California Brings Four-Game Win Streak Back to Berkeley, Hosts No. 11 Oregon for Homecoming
Oct. 2, 2006
Click Here for tickets to next week's homecoming game - #20 Cal vs #13 Oregon - October 7th
Sept. 25, 2006
2006 CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL
Homecoming: Saturday, October 7; 5 p.m. (PT)
No. 16 Cal (4-1, 2-0) vs. No. 11 Oregon (4-0, 2-0)
Berkeley, Calif. - Memorial Stadium
GOLDEN BEAR FACTS
2006 Record: 4-1 (2-0)
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: 37-18/5th
Career Record/Years: Same
Football SID: John Sudsbury
Office Phone: 510-643-4723
Ticket Info: 800-GO-BEARS
Games Played: 68
Series Record: Cal leads, 36-30-2
First Meeting: 11/18/1899, Cal, 12-0
Last Meeting: 11/5/2005, Oregon, 27-20, ot
at Berkeley: 24-14-2
Current Streak: Oregon win 8 of 9
Tedford vs. Oregon: 1-2
California football fans get a true treat on Saturday for Homecoming as the 16th-ranked Golden Bears try to extend their winning streak to five games, hosting the 11th-ranked Oregon Ducks. Today's foes come in with the top two offenses in the Pac-10 Conference and both have won four straight games. Cal is hoping to go 5-1 for the third straight year and the Bears are also looking for revenge as the Ducks upended them, 27-20 in overtime, last year.
Recapping the Bears
California won its fourth straight game on Saturday as it cruised to a 41-13 victory over Oregon State on the road. Sophomore quarterback Nate Longshore connected on 22-of-31 passes for a career-high 341 yards and four touchdowns while junior running back Marshawn Lynch had 106 rushing and 59 receiving yards as well as three touchdowns. The Golden Bears took the opening kickoff and scored on a 39-yard Longshore-Lavelle Hawkins hook-up. After Desmond Bishop forced a Beaver fumble in the red zone, the Bears drove 85 yards and Longshore found DeSean Jackson this time for a 27-yard score. Another defensive stop and relentless offensive drive was capped by Lynch's first TD, a 15-yard rushing score, and the score was 21-0 in the first quarter. The crackling Bear offense added another score on a Longshore-to-Lynch connection and then Tom Schneider booted a field goal for a 31-0 advantage. OSU eventually added two field goals and a fourth-quarter touchdown, but it hardly slowed Cal as it improved to 2-0 in Pac-10 play. Hawkins finished with six catches for 128 yards while Jackson had seven for 74 yards. Defensive, former walk-on Brandon Hampton had a career-high 10 tackles and first-time starter Bernard Hicks tallied seven.
Bits on the Bears
Nate Longshore has completed 77-of-111 (69.4%) passes for 1,136 yards with 14 touchdowns and just three interceptions in the last four games ... over his last seven games, DeSean Jackson has 640 receiving yards and 11 total touchdowns ... Daymeion Hughes is tied for first in the nation with nine passes defended and second with five interceptions while Jackson is tied for first in the nation in receiving TDs ... Cal has four straight 40-point games for the second time in school history - the Bears have never done it five straight times ... the Bears are out-scoring opponents by an average 15.8 points in the first half of games this year ... the Bears's 21 first-quarter points were their most since 2004's visit to Corvallis when they also scored 21 ... Cal has had a 100-yard rusher in 36 of 55 games under Tedford, meanwhile, its opponents have had just 14 games with 100-yard rushers ... the Bears have been over 50,000 fans for 14 straight home games ... Marshawn Lynch has four straight 100-yard rushing games - one of just four players in the nation with a streak of that length ... redshirt freshman linebacker Matt Russi had his first career kickoff return with a 21-yarder on a short kick against the Beavers ... the Arizona State game was the Bears' first with two INT returns for TDs since Aug. 31, 2002 against Baylor (Jeff Tedford's first game) ... Cal lost its season opener each of the last two years it won the conference championship (1958 and 1975) ... 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 Ducks
Oregon continues to assert itself as one of the top programs in the Pac-10. The Ducks have posted a 4-0 record this season, using a high-powered offensive attack which leads the conference in scoring (40.2), total offense (497.0) and rushing (227.5). However, they also have shown defensive prowess, holding opponents to just 145.2 passing yards per game (tops in the Pac-10). Oregon's running back combo of sophomores Jonathan Stewart and Jeremiah Johnson have been very effective, combining for 174.7 yards per game and eight touchdowns. At quarterback, junior Dennis Dixon has completed 89-of-137 passes for 1,032 yards (Pac-10 best 258.0 yards per game) and six touchdowns with just two interceptions. Sophomore receiver Jaison Williams has 28 catches for 462 yards to lead the Pac-10 with 115.5 receiving yards per outing. Defensively, senior linebacker Blair Phillips leads the Pac-10 with 10.0 tackles per game. Sophomore rover Patrick Chung has 27 tackles on the year. The Ducks have allowed just one sack all season while tallying 12 of their own. They have outscored opponents by 81 points in four games.
Saturday's game should provide plenty of offensive fireworks. California and Oregon enter the game ranked at the top of the Pac-10 in multiple offensive categories. The Golden Bears' 38.4 points per game is only bettered by the 40.2 points per game being piled up by the Ducks. Cal leads the league in passing offense (298.4) with Oregon in second (269.5). The Ducks have the advantage in total offense (497.0 to 452.2). The Ducks have a solid defensive stat as well - they lead the Pac-10 in passing defense, allowing just 145.2 passing yards per game.
Nate Longshore - Passing Fancy
Quarterback Nate Longshore has guided California to four straight victories by tallying some fantastic numbers from under center. Over the last four games, the sophomore has completed 77-of-111 passes (69.4%) for 1,136 yards and 14 touchdowns with just three interceptions. His passing efficiency for the last three games is 191.55. In Longshore's first two career Pac-10 games, he is 40-of-56 (71.4%) for 611 yards and eight scores. For the season, Longshore has a Pac-10 best 174.6 efficiency rating (seventh in the nation).
DJ Playing Records
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 has scored eight touchdowns in five games - he has seven through the air and tallied an 80-yard punt return TD against ASU. This year, Jackson has 27 receptions for 445 yards after leading the Bears with 38 catches for 601 yards last year. In just 16 career games, Jackson has 16 touchdowns (14 receiving, two on punt returns). Dating back to last season, over the last seven games, the six-foot speedster has 640 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns. He is tied for tops in the nation with receiving touchdowns in seven straight games.
Seven in a Row - DeSean Jackson
With receiving touchdowns in seven straight games, DeSean Jackson is tied for the longest streak in the nation with Rice's Jarett Dillard. The NCAA record is still a long way off as Larry Fitzgerald snared scores in 18 straight games from 2002 to 2003.
Consecutive Games with a TD Catch (Current)
DeSean Jackson, Cal: 7
Jarett Dillard, Rice: 7
Derek Kinder, Pittsburgh: 5
Four in a Row - Marshawn Lynch
California running back Marshawn Lynch has now rushed for 100 yards in four straight games for his longest career streak of 100-yard games. Only three other players in the nation have current streaks of that length. Over the last four games, Lynch is averaging 120.3 yards per game, but he has carried the ball just 67 times and is averaging 7.18 yards per carry over that stretch. Lynch now has 13 career 100-yard games, third all-time at Cal.
California has now scored 40 points in four straight games for just the second time in school history. The Golden Bears also piled up four 40's in a row during the 1993 season when it piled up wins over San Diego State (45-25), Temple (58-0), San Jose State (46-13) and Oregon (42-41). The Bears have never scored 40 points in five straight contests.
Building the Lead, Maintaining the Lead
California has not piled up giant second-half numbers in its current four-game winning streak, however, the Golden Bears have not needed big stats in the closing halves. Over the last four games, the Bears have built an average halftime-advantage of 23.25 points: 31-3 at Oregon State, 42-14 v. Arizona State, 42-16 v. Portland State and 28-17 v. Minnesota. Cal has an overall advantage of 143-64 in the first half of all of its games this year.
341 Yards - Nate Longshore
Nate Longshore threw for a career-best 341 yards in Saturday's win over Oregon State. It was his second career 300-yard game (the other was exactly 300 against Minnesota). The 341 yards are the 28th-best total in Cal football history and the fifth-best in the Jeff Tedford era (Aaron Rodgers surpassed it three times and Kyle Boller once).
The Killer B's
California safeties Brandon Hampton and Bernard Hicks had strong games on Saturday in the Golden Bears' victory over Oregon State. The duo combined for 17 tackles, led by Hampton's career-high 10 takedowns. Hicks added a career-high as well with seven stops. Hampton, a former walk-on, is now second on the team in tackles with 31. Hicks, who made his first career start on Saturday in place of the injured Thomas DeCoud is fifth on the squad with 21 tackles.
Low Key Lynch
Tailback Marshawn Lynch has quietly gone about his business on the field this season. The junior has 555 rushing yards in four games (111.0 yards per game) and is averaging 7.0 yards per carry. He also has 11 receptions for 123 yards, including three touchdowns following his two receiving catches on Saturday against Oregon State. Lynch ranks second on the team with 42 points this season. The Oakland product now has 13 career 100-yard rushing games and 2,429 career yards (eighth 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 21 receptions for 357 yards in the first five games of 2006. His top performances have come against Minnesota (9 catches for 125 yards) and on Saturday at Oregon State (6 catches for 128 yards).
The Tedford Era
Jeff Tedford, now in his fifth year at the helm of the Bears, has quickly brought the program into another 'Golden' Age. The Bears' current four-plus year record of 37-18 (.673) is among the best-ever at California.
Era (Years): Record (Pct.) - Highlights
The Wonder Teams (1920-24): 44-0-4 (.958) - Three National Titles
The Thunder Teams (1937-38): 20-1-1 (.932) - One Championship
Pappy's Boys (1947-52): 53-9 (.855) - Three Rose Bowls
The Tedford Era (2002-current): 37-18 (.673) - Three bowls
Early 90s (1990-93): 30-17 (.638) - Three bowls
Mike White Era (1972-77): 35-30 (.538) - Last conf. title (`75)
Hughes Second in Nation in Interceptions
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 ranks second in the nation with five interceptions this season. On Sept. 23 against Arizona State, he added two more pickoffs, returning one 47 yards for a touchdown - the fourth INT return for a TD in his career. The game was Hughes' third career two-interception performance. The Los Angeles product now has 12 career interceptions to climb into a tie for second all-time at Cal. In addition, Hughes had 10 tackles and a pass-break-up against ASU.
Kicking, Not Screaming
California placekicker Tom Schneider is another quiet stat sheet standout for the Golden Bears. Without drawing much attention, Schneider has scored 34 points for the Golden Bears. The native of nearby Walnut Creek connected on a pair of field goals (37 yards and 42 yards) against Oregon State. He is now a perfect 3-for-3 on field goals and 25-of-25 on extra points.
Opening Drives - Offense/Defense
California jumped out to a 21-0 first quarter lead on Saturday against Oregon State, but it was the cool-under-pressure Nate Longshore and a focused defense which kicked things off. Cal started with the ball, but needed to convert a pair of third-and-longs to get things started. On third-and-15, Longshore found Lavelle Hawkins for 28 yards, then on third-and-eight, he hooked up with Hawkins for a 39-yard score. Then it was the defense's turn to step up. As OSU chipped away towards the end zone, linebacker Desmond Bishop crashed into Yvenson Bernard to force a fumble at the Bears' 12-yard line. Syd'Quan Thompson recovered and the Bears marched 85 yards in 2:36 with Longshore finding DeSean Jackson for a 27-yard score and a 14-0 lead.
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 17 carries for 86 yards, including a five-yard TD run on Sept. 16 against Portland State. For his career, O'Keith has 104 carries for 682 yards (6.6 yards per carry). Combine his career numbers with his better-known counterparts and Cal's tailback triple threat has 631 carries for 4,286 yards (6.79 yards per carry) and 37 touchdowns. As the prominent Lynch said in the San Francisco Chronicle, 'There's no shadow here. We all are the front-runner, and I would hate for anyone to feel like any of my teammates were in my shadow. It's just not true.'
Coaching Connection - Tedford-Bellotti
Saturday's game will mark the fourth head-to-head match-up between California head coach Jeff Tedford and Oregon coach Mike Bellotti (Oregon leads 2-1). Tedford served as Bellotti's offensive coordinator from 1998-2001, helping the Ducks to a 38-10 record and four straight bowl appearances.
Moved On From Oregon
In addition to Jeff Tedford, the Golden Bears have many staffers who worked at Oregon prior to their Berkeley days. Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory was the defensive backs coach with the Ducks from 1998-2000 before becoming the defensive coordinator at Boise State for one season until rejoining Tedford. Linebackers coach Bob Foster had retired from Oregon after the 1999 season, but Tedford coaxed him back to the game in 2002 (and again this year). Wide receivers coach Dan Ferrigno worked for the Ducks from 2001-05 before moving south for this season. Running backs coach Ron Gould was a G.A. at Oregon after starting for the Ducks in 1987.
Still More Ducks
Other members of the Cal program with Oregon connections include director of football operations Mike McHugh (same position at Oregon, 1999-2000), strength coach John Krasinski (asst. strength coach, 1996-2000), recruiting assistant Kevin Parker (Oregon grad, Duck WR/TB), equipment manager Ed Garland (asst. equipment manager, 1989-2004), video coordinator Matt Fox (Oregon grad) and assistant equipment manager Brett Flores (Oregon grad).
Sophomore Zack Follett, a freshman All-American last season, posted the best game of his young career on against Arizona State. The 6-2 Clovis, Calif., product recorded 10 tackles, including a pair of sacks, to go with a pair of forced fumbles. His previous career-best was five tackles twice last year. His first forced fumble came on a sack and was recovered by the Bears who went on to score the go-ahead touchdown with 37 seconds to go in the first quarter. Follett's three forced fumbles is tied for the most in the nation so far this year.
Defense Goes on the Offensive
The Golden Bears had a pair of interception returns for touchdowns on Sept. 23 against Arizona State. Late in the first half, senior cornerback Daymeion Hughes picked off a Rudy Carpenter offering and returned it 47 yards to the end zone. Then in the fourth quarter, Golden Bear senior linebacker Mickey Pimentel put the exclamation point on the win with a 20-yard INT return for paydirt. It is the first time Cal has had two pickoffs returned for TDs since Aug. 31, 2002 against Baylor in the first game of the Jeff Tedford era at California.
Spread the Wealth
With junior tight end Craig Stevens snagging his first two receptions of the season against Arizona State, the Golden Bears have now had 16 different players catch passes this season. Last year for the entire season, the Bears had just 14 players with receptions. The last time Cal had as many as 16 men with catches was 2004 when 18 had receptions. In the Portland State victory alone, Cal had 12 different players catch passes. 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.
50,000 Fans Again
Cal's attendance against Arizona State of 58,024 marked the 14th 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. The Portland State game was the seventh game of 60,000+ fans under Tedford, nearly matching the total of nine from the 11 years prior to Tedford's arrival.
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 official season ticket number for 2006 is 40,262.
Junior-college transfer Andrew Larson has stepped right into the Division I game and shown some serious punting ability for California. The newcomer has punted 19 times for 833 yards - an impressive average of 43.8 yards per punt. However, his net punting is the true measure of his value. Opponents have returned just seven punts for a total of 49 yards, giving Cal a Pac-10 best net-punting mark of 39.2 yards. Last season, with veteran David Lonie handling punting duties, the Bears had a net average of 36.7 yards per punt.
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.
While California does not have any players on the team who have already earned their undergraduate degrees from Cal, 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. Tyler Krieg has his undergraduate degree from Duke and is currently pursuing his master's degree at Cal.
More TV Time
This weekend's Oregon game will be Cal's first as part of the ESPN on ABC package. It is the fifth different network to televise the Bears this year (Tennessee was on ESPN, Minnesota on TBS, Portland State on Comcast Sports and Arizona State on Fox Sports Net). In addition, UCLA (ABC), USC (ABC) and Stanford (Fox Sports Net) will be televised. The remainder of the games could also be televised. Full broadcast schedules have not been determined.
The Portland State 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.
Start Me Up
Twelve different Golden Bears have earned their first career starts in the first four games this year. Redshirt freshmen Cameron Morrah (TE) and Syd'Quan Thompson (CB) were both starters in their first collegiate games at Tennessee, while sophomore Alex Mack (C), senior Bryan Deemer (OG), junior Justin Moye (LB), junior Brandon Hampton (ROV) and junior Thomas DeCoud (FS) also had starting debuts against the Volunteers. In the Minnesota game, redshirt freshman Cody Jones (DL) started at defensive end for the first time. Against Arizona State, junior-college transfer Mike Gibson and senior Mickey Pimentel both made their first career starts, while sophomore Bernard Hicks and true freshman Tyson Alualu each made their starting debuts last weekend against Oregon State.
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.
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
Manning Award (Top Quarterback): Nate Longshore
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
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).