California Returns Home to Battle Washington, Looks to Extend Six-Game Winning Streak
Oct. 16, 2006
Click Here for tickets to Cal vs Washington - 10/21/06
Oct. 9, 2006
2006 CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL
Game Eight: Saturday, October 21; 12:30 p.m. (PT)
No. 11 Cal (6-1, 4-0) vs. Washington (4-3, 2-2)
Berkeley, Calif. - Memorial Stadium
GOLDEN BEAR FACTS
2006 Record: 6-1 (4-0)
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: 39-18/5th
Career Record/Years: Same
Football SID: John Sudsbury
Office Phone: 510-643-4723
Ticket Info: 800-GO-BEARS
Games Played: 85
Series Record: Cal trails, 45-36-4
First Meeting: 11/24/1904, Tie, 6-6
Last Meeting: 9/10/2005, Cal, 56-17
at Berkeley: 19-22-1
Current Streak: Cal win 4
Tedford vs. UW: 4-0
The red-hot California Golden Bears return to Memorial Stadium today looking for their seventh straight victory. Cal has had just one other six-game winning streak since 1950 and that came two seasons ago when the Golden Bears had a seven-game streak and finished 10-2. With 12 different players having scored touchdowns this year, the Bears are a tough team to defend, and Cal's own defense has been very stout as well, holding foes to just 18.4 points per game. Washington comes in with a 4-3 record as it tries to get back on track after a pair of close losses.
Recapping the Bears
While the offense did not put up 40 points for the first time in five games, California still looked quite impressive in Saturday's 21-3 victory over Washington State. The Golden Bear defense held WSU to just 88 rushing yards (70 on one play) and no touchdowns, the offensive line allowed just one sack (to the team which led the nation in sacks), the secondary had a pair of interceptions, Marshawn Lynch bulled his way for 152 rushing yards and Nu'u Tafisi blocked a key first-quarter punt. Everything added up to Cal's sixth straight victory and their first win in Pullman since 1979. Lynch also added a pair of rushing touchdowns, including the opening score following Tafisi's blocked punt. Quarterback Nate Longshore was held without a TD pass but he ran for a score in his second straight game and connected on 17-of-31 passes for 176 yards while effectively eluding the potent Cougar pass rush. Junior Robert Jordan tallied a season-best six catches for 56 yards while DeSean Jackson had four receptions for 60 yards. Defensively, the entire unit stood out, but linebackers Zack Follett and Desmond Bishop each had eight tackles to lead the way. Cornerback Daymeion Hughes tallied his sixth interception of the season while safety Bernard Hicks added his second. Brandon Mebane and the rest of the line stopped WSU twice on fourth down in the red zone including a goal-line stand late in the third quarter or preserve the Bears' advantage.
Bits on the Bears
This year marks the first time since 1950 that Cal has opened 4-0 in conference play ... in Pac-10 action, Nate Longshore has completed 71-of-113 (62.8%) passes for 976 yards and 11 touchdowns ... Daymeion Hughes is tied for second in the nation with six interceptions while Jackson is tied for third in the nation in receiving TDs and Longshore is third in passing TDs ... DeSean Jackson has 18 touchdowns in 18 career games ... Cal scored 40 points in five straight games for the first time in school history this year ... the Golden Bear offensive line has allowed just five sacks in the last six games ... the Bears held the ball for over 75 percent of the second half of the Oregon game ... Cal has had 18 scores this year that have taken less than two minutes ... the Bears are out-scoring opponents by an average 16.4 points in the first half of games this year ... the Bears' 21 first-quarter points at Oregon State were their most since 2004's visit to Corvallis when they also scored 21 ... Cal has had a 100-yard rusher in 38 of 57 games under Tedford, meanwhile, its opponents have had just 14 games with 100-yard rushers ... the Bears have been over 50,000 fans for 15 straight home games - the Oregon sellout was just the fourth non-Big Game sellout in the last 50 years ... despite missing the entire second half of the Oregon and Portland State games due to injury, Marshawn Lynch leads the Pac-10 in rushing ... Cal's trio of tailbacks has combined for 21 100-yard rushing days in their careers ... 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.
A Look at the Huskies
Washington comes into Saturday's game with a 4-3 record, having lost its last two games (26-20 to USC and 27-17 to Oregon State). The big question mark for the Huskies is star quarterback Isaiah Stanback who injured his foot on Saturday against the Beavers. Stanback has completed 101-of-189 passes for 1,325 yards and 10 touchdowns with just three interceptions, but he is questionable for the Cal game. Junior Carl Bonnell is expected to start if Stanback is not available. Washington is averaging 23.3 points per game while allowing 24.0 per game. The Huskies have a pair of talented running backs in senior Kenny James and junior Louis Rankin, who combine for 102.4 rushing yards per game and five touchdowns. Senior Sonny Shackleford leads the receiving corps with 33 catches for 473 yards and five touchdowns. Defensively, senior safety C.J. Wallace has a Pac-10 best 63 tackles while senior linebacker Scott White has 54 tackles (10 for losses), three sacks and four interceptions. UW has been one of the most protective of the ball in the league with just nine turnovers while also ranking second in the league in fewest penalties with 40.1.
First 4-0 Since 1950
California is now 4-0 in Pac-10 play; it is the first time the Golden Bears have opened league play at 4-0 since the 1950 season, the third of three straight undefeated conference seasons - as well as the third of three straight Rose Bowl appearances. Since 1950, the Bears have won more than four conference games just seven times, including twice under Tedford, who has never had a losing season in league play.
In Saturday's victory at Washington State, California held the Cougars to an amazing 0-for-11 on third-down conversions. WSU was also just 2-for-6 on fourth down making them 2-17 (11.8%) after second down. On Oct. 7 against Oregon, Cal's defense held the Ducks to just 2-of-10 on third down to make the Bears' two-game defensive success rate 92.9% (26-of-28) on third downs. For the season, Cal ranks third in the Pac-10 in opponent third-down conversion rate at 26.8 percent (22-of-82).
Look Out, It's Lynch!
Cal football foes may have thought they could focus their attention away from Marshawn Lynch as the junior running back has been hobbled by an injured ankle. However, on Saturday, he rushed for a season-high 152 yards on 25 carries in the win over Washington State. Lynch opened his afternoon with a brilliant 42-yard run up the right sideline, but his finish may have been the most impressive - with the Bears hoping to grind the clock down, he ran for four first-down runs in the fourth quarter, including one on third-and-nine and one on fourth-and-10. The game marked Lynch's fifth 100-yard game this year and the 14th of his career. Despite missing the second halves of both the Oregon and Portland State games due to injury, he still leads the Pac-10 in rushing (108.1 yards per game, 11th in the nation) and all-purpose yards (145.9 per game, eighth in the nation).
Check Out the Numbers - DeSean Jackson
Sophomore DeSean Jackson is proving himself to be one of the most dangerous players in college football. The wide receiver/punt returner has scored a Pac-10 best 10 touchdowns (eight receiving and two on punt returns) in seven games this year. For his career, the Long Beach product has scored 18 touchdowns (15 receiving, three on punt returns) in just 18 games. This year, Jackson has 33 receptions for 582 yards after leading the Bears with 38 catches for 601 yards last year. Dating back to last season, over the last nine games, the six-foot speedster has 777 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns. He is tied for third in the nation with eight receiving touchdowns this year.
Passing Fancy - Nate Longshore
Quarterback Nate Longshore has guided California to six straight victories by tallying some fantastic numbers from under center. Over the last six games, the sophomore has completed 108-of-168 (64.3%) passes for 1,501 yards and 17 touchdowns with just six interceptions. His passing efficiency for the last six games is 165.59. In Longshore's first four career Pac-10 games, he is 71-of-113 (62.8%) for 976 yards and 11 scores. For the season, Longshore has a Pac-10 best 156.6 efficiency rating (17th in the nation).
Nate Longshore and the Golden Bears have been especially deadly with the long ball this year. California has 36 pass plays of 20 yards or more while its opponents have just 17. Twenty-nine of those deep ball have been thrown by Longshore, including 12 to sophomore DeSean Jackson. In addition to passing the ball, the Golden Bears have 31 other plays (rushing, punt returns, kickoff returns and interception returns) of over 20 yards. Opponents have 19 other long plays.
Cal has 18 scores this year that have taken less than two minutes. The Golden Bears have had 13 scoring drives that have lasted less than 2:00 as well as three interception returns and two punt returns for touchdowns.
O-Line Likes Longshore
Despite losing three 2005 starters to the NFL and having two current starters miss games due to injury, the California offensive line is developing into a true strength for the Golden Bears. Washington State came into Saturday's game with a nation's best 25 sacks; the Cougars managed just one on Saturday against Cal. Arizona State had entered week four leading the nation in sacks and the Sun Devils managed just one as well. The Bears have allowed just eight sacks all season, including only five in the last six games.
Keep Away From Hughes
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 six interceptions this season. On Saturday at Washington State, he added his latest pickoff to give him 13 in his career - he has returned four of those four touchdowns. In the Oregon game, Hughes held star receiver Jaison Williams to five catches for 66 yards - Williams had come into the game averaging 115.5 receiving yards per game (second in the nation). On Saturday at Washington State, Hughes was the key in holding Cougar star Jason Hill to two catches for 23 yards.
In a lineup full of talented linebackers, sophomore Zack Follett, a freshman All-American last season, continues to make noise. In the last four games, the sophomore has 25 tackles, including five tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. The best game of his young career came against Arizona State when he 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. Follett's three forced fumbles is tied for the most in the Pac-10 so far this year.
The Golden Bears had a solid balanced attack on Saturday at Washington State, rushing for 177 yards and passing for 176. For the season, the Bears are relatively balanced between rushing and passing attempts. Cal has run 244 times this season while passing the ball 224 times.
Punting is Risky for Cal Foes
Not only has DeSean Jackson established himself as a game-breaking receiver, he is also a serious threat in the punt-return game. On Oct. 7 against Oregon, the sophomore put the game away with a 65-yard return for a touchdown in the second quarter (making the score 28-3). It was Jackson's third career punt-return touchdown, matching California's modern record set by Jemeel Powell from 1999-2002. Bobby Sherman had four punt returns for scores in 1901 and 1902, but two came against non-college opponents. The NCAA record for punt return TDs is eight by Wes Welker (Texas Tech, 2000-03) and Antonio Perkins (Oklahoma, 2001-04).
Punt Return Defense
While DeSean Jackson has been deadly on punt returns, the Cal punt coverage team, and more directly, punter Andrew Larson have taken punt returns away from opponents recently. In the last three games, Bear opponents have just two punt returns for eight yards.
Forty for Five Is Enough
For the first time in California football history, the Golden Bears scored 40 or more points in five straight games. However, on Saturday at Washington State, the Bears turned to defense instead, holding the Cougars without a touchdown in the 21-3 victory. Prior to this season, the Bears had broken 40 points in four straight games on two other occasions. During the 1993 season Cal piled up wins over San Diego State (45-25), Temple (58-0), San Jose State (46-13) and Oregon (42-41). Back in 1920's undefeated season, Cal cruised to victories over the Mare Island Marines (88-0), St. Mary's (127-0), Nevada (79-7) and Utah (63-0).
Injury Halts Lynch, but Not Cal Run Game
California running back Marshawn Lynch had his four-game streak of 100-yard games snapped by an injury against Oregon, but the Golden Bear rushing attack was not slowed. Junior Justin Forsett carried 27 times for 163 yards to lead a Bear attack which finished with a season-high 235 rushing yards in the 45-24 victory. Lynch finished with just seven carries for 50 yards and is still averaging 6.8 yards per carry. It was Forsett's fifth career 100-yard rushing day while Lynch ranks third all-time with 13 100-yard efforts.
Tailback Triple Threat
While Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett give the Golden Bears a potent one-two punch at running back, senior Marcus O'Keith might give the Bears the top running back trio in the nation. California's 'Tailback Triple Threat' has combined for 703 carries, 4,694 yards (6.68 yards per carry), 40 touchdowns and 21 100-yard rushing days. 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.'
Ready to Run - Justin Forsett
Junior Justin Forsett is always ready to run for the Golden Bears. On Oct. 7 against Oregon with Marshawn Lynch hampered by an injured ankle, Forsett galloped for 163 yards on 27 carries - the fifth 100-yard effort of his career. Last season, Forsett finished the year with exactly 999 rushing yards, including a career-high 235 yards against New Mexico State. For his career, Forsett has 1,363 rushing yards on 216 carries for an impressive 6.3 yards per carry.
The Killer B's
California safeties Brandon Hampton and Bernard Hicks are forming a formidable duo for the Golden Bears. On Oct. 7 against Oregon, both safeties had interceptions and they combined for 14 tackles. Over the last three games, the pair have 40 tackles and the three interceptions. Hampton had a career-high 10 takedowns against Oregon State on Sept. 30 while Hicks had a career-high eight stops against Oregon. Hampton, a former walk-on, is now second on the team in tackles with 44. Hicks, who made his first career start against Oregon State in place of the injured Thomas DeCoud is third on the squad with 35 tackles. Both safeties have a pair of interceptions this year.
The Oct. 7 sell-out against Oregon marked just the fourth time in the last 50 years that California has sold out Memorial Stadium for a non-Big Game. The other three sellouts all came against USC (1977, 1979 and 2005). The Golden Bears have sold out the Big Game against Stanford 14 times in the last 50 years.
Building the Lead, Maintaining the Lead
California has not piled up giant second-half numbers in its current six-game winning streak, however, the Golden Bears have not needed big stats in the closing halves. Over the last six games, the Bears have built an average halftime-advantage of 21.5 points: 21-3 v. Washington State, 28-10 v. Oregon, 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 192-77 in the first half of all of its games this year, while it is out-scoring its opponents 66-52 in the second half.
Low Key Lynch
Tailback Marshawn Lynch has quietly gone about his business on the field this season. Despite missing more than half of the Oregon and Portland State games due to injury, the junior has 757 rushing yards in six games (a Pac-10 best 108.1 yards per game, 11th nationally) and is averaging 6.8 yards per carry. He also has 15 receptions for 162 yards, including three touchdowns following his two receiving catches on Sept. 30 against Oregon State. Lynch ranks second on the team with 54 points this season. The Oakland product now has 14 career 100-yard rushing games and 2,631 career yards (fifth 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 25 receptions for 399 yards in the first seven games of 2006. His top performances have come against Minnesota (9 catches for 125 yards) and 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 38-18 (.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): 39-18 (.684) - Three bowls
Early 90s (1990-93): 30-17 (.638) - Three bowls
Mike White Era (1972-77): 35-30 (.538) - Last conf. title (`75)
Kicking, Not Screaming
California placekicker Tom Schneider is another quiet stat sheet standout for the Golden Bears. Without drawing much attention, Schneider has scored 45 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 and added a 44-yarder against Oregon. He is now a perfect 4-for-4 on field goals and 34-of-34 on extra points.
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.
341 Yards - Nate Longshore
Nate Longshore threw for a career-best 341 yards in the Sept. 30 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).
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.
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 sellout (72,516) against Oregon marked the 15th 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 Oregon game was also the eighth 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 27 times for 1,160 yards - an impressive average of 43.0 yards per punt. However, his net punting is the true measure of his value. Opponents have returned just nine punts for a total of 57 yards, giving Cal a Pac-10 best net-punting mark of 38.6 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
The Oregon game was 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
Fourteen 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. Sophomore offensive tackle Mike Tepper made his starting debut against Portland State. 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 against Oregon State. Brian De La Puente debuted in the starting lineup last weekend against Washington 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
Thorpe Award (Best Defensive Back): Daymeion Hughes
Walter Camp Award (Player of the Year): Marshawn Lynch