Golden Bears Host Sun Devils for Homecoming on Saturday
Sept. 29, 2008
2008 CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL
Saturday, October 4, 12:30 p.m. (PT)
California (3-1, 1-0 Pac-10) vs. Arizona State (2-2, 1-0 Pac-10)
Berkeley, Calif. - Memorial Stadium
TV: ABC Broadcast team: Eric Collins (Analyst), Rod Gilmore (PxP).
Radio: KGO Radio (810 AM) in San Francisco (Joe Starkey, Troy Taylor, Todd McKim) - and affiliate stations KGIL Radio (1260 AM Los Angeles), XSURF Radio (540 AM San Diego), KNTK Radio (102.3 Weed), KCBL Radio (1340 AM Fresno), KESP Radio (970 AM Modesto), KVBL Radio (1400 AM Visalia) and KTKZ Radio (1380 AM Sacramento). The pre-game show begins 30 minutes prior to kickoff.
GOLDEN BEAR FACTS
Head Coach: Jeff Tedford
Alma Mater/Year: Fresno State/1983
Record at Cal/Year: 53-27/7th
Career Record/Years: Same
Football SID: Herb Benenson
Office Phone: 510-642-0515
Secondary Contact: Chris DeConna
Office Phone: 510-643-4724
Ticket Info: 800-GO-BEARS
Games Played: 27
Series Record: Cal trails, 14-13
First Meeting: 9/25/76, Cal, 31-22
Last Meeting: 10/27/07, ASU, 31-20
Current Streak: Cal win four of five
Tedford vs. ASU: 4-1
The California Golden Bears improved to 3-1 on the season with a 42-7 win over Colorado State last Saturday in their final non-conference game of the season. The victory was highlighted by a variety of big plays, including 21 non-offensive points. Next up is Pac-10 rival Arizona State for Homecoming this Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium. The Bears have won four of the last five meetings with the Sun Devils, but will be looking to avenge last year's 31-20 loss in Tempe.
In Saturday's victory over CSU, the Bears offense had the opportunity to sit back and watch the defense and special teams take charge of the contest. A blocked punt by freshman Mychal Kendricks led to a 30-yard return for a touchdown by sophomore Bryant Nnabuife - the second touchdown on a blocked punt for the junior-college transfer this year; junior safety Brett Johnson picked off a pass and returned it 43 yards for a touchdown; and junior Syd'Quan Thompson tallied his first career punt return touchdown, registering a 73-yard return early in the second half, to offset a solid defensive effort by the Rams. Cal's defense added two other interceptions - a pickoff by sophomore defensive end Cameron Jordan in the red zone and the first career INT for sophomore Darian Hagan - as well as 12 tackles for loss, including four sacks.
Offensively, junior Nyan Boateng and sophomore Jeremy Ross both snagged touchdown catches - Ross' was the first reception of his career, the third time this season Cal has had a player score a TD on his first career catch (Tad Smith and Verran Tucker vs. Maryland). Junior tight end Cameron Morrah also caught a 16-yard touchdown, his team-best third of the season.
Sophomore tailback Jahvid Best began the day impressively with a 46-yard kick return, but left the game with an elbow injury in the third quarter. He finished his shortened day with 85 rushing yards (on 11 carries), three catches for 27 yards and the kick return for 158 all-purpose yards.
Cal has now started 3-1 or better in six of head coach Jeff Tedford's seven seasons. The Bears' lone loss, on the road at Maryland, was tempered somewhat this weekend when the Terrapins upended No. 20 Clemson on the road. Cal is averaging 43.2 points per game (10th in the nation), while allowing just 19.0 points per game (third-best in the Pac-10). The Bears also rank second in the Pac-10 in rushing defense (101.0) and third in total defense (304.2). Cal's league-high eight interceptions have contributed to the squad's Pac-10-best plus-four turnover margin.
Cal-Arizona State Match-Up
This will be the 28th meeting all-time between these two programs since the series began 1976 ... ASU holds a slim 14-13 advantage, but Cal has won four of the last five meetings ... Cal fell in Tempe last season by a score of 31-20 ... the last time Arizona State won in Berkeley was in 1997 (28-21 on Nov. 8) ... in the two most recent games in Memorial Stadium, Cal prevailed 27-0 in 2004 and 49-21 in 2006.
Cal-Arizona State Connections
Six ASU players are from the Bay Area (Angelo Fobbs-Valentino, San Mateo; Danny Sullivan, Los Gatos; Anthony Reyes, Santa Clara; Paul Fanaika, Millbrae; Mike Marcisz, Livermore and Michael Mellinger, San Ramon) ... Cal punter Bryan Anger and ASU quarterback Samson Szakacsy both attended Camarillo HS together ... five Cal players are from Arizona: Marc Anthony (Chandler), Covaughn DeBoskie (Chandler), Cody Jones (Tucson), Cameron Jordan (Chandler) and Nick Sundberg (Phoenix) ... DeBoskie attended Hamilton HS in Chandler with six players on ASU - Gerell Robinson, Gerald Munns, Kerry Taylor, Colin Parker, Patrick Jamison and David Smith ... Cal defensive backs coach Al Simmons was at Arizona State in the same role from 2006-07 ... Bears' offensive line coach Jim Michalczik was the defensive line coach at Miami (FL) from 1990-91 when Dennis Erickson was the head coach there (the Hurricanes were 22-2 during Michalczik's tenure).
Cal Offense Quick Notes
Cal has the 20th-best total offense in the nation (445.3 ypg) and the 10th-best scoring offense (43.3 points per game) ... Jahvid Best is third in the Pac-10 and 20th in the nation in rushing yards per game (105.3) ... he also ranks third in the nation in all-purpose yards per game (215.5) ... Kevin Riley set a school record with 58 pass attempts against Maryland ... his 423 yards passing were the third-most in a game in school history and the most single-game passing yards in the Tedford era ... Nate Longshore tied Aaron Rodgers for fifth all-time at Cal with 43 career touchdown passes after tossing two against Colorado State (Longshore is 53 yards shy of 6,000 career passing yards) ... the 81-yard run by Shane Vereen against Michigan State and the 80-yard TD run by Best on the opening play against Washington State marked the first time in program history that Cal had two 80-yard runs in the same season - Best extended that mark by adding an 86-yard run as well against WSU ... Best and Vereen rushed for 100 yards against Michigan State, the seventh time Jeff Tedford has had two 100-yard rushers in the same game ... Vereen set the school record for rushing yards by a freshman in his debut vs. Michigan State with 101 and also set a Cal freshman record for longest run with his 81-yard TD ... the Bears' 391 rushing yards at Washington State are a Tedford-era record and the most by a Cal team since 1991 ... Cal's 66 points at WSU were the second-most scored in the Jeff Tedford era and the third-most for Cal since World War II ... the 63-point margin of victory at WSU was Cal's largest since 1922 ... Cal is looking for its seventh straight season with a 1,000-yard rusher after Justin Forsett ran for 1,546 yards last year ... Cal has not been shut out in a school-record 111 straight games dating back to Sept. 11, 1999 ... Cal has scored 2,701 points, the second most of any other team in the Pac-10 since 2002 (USC, 3,061) ... the Bears have scored 96 total touchdowns at Memorial Stadium since 2004.
Cal Defensive Quick Notes for 2008
Cal has the second-best rush defense in the Pac-10 (101.0 ypg), and has the third-best total defense (304.2 ypg) ... the Bears have not allowed a 100-yard rusher all season ... Cal has eight interceptions in four games this season (10 total last year) ... against Colorado State, Cal recorded four sacks, nine tackles for losses, six pass break-ups and three interceptions ... cornerback Syd'Quan Thompson is tied for second in the nation (and tops in the league) in interceptions with three, including two against Washington State ... his 108 interception-return yards against WSU were a school record ... Anthony Felder leads the Bears with 31 tackles this season ... Zack Follett has team-highs with 6.5 tackles for losses and is tied with Thompson for the lead in sacks with two ... he had eight tackles against Michigan State, matching his fourth-best career performance ... three linebackers recorded career-highs in tackles against Colorado State: Eddie Young (7), Michael Mohamed (9) and Devin Bishop (4) ... Felder (101 tackles) and Worrell Williams (105 tackles) joined graduated safety Thomas DeCoud to give Cal three 100-plus tacklers for the second time in school history last season (also in 1983) ... the 52 tackles by Tyson Alualu last year were the most by a defensive lineman at Cal since 2000 ... Williams is the fourth-leading returning tackler in the Pac-10 for 2008 ... the defense led the nation with three fumble-recovery touchdowns in 2007.
Special Teams Quick Notes for 2008
Cal has turned three blocked kicks into 21 points on the board so far this season ... Bryant Nnabuife returned his second blocked punt recovery for a touchdown against Colorado State, covering 30 yards (also scooped and scored against Michigan State (five yards), marking the first blocked punt return for a TD since Justin Forsett had one against Washington in 2004) .... Rulon Davis blocked a Washington State field goal and Zack Follett scooped the loose ball and returned it 68 yards for his first career touchdown ... Syd'Quan Thompson amassed 131 punt return yards and returned a punt 73 yards for a touchdown against Colorado State (his first career touchdown on a punt return) ... Cal set a single-game record with 187 punt return yards vs. Colorado State - Thompson (131), Nnabuife (30), Mychal Kendricks (26) ... true freshman David Seawright had a career-long 37-yard field goal at Washington State and is 23-23 on extra points ... Bryan Anger ranks 15th in the nation (second in the Pac-10) in punting at 44.2 ypg ... the Golden Bears led the Pac-10 in net punting over 2006 and 2007 at 37.9 net yards per punt ... snapper Nick Sundberg, a three-year starter, was perfect on 128-of-129 (99.2%) snaps in 2007.
Cal-Colorado State: Postscript
Cal amassed a school-record 187 punt return yards vs. the Rams - previous record was 185 vs. Washington State on Sept. 17, 1966 ... Syd'Quan Thompson recorded his first career punt return touchdown - 73 yards - in the third quarter ... it was the first punt returned for a touchdown (not off of a blocked punt) since DeSean Jackson ran a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown vs. Tennessee last season ... Thompson had 131 total punt return yards ... he also recorded his second sack of the season ... Bryant Nnabuife returned a blocked punt 56 yards for a touchdown - the second time he has done so this season (also against Michigan State) in the first quarter ... Brett Johnson returned an interception (his second of the season and career) 43 yards for a touchdown ... it was the first interception returned for a touchdown since Mickey Pimentel vs. Arizona State on Sept. 23, 2006 ... Jahvid Best had five plays of 10 or more yards vs. the Rams, including a 46-yard kickoff return to start the game ... he rushed for 85 yards on 11 carries ... he also caught three passes for 27 yards ... Tracy Slocum had a career-long 21-yard run in the fourth quarter (finished with 35 rushing yards on four carries) ... Darian Hagan recorded his first career interception in the third quarter, while Cameron Jordan recorded his first career interception in the fourth quarter at the Golden Bear 10-yard line to thwart a Colorado State scoring drive ... Nyan Boateng recorded his first career touchdown as a Golden Bear - an 11-yard reception ... Jeremy Ross caught his first career TD pass, a 14-yard pass from Nate Longshore ... it was the first reception of his career and it was also Longshore's first TD pass this season ... Longshore finished the contest 9-for-13 for 100 yards and two touchdowns ... Eddie Young had a career-high seven tackles, while fellow linebacker Michael Mohamed registered a career-best nine stops ... Cal's defense recorded four sacks, nine tackles for losses, six pass break-ups and three interceptions vs. the Rams ... Cal continued its impressive record at Memorial Stadium with its 42-7 victory over Colorado State, now having won 24 of its last 28 home games.
It's Best to Just Give Him the Ball
Sophomore Jahvid Best tallied 158 all-purpose yards before leaving the game with an elbow injury against Colorado State, ending his streak of three consecutive games with 200+ all-purpose yards. He registered 225 all-purpose yards against Maryland, despite being held to just 25 yards on 10 rushes as he had five receptions for a career-high 65 yards and four kick returns for 135 yards, including a career-best 54-yard return.
He racked up a career-best 200 yards (14.3 yards per carry) and three touchdowns at Washington State. On the first play of the game, he broke a career-best 80-yard touchdown run, then on his final rush, he topped that with an 86-yard scoring rush. Best's 200 rushing yards was the most by a Bear since Justin Forsett had 235 yards vs. New Mexico State in 2005. The sophomore also became the first player since J.J. Arrington in 2004 to open a season with back-to-back 100-yard rushing games.
The product of Vallejo is third in the Pac-10 and 20th in the nation in rushing yards per game (105.3), while ranking third in the nation in all-purpose yards per game (215.5). He has gained 421 yards on 59 carries this season with four rushing touchdowns, and also has 45 career plays (of 139) resulting in 10 or more yards.
Expected to take on a major role in 2008 after a break-out true freshman season in 2007, Best responded when he rushed a career-high 24 times for 111 yards and a touchdown in Cal's 38-31 season opening win over Michigan State. He also added a career-long 42-yard reception against the Spartans.
In 2007, Best's highlights included a 64-yard touchdown run against Colorado State and a 54-yard kick return against UCLA. He ranked second in the Pac-10 with 27.0 yards per kick return and also established himself as one of the top gunners in the nation - a position he will not return to in 2008 with his increased offensive role. Best missed the final three games of 2007 with a hip injury.
Game Changing Bears
Many of Cal's touchdowns this season have been a result of big or game-changing plays on offense, defense and special teams which have sparked the Bears to a 3-1 start to the campaign.
Blocked punt (Brett Johnson) returned for a touchdown (Bryant Nnabuife)
81-yard touchdown run (Shane Vereen)
Touchdown runs of 80 and 86 yards by Jahvid Best
Blocked field goal attempt (Rulon Davis) returned for a TD (Zack Follett)
Blocked punt (Mychal Kendricks) returned for a touchdown (Nnabuife)
Punt return for touchdown (Syd'Quan Thompson)
Interception returned for touchdown (Brett Johnson)
Dial Up Nate
Nate Longshore entered the Colorado State game in the third quarter and promptly went an efficient 9-of-13 for 100 yards and two touchdowns. Longshore's fourth-quarter touchdown strike to Cameron Morrah tied him for fifth all-time at Cal with Aaron Rodgers with 43 career TDs. Longshore is 53 yards shy of 6,000 career passing yards. Entering the 2008 season, Longshore was second all-time at Cal with 18 victories as a starting quarterback.
No Stopping Syd
Junior Syd'Quan Thompson, who has developed into a true lockdown corner for the Golden Bears this season, now can strike fear into the opponents in a different way - on special teams. Thompson recorded his first career punt return touchdown (73 yards) against Colorado State. It was the first punt returned for a touchdown (not off of a blocked punt) since DeSean Jackson ran a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown vs. Tennessee last season. Thompson totaled 131 punt return yards, seven shy of the school single-game record. Defensively against CSU, he recorded his second sack of the season to go along with a team-high nine tackles.
Now in his third season as a starter (30 straight starts, five career INTs, 16 career PBUs), the junior is tops in the Pac-10 with three interceptions. He picked off two passes against Washington State, becoming the first Cal player since Daymeion Hughes in 2006 to have two interceptions in a game. He returned the second INT 90 yards (fifth-longest in Cal history) to set up a five-yard TD. Overall, he set a school-record with 108 interception return yards.
He was also instrumental in Cal's 38-31 win over Michigan State. He intercepted a pass at the end of the second quarter near the goal line, thwarting a Spartan scoring drive. The Sacramento product also swatted away three passes while adding five tackles. Two of his tackles came on third down plays and forced punts while one pass break-up came on a key third-and-18 play to force a punt as well.
Darian D's Up
Sophomore Darian Hagan is also starting to develop into a shutdown corner opposite of Syd'Quan Thompson. The product of Crenshaw recorded his first career interception against Colorado State to go along with seven tackles, including one for a loss. For the season, Hagan has 19 tackles and an interception, while tied for the team lead (with Thompson) with four pass break-ups. Hagan saw action in just five games, primarily on special teams last season. He has started every game for the Bears this season.
Cal has registered eight interceptions in four games this season, including three by Syd'Quan Thompson and two by Brett Johnson. Cal totaled just 10 interceptions last season. Darian Hagan and Cameron Jordan recorded their first career picks vs. Colorado State.
3-4 Showcases Linebacker Strength
The California coaching staff changed its base defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4 to take advantage of its superior talent and depth at linebacker. Recognized among the best linebackers in the nation, the Cal contingent features three returning senior starters in Anthony Felder, Zack Follett and Worrell Williams.
Felder, who leads the team with 31 tackles, had seven tackles against Colorado State, and is 11 tackles shy of 200 for his career. He had 12 stops against Michigan State - his fourth career double-digit tackle performance. Follett had another busy day for the Bears against Maryland as he had five tackles, a sack, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble and a pass breakup. After notching two tackles for losses against Colorado State, he needs one more tackle for a loss to rank 10th in program history in that category. Williams has been active around the ball all season, recording 23 stops (second on the team), two tackles for losses and a pass break up.
Other Bear linebackers have contributed as well in 2008. Junior Eddie Young, who has started all four games this season, recorded a career-high seven tackles against Colorado State to give him 17 for the season. Sophomore Mike Mohamed also recorded a career-high nine tackles vs. CSU. Junior Devin Bishop, the younger brother of former Cal star linebacker Desmond Bishop, has eight tackles, including a career-best four vs. Colorado State, while sophomore Charles Johnson (six total tackles), redshirt freshman D.J. Holt (seven total tackles) and true freshman Mychal Kendricks (eight tackles, and recorded his first career sack at Washington State) all are contributing.
Kevin Riley finished the Maryland game 33-of-58 for a career-high 423 yards and three touchdowns. His 423 yards passing are the third most for a game in school history and the most since Pat Barnes set the school record with 503 yards in a four-overtime win over Arizona in 1996. The 58 pass attempts are an individual record for Cal (the previous record was 57 achieved three times, the last by Barnes against UCLA on Oct. 26, 1996) and the 33 completions are tied for the third-most in program history.
LC Steps Up
With Cal featuring an inexperienced group of receivers to start the year, senior LaReylle Cunningham stepped up and produced the corps' first 100-yard performance of the season against Maryland. After entering the game against the Terrapins with two receptions for 19 yards on the season, Cunningham tallied career-bests of seven catches and 138 receiving yards. His previous best had been five catches for 112 yards at Washington State on Oct. 22, 2005. He also had a season-best 29-yard catch in the second quarter.
As a group, the Cal receivers entered the Maryland game with 13 receptions for 179 yards in the first two games. Against the Terrapins, the unit had 19 catches and 293 yards.
A Dash of Vereen Goes a Long Way
While Jahvid Best has received the bulk of the attention, redshirt freshman Shane Vereen solidifies Cal's 1-2 punch in the backfield. For the season, Vereen has racked up 279 yards on 35 carries (8.0 average) and two touchdowns. His rushing scores came on an 81-yard burst to ice the Bears' victory against Michigan State and a 39-yard tackle-breaking score against Washington State.
In the opener, Vereen became the first Cal freshman in history to rush for over 100 yards in his first game and just the ninth Bear rookie overall to break 100 yards on the ground. His 81-yard touchdown run is the longest run ever by a Cal freshman. In 1953, sophomore Jerry Drew had a 91-yard run against Penn in his debut game (freshmen were not eligible in 1952) and in 1902, Heine Heitmuller (class information not available) posted a 90-yard gain against the Perris Indians in his first year.
Lightning and Lightning
While many teams with two talented backs employ them in a 'Thunder and Lightning' style attack, the 2008 Golden Bears are using sophomore Jahvid Best and freshman Shane Vereen in more of a 'Lightning and Lightning' attack, as described by former Cal quarterback and current tv analyst Mike Pawlawski. In three games, the tandem of Best and Vereen have amassed 700 yards and six touchdowns and they have tallied three 80-yard runs between them. Best won the California High School State Championship in the 100-meter dash in 2007 with a time of 10.31 seconds, while Vereen's top 100 time was 'only' 10.4 seconds.
I Love the 80s
The tailback duo of Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen are dazzling on the field and on the Cal record books. After Vereen's 81-yard touchdown run against Michigan State, Best logged an 80-yard touchdown run at Washington State to mark the first time in program history that Cal had two 80-yard runs in the same season. Best's 86-yard TD rush later in the WSU game extended that record, while obviously marking the first time two 80-yard runs had happened in the same game.
Best and Vereen both rushed for over 100 yards in the win over Michigan State, marking the seventh time in Jeff Tedford's tenure that two backs had broken the century mark in the same game. The last time was the 2006 Holiday Bowl victory against Texas A&M when Justin Forsett tallied 124 yards and Marshawn Lynch collected 111 yards. Forsett and Lynch also had a pair of games in 2005 when both went over 100 yards. In 2004, Lynch and J.J. Arrington both went over 100 rushing yards on two occasions, while Arrington and Adimchinobe Echemandu both hit for 100 once in 2003.
Mack and the Ground Hogs
Senior center Alex Mack continues to anchor Cal's offensive line - for the third consecutive season. Since Mack stepped into the starting center role for the 2006 opener, Cal has allowed just 30 sacks (third-best in the nation in that period). And this year, the o-line is opening up some major holes for its running attack. Against Washington State in its 66-3 win, Cal tallied the most rushing yards (391) in the Tedford-era at Cal and the most by a Bear team since the 1991 season.
Focus on Turnovers
Head coach Jeff Tedford has focused on turnovers as the No. 1 key to football since his arrival in 2002 and for this season, he and his staff have taken it a step further. Every practice in preseason camp featured a turnover circuit with each payer on the team working on drills related to protecting the football, recovering the football and forcing turnovers.
A look at the stats in Tedford's tenure backs up his assertion of the value of turnovers. In his seven years at Cal, the Golden Bears are 29-3 (.906) when winning the turnover battle and 12-18 (.400) when losing that statistical comparison (as well as 12-6 when tied). In Pac-10 games, the stats are even more decisive, as Cal is 18-1 (.947) when winning the turnover battle and 6-16 (.272) when losing it (7-3 when turnovers are tied). Cal lost the turnover battle in each of its six losses in 2007.
Cal continued its impressive record at Memorial Stadium with its 42-7 victory over Colorado State. The Golden Bears have now won 24 of their last 28 home games. Overall, Cal has out-scored opponents 1104-538 in these contests, including 272-152 in the fourth quarter. The only losses suffered in Memorial Stadium were to Oregon State (Oct. 15, 2005 and Oct. 13, 2007) and to USC (Nov. 12, 2005 and Nov. 10, 2007).
50,000 Fans Again
The Colorado State attendance of 63,970 marked the 26th straight home game with over 50,000 fans - every home game over the last five years. The game was also the 15th game of 60,000+ fans under head coach Jeff Tedford; Cal had nine 60,000+ games in the 12 years prior to Tedford's arrival.
Opponents may be a little angry this season after freshman punter Bryan Anger enters the game. The Camarillo native, who ranks 15th in the nation in punting average (44.2), booted his first career punt 56 yards, pinning Michigan State on its own 14-yard line (Cal forced a three-and-out and a punt, which was blocked and recovered for a TD). His second punt went even further at 59 yards, backing the Spartans up to their 17-yard line. Anger finished the game with an average of 48.0 yards per punt, including three inside the 20.
In his fourth career game against Colorado State, Anger had four punts travel 172 yards for a 43.0 yard average. He is second in the Pac-10 in punting average and the Bears are second in the league in net punting at 37.0.
Early Action Guys
Head coach Jeff Tedford has been very pleased by the performance of many of the newcomers on the squad this year. So far, the Bears have played 10 newcomers in 2008 -- Verran Tucker (WR), Anthony Miller (TE), Donovan Edwards (OL), Bryant Nnabuife (DB), Marvin Jones (WR), Mychal Kendricks (LB), David Seawright (PK), Kendrick Payne (DT), Giorgio Tavecchio (PK) and Robert Mullins (LB). Last year, Cal played four newcomers (true freshmen Jahvid Best, Chris Conte and Cameron Jordan, and Zach Smith, a transfer from Duke).
Youth is Served
Offensive linemen Alex Mack and Noris Malele are the odd men out when it comes to the youth movement on offense for the Golden Bears. The two elder statesmen have a combined 57 starts on the o-line, while the rest have a combined nine starts. Still, the o-line has given up just six sacks and has paved the way for 821 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns this season. Defensively, there are fewer first-time starters, with most of the experience coming from the linebackers and secondary. Syd'Quan Thompson, who has the most starts of anyone on defense, leads the team with three interceptions.
Cal wide receiver Sean Young added another memorable moment in his sixth year with the Golden Bears when he caught his first career touchdown in the first quarter at Washington State. He finished the game with 23 yards on two catches. In the season opener against Michigan State, Young hauled in four catches for 81 yards, including a career-long 42 yard reception in the second quarter, helping Cal set up its second offensive touchdown. For the season, Young has eight grabs for 112 yards and a touchdown. He had entered the season with three catches for 27 yards for his career.
A star at Berkeley High School who was ranked among the top players in California in 2002, Young enrolled at Cal and proceeded to battle injuries for five years. He underwent surgeries on both of his feet (severely sprained ligaments in his big toes) during separate years and appeared in a total of 13 games in five years. After discussing his options with his father, the coaching staff and his teammates (including younger brother Eddie, a junior linebacker), Sean applied for and received a sixth year of eligibility from the NCAA.
Talent Is Never Enough
Despite having six players selected in the 2008 NFL Draft, the Golden Bears slipped to 7-6 during the 2007 campaign. In the midst of a thorough review of the program, Jeff Tedford picked up a book that Athletic Director Sandy Barbour had distributed to all of Cal's head coaches and senior staff members - 'Talent Is Never Enough' by John C. Maxwell.
'I started reading it and I found myself highlighting half of pages, or full pages. It was so relevant to what our situation was,' Tedford told the Contra Costa Times. 'I felt like we needed to spend time on a lot of the things in the book and go back and redefine who we are.'
The book focuses on 13 things which affect talent and allow a team to go beyond its talent: Belief, Passion, Initiative, Focus, Preparation, Practice, Perseverance, Courage, Teachability, Character, Relationships, Responsibility and Teamwork.
The Tedford Era
Jeff Tedford, now in his seventh year at the helm of the Bears, has quickly brought the program into another 'Golden' Age. The Bears' seven-year record of 53-27 is among the best-ever at Cal.
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): 53-27 (.662) - Five straight bowls
Early 90s (1990-93): 30-17 (.638) - Three bowls
Mike White Era (1972-77): 35-30 (.538) - Last conf. title (`75)
Cal Posts Sixth Straight Winning Season
Cal's sixth straight winning season in 2007 marked the first time the Golden Bears have reached that level of consistency since Pappy Waldorf's juggernaut teams reeled off six straight winning marks from 1947-52. Since posting the worst record at Cal in 104 years (1-10) in 2001, the Golden Bears hired head coach Jeff Tedford and have rolled to marks of 7-5 (2002), 8-6 (2003), 10-3 (2004), 8-4 (2005), 10-3 (2006) and 7-6 (2007). Cal has not posted seven straight winning season since Andy Smith's Wonder Teams registered eight straight winning years from 1918-25.