to action this weekend when they visit the Oregon Ducks in an important conference battle. Oregon (7-1/4-1) enters the contest riding a four-game winning streak. Both teams are coming off an open date (Oct. 29th). Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m.
For the sixth straight game, California will be making a national cable or regional network television appearance. Saturday's game will be televised on a regional basis by ABC, marking the Bears' third appearance on ABC this season. Cal was a winner at Washington and dropped a home game to Oregon State in front of the ABC cameras. Along with the ABC appearances, Cal has made two appearances on TBS and one each on ESPN and Fox Sports Net.
Three To Go
California heads into a tough three-game stretch to end the season. Cal's final three opponents, Oregon, Southern California and Stanford, have won 15 of their last 16 games and have a combined record of 19-4. Two of the Bears' final three games will be played on the road.