Cal Plays on the Road for First Time Saturday at Minnesota
Sept. 14, 2009
2009 Cal Football
This Week In Cal Football
Cal No. 7/8 In Polls (Sunday, Sept. 13)
Jahvid Best Up To Third In HeismanPundit.com Heisman Poll (Tuesday, Sept. 8)
Watch This Week's Cal Sports Report (Thur., 10 p.m./Fri., 8:30 p.m.), Comcast SportsNet California
2009 CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL
Saturday, Sept. 19, 11:00 a.m. (CT)
California (2-0, 0-0 Pac-10) at Minnesota (2-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Minneapolis, Minn. - TCF Bank Stadium
TV: ESPN - Dave Pasch (Play-By-Play), Bob Griese (Analyst), Chris Spielman (sideline)
Radio: KGO 810 AM (San Francisco) - Joe Starkey (Play-By-Play), Troy Taylor (Anaylst), Todd McKim (Sideline) - and affiliate stations KGIL 1260 AM (Los Angeles), XSURF 540 AM (San Diego), KESP 970 AM (Modesto), KTKZ 1380 AM (Sacramento). Also Sirius XM Satellite Radio channel 211 (Sirius) and channel 194 (XM). The pre-game show begins 30 minutes before kickoff.
CalBears.com: Visit CalBears.com for complete coverage of Cal football, including a live play-by-play update via Gametracker.
GOLDEN BEAR FACTS
Head Coach: Jeff Tedford
Alma Mater/Year: Fresno State/`83
Record at Cal/Years: 61-30/8th
Career Record/Years: Same
Football SID: Kyle McRae
Secondary Contact: Anton Malko
Credentials: Herb Benenson
Ticket Info: 800-GO-BEARS
Games Played: 5
Series Record: Cal leads, 3-2-0
First Meeting: 10/6/51, Cal 55-14
Last Meeting: 9/9/06, Cal 42-17
Current Streak: Cal win one
Tedord vs. Minnesota: 1-0
Kickoff- California at Minnesota
California hits the road for the first time in 2009 when the Golden Bears play the second game ever at TCF Bank Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 19 (11 a.m CT/9 a.m. PT). The contest will be televised live nationally by ESPN.
Both teams have jumped out to a 2-0 records, but done so in dramatically different fashion.
The Golden Bears have been dominant in home victories over Maryland (52-13) and Eastern Washington (59-7) with the back-to-back 50-point efforts the first since 1973. Cal has been nearly equally effective on offense and defense as the Golden Bears currently rank third in the nation with a scoring average of 55.0 points per game while allowing only 10.0 points per contest to rank No. 18 nationally.
Minnesota squeezed out a 23-20 overtime victory at Syracuse in its season-opener then christened TCF Bank Stadium last Saturday by erasing a 10-3 fourth-quarter deficit with 17 points in the final period to eventually top Air Force, 20-13.
Cal and Minnesota played in Berkeley in 2006 with the Bears coming out on top, 42-17. The 2006 meeting was the first for the teams in 19 years, with Minnesota a 32-23 winner in the Twin Cities in 1987.
Cal's 2-0 record to open the 2009 campaign has the Bears started in the right direction to extend current streaks of seven straight winning seasons, six consecutive post-season appearances and four bowl victories in a row - the latter two school records.
Head coach Jeff Tedford has also improved his all-time record at California to 61-30 two games into his eighth season at the helm. The team's 61 wins since 2002 are the second most in the Pac-10 behind USC, while the run under Tedford is also the best for Cal in nearly a century since legendary head coach Andy Smith led the Wonder Teams to a 63-7-5 mark over eight seasons from 1918-25.
Cal Tied for No. 7 in USA Today Poll/Ranked No. 8 by AP
Cal has moved into a tie for the No. 7 spot in the USA Today Poll to mark the highest the Golden Bears have ever been ranked either on Sept. 13 or in the second regular season poll of a campaign. Cal is No. 8 in the AP Top 25 with polls released Sunday. The No. 7 ranking by USA Today is also the team's highest overall since the club was rated No. 2 in both polls heading into a home game vs. Oregon State on Oct. 13, 2007. Cal started the 2009 season No. 12 in both polls before moving to No. 10 in the first regular-season polls last Tuesday.
Simply The Best - Cal's Heisman Trophy Candidate Jahvid Best
Junior TB Jahvid Best continued his quest for the Heisman Trophy with another outstanding effort in his most recent game against Eastern Washington last Saturday, carrying the ball 17 times for 144 yards after picking up 137 yards on only 10 carries in the first game of the season vs. Maryland. Best also scored twice against the Eagles - on a 22-yard reception from junior QB Kevin Riley in the second quarter and a 1-yard run in the third period. Best has opened his season with 281 rushing yards on only 27 attempts for a 10.4 yards per carry average over his first two contests. His 140.5 yards per game ranks second in the Pac-10 and sixth nationally, while he is third in the conference and No. 21 nationally in all-purpose running with an average of 170.5 yards per game. In addition, he has scored four touchdowns (three rushing, one receiving) to rank tied for third in the Pac-10 and tied for 10th in the nation in scoring with his average of 12.0 points per contest. Best had a pair of first-quarter touchdowns on the ground in the season-opener vs. Maryland with the first coming on a 73-yard run that was his ninth career jaunt of 60 or more yards. He later had a 40-yard gallop. He has now rushed for 100 or more yards in six consecutive games dating back to the final four contests of last season and a total of 10 times in his career. Over those six games, Best has netted 1,097 yards and 12 TDs on 100 carries (11.0 yards per carry, 182.8 yards per game). His performances in the first two games of 2009 come fresh off the heels of a pair of school records he set in 2008 by averaging 8.1 yards per carry for the season and rushing for 311 yards in the regular-season finale vs. Washington. Best also has three career 200-yard games (first Cal player with more than one) to go with his 10 100-yard contests. He has put his big-play capability on full display throughout his career with his three rushes of 20 or more yards against Eastern Washington moving his career total to 27, to go along with nine of 60+ yards and three of 80 or more. He also passed 2,000 career yards during his most recent game against the Eagles and now has 2,082 in his career, which is only 108 from cracking the school's all-time Top 10. He is already moving up a pair of Cal's all-time rushing lists with his 10 100-yard games (No. 6-T) and 20 rushing TDs (No. 7-T).
Riley Shows He's Ready
Junior QB Kevin Riley has jumped out of the gates in 2009 with two solid performances to post a 182.53 passing efficiency rating that leads the Pac-10 and ranks No. 8 nationally. Riley has completed 30-of-46 passes for 446 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions. He had a huge season opener against Maryland, completing 17-of-26 passes for 298 yards and a career-high four TDs to earn Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week honors for the first time. Riley's 298 yards in the air were the second-highest total of his career (after the 423 yards at Maryland in 2008). He followed that up by completing 13-of-20 passes for 148 yards and one touchdown against Eastern Washington.
Mychal Kendricks Leads Pac-10 in Tackles
Sophomore LB Mychal Kendricks has not only led the Golden Bears in tackles in each of the first two games of 2009, he also paces the Pac-10 and ranks tied for fifth nationally in tackles with his average of 13.0 per contest. Kendricks, who moved into a starting role this season after the departure of three senior linebackers from a year ago, recorded a then-career-high 12 tackles in the season-opener vs. Maryland before coming back with 14 against Eastern Washington. He also returned a fumble 45 yards against the Eagles.
All Aboard the Shane Train
Sophomore TB Shane Vereen has had a knack for finding the end zone in the first two games of 2009 with his five touchdowns (four rushing, one receiving) giving him 30 points on the season to rank second in the Pac-10 in scoring and tied for second in the nation with his average of 15.0 points per game. Vereen had a career-high three rushing touchdowns in his most recent contest against Eastern Washington. He totaled five touchdowns all of last season (4 rushing, 1 receiving).
Cal's next game at Minnesota will start at 9 a.m. PT. During the Jeff Tedford era, Cal has played five road games in other time zones that have started before noon PT and the Golden Bears have a 4-1 record in those contests. Cal had won four straight early morning starts under Tedford with victories at Michigan State (2002), Illinois (2003), Air Force (2004) and Colorado State (2007) before falling at Maryland in 2008.
The Cal offense ranks first in the Pac-10 and third nationally in scoring with an average of 55.0 points per game. The team's back-to-back 50-point games in victories over Maryland (52-13) and Eastern Washington (59-7) mark the first time the Golden Bears have put together back-to-back 50-points contests since the 1973 club accomplished the feat with a 51-6 victory over Army on Sept. 29 and a 54-49 win against Washington on Oct. 6. Cal had never before opened a season with back-to-back 50-point games and its combined 91-point margin of victory is also the largest in the first two games in school history. The 111 points the team has scored in the two contests is its most in the first two games of a season since the 1991 club put up 128 points on Pacific (86) and Purdue (42) to begin the campaign.
The Cal offense has already 24 plays of at least 15 yards in the first two games of 2009. The Golden Bears have had 14 different passing plays go at least 15 yards to 10 different receivers (TB Jahvid Best, WR Nyan Boateng, FB Brian Holley, WR Marvin Jones, WR Alex Lagemann, TE Anthony Miller, WR Jeremy Ross, TE Jarrett Sparks, WR Verran Tucker, TB Shane Vereen). On the ground, Best has accounted for six of the 10 runs for 15 or more yards, while TB Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson, QB Kevin Riley, TB Isi Sofele and Vereen have one each.
Rushing Game In Gear
Cal has rushed for at least 200 yards in each of its last five games dating back to the final three contests of 2008. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Bears are 5-0 over that span. The last time the Golden Bears have put together a longer streak came over the final six games of 2004 and the first four contests of 2005 when Cal ran off 10 consecutive 200-yard rushing contests. The Bears were 9-1 during that stretch.
Defense Pushing Opponents Back
The Cal defense is ranked among the Pac-10 and NCAA leaders in both sacks (No. 1 Pac-10, No. 2-T NCAA) and tackles for loss (No. 3 Pac-10, No. 11 NCAA) after recording 10.0 sacks (66 yards) and 19.0 tackles for loss (84 yards) over the team's first two games of 2009. Sophomore DL Ernest Owusu, junior LB Jarred Price and junior LB Mike Mohamed share the team lead with 3.0 sacks each, while Owusu and Mohamed both have 3.0 tackles for loss. The defense allowed Eastern Washington only 14 yards on the ground, which was the fewest allowed by the Bears since held Arizona to minus-5 yards rushing on Nov. 16, 2002, in what amazingly was a 52-41 loss to the Wildcats at Memorial Stadium as Arizona threw for 492 and forced three Cal turnovers.
Other National Notables and Pac-10 Leaders
Cal is also among the nation's Top 10 as a team in rushing offense (No. 6, 293.0 ypg), passing efficiency (No. 9, 180.0) and total offense (No. 10, 524.0 ypg). In addition to scoring offense, the Golden Bears also lead the conference in total offense and passing efficiency. Sophomore TB Shane Vereen is the team's highest-ranking individual nationally with his 15.0 points per game average tied for second in the country. Mychal Kendricks leads the Pac-10 in tackles and ranks tied for fifth in the nation with his average of 13.0 stops per game. Junior TB Jahvid Best is sixth nationally with his 140.5 rushing yards per game and tied for 10th in the country with a scoring average of 12.0 points per contest. Junior QB Kevin Riley leads the Pac-10 and ranks No. 8 in the nation in passing efficiency (182.53).
Two in a Row - Again
Cal has won at least its first two games of the season in each of the last three campaigns and six times in the last eight years. The Golden Bears have started the season with at least two consecutive victories under head coach Jeff Tedford in 2002, '04, '05, '07, '08 and '09. A victory at Minnesota on Saturday would make Cal 3-0 under Tedford for the fifth time (also in 2002, '04, '05 and '07).
Cal-Minnesota Series Notes
Cal leads the all-time series between the schools, 3-2. The teams last played in 2006 with the Golden Bears cruising to a 42-17 win at Memorial Stadium. The 2006 meeting was the first for the teams since Minnesota was a 32-23 winner the last time the clubs played in the Twin Cities in 1987. The other meetings came in 1951 (at Cal 55, Minnesota 14), 1952 (Cal 49, at Minnesota 13) and 1964 (Minnesota 26, at Cal 20).
Turn On Your Televisions around the Nation
To date, six of Cal's 12 regular season games have been picked up for television, including four of the first five and each of the next three on national TV. The Sept. 5 opener vs. Maryland was shown on ESPN2 before Comcast SportsNet California carried the Sept. 12 contest against Eastern Washington. The Sept. 19 game at Minnesota will be aired on ESPN, followed by back-to-back games on ABC - at Oregon on Sept. 26 and vs. USC on Oct. 3. The Golden Bears' regular-season finale at Washington will air on Comcast SportsNet California, while TV networks will announce their choices for remaining games later in the season. Every Golden Bear contest since 2007 has been televised live.
The Tedford Factor
Head coach Jeff Tedford has compiled a 61-30 (.670) record as the Golden Bears' head coach. Tedford, who ranks fourth on the school's all-time win list, needs only seven more victories to pass the legendary Pappy Waldorf (67-32-4, 1947-56) for the most wins at Cal in the modern era and move into third on the all-time list behind Andy Smith (74, 1916-25) and James Schaeffer (73, 1909-15). Tedford is also nine games from becoming only the third coach in Cal history to have coached 100 games for the Golden Bears with Waldorf (103) and Stub Allison (102, 1935-44) the only two to have previously done so. Tedford has also led his teams to school records of six straight bowl games and four consecutive post-season wins, as well as seven consecutive winning campaigns. Since his arrival in 2002, Cal has posted an overall record of 5-1 in bowl games after the Bears had previously earned bowl bids just four times since 1979. For good measure, Tedford is also 6-1 in Big Games against local rival Stanford.
Tedford and the Big Ten
Head coach Jeff Tedford has compiled a perfect 5-0 record against Big Ten competition during his tenure at Cal. Tedford has beaten Michigan State (2002, '08) and Illinois (2003, '05) twice each as well as Minnesota (2006) in his only meeting with the Gophers.
Cal's school-record six straight bowl appearances and four consecutive bowl wins are listed below.
2003 - Insight Bowl (Cal 52, Virginia Tech 49)
2004 - Holiday Bowl (Texas Tech 45, Cal 31)
2005 - Las Vegas Bowl (Cal 35, BYU 28)
2006 - Holiday Bowl (Cal 45, Texas A&M 10)
2007 - Armed Forces Bowl (Cal 42, Air Force 36)
2008 - Emerald Bowl (Cal 24, Miami 17)
Home Sweet Home
Cal has been both extremely successful and popular with fans at home over the past six seasons (2004-09). During this time period, the Golden Bears have posted an overall record of 29-4 (.879) in Berkeley and have actually posted a 31-4 mark (.886) dating back to the final two home contests of 2003. Cal has also been unbeaten at home three times (2004, '06, '08) under head coach Jeff Tedford and has currently won nine straight home games to move within just one victory of equaling the longest home winning streak since Tedford's arrival in 2002. The Golden Bears' popularity has shown with a current streak of 33 games with at least 50,000-plus fans in attendance over the last six seasons. Cal is on pace to draw 60,000 or more fans per game for the fifth time in six years with an average of 60,225 in its first two home contests of 2009. In terms of total numbers, Cal attracted its second-highest total ever in 2008 with 431,437 fans attending seven home dates. Only the 2006 season, which drew 450,223 fans and averaged a record 64,318 spectators per contest, has had a larger final total home attendance count.
Longest Home Winning Streaks under Tedford
10 - Oct. 25, 2003 - Oct. 15, 2005
10 - Sept. 9, 2006 - Oct. 13, 2007
9 - Aug. 30, 2008 to current
Five in a Row Overall
Not only have the Bears won nine straight at home, they have also recorded five in a row overall dating back to the final three contests of 2008. The streak marks the fifth time that the Golden Bears have won at least five games in a row under head coach Jeff Tedford. The longest run of victories with Tedford at the helm came when the 2006 club ran off eight straight wins after dropping its season-opener at Tennessee.
Looking to Equal Consecutive Winning Seasons Streak
Cal has recorded seven consecutive winning seasons (2002-08) to move within one winning campaign of tying the school's football record of eight consecutive years from 1918-25. The Bears did record 10 consecutive winning campaigns from 1907-16 but those were split between rugby (8, 1907-14) and football (2, 1915-16).
Playing and Beating the Best
Cal has played 22 nationally ranked teams during the Jeff Tedford era and posted an 11-11 record in those contests. The Bears have two games on their 2009 schedule scheduled against teams currently ranked in at least one of the two preseason polls. Cal will host USC (No. 3 AP/USA Today) on Oct. 3 and Oregon State (No. 24 USA Today) on Nov. 7.
Winning Turnover Battle Crucial to Success
Winning the turnover battle has been emphasized since Jeff Tedford's arrival on campus in 2002. During his eight seasons at Cal, the Bears are 36-3 when committing fewer turnovers than their opponents compared to 13-19 when opponents win the battle (12-8 when tied). In Pac-10 games, the stats are even more decisive as Cal is 22-1 with a positive margin in turnovers and 7-17 with a deficit, while posting a 7-5 mark when the turnover table is tied. Last year, Cal ranked seventh nationally in turnover margin (+15 overall) and the Golden Bears are off to another excellent start in 2009 (No. 15-T NCAA, +3 overall). Cal has picked up three fumbles in its first two games without turning the ball over.
Cal has started the 2009 season with a significant advantage in third-down conversions by converting on 13-of-23 (56.5%) chances to rank 11th nationally, while its opponents are a mere 10-of-33 (30.3%). As a comparison, the Bears converted just 30 percent of their third-down situations last year (47-of-159) while holding opponents to 31 percent (61-of-197, No. 10 NCAA).
Time Of Possession Doesn't Always Tell the Story
Cal has dominated Maryland and Eastern Washington in its first two contests despite losing the time-of-possession battle in both games. The Terrapins held the ball for 32:58 to Cal's final total of 27:02. The numbers were almost identical against the Eagles with Eastern Washington holding the ball for 32:20 compared to 27:40 for the Golden Bears.
Fewest Flags Flying
Cal leads the Pac-10 in fewest yards penalized per game (32.5) with the team's eight penalties also the fewest for all conference teams that have played at least two contests.
Let's Get It Started
One week after 22 players made their first collegiate appearances and six their first starts at Cal in the game against Maryland on Sept. 5, the Golden Bears had more firsts accomplished against Eastern Washington. Three redshirt-freshmen (QB Beau Sweeney, WR Quinn Tedford, DL Aaron Tipoti) and two sophomores (LB Solomona Aigamaua, TE Savai'i Eselu) played for the first time at Cal, while TB Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson and TB Isi Sofele both scored their first career touchdowns, Sweeney completed his first pass and Jarrett Sparks made his first catch.
Seven Straight 1,000-Yard Rushers
Jahvid Best's 1,580 yards rushing in 2008 ranked second all-time at Cal and marked the seventh consecutive season in which a Golden Bear running back has gained over 1,000 yards on the ground. Cal is one of only three Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools to have current seven-year streaks, along with Missouri and New Mexico. The Golden Bears are nearing USC's record 10-year run of 1,000-yard rushers from 1972-81. Joe Igber started the current trend in 2002 when he became the first Cal player to rush for more than 1,000 yards in nine years.
Cal's 1,000-Yard Rushers Since 2002
Year - Player (Yards)
2008 - Jahvid Best (1,580)
2007 - Justin Forsett (1,546)
2006 - Marshawn Lynch (1,356)
2005 - Marshawn Lynch (1,246)
2004 - J.J. Arrington (2,018)
2003 - Adimchinobe Echemandu (1,195)
2002 - Joe Igber (1,130)
Cal has two new coaches on board in 2009 with the addition of offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Andy Ludwig and offensive line coach Steve Marshall. Ludwig had been the offensive coordinator at Utah for the past four seasons, leading one of the best offenses in the country that was largely responsible for a 13-0 record in 2008, the country's only unbeaten mark by a Football Bowl Subdivision team, and a No. 2 final national ranking. Marshall most recently coached for six seasons in the NFL with the Houston Texans (2002-05) and Cleveland Browns (2007-08).
Cal Picked Second in Pac-10 Preseason Media Poll
California was picked to finish second in the 2009 Pac-10 preseason poll of media members who regularly cover the league for the fifth time in the last six years. USC was the media's preseason choice to win the conference title for an eighth consecutive season (Cal shared the conference crown in 2006). The Trojans were listed in the top spot by 28 of the 32 voters participating in the poll, while Cal claimed three of the four other first-place votes. Oregon (one first-place vote) was picked third and followed by Oregon State, Arizona State, Stanford, UCLA, Arizona, Washington and Washington State.
Cal has had 74 players claim Pac-10 All-Academic honors in the first seven seasons under head coach Jeff Tedford. Last year, Alex Mack earned the Draddy Trophy (since renamed the Campbell Trophy) honoring college football's top scholar-athlete.
Offense Quick Notes
Cal has averaged at least 30.0 points per game in six of the last seven years and has started its 2009 campaign by averaging 55.0 points in its first two contests.
Cal has won 24 straight games in which the Bears have scored 30 or more points and have now scored 30 or more points 51 times in the Jeff Tedford era, posting a 47-4 record in those contests and winning 24 straight times in which it has scored 30 or more points.
Cal posted 507 yards of total offense in its most recent game against Eastern Washington and has now posted 500 or more total yards of offense in each of its last three games.
Cal rushed for 342 yards against Eastern Washington to mark the fifth consecutive game in which the Golden Bears have rushed for 200 or more yards dating back to the final three contests of 2008.
Cal has spread the wealth around in its passing game, connecting with nine different receivers against Maryland, eight vs. Eastern Washington and a total of 11 in its first two contests.
Cal's 27 first downs were the most for the Golden Bears since they had 26 against Maryland in 2008.
Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson rushed for a career-high 92 yards and his first career touchdown on 11 carries against Eastern Washington.
Defense Quick Notes
Cal's stingy defense has allowed only 2.1 yards per rush and 3.9 yards per play in 2009, as well as only two touchdowns (1 rushing, 1 receiving).
Cal had 26 different players make tackles in its season opener vs. Maryland and then came back with 29 in the second game of the season against Eastern Washington.
Cal has had a total of 16 different players contribute to its total of 19.0 tackles for loss and eight different players have taken part in the team's 10.0 sacks.
Cal has yet to record an interception in its first two games after the team's 24 interceptions in 2008 were its most in 60 years.
Special Teams Quick Notes
Sophomore punter Bryan Anger, who has earned first-team 2009 preseason All-America honors as a punter and is on the watch list for the Ray Guy Award, has opened his season by averaging 45.0 yards per punt on his first five attempts, three of which have landed inside the 20-yard line.
Syd'Quan Thompson returned two punts for 21 yards against Eastern Washington after he was forced to call for a fair catch on each of five punts in the Maryland contest.