California Travels To San Diego To Battle Texas A&M in 29th Annual Holiday Bowl
Dec. 5, 2006
2006 CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL
Holiday Bowl: Thursday, December 28; 5 p.m. (PT)
#20 Cal (9-3) vs. #21 Texas A&M (9-3)
San Diego, Calif. - Qualcomm Stadium
TELEVISION: Live on ESPN.
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: 9-3
2006 Pac-10 Record/Finish: 7-2/T1st
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: 42-20/5th
Career Record/Years: Same
Football SID: John Sudsbury
Office Phone: 510-643-4723
Ticket Info: 800-GO-BEARS
Games Played: 2
Series Record: Tied, 1-1
First Meeting: 9/5/81, Loss, 29-28
Last Meeting: 9/3/83, W, 19-17
at neutral sites: 0-0
Current Streak: Cal win 1
Tedford vs. Texas A&M: First meeting
The California Golden Bears, the co-champions of the Pac-10 Conference, will be making their fourth straight bowl appearance on Dec. 28 at the 29th annual Holiday Bowl. Cal has posted a 9-3 record, its fifth straight winning season for the first time since 1947-51. Leading the way for the Golden Bears are six first-team All-Pac-10 selections, including the league's Offensive Player of the Year Marshawn Lynch and the Defensive Player of the Year Daymeion Hughes. In addition, sophomore DeSean Jackson earned all-league first team recognition at two positions - wide receiver and punt returner. The other first team honorees are linebacker Desmond Bishop, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane and center Alex Mack. The conference co-championship is the first for Cal since the 1975 season when the Bears tied with UCLA and the fourth straight bowl appearance is the longest streak in program history.
Bits on the Bears
For the first time in program history, Cal earned the Pac-10 Offensive (Marshawn Lynch) and Defensive (Daymeion Hughes) Player of the Year honors in the same season ... the Bears had seven All-Pac-10 first team selections and five second team honorees ... 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 ... Lynch has 1,245 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 34 career games and Jackson has 21 touchdowns in 23 career games ... Hughes is third in the nation with eight interceptions while Cal as a team ranks fifth in the nation with 20 interceptions (Texas A&M has thrown just three INTs all year) ... Nate Longshore is second in the Pac-10 in touchdown passes and third in passing efficiency and passing yards ... Desmond Bishop leads the Pac-10 with 114 tackles and 9.5 tackles per game ... Cal has won 27 games through the last five years (Jeff Tedford's tenure), the second-most in the Pac-10 ... Tom Schneider is a perfect 46-of-46 on PATs and a near-perfect 12-of-13 on field goals inside the 50 ... the Golden Bear offensive line ranks second in the Pac-10 with just 13 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 25 scores this year that have taken less than two minutes ... Cal has had a 100-yard rusher in 40 of 62 games under Tedford, meanwhile, its opponents have had just 15 games with 100-yard rushers ... Cal has three sellouts in a season for the first time in over 50 years - the Bears have been over 50,000 fans for 18 straight home games.
A Look at the Aggies
Texas A&M closed its regular season with a thrilling 12-7 victory over archrival Texas on the road. The Aggies improved to 9-3 overall and 5-3 in Big 12 action. The Aggies also own victories over Baylor, Oklahoma State, Missouri and Kansas in league play. A&M is one of eight teams nationally to average 200 rushing yards per game, but they are the only one of those to also have 200 passing yards per outing. Three running backs have over 600 rushing yards this season while 6-0, 274-pound Jorvorskie Lane has 19 rushing TDs (third in the nation). Sophomore quarterback Stephen McGee has thrown for 2,118 yards with just 11 touchdowns - however, he has just two interceptions. Defensively, the Aggies are allowing just 18.5 points and 309.8 yards per game. Senior linebacker Justin Warren has 90 tackles while senior safety Melvin Bullitt has 76 tackles and seven tackles for loss. The Aggies have intercepted 10 passes and have 49 pass break-ups. The Aggies have a net punting average of 37.6 yards while they have connected on 13-of-19 field goals, but none over 39 yards. Texas A&M, which has 12 seniors on its two-deep, has just 13 players from outside the state of Texas.
This year marks the first time since the 1975 season that California has earned a share of the Pac-10 Conference championship. The Golden Bears came into the Stanford game needing a victory to wrap up second place, but coupled with UCLA's upset of USC, the Bears' 7-2 league mark matches USC's record. In 1975, Cal tied with UCLA for the league title, but the head-to-head loss to the Bruins denied a Rose Bowl bid. Cal's 27-14 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.
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 the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl (Thursday, Dec. 28, 5 p.m., ESPN) in San Diego against Texas A&M. Ticket allocation information 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.
California's win over Stanford on Dec. 2, coupled with UCLA's upset of USC in Pasadena, lifted the Golden Bears to a share of the Pac-10 championship for the first time since the 1975 season. It is just the 12th conference title for the Bears and just the seventh in the last 75 years. Here's a look at Cal's title teams:
Year: Overall (Conf) - Note
1918: 7-2 (2-0 Pacific Coast) - Beat Oregon and Stanford
1920: 9-0 (3-0 Pacific Coast) - First national championship for Cal
1921: 9-0-1 (4-0 Pacific Coast) - Brick Muller is first Cal All-American
1922: 9-0 (4-0 Pacific Coast) - Outscores opponents, 146-7
1923: 9-0-1 (5-0 Pacific Coast) - Wonder Team continues to roll
1937: 10-0-1 (6-0-1 Pacific Coast) - Thunder Team beats Alabama in Rose Bowl
1948: 10-1 (6-0 Pacific Coast) - Pappy's Boys return to Rose Bowl
1949: 10-1 (7-0 Pacific Coast) - No. 3 in final AP poll
1950: 9-1-1 (5-0-1 Pacific Coast) - Third straight Rose Bowl appearance
1958: 7-4 (6-1 Pacific Coast) - Last Rose Bowl for California
1975: 8-3 (6-1 Pac-8) - Chuck Muncie leads Bears to title
2006: 9-3 (7-2 Pac-10) - Fourth straight bowl appearance
Lynch and Hughes Earn Player of the Year Honors
The California Golden Bears under head coach Jeff Tedford continue to register 'firsts' in program history. On Monday afternoon, junior running back Marshawn Lynch and senior cornerback Daymeion Hughes were named the Pac-10 Conference Offensive and Defensive Players of the Year, respectively. It is the first time Cal has won both awards in the same year; in fact, prior to this year, the Bears had been honored with just four Pac-10 Player of the Year awards in total. Lynch and Hughes join a select group of Golden Bear stars who have won Pac-10 Player of the Year honors. Chuck Muncie was the league's top player in 1975; Ron Rivera won the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year in 1983; Mike Pawlawski was the Offensive Player of the Year in 1991; and O'Neal was the league's top defender in 1999.
California has a total of seven players honored on the all-Pac-10 first team and five more second team honorees. Marshawn Lynch and Daymeion Hughes were joined on the first team by senior linebacker Desmond Bishop, senior defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, sophomore wide receiver DeSean Jackson and sophomore center Alex Mack. In addition, Jackson was named a first-team all-conference performer as a punt returner, the first Cal player to be first team at two positions since Deltha O'Neal (1999, CB/RET). Senior defensive end Nu'u Tafisi, senior special teams standout Byron Storer, junior offensive lineman Mike Gibson, junior punter Andrew Larson and junior tight end Craig Stevens were all selected to the all-league second team. Earning honorable mention recognition were senior offensive lineman Andrew Cameron, senior linebacker Mickey Pimentel, senior offensive lineman Erik Robertson, junior wide receivers Lavelle Hawkins and Robert Jordan, sophomore linebacker Zack Follett and sophomore quarterback Nate Longshore.
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, 54-44-11, but California has won the last five games by a combined score of 152-49. 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.
Tedford and the Cardinal
Jeff Tedford is now 5-0 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 had not won five straight Big Games since 1919-1923.
Marshawn Lynch is currently leading the Pac-10 in an impressive trifecta - the junior is atop the league in rushing yards (107.1 per game, 11th in the nation), all-purpose yards (142.3 per game, ninth in the nation) and touchdowns (13, tied with teammate DeSean Jackson). Those impressive stats and his impact on the Cal team were key factors in his being named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year, just the third Golden Bear to earn that honor. Lynch is also just the fourth player in California history with 3,000 career rushing yards and the second with multiple 1,000-yard rushing seasons. The Oakland product, who has a school-record 16 100-yard rushing games, may have had his most impressive performance of the year on Oct. 21 against Washington. 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. In addition to his Pac-10 awards, he was named a first team All-American by the American Football Coaches Association this week.
Hughes Collecting Hardware - Hughes highlight video
Senior Daymeion Hughes is capping off his spectacular senior season with some impressive honors. The Los Angeles product was named the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year as well as being selected to the American Football Coaches Association All-America First Team. In addition, he was named a finalist for the prestigious Ronnie Lott Trophy, which recognizes on and off the field performance. Hughes is tied for second in the nation with eight pickoffs this season and he also has 11 pass break-ups to rank third nationally in passes defended as well. 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.
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 26 career punt returns, meaning he has scored on 19 percent of his returns. Jackson now leads the nation with 18.2 yards per return. In addition, he has recorded 54 catches for 979 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 23 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)
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., leads the Pac-10 with 114 tackles and was named First Team All-Pac-10. The senior has seen double-figure tackle games and has registered 55 tackles in the last five games. 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 - and added 13 tackles on Nov. 18 against USC. He collected 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 18 games with seven or more tackles in his career this year and also has a team-high 14.0 tackles for loss this year.
Loooong-shore - Longshore highlight video
Nate Longshore and the Golden Bears have been especially deadly with the long ball this year. California has 55 pass plays of 20 yards or more while its opponents have just 36. Forty-eight of those deep balls have been thrown by Longshore, including 18 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 32 other long plays.
The Leg From Las Lomas
California placekicker Tom Schneider is another quiet stat sheet standout for the Golden Bears, though his effort against Stanford drew quite a bit of attention. The junior connected on four field goals in The Big Game, including a 55-yarder which tied the Cal school record. Schneider has scored 88 points for the Golden Bears. The Las Lomas High School graduate is 14-of-18 on field-goal attempts, including a near perfect 12-of-13 inside 50 yards. He is also a perfect 46-of-46 on extra points. For his career, Schneider has scored 248 points, fourth all-time at Cal.
Cal has 25 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, a safety and a fumble return score.
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 42-20 (.677) 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): 42-20 (.677) - Three bowls
Early 90s (1990-93): 30-17 (.638) - Three bowls
Mike White Era (1972-77): 35-30 (.538) - Last conf. title (`75)
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
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 42 receptions for 672 yards in 2006 as he was named honorable mention All-Pac-10. 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 13 sacks all season (second in the Pac-10). The impressive performance of the line resulted in four linemen earning All-Pac-10 recognition - Alex Mack (first team), Mike Gibson (second team), Andrew Cameron (third team) and Erik Robertson (third team).
The Golden Bears are currently fifth 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 first-team all-conference selection 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. Against Stanford, the linebackers had 28 takedowns, six tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, three pass break-ups and one forced fumble. In addition to Bishop's 114 tackles this season, senior Mickey Pimentel and sophomore Zack Follett each have 57 tackles and sophomore Worrell Williams has 49. 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. Follett and Pimentel were both honorable mention all-conference honorees. The talent at the position has led linebackers coach Bob Foster to say that he does not have starters, he just has players.
The Golden Bears established a new record for average attendance this year with an average of 64,318 fans per game. Including three sellouts this season, California had a total of 450,223 fans at seven home games. The previous record for the Bears was in 2004 when they averaged 64,019.
Junior-college transfer Andrew Larson has stepped right into the Division I game and shown some serious punting ability for California as he was named to the All-Pac-10 second team. The newcomer has punted 48 times for 2,042 yards - an impressive average of 42.5 yards per punt. However, his net punting is the true measure of his value. Opponents have returned just 18 punts for a total of 126 yards, giving Cal a Pac-10 best net-punting mark of 38.2 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 18 punt returns for 126 yards (an average of 7.0 per return).
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).
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 833 carries, 5,369 yards (6.45 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.'
California has now sold out three 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 against Oregon and UCLA were 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 15 times in the last 50 years.
50,000 Fans Again
The sellout against Stanford marked Cal's 18th straight home game with over 50,000 fans. That streak includes every home game in the last three years 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 Stanford game was also the 10th game of 60,000+ fans under Tedford, surpassing 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).
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.
The Golden Bears have 11 current team members who will officially earn their degrees on Dec. 9: Eric Beegun, Randy Bundy, Andrew Cameron, David Gray, Steve Kelly, Taylor Kunzi, 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 Big Game was Cal's 10th televised game of the season. Five different networks have televised the Bears this year (ESPN, ESPN on ABC, TBS, Comcast Sports, Fox Sports Net). The Holiday Bowl appearance will be televised by ESPN.
Start Me Up
Fifteen different Golden Bears earned their first career starts 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 and Brian De La Puente made his first career start against Washington State. Sophomore linebacker Zack Follett had his first career start against Stanford.
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 9-3, 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).