Bowl-Bound California Closes Regular Season With 109th Big Game Against Stanford
Nov. 25, 2006
2006 CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL
Game 12: Saturday, December 2; 12 p.m. (PT)
Cal (8-3, 6-2) vs. Stanford (1-10, 1-7)
Berkeley, Calif. - Memorial Stadium
TELEVISION: Live on Fox Sports Net. Barry Tompkins handles play-by-play duties with Petros Papadakis providing color commentary and Jim Watson on the sidelines.
RADIO: Live on the Golden Bear Radio Network (flagship KGO AM 810 San Francisco) with Joe Starkey (play-by-play), Troy Taylor (color) and Todd McKim (sideline).
GOLDEN BEAR FACTS
2006 Record: 8-3 (6-2)
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: 41-20/5th
Career Record/Years: Same
Football SID: John Sudsbury
Office Phone: 510-643-4723
Ticket Info: 800-GO-BEARS
Games Played: 108
Series Record: Cal trails, 54-43-11
First Meeting: 3/19/1892, Loss, 14-10
Last Meeting: 11/19/05, Win, 27-3
at Berkeley: 20-23-6
Current Streak: Cal win 4
Tedford vs. Stanford: 4-0
After its second bye week of the season, the California Golden Bears return to Memorial Stadium looking for their fifth straight victory in the Big Game. Cal currently has an 8-3 overall record and has wrapped up at least a tie for second place in the Pac-10. Stanford, meanwhile, has posted a 1-10 mark. A victory would also mark Cal's 15th nine-win season, including its second in five years under head coach Jeff Tedford.
The California Golden Bears came within 20 minutes of their first Rose Bowl appearance in close to 50 years, but despite losing to national power USC on Saturday, Cal will still advance to its fourth straight bowl game. The Bears have never played in four bowl games in a row and are one of just three Pac-10 teams looking at a fourth straight postseason appearance. In Saturday's game, Cal edged ahead of the Trojans 9-6 at the half. A long field goal late in the third quarter knotted the game and then two fourth-quarter touchdowns foiled the Bears' hopes for their first Pasadena trip since 1958. The California defense was exceptional as senior Desmond Bishop piled up 13 tackles and senior Brandon Mebane had six tackles and a key safety in the first quarter to get the Bears on the board. After USC's second field goal of the game made it 6-2, Nate Longshore directed a strong drive - DeSean Jackson had a 36-yard catch and Robert Jordan snared a 29-yarder before Longshore found Lavelle Hawkins for a six-yard TD to make it 9-6.
Bits on the Bears
DeSean Jackson ranks first in the nation in punt return average and is leading the nation with four punt-return touchdowns ... Jackson set season (4) and career (5) Pac-10 records for punt return TDs with his 95-yard return against Arizona ... Marshawn Lynch has 1,178 rushing yards and is just the second player in Cal history with two 1,000-yard seasons - he is the fourth to go over 3,000 career rushing yards ... Lynch and Jackson are tied for the Pac-10 lead in touchdowns with 13 each ... Lynch has 33 touchdowns in 33 career games and Jackson has 21 touchdowns in 22 career games ... Daymeion Hughes is tied for second in the nation with eight interceptions while Cal as a team ranks third in the nation with 20 interceptions ... Nate Longshore is tied for the Pac-10 lead in touchdown passes and ransk second in passing efficiency and third in passing yards ... Desmond Bishop ranks second in the Pac-10 with 9.5 tackles per game ... Cal has won 26 games to date through the last five years (Jeff Tedford's tenure), the second-most in the Pac-10 ... Tom Schneider is a perfect 9-of-9 on field goals inside the 50 ... the Golden Bear offensive line leads the Pac-10 with just 11 sacks allowed this year ... Cal has had five eight-game winning streaks against collegiate opponents (single season) in history ... this year marked the first time since 1949 that Cal opened 6-0 in conference play ... despite missing the entire second halves of two games due to injury, Lynch still leads the Pac-10 in rushing ... Cal has had 24 scores this year that have taken less than two minutes ... Cal has had a 100-yard rusher in 40 of 61 games under Tedford, meanwhile, its opponents have had just 15 games with 100-yard rushers ... Cal has two sellouts in a season for the first time in over 50 years - the Bears have been over 50,000 fans for 17 straight home games.
A Look at the Cardinal
To Be Posted
Let's Go Bowling
The California football program will be advancing to a bowl game for the fourth straight season for the first time in Golden Bear history as Cal will play in either the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl (Thursday, Dec. 28, 5 p.m., ESPN) in San Diego or the Brut Sun Bowl (Friday, Dec. 29, 11 a.m., CBS) in El Paso, Texas. Ticket allocation information for both bowls is currently available at CalBears.com. Prior to the current run of success, the Golden Bears best stretch of bowl appearances was from 1948-50, when Cal earned three straight Rose Bowl bids under legendary head coach Pappy Waldorf. The Golden Bears have guaranteed at least a tie for second place in the league.
The Big Game
The annual showdown between California and Stanford is the ninth oldest rival in NCAA football, dating back to 1892. Stanford leads the series, 54-43-11, but California has won the last four games by a combined score of 126-32. That point total calculates to an average margin of victory of 31.5-8. In 2004, Cal was a 41-6 winner with the 35-point margin of victory tying Cal's 1921 victory (42-7) for the Bears' largest winning margin in the series. Prior to the arrival of Jeff Tedford, Stanford won seven straight Big Games.
The Big Game Story
The series between Cal and Stanford has produced some of the most memorable finishes in college football history. Five games have been decided on the final play and many others have been in doubt late in the fourth quarter. Fifty of the previous 108 Big Games have been decided by a touchdown or less. California opened Memorial Stadium against Stanford and Stanford opened its former stadium against Cal. The Bears won both games.
The Big Finishes
A quick look at the five Big Games that have been decided on the final snap:
1972 California 24, Stanford 21
California drove 62 yards in the final 1:13 of the contest. The game ended with Bears quarterback Vince Ferragamo tossing a 7-yard touchdown to a diving Steve Sweeney for the final score.
1974 Stanford 22, California 20
Stanford got a 50-yard field goal from Mike Langford on the final play to knock off the 19th-ranked Bears.
1982 The Play
Cal won the game 25-20 following the miraculous 57-yard, five-lateral kickoff return now known simply as The Play. The sequence began with a Stanford kickoff with just four seconds left on the clock.
1990 Stanford 27, California 25
Stanford scored nine points in the game's final 12 seconds. The sequence included a Stanford score and a failed two-point conversion. The Cardinal recovered the onside kick, benefited from a Cal penalty and connected on a 37-yard field goal on the game's final play.
2000 Stanford 36, California 30 (OT)
The Cardinal prevailed in the first overtime game in Big Game history.
The Bears and the Cardinal play for the Stanford Axe, which was actually unveiled on the eve of an 1899 baseball game between the schools. Stanford students used the Axe on a straw man dressed in blue and gold at a pre-game pep rally. During the game, blue and gold ribbons were cut into pieces with the Axe, and the Axe was used to chop wood, signifying a good play by the Indians. When Cal rallied for a dramatic win, an emotional group of Bears grabbed the Axe and transported it via ferry to Berkeley and placed it in the safe of a Berkeley bank. It was removed once a year for the Axe Rally. By 1933, each side decided the Axe was a fitting Big Game trophy. It is mounted on a plaque that lists the game's scores.
Tedford and the Cardinal
Jeff Tedford is 4-0 vs. Stanford. He is behind only Andy Smith for the best start by a Cal coach in the series. Andy Smith began his Cal career with a 6-0 record against Stanford from 1918 through 1923. Smith did not face Stanford in his first two seasons on campus. His win streak ended with a tie in the seventh meeting. Pappy Waldorf began his career with a 3-0-1 record against Stanford and concluded his career with a 7-1-2 record in the Big Game. Cal has not won five straight Big Games since 1919-1923.
This year marks the second time in the last three years that the Bears have finished second in the conference. In addition, Cal's 26-14 league mark over the last five years (Jeff Tedford's tenure) is the second-best record in the Pac-10 in that time. Tedford's Bears are one of just three Pac-10 teams to have the opportunity to go to a fourth straight bowl game in 2006, joining USC and UCLA.
Go DJ- Jackson highlight video
DeSean Jackson continues to prove himself as one of the most exciting players in the country. The sophomore now has four punt return touchdowns this year and five in his career (both school and Pac-10 marks). The NCAA record for punt return TDs is eight by Wes Welker (Texas Tech, 2000-03) and Antonio Perkins (Oklahoma, 2001-04). Amazingly, the Long Beach product has just 25 career punt returns, meaning he has scored on 20 percent of his returns. Jackson now leads the nation with 19.0 yards per return. In addition, he has recorded 47 catches for 852 yards and nine touchdowns (best in the Pac-10), all tops on the team. For his career, he has scored 21 touchdowns (16 receiving, five returns) in 22 games.
Jackson's TDs on Punt Returns (Quarter; Score after return)
Nov. 11, 2006: 95 yards vs. Arizona (1st; 7-0)
Nov. 4, 2006: 72 yards vs. UCLA (3rd; 28-10)
Oct. 7, 2006: 65 yards vs. Oregon (2nd, 28-3)
Sept. 23, 2006: 80 yards vs. Arizona State (2nd, 21-7)
Sept. 3, 2005: 49 yards vs. Sacramento State (4th, 41-3)
Lynch Hits 3,000
Marshawn Lynch became the fourth player in California history with 3,000 career rushing yards when he surged past that milestone in the USC game. He now has 3,052 career yards. The previous week, against Arizona, Lynch had joined Russell White as the only Cal players with multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons. The sophomore now has a school-record 16 100-yard rushing games. Lynch is averaging a Pac-10 best 107.1 yards per game (11th in the nation), but more impressive are his scoring stats. The junior is tied with teammate DeSean Jackson for the Pac-10 lead with 13 touchdowns (nine rushing, four receiving). Lynch's most impressive performance of the year may have come on Oct. 21 against Washington, when he took over the game in the fourth quarter and overtime. The Oakland product had 102 second-half rushing yards against the Huskies. In the final 6:50 of regulation and overtime, Lynch rushed for 38 yards and two touchdowns while catching two passes for 32 yards to lead the Bears to the victory. Lynch has seven 100-yard games this year, despite missing the second halves of both the Oregon and Portland State games due to injury. He also leads the Pac-10 in all-purpose yards (142.3 per game, ninth in the nation).
Hughes Cornering the Market - Hughes highlight video
Senior Daymeion Hughes simply keeps on building on his reputation as the top cornerback in the nation. The Los Angeles product had interceptions in three straight games and appeared to add a fourth against Arizona in the end zone, but it was called back due to a flag. He is tied for second in the nation with eight pickoffs this season. In addition to an interception against UCLA, Hughes had three pass break-ups and 10 tackles. His eight interceptions this season are the second-most in a season at Cal while his 15 career thefts rank second as well in Golden Bear history. In addition, he has returned four of those interceptions for touchdowns.
Darkside Desmond - Bishop highlight video
Desmond Bishop, who talks about 'sucking the life out of opposing offenses,' has been piling up huge numbers this season. The senior from Fairfield, Calif., ranks second in the Pac-10 with 9.5 tackles per game, including a game-high 13 in last Saturday's game at USC. Bishop had a career-high 16 in the overtime victory against Washington - a victory he clinched with an interception on the goal line in overtime. He added his third interception of the year on Nov. 4 against UCLA, picking off a Bruin pass on the Cal 10-yard line with 14 seconds to go in the first half. A second-team All-Pac-10 selection last year, Bishop has registered double figures in tackles four times this year and also has a team-high 14.0 tackles for loss.
Loooong-shore - Longshore highlight video
Nate Longshore and the Golden Bears have been especially deadly with the long ball this year. California has 52 pass plays of 20 yards or more while its opponents have just 34. Forty-five of those deep balls have been thrown by Longshore, including 17 to sophomore DeSean Jackson. In addition to passing the ball, the Golden Bears have 44 other plays (rushing, punt returns, kickoff returns and interception returns) of over 20 yards. Opponents have 30 other long plays.
The Leg From Las Lomas
California placekicker Tom Schneider is another quiet stat sheet standout for the Golden Bears. Without drawing much attention, Schneider has scored 74 points for the Golden Bears. The Las Lomas High School graduate is 10-of-13 on field-goal attempts, including a perfect 9-of-9 inside 50 yards. He is also a perfect 44-of-44 on extra points.
Cal has 24 scores this year that have taken less than two minutes. The Golden Bears have had 16 scoring drives that have lasted less than 2:00 as well as three interception return TDs, four punt returns for touchdowns and one safety.
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 39 receptions for 619 yards in 2006. His top performances have come against Minnesota (9 catches for 125 yards), at Oregon State (6 catches for 128 yards) and against Washington (6 catches for 99 yards).
Protecting the QB
Despite losing three 2005 starters to the NFL and having three current starters miss games due to injury, the California offensive line has developed into a true strength for the Golden Bears. Both Washington State and Arizona State came into their games against Cal as the national leader in sacks, while UCLA had two of the top 10 sack men in the nation. All three teams managed just one sack against the Golden Bears. The Bears have allowed just 11 sacks all season (second in the Pac-10), including only eight in the last 10 games.
Longshore Atop Pac-10 in TDs, Efficiency
Quarterback Nate Longshore is tied for the Pac-10 lead in paissing touchdowns (22) and also ranks second in passing efficiency (142.36) and third in passing yards per game (233.5). For the season, Longshore has completed 194-of-322 passes for 2,569 yards and 22 touchdowns. In Pac-10 games only, he has completed 146-of-248 passes for 1,959 yards and 16 touchdowns.
The Golden Bears are currently third in the nation with 20 interceptions. Against Washington, the Bears picked off five Husky passes, the first time they had five pickoffs since Oct. 31, 1987 in a 20-6 victory over Oregon. Senior cornerback Daymeion Hughes leads the team and is third in the country with eight interceptions while linebacker Desmond Bishop has three and safeties Brandon Hampton and Bernard Hicks each have two INTs.
Linebacker Legion of Doom
While Desmond Bishop has been piling up impressive numbers, he is just the leader of one of the best linebacking corps in the country. Against Washington, Cal's backers had 43 tackles, including seven for losses to go with three interceptions. In addition to Bishop's 104 tackles this season, senior Mickey Pimentel has 51 tackles, sophomore Worrell Williams has 49 tackles, and sophomore Zack Follett has 47. Juniors Justin Moye and Greg Van Hoesen and sophomore Anthony Felder are also in double digits in tackles. The linebackers have also combined for six interceptions, including one returned for a TD by Pimentel. The talent at the position has led linebackers coach Bob Foster to say that he does not have starters, he just has players.
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 45 times for 1,884 yards - an impressive average of 41.9 yards per punt. However, his net punting is the true measure of his value. Opponents have returned just 17 punts for a total of 125 yards, giving Cal a Pac-10 best net-punting mark of 37.8 yards. Last season, with veteran David Lonie handling punting duties, the Bears had a net average of 36.7 yards per punt.
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. This year, opponents have just 17 punt returns for 125 yards (an average of 7.4 per return). In the six games prior to the Arizona game, Bear opponents had just six punt returns for 24 yards. The Wildcats managed five returns for 59 yards, including a 28-yarder, the longest against Cal this season.
It's Pronounced FALL-ett
Sophomore Zack Follett may be one of the few non-starters in the nation who will contend for all-conference honors this season. A freshman All-American last season, Follett is one of a group of play-making linebackers for the Golden Bears. He has 47 tackles, including 6.5 tackles for loss this year. Against Washington, he piled up eight tackles and his first career interception. Perhaps 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.
First 6-0 Since 1949
California opened the Pac-10 season with a 6-0 mark for the first time since the 1949 season, the second of three straight undefeated conference seasons - as well as the second of three straight Rose Bowl appearances. The Bears have won more than six conference games just twice in school history (7-0 in 1949 and 7-1 in 2004).
Cal's eight-game winning streak was one of just five in school history of eight games or more (same season against collegiate opponents).
Year: Streak - Final Record/Other
1948: 10 wins - 10-1/Pacific Coast Conference Co-Champs, Rose Bowl
1949: 10 wins - 10-1/Pacific Coast Conference Champs, Rose Bowl
1935: 9 wins - 9-1/Pacific Coast Conference Co-Champs
1950: 9 wins - 9-1-1/Pacific Coast Conference Champs, Rose Bowl
2006: 8 wins
Nate Longshore narrowly missed the California record for completion percentage in the Nov. 4 game against UCLA. The Cal record is 85.3 percent (29-of-34) by Aaron Rodgers at USC in 2004. Longshore was at 87.0 percent (20-of-23) before an incompletion on his last pass dropped him to 83.3 percent, third-best in a game at Cal. Gale Gilbert completed 23-of-27 passes (85.2) against Oregon State in 1983.
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 41-20 (.672) 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): 41-20 (.672) - Three bowls
Early 90s (1990-93): 30-17 (.638) - Three bowls
Mike White Era (1972-77): 35-30 (.538) - Last conf. title (`75)
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 807 carries, 5,227 yards (6.48 yards per carry), 44 touchdowns and 23 100-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 1,475 rushing yards on 243 carries for an impressive 6.07 yards per carry.
California has now sold out two games this year (Oregon and UCLA); it is the first time in over fifty years that Cal has sold out multiple games in the same season. This year's sellouts are also just the fourth and fifth non-Big Game sellouts in the last 50 years. 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.
50,000 Fans Again
The sellout against UCLA marked Cal's 17th straight home game with 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 UCLA game was also the ninth game of 60,000+ fans under Tedford, 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.
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).
The Washington game was just the ninth overtime game in California football history and the Golden Bears now have a 5-4 mark in those contests. The victory evened Jeff Tedford's record in overtime games at 2-2. He also guided the Bears to an unforgettable 34-31 win over USC in three overtimes in 2003.
Spread the Wealth
The Golden Bears have had 16 different players catch passes this season and 12 different players score touchdowns. 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.
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 Big Game will be Cal's 10th televised game of the season as Fox Sports Net will broadcast the rivalry. Five different network have televised the Bears this year (ESPN, ESPN on ABC, TBS, Comcast Sports, Fox Sports Net). A Holiday Bowl appearance would be teelvised by ESPn while a Sun Bowl trip would air on CBS.
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.
Cal Corrals Fifth Straight Winning Season
Since posting the worst record at Cal in 104 years (1-10) in 2001, the Golden Bears have rolled to five straight winning seasons since the arrival of head coach Jeff Tedford. In Tedford's first season (2002), he guided the Bears to a 7-5 mark - the school's first winning record in nine years. The 2004 club climbed as high as No. 4 in the nation and finished 10-2. Last year, Cal won eight games and so far in 2006, the Bears are 7-1, marking the first time the Golden Bears have had five straight winning seasons in over 50 years (Pappy Waldorf's juggernaut teams reeled off six straight winning marks from 1947-52).
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.