Cal Has a Bye Week Before Playing at Arizona on Oct. 18
Oct. 9, 2008
PDF of Official Cal Game Notes
Jordan, Anger Selected for Pac-10 Weekly Honors
Mack On Lowe's Senior CLASS Award List
Cal Returns to Top 25
Cal Tops Arizona State, 24-14
Big Game Ticket Info
2008 Cal Schedule and Results
Official Arizona Website
Official UA Game Notes
2008 CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL
Saturday, October 18, 7 p.m. (PT)
California (4-1, 2-0 Pac-10) at Arizona (4-1, 2-0 Pac-10)
Tucson, Ariz. - Arizona Stadium
TV: Comcast SportsNet West (Greg Papa, Mike Pawlaswki, Kym McNicholas)
Radio: KGO Radio (810 AM) in San Francisco (Joe Starkey, Troy Taylor, Todd McKim) 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 pregame show begins 30 minutes prior to kickoff.
GOLDEN BEAR FACTS
Head Coach: Jeff Tedford
Alma Mater/Year: Fresno State/1983
Record at Cal/Year: 54-27/7th
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 leads, 13-12-2
First Meeting: 10/14/78, Cal, 33-20
Last Meeting: 9/22/07, Cal, 45-27
Current Streak: Cal win four of five
Tedford vs. UA: 4-2
After its second of three bye weeks this season, California (#25 ESPN/USA Today) returns to action when the Golden Bears travel to Tucson, Ariz., for a 7 p.m. matchup with Arizona on Saturday, Oct. 18.
Cal and UA, which visits Stanford Oct. 11 before hosting the Bears, are tied atop the Pac-10 standings with 2-0 records. The teams are also two of the better defensive teams in the country with Arizona ranking second in total D, giving up 226.2 ypg, and Cal 25th at 290..6 ypg. On the other side of the ball, Arizona is first in the Pac-10 in scoring offense (43.6 ppg) with Cal third in the league (39.4 ppg). Cal has captured four of the last five meetings with Arizona - all victories have come by at least 18 points - but the Bears dropped a 24-20 decision to UA the last time the schools played in Tucson in 2006.
Cal’s 38-0 shutout of the Wildcats in 2004 is the Bears’ only win in the desert since 1991 (1-4 during that span). Nate Longshore returned to the starting lineup at quarterback Oct. 4 against Arizona State, leading the Bears to a 24-14 victory, his 19th win as a starter (second in school history among QBs). He completed 17-of-28 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns. In the backfield, TB Shane Vereen handled the bulk of the load in place of an injured Jahvid Best, who sat out the game after dislocating his left elbow vs. Colorado State. Vereen rushed 27 times for 93 yards and finished as Cal’s leading receiver with five catches for 51 yards. For the year, he is averaging 74.4 ypg and covering an average of 6.0 yards every time he carries the ball.
Best, the national leader in all-purpose yards and averaging 7.1 ypc, could return to action as soon as the Arizona game. Together, Best and Vereen have helped the Bears rush for 180.0 ypg, with a high of 391 yards at Washington State when Best totaled 200 yards. Cal has averaged at least 162 ypg on the ground every year since 2003. Prior to that stretch, the Bears had not averaged 162 or more since Russell White was the featured back in 1991. Defensively, the Bears limited ASU to just 236 total yards. QB Rudy Carpenter, who entered the contest atop the Pac-10 in passing yards per game, was held to 165 yards, sacked three times and intercepted twice. DE Cameron Jordan had two of the sacks and forced a fumble to earn Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week notice. With its pair of picks vs. ASU, Cal already has 10 interceptions on the year - led by Syd’Quan Thompson’s three - which equals the team’s total for all of 2007. Six different players have picked off at least one pass, including Chris Conte and Sean Cattouse, who both had their first INTs against the Sun Devils.
On special teams, P Bryan Anger snared the weekly Pac-10 award after averaging 47.7 yards on seven kicks against ASU, pinning the Sun Devils inside their own 10 three times. His 45.1 season average is only topped by Scott Tabor (45.3 ypp, 1987) and Ryan Longwell (45.2 ypp) in 1996 on the school charts.
This will be the 28th meeting all-time between these two programs since the series began 1978 ... Cal holds a slim 13-12-2 advantage, but Cal has won four of the last five meetings ... Cal defeated Arizona last season in Berkeley, 45-27 ... the Bears jumped out to a 28-3 first-quarter lead in their Pac-10 opener ... UA cut the score to 38-27 with 13:01 left before Cal put the game away with a Justin Forsett TD run midway through the fourth quarter ... the Bears fell 24-20 in their last meeting with the Wildcats in Tucson in 2006 ... in fact, Cal is 1-4 in its last five trips to Arizona, with the only victory being a 38-0 shutout in 2004 ... the Oct. 18 clash with the Wildcats could be a showcase of defensive strength; Arizona ranks second in the nation in total defense (226.20 ypg), while the Bears are 25th at 290.6 ypg.
Cal Offense Quick Notes
Cal has the 14th-best scoring offense (39.4 ppg) in the nation ... sophomore TB/RET Jahvid Best leads the NCAA in all-purpose yards, averaging 215.5 ypg ... in addition, he is third in the Pac-10 and 20th in the nation in rushing (105.3 ypg) ... Best sat out the Arizona State game with a dislocated left elbow, replaced in the backfield by Shane Vereen, and could return for the Arizona contest ... senior QB Nate Longshore moved ahead of Aaron Rodgers for fifth all-time at Cal with 46 career touchdown passes after tossing three against ASU (Longshore also went over 6,000 passing yards for his career vs. ASU) ... junior TE Cameron Morrah hauled in his fourth touchdown of the season against ASU - the most touchdowns in a season by a Cal tight end since Garrett Cross had six in 2004 ... Cal leads the Pac-10 (12th in the nation) in turnover margin (+6) ... Kevin Riley set a school record with 58 pass attempts against Maryland ... his 423 yards passing vs. the Terps were the third-most in a game in school history and the most single-game passing yards in the Tedford era ... the 81-yard run by 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 112 straight games dating back to Sept. 11, 1999 ... Cal has scored 2,725 points, the second most of any other team in the Pac-10, since 2002 (USC, 3,105) ... the Bears have scored 99 total touchdowns at Memorial Stadium since 2004.
Cal Defensive Quick Notes
In its last two games (Arizona State and Colorado State), Cal has recorded seven sacks, five interceptions, 14 pass break ups, 15 tackles for loss and four forced fumbles ... after picking off two passes against Arizona State, Cal has 10 interceptions in five games this season (the Bears had10 total last year) ... additionally, Cal is tied for third in the nation with 10 INTs ... the Bears rank seventh in the nation in pass efficiency defense (second in the Pac-10) ... Cal has the second-best rush defense in the Pac-10 (95.0 ypg) and the third-best total defense (290.6 ypg) ... Cal also boasts the top-ranked red-zone defense in the league (56.2%) ... the Bears have not allowed an individual 100-yard rusher all season, impressively holding Michigan State’s Javon Ringer (164.7 ypg; #2 in NCAA) to a season-low 81 yards in the opener ... sophomore DE Cameron Jordan was named Pac-10 Player of the Week after registering eight tackles, including two sacks and three for loss, plus a forced fumble vs. Arizona State ... junior CB Syd’Quan Thompson has three interceptions this year, including two against Washington State; ... his 108 interception return yards against WSU were a school record ... senior LB Anthony Felder leads the Bears with 37 tackles this season ... senior LB Zack Follett has team-highs with 7.5 tackles for loss and 3.0 sacks ... he had eight tackles against Michigan State ... 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 junior DL Tyson Alualu last year were the most by a defensive lineman at Cal since 2000 ... the defense led the nation with three fumble-recovery touchdowns in 2007.
Special Teams Quick Notes
Bryan Anger ranks seventh in the nation (tops in the Pac-10) in punting at 45.1 ypg ... Anger booted three punts that landed inside the Arizona State 10-yard-line, including a career long 72-yarder, and averaged 47.7 ypp vs. the Sun Devils to earn Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week honors ... the Bears lead the conference in net punting (37.6) after pacing the Pac-10 in net punting in both 2006 and 2007 ... Cal has turned three blocked kicks into 21 points on the board so far this season ... Bryant Nnabuife has a pair of blocked punt returns for TDs - 5 yards vs. Michigan State and 30 yards against Colorado State; the MSU return was Cal’s first off a blocked punt for a TD since 2004 ... Rulon Davis also blocked a Washington State field goal that Zack Follett scooped up for a 68-yard score, 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 26-26 on extra points ... snapper Nick Sundberg, a three-year starter, was perfect on 128-of-129 (99.2%) snaps in 2007.
Cal-Arizona State: Postscript
Cal’s defense forced three turnovers (2 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery) and recorded 3 sacks ... starting for an injured Jahvid Best, redshirt freshman Shane Vereen tallied a career-high 27 carries for 93 yards and a career-high five receptions for 51 yards ... starting QB Nate Longshore threw three touchdowns to move into sole possession of fifth place on the Cal career touchdown list with 46 ... Longshore has 6,145 passing yards in his career and needs 160 more to match Dave Barr for sixth place in career passing at Cal ... Syd’Quan Thompson had a season-best four pass break-ups ... Chris Conte recorded his first career interception in the third quarter (the interception set up the Bears’ third touchdown strike of the day) ... Arizona native Cameron Jordan recorded his first two sacks of the season in the first quarter - he finished the day with a team-high eight tackles, two sacks and three tackles for loss ... Cameron Morrah hauled in his fourth touchdown of the season, a 22-yard catch early in the second quarter ... CB Darian Hagan matched Jordan for team honors with eight tackles ... he also had a tackle for loss and recorded his first career fumble recovery ... starting his third straight game at safety, Brett Johnson recorded his first career forced fumble on Arizona State’s first offensive possession (recovered by Hagan) ... redshirt freshman Sean Cattouse grabbed his first career interception in the fourth quarter ... Cal’s 14-play, 67-yard opening drive in the first quarter (resulting in a field goal) was the longest play drive since its 20-play drive against Washington State last season.
The Plus Side of 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 30-3 (.909) 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 19-1 (.950) 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 is tops in the conference (12th in the nation) this season in turnover margin at +6. Additionally, the Bears have scored 56 points off of their opponents’ 13 tournovers this season (eight TDs). In Tedford’s first season in Berkeley, the Bears were third in the country in turnover margin (+18).
Where Cal has ranked in the NCAA in TO margin since 2006
• 2008 (+6), 12th (56 points scored) - through five games
• 2007 (-1.2), 76th (56 points scored)
• 2006 (+0.5), 30th (104 points scored)
A Return of the Bear Minimum Defense?
Cal’s 1968 defense, which allowed just 252.2 ypg, was dubbed the Bear Minimum Defense for its stinginess on the field. Although the Bears’ 2008 version is not quite allowed that low of a total, it had established itself as one of the best units in the country. Currently surrendering 290.6 ypg, Cal ranks 25th nationally in total defense, quite an improvement from last year when the Bears were 58th, giving up 378.8 ypg.
Much of the credit can go to a large and experienced linebacker corps that allowed Cal to install a 3-4 scheme in the spring. Only three times since 1955 have the Bears given up less than 300 ypg for a full year - 299.9 ypg in 1994, 252.2 ypg in 1968 and 268.4 ypg in 1967.
Where has Cal ranked in the NCAA in total Defense since 2002
• 2008 290.6 (25th) - through five games
• 2007 378.8 (58th)
• 2006 366.2 (91st)
• 2005 359.5 (46th)
• 2004 320.9 (24th)
• 2003 384.9 (68th)
• 2002 392.8 (75th)
Grin and Bear It
Cal’s defense has not allowed a 100-yard rusher this season. In fact, the Bears are second in the Pac-10 (15th in the country) in rush defense (95.0 ypg).
Leading Rushers vs. Cal This Season
• Javon Ringer (Michigan State) 81 yards *Ringer ranks second in the in the nation with 164.7 ypg
• Dwight Tardy (Washington State) 20 yards
• Da’Rel Scott (Maryland) 87 yards *Scott is 36th in the nation, averaging 96.4 yards per game
• Gartre Johnson (Colorado State) 63 yards *Johnson is 27th in the nation, averaging 98.2 yards per game
• Dimitri Nance (Arizona State) 39 yards *Nance ran for 85 yards against Cal last season in Tempe
It’s Better to Receive
Since Jeff Tedford’s arrival at Cal in 2002, the Golden Bears have produced six 1,000+ yard rushers. Additonally, Cal’s tailbacks were near the top on the receiving charts each of those seasons, and 2008 is no different. Shane Vereen, who corralled a career-high five receptions against Arizona State is tied for the team lead in catches with 15. Fellow running back Jahvid Best has 14 receptions on the season (27 for his career).
Career receptions by running backs at Cal since 2002
1. Joe Igber (1999-2002) 86
2. Marshawn Lynch (2004-06) 68
3. J.J. Arrington (2003-04) 42
4. Justin Forsett (2004-07) 41
5. Adimchinobe Echemandu (99-2003) 33
6. Jahvid Best (2007-current) 27
More With Morrah
With 15 catches for 194 yards, junior TE Cameron Morrah has become the favorite target for Cal quarterbacks. In fact, he already has four touchdwon receptions on the year - most for a Cal tight end since Garrett Cross had six in 2004. To show how much the position is used in Jeff Tedford offense, Tony Gonzalez, the multi-time All-Pro, had his best season in 1996 with 44 catches for 699 yards anf five TDs.
A look at some of the best seasons by a tight end at Cal under Jeff Tedford
• Cameron Morrah (2008) 15 rec, 194 yards, 4 TDs - through five games
• Craig Stevens (2007) 17 rec, 204 yards, 3 TDs
• Garrett Cross (2004) 30 rec, 362 yards, 6 TDs
• Tom Swoboda (2002) 42 rec, 451 yards, 7 TDs
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 4-1 start to the campaign.
• Blocked punt (Mychal Kendricks) returned 30 yards for a TD (Nnabuife)
• 43-yard interception returned for touchdown (Brett Johnson)
• 73-yard punt return for touchdown (Syd’Quan Thompson)
A key to any successful football season is to have depth at every position to insure against injury or other factors. This season, Cal has been fortunate to have the services of backups that have stepped up to keep the Golden Bears on track for a winning campaign.
Two examples can be cited from Cal’s win over Arizona State. Sophomore Cameron Jordan filled in for Rulon Davis on the defensive line and recorded his first two sacks of the season to go along with a team-high eight tackles and three tackles for loss. And starting for an injured Jahvid Best, redshirt freshman Shane Vereen gobbled up 93 yards on 27 carries, to go along with a career-high five receptions for 51 yards against ASU.
It’s Best to Just Give Him the Ball
Despite sitting out the Arizona State game with a dislocated elbow, sophomore Jahvid Best is tops in the nation in all-purpose yards (215.5 ypg) and is third in the Pac-10 and 20th in the nation in rushing yards (105.3 ypg). He has gained 421 yards on the ground on 59 carries this season (7.1 ypc) with four rushing touchdowns. In addition, Best has hauled in 14 passes for 157 yards and returned nine kickoffs for 284 yards (31.6 ypr).
Best tallied 158 all-purpose yards before leaving the game with a dislocated left elbow 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. Bears racked up a career-best 200 yards (14.3 yards per carry) and three touchdowns rushing at Washington State. On the first play of the game, he broke a then-career-best 80-yard touchdown sprint. And on his final rush, he dashed 86 yards for another score. Best’s total 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.
Expected to take on a major role in 2008 after a break-out true freshman season in 2007, Best responded when he rushed 24 times for 111 yards and a touchdown in Cal’s 38-31 season-opening win over Michigan State. He also added a 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.
Best game-by-game all purpose yards
Michigan State: 277 (111 rush, 42 receving, 103 kick return)
Washington State: 202 (200 rush, 2 receiving, 0 kick return)
Maryland: 225 (10 rush, 65 receiving, 135 kick return)
Colorado State: 158 (85 rush, 27 receiving, 46 kick return)
Arizona State: DNP (elbow)
Dial Up Nate
In his first start of the season, QB Nate Longshore tossed three touchdown passes - 19 yards to LeReylle Cunningham, 22 yards to Cameron Morrah and 19 yards to Nyan Boateng - to move up to fifth on Cal’s career TD pass list with 46. He needs two more to tie Dave Barr for the fourth spot. Additionally, Longhsore now has passed for 6,145 yards in his career after throwing for 198 yards vs. ASU. He needs 160 yards to match Barr for sixth place in career passing yards at Cal.
No Stopping Syd
Junior CB/RET Syd’Quan Thompson, who has developed into a true lockdown corner for the Bears this season, now can strike fear into the opponents in a different way - on special teams. Now 26th in the country with an average of 26.7 yards per punt return, Thompson struck paydirt when he scampered 73 yards for a score against Colorado State - Cal’s first punt return for a TD (not off a block) since DeSean Jackson’s 77-yarder in the 2006 opener vs. Tennessee. For the game Thompson accumulated 131 punt return yards, seven shy of the Cal 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 (31 straight starts, five career INTs, 20 career PBUs), the junior is tops in the Pac-10 with three interceptions. Thompson came up big defensively against one of the nation’s best passers (Rudy Carpenter) knocking down a career-high four passes against the Sun Devils. Thompson 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 vs. the Cougars.
Thompson 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 swatted away three total passes while adding five tackles. Two of his tackles came on third down plays and forced punts, and one pass break-up came on a key third-and-18 play to force a punt, as well.
Darian D’s Up
Syd’Quan Thompson is not the only cornerback to step up for the Bears this year, as sophomore Darian Hagan has developed into a special player in his own right. The product of Crenshaw turned in another solid performance against Arizona State, recording a career-best eight tackles, to go along with his first career fumble recovery. Hagan picked off his first interception in the Colorado State game, adding seven tackles to his stat line. For the season, he has 27 tackles (tied for third on the team), an interception, and five pass break-ups (second on the team). Last season, Hagan saw action in just five games, primarily on special teams. He has started every game for the Bears this year.
Cal has registered 10 interceptions in five games this season, including three by Syd’Quan Thompson and two by Brett Johnson. Cal totaled just 10 interceptions all of last season. Chris Conte and Sean Cattouse recorded their first career interceptions against Arizona State, while Darian Hagan and Cameron Jordan recorded their first 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 senior in Anthony Felder, Zack Follett and Worrell Williams who were also starters in 2007.
Felder, who leads the team with 37 tackles, had six tackles against Colorado State and is five tackles shy of 200 for his career. He had 12 stops against Michigan State - his fourth double-digit tackle performance. Follett provided a big play for the Bears against Arizona State when he sacked Rudy Carpenter for a 15-yard loss in the fourth quarter (when ASU was in Cal territory) to thwart the drive. Follett also had a big day at Maryland with five tackles, a sack, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble and a pass breakup. Williams has been active around the ball all season, recording 27 stops (third on the team), 2.5 tackles for losses and two pass break ups.
Other Bear linebackers have contributed as well in 2008. Junior Eddie Young, who has started all five games this season, recorded a career-high seven tackles against Colorado State and has 22 for the season. Sophomore Mike Mohamed also recorded a career-high nine tackles vs. CSU and has 28 total tackles (second on the team). Junior Devin Bishop, the younger brother of former Cal star LB Desmond Bishop, has nine 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 (nine tackles, and recorded his first career sack at Washington State) all are contributing.
Wide Outs Producing
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.
Cunningham added 42 yards and his first touchdown of the season in Cal’s win against Arizona State as well. Junior Nyan Boateng meanwhile turned in a 51-yard performance and added his second touchdown of the season against Arizona State.
Opponents may be a little angry this season after freshman P Bryan Anger enters the game. He punted seven times for a 47.4 average, including a career-long 72-yarder that pinned ASU on its own 4-yard-line with less than five minutes to play. Overall, three of his kicks landed inside the ASU 10, earning him Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week honors (Oct. 6). The Camarillo native is averaging 45.1 yards per punt this season - seventh-best in the nation and just shy of the school season mark of 45.3 ypp by Scott Tabor in 1987.
Additionally, six of Anger’s 24 punts have traveled 50+ yards and 10 of his punts have placed inside the 20-yard-line. Anger 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.
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.
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 372 yards on 62 carries (6.0 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 793 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 31 sacks. 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.
Kevin Riley ranks sixth in the Pac-10 in passing efficiency (132.9) while his seven passing touchdowns are fourth-most in the conference. For his career, Riley has completed 59.4 percent of his passes (98-165), while tossing 11 touchdowns against two interceptions. The Oregon product also likes to throw the deep ball - Riley has thrown 15 passes for 25+ yards in eight career games.
Riley’s Long Balls
• 9/13/08 Maryland 29, 29, 27, 34
• 8/30/08 Michigan State 42, 42, 26
• 12/31/07 Air Force 40 (TD), 25, 52, 31
• 10/13/07 Oregon State 64 (TD), 35, 29, 37
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 54-27 is among the best-ever at Cal.
Cal’s Sean Young (WR) and Eddie Young (LB) are not the only brothers currently starting together on the same college football team this season. For the season opener, eight sets of brothers, including the Youngs, were projected to start together on the same Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly NCAA Division IA) team.
Below is the most recent listing of current brothers starting for the same college team.
School Brothers (Positions)
California Eddie Young (Jr., LB) and Sean Young (Sr., WR)
Ole Miss John Jerry (Jr., OL) and Peria Jerry (Sr., DT)
Rutgers Twin brothers Devin McCourty (Jr., CB) and Jason McCourty (Sr., CB)
San Jose State Carl Ihenacho (Jr., DE) and Duke Ihenacho (So., LB)
Temple Twin brothers Elijah Joseph (So., OLB) and Elisha Joseph (So., DT)
Utah State Twin brothers Caleb Taylor (Sr., FS) and Joshua Taylor (Sr., CB)
Virginia Tech Cam Martin (Jr., OLB) and Orion Martin (Sr., DE)
Wyoming Marcell Gipson (So., CB), Tashaun Gipson (Fr., CB)
Cal continued its impressive record at Memorial Stadium with its 24-14 victory over Arizona State. The Golden Bears have now won 25 of their last 29 home games. Overall, Cal has out-scored opponents 1128-552 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). Neither opponent visits Berkeley this year.
Youth is Served
Offensive linemen Alex Mack and Noris Malele are the odd men out when it comes to the youth movement on the offensive line for the Golden Bears. The two elder statesmen have a combined 59 starts on the o-line, while the rest have a combined 14 starts. Still, the o-line has given up just six sacks and has paved the way for 900 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 had a 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.
50,000 Fans Again
The Arizona State attendance of 63,970 marked the 27th straight home game with over 50,000 fans - every home game over the last five years. The Colorado State 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.
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).