California Opens Pac-10 Slate, Closes Homestand Against Arizona State
Sept. 18, 2006
2006 CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL
Game 4: Saturday, September 23; 12:30 p.m. (PT)
No. 22 Cal (2-1) vs. No. 20 Arizona State (3-0)
Berkeley, Calif. - Memorial Stadium
GOLDEN BEAR FACTS
2006 Record: 2-1
2005 Record: 8-4
2005 Pac-10 Record/Finish: 4-4/4th
Head Coach: Jeff Tedford
Alma Mater/Year: Fresno State/1983
Record at Cal/Year: 35-18/5th
Career Record/Years: Same
Football SID: John Sudsbury
Office Phone: 510-643-4723
Ticket Info: 800-GO-BEARS
Games Played: 25
Series Record: Cal trails, 13-12
First Meeting: 9/25/76, Cal, 31-22
Last Meeting: 10/30/04, Cal, 27-0
at Berkeley: 5-5
Current Streak: Cal win 3
Tedford vs. Arizona State: 3-0
Pac-10 action kicks off at Memorial Stadium today as the No. 22 Golden Bears close out a three-game homestand by hosting No. 20 Arizona State. California posted an impressive 42-16 victory over Portland State on Saturday while the undefeated Sun Devils are coming off a 21-3 win over Colorado. The Bears are hoping to have at least three wins in their first four games for the fourth time under Tedford and the sixth time in the last 10 years.
Recapping the Bears
California won its second straight game on Saturday, rolling to a 42-16 victory over Portland State at Memorial Stadium. The Vikings scored first with a field goal, but the Golden Bears responded with 35 unanswered points to put the game away in the first half. Interestingly, after a 58-point first half, neither team scored in the second stanza. Cal used the opportunity to give extensive playing time to a host of reserves. Six players saw their first career action while the bulk of the starters did not play in the second half. Running back Marshawn Lynch saw action on just three drives, but still managed to compile 112 rushing yards, thanks to one of his trademark runs - a career-long 71-yard burst while shedding tacklers. Quarterback Nate Longshore was very sharp once again, connecting on 15-of-23 passes for 225 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Sophomore DeSean Jackson continues to shine at receiver, posting his second 100-yard game of the season with 103 yards and a touchdown on five catches. Cal had 12 different players with receptions in the game. Defensively, a team effort held the Vikings to just 273 yards of total offense with Daymeion Hughes providing the key big play, a 30-yard interception return for a TD in the first quarter.
Bits on the Bears
Nate Longshore has completed 37-of-54 (68.5%) passes for 525 yards with six touchdowns and just one interception in the last two games ... in three games (16 catches for 304 yards, 5 TDs), DeSean Jackson is nearly halfway to what he accomplished statistically in 12 games (38-601, 7 TDs) in 2005 ... Daymeion Hughes is tied for fourth in the nation in interceptions ... Jackson is tied for second in the nation in receiving TDs ... the Bears have not had more than 10 players catch passes in a game in over 10 years, on Saturday, 12 different players had receptions ... prior to Saturday, the Bears had not had three QBs complete passes in a game since Oct. 25, 2003; they have not had three QBs complete more than one pass each since Nov. 10, 2001 ... Cal has had a 100-yard rusher in 24 of its last 27 games, meanwhile, its opponents have had just 14 games with 100-yard rushers in Tedford's tenure ... the Bears have been over 50,000 fans for 13 straight home games ... Cal's tailback triple threat of Marshawn Lynch, Justin Forsett and Marcus O'Keith need three rushing yards to push over 4,000 for their careers ... Lynch went over 2,000 career rushing yards against Minnesota, the ninth player in Cal history to reach that milestone ... Cal lost its season opener each of the last two years it won the conference championship (1958 and 1975) ... the Bears have six freshmen on the two-deep, including true freshmen Tyson Alualu and Derrick Hill ... the attendance at Tennessee of 106,009 was the most-ever to watch the Golden Bears ... the Golden Bears led the Pac-10 in scoring defense in 2005, allowing just 21.2 points per game ... as in the past under Jeff Tedford, Cal will select game captains this season ... Tedford, now in his fifth year at Cal, ranks fourth in seniority among Pac-10 coaches.
A Look at the Sun Devils
Arizona State brings a perfect 3-0 mark to Memorial Stadium on Saturday. The Sun Devils have climbed to No. 20 in the nation following wins over Northern Arizona, Nevada and Colorado. Sophomore quarterback Rudy Carpenter, who led the nation in pass efficiency last year, is averaging 28.07 yards per game and has thrown for nine touchdowns. A two-pronged running attack of sophomore Keegan Herring and juco transfer Ryan Torain have combined for 103 yards per game and three touchdowns. Defensively, the Sun Devils have used a ferocious pass rush to hold opponents to just 278.7 yards of total offense per game. The Devils have 12 different players combining for 18 sacks in just three games. Senior Derron Ware has 15 tackles with four sacks. Senior Beau Manutai also has 15 tackles while juco transfer Chris Baloney has 10 tackles and two interceptions. ASU entered the 2006 season having won back-to-back bowl games. It has been to seven bowl games in the last 10 years, including a Rose Bowl appearance in 1996. Last year, the Sun Devils won three of their last four games to finish the regular season 6-5. They advanced to the Insight Bowl, defeating Rutgers, 45-40.
Back to the Pac-10
California has posted an all-time mark of 14-13-1 (.518) record in Pac-10 opening games and a 53-33-4 (.589) all-time record in conference openers. Under head coach Jeff Tedford, the Golden Bears are 3-1 in league openers, including wins in each of the last three years (Washington in 2005; Oregon State in 2004; and USC in 2003). The Bears have battled the Sun Devils in Pac-10 openers on four occasions with Cal holding a 3-1 advantage. The Bears won the 1999 Pac-10 opener, 24-23, at Memorial Stadium on Sept. 25, however, Cal later had to forfeit that game. Cal also defeated ASU on Sept. 24, 1994 in another league lid-lifter, 25-21, and 17-9 in the 1979 season and conference opener. The Bears lost to ASU in the Pac-10 opener in 1982, 15-0.
Tailback Marshawn Lynch, who has been battling a nagging ankle injury, decided to take care of business early in order to get some rest. The junior from Oakland played the first quarter, then on the first drive of the second quarter, he broke multiple tackles and burst down the sideline for a career-long 71-yard touchdown run to give the Bears a 28-3 advantage. Coach Tedford opted for his star back to enjoy the rest of the game from the sideline. Lynch carried just six times for 113 yards for a astronomical 18.7 yards per carry. He also added a 23-yard carry in the first quarter to the PSU three-yard line to set up Cal's initial score of the ballgame. Lynch now has 11 career 100-yard rushing games and 325 yards in the first three games of the year. He is averaging 108.3 yards per game and 7.2 yards per carry. Adding in his receptions and his kick returns and the Heisman candidate is averaging 8.2 yards per touch.
The Jackson 100
After a very impressive true freshman campaign in 2005, wide receiver DeSean Jackson is taking his game to another level this season. The Long Beach product recorded his second 100-yard receiving game of the year on Saturday, corralling five passes for 103 yards, including a 27-yard TD reception from Nate Longshore to close the first half. The sophomore now has 16 catches for 304 yards (101.3 yards per game; 19.0 yards per catch) after leading the Bears with 38 catches for 601 yards last year. He also has five TD catches already this year, giving him 12 in his young career.
Quarterback Nate Longshore recorded his second straight strong performance on Saturday afternoon in leading California to a 42-16 win over Portland State. The sophomore connected on 15-of-23 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns while playing just the first half. Over the last two games, Longshore has compiled impressive statistics, going 37-of-54 (68.5%) for 525 yards with six touchdowns and just one interception.
Spread the Wealth
In its win over Portland State on Saturday, California had 12 different receivers catch passes, maybe even more impressive considering the Golden Bears threw only 37 passes total. Dating back to 1997, Cal has had just one game with as many as 10 different receivers catching passes.
More on Longshore
Nate Longshore's totals in the Minnesota game surpassed his career totals entering the game (19-of-31 for 216 yards and one touchdown). In fact, his stats through the first play of the second quarter (9-of-13, 134 yards, 2 TD) had already qualified as his best career game. His first touchdown of the game (to junior Robert Jordan) was his first TD delivery in 371 days and his 300 passing yards marked the first 300-yard game by a Bear QB since Aaron Rodgers threw for 394 yards vs. Virginia Tech in 2003.
Senior Daymeion Hughes, who is known by his middle name of Dante, was rated as high as No. 1 among the nation's cornerbacks in the preseason and he is living up to the hype thus far in 2006. The Los Angeles native has been a glove in coverage and he now has three interceptions in his last two outings. On Saturday against Portland State, he snagged an errant Viking offering and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown, giving the Golden Bears a 21-3 lead after the first quarter. It was Hughes' second career TD return on a pick-off (he also had one last season against Washington). The Los Angeles product now has 10 career interceptions to climb into a tie for seventh all-time at Cal.
Wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins, a product of Stockton, Calif., had a solid season in his 2005 debut with the Golden Bears by snaring 18 passes for 171 yards. However, with his strong showing thus far in 2006, Hawkins' 2005 stats look like small change. The 5-11 junior now has 13 receptions for 180 yards in the first three games of 2006. His top performance came against Minnesota when he had nine catches for 125 yards (his first career 100-yard game).
Running back Marshawn Lynch continues to pile up the stats for the Golden Bears. Lynch ran for 139 yards on a career-high 27 carries two weeks ago against Minnesota. The yardage pushed him over 2,000 rushing yards for his career, just the ninth player in California history to achieve that milestone. Following the Portland State game, the junior from Oakland now has 2,199 yards to rank eighth all-time in Bear history.
50,000 Fans Again
Saturday's attendance against Portland State of 61,082 marked the 13th straight home game that California has drawn over 50,000 fans. That streak includes every home game in 2004 and 2005 and is even more impressive when compared to the days before the current streak. In the first 13 home games under head coach Jeff Tedford (in 2002 and 2003), Cal attracted over 50,000 fans just TWICE. And, prior to Tedford's arrival at Cal for the 2002 season, Cal had a TOTAL of 13 crowds of 50,000 over the nine years from 1993-2001. The Portland State game was the seventh game of 60,000+ fans under Tedford. One must combine the 11 years prior to Tedford to surpass that as from 1991-2001, Cal had nine games with 60,000 or more in attendance (1991: 3; 1992: 1; 1994: 1; 1996: 1; 1998: 2; 2000: 1).
Since the arrival of Jeff Tedford, California's season ticket count has been on a steady climb. The Bears sold 16,200 season passes in 2002, Tedford's first year. His second season resulted in sales of 22,500. In 2004, the number again jumped substantially, up to a then-school-record 34,100. Last year, California set another mark with 40,134 season tickets sold and again this season, the record has been broken. The program surged past 40,134 on Sept. 8.
California's tailback tandem of Marshawn Lynch (1,246 yards) and Justin Forsett (999) combined for 2,245 yards in 2005 - 385 yards more than their closest competition returning from last year (Rutgers' top two running backs had 1,860 rushing yards last season). On Sept. 9, Minnesota received a strong dose of the duo. Lynch bulled his way for 139 yards while Forsett darted for 77 yards; it was the fifth time that the Bear pair combined for over 200 yards (tops is a combined 288 yards against UCLA last year).
Tailback Triple Threat
While Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett gain the bulk of the attention as California tailbacks, it is best not to overlook senior Marcus O'Keith, known as Mo-Deuce by his teammates. The Carson, California, product had eight carries for 65 yards, including a five-yard TD run on Saturday against Portland State. For his career, O'Keith has 95 carries for 661 yards (7.0 yards per carry). Combine his career numbers with his better-known counterparts and Cal's tailback triple threat has 578 carries for 3,997 yards (6.92 yards per carry) and 36 touchdowns.
Shoot, It's Schutte!
Just in case three talented tailbacks is not enough for the Golden Bears, redshirt freshman Bryan Schutte closed out Saturday's game in the backfield and had a pair of rushes for 16 yards. More impressive were his three receptions for 48 yards. The Fountain Valley, Calif., product had an 20-yard circus catch on Cal's final offensive play as he tipped and bobbled a Steve Levy pass before finally controlling it and plunging downfield.
Cal fans and the media can keep up with all the highlights of Marshawn Lynch's junior season by visiting www.Marshawn10.com. The star tailback is a top candidate for numerous awards, including the 2006 Heisman Trophy. The website features highlight video from his first two seasons in Berkeley and will include highlights from each game of the 2006 campaign as the season progresses. Statistics, a complete bio and other information will offer fans and media the opportunity to get to know the running back. In addition, his honors and records and a list of quotes from college football experts, coaches and players from around the nation are available for perusal.
Rushing, For and Against
While Jeff Tedford is best known for his development of quarterbacks, he has also had eight 1,000-yard rushers in the past seven years (including three years at Oregon). However, more impressive may be Tedford teams' defense against the run. In his first 53 games at the helm of the Golden Bears, Tedford has seen just 14 games when foes had 100-yard rushers.
While California does not have any players on the team who have already earned their undergarduate degrees, 12 players are expected to earn degrees in December: Eric Beegun, Randy Bundy, Andrew Cameron, David Gray, Steve Kelly, Taylor Kunzi, Abu Ma'afala, Tim Mixon, Marcus O'Keith, Erik Robertson, Scott Smith and Byron Storer.
More TV Time
The Arizona State game will be televised by Fox Sports Net and will mark the fourth game of the year to be sent through the airwaves (Tennessee was on ESPN, Minnesota on TBS and Portland State on Comcast Sports). In addition, Oregon (ABC), UCLA (ABC), USC (ABC) and Stanford (Fox Sports Net) will be televised. The Oregon State game (Sept. 30) will not be televised, but the remainder of the games could be televised. Full broadcast schedules have not been determined.
Larson Lets Loose
One of the biggest question marks entering this season for the Golden Bears was punting. Thus far, junior-college transfer Andrew Larson has answered the questions. The newcomer has punted 10 times for 402 yards - a respectable average of 40.2 yards per punt. However, his net punting is the true measure of his value. Opponents have returned just three punts for a total of 22 yards, giving Cal a net-punting mark of 38.0 yards. Last season, with veteran David Lonie handling punting duties, the Bears had a net average of 36.7 yards per punt.
Saturday's game was the final non-league contest of the year for California. The Golden Bears have posted a 15-6 (.714) record against non-Pac-10 foes under head coach Jeff Tedford.
Despite opening the season with a loss, history has shown success can still follow. The last two conference championship teams at California lost their season openers. In 1975, the Golden Bears fell to Colorado on the road in their opener, but rebounded to finish 8-3 and share the Pac-8 Championship in 1975 behind star running back Chuck Muncie. In 1958, Cal lost to Pacific at home in the opener, but went 6-1 in league play to win the title and advance to the 1959 Rose Bowl behind star Joe Kapp.
DeCoud Not Just for Kicks Anymore
Thomas DeCoud entered the 2006 season known for his kick-blocking skills as he has blocked six kicks in his career. However, making his first career start against Tennessee at free safety, the product of Pinole, Calif., piled up a career-high 13 tackles, including 10 solo takedowns. He added six more solo tackles against Minnesota and four against Portland State and currently leads the team with 23 stops. DeCoud entered the season with just 37 career takedowns in his first two seasons, including a career-best 10 stops against New Mexico State last season.
Redshirt freshmen Cameron Morrah (TE) and Syd'Quan Thompson (CB) not only saw their first collegiate action on Saturday, but the pair also started the game. Other players making their first career starts were sophomore Alex Mack (C), senior Bryan Deemer (OG), junior Justin Moye (LB), junior Brandon Hampton (ROV) and junior Thomas DeCoud (FS). Joining Morrah and Thompson in making their collegiate debuts were junior-college transfers Rulon Davis (DL), Mike Gibson (OL), Andrew Larson (P), redshirt freshmen Marcus Ezeff (DB), Cody Jones (DL), and Matt Russi (LB) and true freshmen Derrick Hill (DL) and Tyson Alualu (DL).
Bears No. 9 Preseason AP Ranking is Highest Since 1952
California's No. 9 ranking in the 2006 Associated Press Preseason College Football Poll was its highest preseason ranking since the 1952 team was ranked No. 8 in the nation. The No. 9 ranking is the third-highest overall preseason ranking for Cal behind Pappy Waldorf's 1951 and 1952 teams. The 1951 club was ranked No. 5 in the nation in the preseason. This season marks just the 10th year that Cal has held a preseason ranking from the AP, including the current stretch of three straight years. From 1955 to 2003, the Bears appeared just twice in the poll. Under head coach Jeff Tedford, California has been ranked No. 13 (2004), No. 19 (2005) and now No. 9 in AP Preseason Polls.
Cal in Preseason AP Poll
1950: No. 14
1951: No. 5
1952: No. 8
1953: No. 14
1954: No. 12
1976: No. 15
1992: No. 20
2004: No. 13
2005: No. 19
2006: No. 9
Pac-10 Preseason Poll
California was picked to finish second in the Pacific-10 Conference in a preseason poll of West Coast media members who regularly cover the league. It is the third consecutive year that the Golden Bears have been tabbed to finish second, which is the highest that Cal has ever been picked, dating back to 1961. Three-time defending Pac-10 champion USC is the favorite to win the conference. USC garnered 18 of 29 first-place votes in the poll, but California, Oregon and Arizona State also received first-place support.
In the four years under Jeff Tedford, the Golden Bears have averaged 34.4 points per game, by far the most in any four-year stretch in school history. In fact, Tedford-coached teams own four of the top five slots in single-season scoring in the modern era of football in Berkeley.
Cal Players on Preseason Watch Lists
Bednarik Award (Top Def. Player): Daymeion Hughes, Brandon Mebane
Butkus Award (Top Linebacker): Desmond Bishop
Doak Walker Award (Top Running Back): Marshawn Lynch
Hendricks Award (Top Defensive End): Nu'u Tafisi
Lott Trophy (Top Def. Player): Daymeion Hughes, Brandon Mebane
Maxwell Award (Player of the Year): Marshawn Lynch
Nagurski Trophy (Top Def. Player): Daymeion Hughes, Brandon Mebane
Outland Trophy (Top Lineman): Brandon Mebane
Walter Camp Award (Player of the Year): Marshawn Lynch
Finishing in a Rush
As Marshawn Lynch became healthier in 2005, his productivity took off. Over the final four regular-season contests and the bowl game in Las Vegas, Lynch rushed for an average of 150.6 yards (753 yards over five games). His only game under 100 yards during that period came against top-ranked USC when the sophomore carried the ball just 13 times but still reached 87 yards.
The Bears have won 26 games over the past three seasons (26-12). It is the most victories by California over a three-year period since the 1949-1950-1951 teams combined to win 27 games. Nationally, Cal's 18 wins over the last two years rank 13th, and the 26 wins during the three-year period is No. 18 in the country.
The 'All' Guys
California returns five players off of last year's All-Pac-10 squad. Returning first-teamers include cornerback Daymeion Hughes and defensive lineman Brandon Mebane. Second-team all-league choices that are back in the fold include linebacker Desmond Bishop, special teams standout Byron Storer and defensive end Nu'u Tafisi. Storer was also a second-team Pac-10 All-Academic selection.
California enters 2006 with an excellent chance of recording its fifth consecutive winning season. That note is significant because Cal has not strung together five straight seasons over the .500 mark since 1948 through 1952. From 1967 through 1971, the Bears did not have a losing season, but two of those records were exactly .500 (5-5).
Mebane in the Middle
California's defense is anchored by one of the best defenders in the country. Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, a first-team All-Pac-10 performer a year ago, is back to provide headaches for opposing offensive fronts. Despite facing constant double- and, at times, triple-teams, Mebane led the Bears last season with seven sacks. The extremely active defensive tackle figures to be a candidate for national honors.
Pac-10 Preseason Poll
Three-time defending Pac-10 champion USC has been picked to win the conference. USC garnered 18 of 29 first-place votes in the poll, but California, Oregon and Arizona State also received first-place support. Following are the results of the preseason media poll (points 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, first-place votes in parentheses):
1. USC (18) - 276
2. California (7) - 247
3. Oregon (3) - 229
4. Arizona State (1) - 204
5. UCLA - 145
6. Arizona - 133
7. Oregon State - 125
8. Washington State - 96
9. Stanford - 90
10. Washington - 50
POLL NOTES: Preseason media poll has correctly picked the Conference champion 23 of 45 times and has been very accurate of late in correctly identifying the Conference champ the last six years in a row and six of the last seven. While USC was a unanimous pick to win the Pac-10 the last two seasons, this year's poll with four team registering first-place votes is more typical. Prior to the last two years of unanimous support for the Trojans, at least four team received first-place votes in four of the previous five years.