California Faces Utah in Poinsettia Bowl
Dec. 23, 2009
2009 Cal Football
This Week In Cal Football
Golden Bears Begin Preparations for Poinsettia Bowl (Dec. 12)
2009 CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL
Wednesday, Dec. 23, 5 p.m. (PT)
California (8-4, 5-4 Pac-10) vs. No. 23 AP/No. 23 BCS/No. 24 USA Utah (9-3, 6-2 MWC)
San Diego, Calif. - Qualcomm Stadium
TV: ESPN - Mike Patrick (Play-By-Play), Craig James (Analyst), Heather Cox (Sideline Reporter)
Radio: National Radio: ESPN Radio - Bill Rosinski (Play-By-Play), Dennis Franchione (Analyst), Joe Schad (Sideline Reporter). *Cal Commercial Radio: KGO 810 AM (San Francisco) - Joe Starkey (Play-By-Play), Troy Taylor (Analyst), Todd McKim (Sideline). *Each broadcast begins with a 30-minute pregame show. The postgame show includes reaction from the Bears' locker room and the 'Postgame at the Paragon' program from the Paragon Bar & Cafe at the Claremont Resort & Spa hosted by Lee Grosscup and Kate Scott.. ISP Sports/Cal Radio Network Affiliates: KGIL 1260 AM (Los Angeles), XSURF 540 AM (San Diego), KESP 970 AM (Modesto), KTKZ 1380 AM (Sacramento). Cal Student Radio: KALX 90.7 FM (Berkeley) - Danny Freisinger, Elliott Schwimmer, Ben Shpringer. Utah Radio: KALL 700 (Salt Lake City) - Mike Sageschulte (Play-By-Play), Frank Dolce (Analyst), Sharrieff Shah (Sideline Reporter). Sirius XM Satellite Radio: Cal fans can listen to the ESPN Radio broadcast feed on channels 120 (Sirius) and 140 (XM).
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: 67-34/8th
Career Record/Years: Same
Football SID: Kyle McRae
Secondary Contact: Anton Malko
Credentials: Herb Benenson
Ticket Info: 800-GO-BEARS
Games Played: 6
Series Record: Cal leads, 4-2-0
First Meeting: 10/16/1920, 63-0 Cal
Last Meeting: 9/11/03, 31-24 Utah
Current Streak: Utah win one
Tedford vs. Utah: 0-1
Kickoff -Facing Utah in Poinsettia, Bears in Bowl for Seventh Straight Year
California will continue its school-record run of bowl games with its seventh consecutive postseason appearance when the Golden Bears meet Utah in the San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Wednesday, Dec. 23. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego and the contest will be televised nationally by ESPN.
Cal began its bowl streak at the Insight Bowl in 2003, followed by the first of two trips to the Holiday Bowl (2004), the Las Vegas Bowl (2005), a return to the Holiday Bowl (2006), the Armed Forces Bowl (2007) and the Emerald Bowl (2008). The Bears are 5-1 in bowl games under head coach Jeff Tedford - including a current four-game win streak - and own a 10-8-1 all-time mark in postseason contests.
Prior to Tedford's arrival, Cal had earned bowl bids just five times since 1959, going to the Garden State Bowl (1979), Copper Bowl (1990), Citrus Bowl (1992), Alamo Bowl (1993) and Aloha Bowl (1996).
Cal Bowl Games under Jeff Tedford
2003 Insight Bowl Phoenix, AZ Cal 52, Virginia Tech 492004 Holiday Bowl San Diego, CA Texas Tech 45, Cal 312005 Las Vegas Bowl Las Vegas, NV Cal 35, BYU 282006 Holiday Bowl San Diego, CA Cal 45, Texas A&M 102007 Armed Forces Bowl Ft. Worth, TX Cal 42, Air Force 362008 Emerald Bowl San Francisco, CA Cal 24, Miami 172009 Poinsettia Bowl San Diego, CA Cal vs. Utah
Cal heads into its seventh consecutive bowl game with five victories in its final seven regular-season games. The Golden Bears finished 8-4 overall and 5-4 in the Pac-10 to tie for fifth place in the conference. Cal had an opportunity to finish tied for second with a victory in their final regular-season game at Washington but suffered a 42-10 loss.
In their previous two outings Nov. 14 and Nov. 21, the Bears posted wins over ranked opponents in their home finale vs. Arizona and in the 112th Big Game at Stanford - marking the first time the Golden Bears had accomplished the feat in consecutive weeks in 59 years since home wins over Washington and UCLA on Nov. 11 and 18, 1950. After falling to Oregon State at home on Nov. 14, the Bears rebounded with a hard-fought 24-16 victory over Arizona (then No. 17 BCS/No. 18 AP, No. 19 USA Today) in their final home game of the season. The Bears then knocked off the Cardinal (then No. 14 AP/No. 17 USA Today/No. 17 BCS) by a 34-28 count. Arizona and Stanford ended up finishing in a second-place tie (along with Oregon State) in the final Pac-10 standings. Both had three-game win streaks ended by the Bears and were leading the Pac-10 in total offense coming into their games against Cal but were limited to an average of 306.0 yards per game by the Bears' defense.
Utah was still in contention for the Mountain West Conference title in mid-November. The Utes won their first five league games before falling in road games at TCU and BYU - a pair of teams that finished No. 4 and No. 14 in the final regular-season BCS Standings, respectively. The Utes only other defeat was at Rose Bowl-bound Oregon, which is currently the nation's No. 7 BCS team. Utah finished the 2009 regular season 9-3 overall and 6-2 in the MWC for a third-place showing. Last season, Utah posted a perfect 13-0 record and a Sugar Bowl victory over Alabama to rank No. 2 in the final AP ranking and No. 4 by USA Today.
Cal-Utah Series Notes
Cal holds a 4-2-0 series lead over Utah in the six games played between the schools. The teams have played just twice in the last 45 years. Utah was a 31-24 winner the last time the teams played in Salt Lake on Sept. 11, 2003. Three seasons earlier, the Bears scratched out a 24-21 victory on Sept. 9, 2000. During the 2003 matchup, the primary quarterbacks were Aaron Rodgers (Cal) and Alex Smith (Utah), both of whom became first-round NFL Draft picks in 2005. Rodgers was 15-of-25 for 224 yards and two touchdowns while rushing eight times for 28 yards. Smith was 18-of-27 for 136 yards, in addition to rushing 12 times for 71 yards and a score. This will be the first postseason meeting between the two clubs.
Cal-Utah All-Time Meetings
Oct. 16, 1920 Berkeley, CA Cal 63, Utah 0Oct. 11, 1958 Berkeley, CA Cal 36, Utah 21Nov. 16, 1963 Salt Lake City, UT Cal 35, Utah 22Nov. 14, 1964 Berkeley, CA Utah 14, Cal 0Sept. 9, 2000 Berkeley, CA Cal 24, Utah 21Sept. 11, 2003 Salt Lake City, UT Utah 31, Cal 24
Cal and the Mountain West Conference
Cal has had a nice run of success against the teams that currently make up the Mountain West Conference. The Bears are 17-10 overall against the six current members of the MWC the Golden Bears have played. Cal is a perfect 3-0 against current MWC teams in bowl games, most recently as a 42-36 winner over Air Force at the 2007 Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas. Cal also defeated BYU, 35-28, at the 2005 Las Vegas Bowl and Wyoming, 17-15, at the 1990 Copper Bowl in Tucson, Ariz.
Cal's Record vs. Current Mountain West Conference Members
Team Series Record Last MeetingAir Force Cal leads, 6-2 Dec. 31, 2007 (Cal 42, Air Force 36) Armed Forces Bowl, Fort Worth, TXBYU BYU leads, 2-1 Dec. 22, 2005 (Cal 35, BYU 28) Las Vegas Bowl, Las Vegas, NVColorado State Cal leads, 2-1 Sept. 27, 2008 (at Cal 42, Colorado State 7)San Diego State Tied, 3-3 Sept. 14, 1996 (at Cal 42, San Diego State 37)Utah Cal leads, 4-2 Sept. 11, 2003 (at Utah 31, Cal 24)Wyoming Cal leads, 1-0 Dec. 31, 1990 (Cal 17, Wyoming 15) Copper Bowl, Tucson, AZ
2009 Ranking Summary
Cal spent the 2009 season in and out of the AP, USA Today and BCS Top 25 rankings. After falling 42-10 at Washington in its the regular-season finale, Cal dropped out of all three. The Golden Bears had headed into the game against the Huskies in Seattle with a season-best No. 19 spot in the BCS Standings released on Sunday, Nov. 29. Prior to the Washington game, the Bears were also No. 19 in the AP Top 25 and No. 22 in the USA Today poll, their highest in both since Sept. 20. Below is a rankings chronology for the 2009 Golden Bears.
Cal in the 2009 National Rankings
Date AP USA BCS Date AP USA BCSPreseason 12 12 --- Oct. 25 NR NR 24Sept. 8 10 10 --- Nov. 1 23 23 20Sept. 13 8 7 --- Nov. 8 NR NR NRSept. 20 6 6 --- Nov. 15 NR NR 25Sept. 27 24 19 --- Nov. 22 21 NR 22Oct. 4 NR NR --- Nov. 29 19 22 19Oct. 11 NR NR --- Dec. 6 NR NR NROct. 18 NR NR NR
Tedford Ties Cal's Modern-Era Win Record
Cal head coach Jeff Tedford (67-34, .663) equaled Cal's modern-era win record when he recorded his 67th career victory in his 100th game on the sidelines for the Golden Bears, a 34-28 victory over Stanford in the Big Game played at Stanford Stadium on Nov. 21. Now in his eighth season, Tedford will pass the legendary Pappy Waldorf (67-32-4, 1947-56) for the most wins at Cal in the modern era with his next triumph. Tedford and Waldorf currently rank tied for third on the school's all-time win list behind Andy Smith (74, 1916-25) and James Schaeffer (73, 1909-15). Tedford is also already one of only three head coaches in Cal history to coach at least 100 games: Waldorf (103) and Stub Allison (102, 1935-44) are the others. Tedford is 7-1 in Big Games and has also led his teams to school records of seven straight bowl games (5-1 record plus 2009 Poinsettia Bowl), four consecutive postseason victories and eight consecutive winning campaigns (ties school record).
Most Wins in Cal History
Coach Record SeasonsAndy Smith 74-16-7 1916-25*James Schaeffer 73-16-8 1909-15Jeff Tedford 67-34 2002-CurrentPappy Waldorf 67-32-4 1947-56*Note: Cal played rugby instead of football from 1882-85 and 1906-14
Tedford and the Pac-10
Jeff Tedford has compiled a 41-27 (.603) mark against Pac-10 opponents after taking over a team in 2002 that had not had a winning season in conference play since 1991. Tedford's 2006 club shared the Pac-10 crown with USC and seven of his first eight teams (2002-09) have placed in at least a tie for fifth in the final league standings, with the 2004 squad taking second. No other Cal coach has won at least 60 percent of his conference games since Pappy Waldorf was 40-21-4 (.646) from 1947-56.
Offensive Output the Key to Winning
Cal's fate has largely rested on the performance of its offense this season. Cal is averaging 40.1 points per outing in the team's eight wins, while the club is scoring only 7.5 points per contest in its four losses. Cal has scored at least 30 points six times this season and won each time, running its string of victories when the team scores at least 30 points to 28 in a row. The Bears' 399.0 yards per game of total offense is just shy of marking the sixth time in the last seven years that Cal has averaged better than 400 ypg. Cal has gone over 400 yards of total offensive in a game seven times in 2009 and been over 500 on three occasions.
Comparing Cal's Offensive Stats in Wins, Losses
Category Wins LossesPoints Per Game 40.1 7.5Rushing Yards per game 228.2 70.1Passing Yards per game 242.1 186.0Total Offense per game 470.4 256.8
Cal's Fortunes Ride with Riley
QB Kevin Riley has recorded dramatically different statistics in the team's eight wins compared to its four defeats. In the eight victories, Riley has completed 129-of-209 passes (61.7%) for 1,899 yards and 15 touchdowns with four interceptions for a passer efficiency rating of 157.90 and an average of 237.4 passing yards per game. In the four losses, Riley is 60-of-137 (43.8%) for 737 yards and two touchdowns with two picks for a passer efficiency rating of 90.88 and a per-game passing average of 184.2 yards. Overall, Riley is fourth in the Pac-10 in passing average (219.7 ypg) and passing touchdowns (17), as well as fifth in pass efficiency (131.4) and total offense (226.1 ypg). For the season, Riley has completed 189-of-346 (54.6%) passes for a career-high 2,636 yards, the ninth-best single-season in school history. Riley needs 364 passing yards in the Poinsettia Bowl to become only the third player in school history to throw for 3,000 yards in a season. His six interceptions are tied for the second-fewest in a season by a Cal passer with at least 200 attempts in Cal history.
2009 Kevin Riley Game-By-Game Passing
Game C-A-I-Yds-TD Game C-A-I-Yds-TDMaryland 17-26-0-298-4 WSU 12-18-1-229-3EWU 13-20-0-148-1 at ASU 27-44-0-351-2at Minn. 16-25-0-252-0 OSU 19-34-1-200-1at Oregon 12-31-0-123-0 Arizona 13-22-2-181-1USC 15-40-1-199-0 at Stan. 17-31-1-235-1at UCLA 14-23-0-205-3 at Wash. 14-32-0-215-1
Kevin Riley in the Cal Single-Season Record Book
1. Pat Barnes (1996) - 3499
2. Nate Longshore (2006) - 3021
3. Aaron Rodgers (2003) - 2903
4. Kyle Boller (2002) - 2815
5. Gale Gilbert (1983) - 2769
6. Troy Taylor (1989) - 2738
7. Justin Vedder (1997) - 2718
8. Pat Barnes (1995) - 2685
9. Kevin Riley (2009) - 2636
1. Pat Barnes (1996) - 31
2. Kyle Boller (2002) - 28
3T. Nate Longshore (2006) - 24
3T. Aaron Rodgers (2004) - 24
5T. Dave Barr (1993) - 21
5T. Mike Pawlawski (1991) - 21
7. Justin Vedder (1997) - 20
8T. Aaron Rodgers (2003) - 19
8T. Dave Barr (1992) - 19
10. Troy Taylor (1987) - 18
Kevin Riley (2009) - 17
Up-and-Down Rushing Game
Cal averaged 210.0 rushing yards per game in victories over Arizona and Stanford to seemingly get its ground game back on track after being held to an average of 48.0 rushing yards per game in its previous two contests. But Cal struggled again on the ground in its regular-season finale at Washington with only 81 yards rushing. The 2009 Bears are averaging 175.6 yards per game on the ground this season and will likely fall short of becoming the first Cal team to average 200 or more rushing yards per game since the 2004 (256.8 ypg) and '05 (235.2) teams broke a 28-year drought by leading the conference in rushing (first time for Cal since 1958). Cal has posted 200 or more rushing yards five times in 2009 (vs. Maryland, vs. Eastern Washington, at UCLA, vs. Washington State, at Stanford) with a high of 342 against Eastern Washington and another 300-yard plus effort vs. Washington State (309). The Bears have averaged at least 150.0 yards per game on the ground every year since 2003 after not hitting the mark at all from 1993-2002. With 25 rushing touchdowns to date, Cal also has at least 20 rushing TDs for the seventh straight season.
Vereen Very Good in Best's Absence
TB Shane Vereen rushed for 443 yards and four touchdowns on 88 carries as a workhorse for the Golden Bears in the last three regular-season games following an injury to starting TB Jahvid Best Nov. 7 against Oregon State. Cal's other running backs have accounted for only seven other attempts during the period. Vereen set career highs for rushing in back-to-back contests against Arizona and at Stanford before posting a solid effort at Washington. He ran for 159 yards on 30 carries against the Wildcats, including a 61-yard touchdown run to close out the game's scoring with 1:21 remaining. He followed that performance with 193 yards and three touchdowns on 42 carries (tied for the second-most in a 2009 FBS contest) at Stanford to earn several national awards, including the Walter Camp Football Foundation BCS National Offensive Player of the Week. At Washington, he rushed for 91 yards on 16 carries, one of which was a 50-yarder, the third-longest run of his career. Vereen has set career highs of 830 yards and 10 touchdowns on a team and career-high 163 carries (5.1 ypr) to rank seventh in the Pac-10 in rushing yards per game (67.1). He also leads Cal in kick return (551, 23.0 ypr) and all-purpose yardage (1,615 total, 134.6 ypg - 830 rush, 224 receive, 10 punt return, 551 kick return), ranking sixth and seventh in the Pac-10, respectively. Vereen also came up big last year when Best missed the Arizona State contest (dislocated elbow), rushing for 93 yards and catching five passes for another 51 yards in a 24-14 Bear victory. For his career, the sophomore has 1,545 rushing yards on 305 carries (5.1 ypr, 61.8 ypg), 2,551 all-purpose running yards (1,545 rush, 445 receive, 10 punt return, 551 kick return) and has scored 17 touchdowns (14 rushing, 3 receiving).
Mohamed Pac-10 Tackles Leader
LB Mike Mohamed paced the Pac-10 in tackles by a wide margin during the reuglar season, while also leading the squad and tying for eighth in the conference in interceptions. He had arguably the most memorable play of the season with a dramatic pick of an Andrew Luck pass at Cal's own 3-yard line that secured Cal's 34-28 victory over Stanford in the 112th Big Game on Nov. 21. Mohamed has a career-high 105 tackles over 12 games for an average of 8.8 stops per game (No. 31 NCAA). His tackle total is 41 more than his nearest teammate (Mychal Kendricks, 64) and he is averaging 0.5 per game more than USC's Taylor Mays, who has 91 tackles in 11 contests. Mohamed led or co-led Cal in tackles in seven of the final nine regular-season contests. He has had double-digit tackles five times this season, including a season-high-tying 12 on three occasions (vs. USC, vs. Washington State, at Arizona State). He had his first two interceptions at Minnesota (both in the second half).
Jones Continues to Pace Team in Receiving
WR Marvin Jones has been steady all season and continues to lead the team in receptions (38), receiving yards (607) and receiving touchdowns (6). Jones has had at least three receptions in nine of 12 games this year. He set career highs with six receptions and 107 yards receiving in the Bears' regular-season finale at Washington. Jones also had a strong game at UCLA, hauling in four passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns, including a 43-yarder that is the longest catch of his career. Jones has nine more catches than the 28 that WR Nyan Boateng made as the team leader in 2008 and is one of six Bears with at least 20 receptions on the season as QB Kevin Riley has spread the wealth among his corps of targets.
Alualu a lot to Handle
DL Tyson Alualu leads the team and ranks among Pac-10 leaders in sacks (7.5, 0.62 per game, No. 6 Pac-10) and tackles for loss (10.0, 0.83 per game, No. 11-T Pac-10). He also paces all Pac-10 defensive linemen with 60 tackles and is just two shy of the career high of 62 he set in 2008, which were the most by a Cal defensive lineman since Duane Clemons had 82 in 1995. Alualu earned first-team All-Pac-10 honors this season after a second-team All-Pac-10 campaign in 2008.
Team Records in Reach
Cal team records within reach heading into the Poinsettia Bowl are listed below.
Fewest Interceptions Season
Record: 6 (1961)
Fewest Turnovers Season
Record: 18 (1964, 2002, 2004)
Kick Return Yardage Allowed Season
Record: 1,450 (2007)
Best Bears Road Squad since 2004
Cal posted a 4-2 road record during the regular season to post its best mark away from home since 2004. The Bears have won road contests this season at Minnesota (Sept. 19), UCLA (Oct. 17), Arizona State (Oct. 31) and Stanford (Nov. 21), with the two losses coming at Oregon (Sept. 26) and Washington (Dec. 5). The 2004 squad was 5-1 in true road contests, before dropping its Holiday Bowl game against Texas Tech. A victory over Utah in the 2009 Poinsettia Bowl would also give this year's Bears a 5-2 showing away from home. Prior to this season, Cal hadn't posted a winning road record since 2005, when the Bears were 4-2 outside Berkeley, including a victory at the Las Vegas Bowl over BYU. Cal was 1-4 on the road during the regular season last year and 2-4 in 2007, before winning bowl games both years against Air Force (2007) and Miami (2008). During one stretch spanning both seasons, the Bears lost eight of nine road contests. In his eight seasons at the helm of the Cal program, head coach Jeff Tedford is the only Golden Bear coach to post a winning road record (23-22) since Pappy Waldorf was 22-13-1 from 1947-56. Tedford's 23 road wins are the most ever for a Cal coach.
The Cal offense posted 66 plays from the line of scrimmage of at least 20 yards in 12 regular-season games. The Bears have had 45 different passing plays go at least 20 yards to 11 different receivers (WR Marvin Jones - 11, TE Anthony Miller - 7, WR Jeremy Ross - 5, WR Verran Tucker - 5, WR Nyan Boateng - 4, TB Jahvid Best - 3, TE Skylar Curran - 3, TB Shane Vereen - 3, FB Brian Holley - 2, TE Jarrett Sparks - 1, WR Alex Lagemann - 1). On the ground, Best has accounted for 12 of the 21 runs for 20 or more yards, while Vereen has five, TB Covaughn DeBoskie-Johnson two, and TB Isi Sofele and Ross one apiece. The longest run was a 93-yard jaunt by Best vs. UCLA, which also ranks as the third longest in school history and longest since John Wilson sprinted 96 yards against San Jose State in 1994. QB Kevin Riley hooked up with Ross on the longest pass play of the season - 61 yards vs. Washington State.
On The Tube
Cal has appeared on live television 43 times in its last 44 contests and will add one to that total with a national ESPN broadcast of its upcoming San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl against Utah on Dec. 23 at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. The lone exception was the Bears' Oct. 24 contest vs. Washington State this season. Prior to the WSU game, the last time a Cal football game had not been telecast live was at Washington State on Oct. 14, 2006. Cal has had every game during a season televised only twice in school history, in 2007 and again in '08. A total of 86 games (including the upcoming bowl game) have been televised over the last eight seasons.
Another Successful Home Season
Cal completed its six-game 2009 home schedule with a 4-2 record and an average attendance of 59,472 to continue an extremely successful and popular run at Memorial Stadium over the past six campaigns (2004-09). During this time period, Cal has posted an overall record of 31-6 (.838) in Berkeley and has actually put up a 33-6 mark (.846) dating back to the final two home contests of 2003. In fact, Cal is a perfect 33-0 at home over this period against teams other than Oregon State (0-4) and USC (0-3), who have combined to go 7-0 at Memorial Stadium since the Bears knocked off the Trojans at home in 2003. Cal has been unbeaten at home three times (2004, '06, '08) under head coach Jeff Tedford and has won 11 its last 13 games overall at Memorial Stadium. The Golden Bears' appeal is shown by a current streak of 37 games with at least 50,000-plus fans in attendance at Memorial Stadium (every contest over the last six seasons). Cal just missed averaging a home crowd of 60,000 or more fans per game for the fifth time in six years this season with its average crowd of 59,472 over its six dates of 2009. The Bears did attract a sellout of 71,799 vs. USC on Oct. 3, 2009. The team's best attendance numbers during the Tedford era came in 2006 when the Bears drew 450,223 fans and averaged a record 64,318 spectators per contest.
Last Game at Cal for 16 Golden Bears
A total of 16 players will be suiting up for their final collegiate game with the Golden Bears in the 2009 San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl on Wednesday, Dec. 23. The list includes LB Tyson Alualu, DL Kevin Bemoll, LB Devin Bishop, WR Nyan Boateng, OL Mark Boskovich, DB Jesse Brooks, TE Skylar Curran, DB Marcus Ezeff, FB Brian Holley, DB Brett Johnson, TE Tad Smith, OL Chet Teofilo, OL Mike Tepper, DB Syd'Quan Thompson, WR Verran Tucker and LB Eddie Young.
Being the Best, Beating the Best
The Bears are 15-8 when playing as a Top 10 team and 36-19 when the club is ranked in the Top 25 of at least one set of rankings since head coach Jeff Tedford took over in 2002. Cal has played 26 nationally ranked teams during the Tedford era and posted a 13-13 record in those contests, including a 2-1 mark in 2009 with victories over Arizona and at Stanford, and a loss vs. USC. The Bears will play a ranked Utah team (No. 23 BCS/No. 23 AP/No. 24 USA Today) in the 2009 Poinsettia Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium on Wednesday, Dec. 23.
Cal Co-Leads Pac-10 in Turnover Margin
Winning the turnover battle has been emphasized since Jeff Tedford's arrival in 2002 and the Golden Bears are having another excellent season in 2009, sharing the Pac-10 lead with a +.50-per-game margin (20 takeaways, 14 turnovers). The Bears are 38-4 when committing fewer turnovers than opponents during the Tedford era, compared to 15-9 when tied and 14-21 when opponents win the battle. In Pac-10 games, the stats are even more decisive as Cal is 23-2 with a positive margin in turnovers, 10-6 when the turnover table is tied and 8-19 with a deficit. The Golden Bears are on track to set a school record for fewest turnovers in a full season with their current total of 14 still four shy of the school low of 18, which was set in 1964 and matched under Tedford teams in 2002 and '04. Cal is 5-1 when winning the turnover battle this year, 2-1 when it ties and 1-2 when it loses.
Cal has outscored its opponents in the fourth quarter this season, 88-44. The Bears did not allow a point in the final period until USC managed a touchdown in the fifth game of the campaign. Cal has come from behind in the fourth quarter twice - at Arizona State, vs. Arizona. In ASU game, PK Giorgio Tavecchio kicked a 24-yard field goal with 21 seconds remaining to lift the Golden Bears to a 23-21 victory. After Arizona took a 16-15 lead early in the fourth quarter, the Bears responded with a 22-yard Tavecchio field goal and a 61-yard TD run by TB Shane Vereen to prevail, 24-16. Cal also outscored Minnesota in the fourth quarter, 14-0, on two of TB Jahvid Best's five TDs against the Golden Gophers, as the Bears broke open a 21-21 game to win, 35-21.
String of 1,000-Yard Seasons on the Line
Cal's string of seven straight seasons in which a running back has gained over 1,000 yards on the ground is on the line. TBs Jahvid Best and Shane Vereen are both within striking distance. Best has a current nine-game total of 867 rushing yards, but has not played since suffering an injury against Oregon State on Nov. 7. His status for the Poinsettia Bowl is uncertain. Vereen has a career-high 830 rushing yards but would need to have the second-biggest game his career in the Poinsettia Bowl to reach the mark. Cal is one of only three Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) schools to have current seven-year streaks, along with Missouri and New Mexico. Neither team has had a runner reach the 1,000-mark yet this season. The Golden Bears are also only three from USC's record 10-year run of 1,000-yard rushers from 1972-81. TB 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 1000-Yard Rushers Since 2002
Year - Player (Rushing Yards)
2008 - Jahvid Best (1,580) 2004 - J.J. Arrington (2,018)2007 - Justin Forsett (1,546) 2003 - Adimchinobe Echemandu (1,195)2006- Marshawn Lynch (1,356) 2002 - Joe Igber (1,130)2005 - Marshawn Lynch (1,246)
Cal has earned Pac-10 All-Academic honors 83 times in the first eight years under head coach Jeff Tedford, second-most in the conference during the span. Nine Cal players were recognized on the Pac-10 All-Academic team this season. OL Mark Boskovich, WR Alex Lagemann and LB Michael Mohamed were first-team selections. DL Ernest Owusu, OL Matt Summers-Gavin were named to the second team, while TE Skylar Curran, OL Chris Guarnero and OL Mitchell Schwartz received honorable mention recognition. Last year, C Alex Mack earned the Draddy Trophy (renamed the Campbell Trophy) honoring college football's top scholar-athlete. This season, OL Mark Boskovich and LB Mike Mohamed have earned CoSIDA/ESPN the Magazine Academic All-District 8 first-team honors and are currently being considered for Academic All-America honors. DB Syd'Quan Thompson was named one of 22 national winners of the Academic Momentum Award as part of the Scholar-Baller Program, in conjunction with the National Consortium for Academics and Sports (NCAS). After a period on academic probation following his first year at Cal, Thompson's GPA improved to 2.995 during the spring of 2009.
Bears Equal Winning Seasons Streak
Cal has secured its eighth straight winning season in 2009 to tie the school mark that was established from 1918-25 under head coach Andy Smith. The Bears did record 10 straight winning seasons from 1907-16 but those were split between rugby (8, 1907-14) and football (2, 1915-16).
Cal's State Of Utah Connections
True freshmen TB Isi Sofele and DL Keni Kaufusi both prepped at Cottonwood High School in their listed hometown of Salt Lake City, UT
Offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Andy Ludwig spent the last four seasons (2004-08) in the same role at Utah, helping the Utes to a perfect 13-0 record, the nation's No. 2 ranking in the final AP Top 25 and a Sugar Bowl win over Alabama in the 2008 campaign when the team averaged 36.9 points per game to lead the Mountain West Conference and rank No. 15 nationally. The bowl was the fifth for Ludwig as a member of the Utes' coaching staff. Ludwig also spent one season at Utah as a graduate assistant on the defensive side of the ball for a 1992 Ute squad that played in the Copper Bowl.
Director of Player Career Development Mike Andersen (Cal '69) spent over 30 years in the mining industry with Utah International and its successor companies.
Offensive Quick Notes
Cal has averaged at least 30.0 points per game in six of the last seven years and is currently just shy of that mark at 29.2 points per game in its first 12 contests of 2009.
Cal has won 28 straight games in which the Bears have scored 30 or more points and has scored 30 or more points 55 times in the Tedford era, posting a 51-4 record in those contests.
Cal has posted at least 400 yards of total offense in seven of its first 12 games and has been over 500 yards on three occasions. The Bears are averaging 399.0 yards per contest and are shooting to average at least 400.0 yards for the sixth time in the last seven seasons.
TB Jahvid Best's 93-yard run at UCLA was the longest of his career and the third-longest in school history, while the 61-yard pass play from QB Kevin Riley to WR Jeremy Ross vs. Washington State was the team's longest pass play of the season.
Cal's final time of possession (39:06) at Stanford was its highest total in the Tedford era. During a stretch of six consecutive drives spanning the Golden Bears' final drive of the first quarter to their final drive of the third period, Cal posted 31 points and held the ball for at least 10 plays five times and at least 5:00 on three occasions.
Cal has scored a touchdown on its opening drive four times in 2009 (vs. Eastern Washington, at Minnesota, at UCLA, vs. Washington State) and picked up a field goal on its first drive of the game on another occasion (vs. Arizona).
Cal had a season-high 31 first downs (tied for the most in the Pac-10 this season) against Stanford.
Defensive Quick Notes
Cal's defense has stiffened up near its own red zone in 2009, allowing just 23 touchdowns on 40visits to the red zone by its opponents (57%).
Cal has held six opponents (Eastern Washington, at Minnesota, Washington State, at Arizona State, Oregon State, Arizona) to under 100 yards rushing with four of the efforts coming in the last six games.
DB Syd'Quan Thompson had started all 51 games possible in his Cal career and has 34 career pass breakups, needing only one more to equal the school's all-time record of 35 currently held by Chad Iwuoma (1997-00).
Special Teams Quick Notes
WR/RET Jeremy Ross is averaging 21.3 yards per punt return on nine tries this season. Ross had a career-best 76-yard punt return for the first touchdown return of his career in the first quarter against Washington State (he also brought the game's opening kickoff back a career-best 54 yards). The punt return was the longest by a Cal player in 2009 and the kick return was the second-longest. Ross was rewarded by being selected a College Football Performance Awards Punt Returner Performer of the Week. In addition, he returned a punt 46 yards against Arizona.
TB/RET Isi Sofele returned six kicks for 127 yards in his first role as the team's kick returner in the regular-season finale at Washington, including a 65-yarder that was the longest kick return by a Cal player in 2009.
Cal had a season-high 92 punt return yards against Washington State.
Simply the Best - Cal's Jahvid Best
TB Jahvid Best was in the midst of an award-winning season before sustaining a harrowing injury in a home game vs. Oregon State on Saturday, Nov. 7. The injury happened in the second quarter on a seven-yard touchdown run when Best leaped high into the air and landed hard in the end zone. He was attended to by medical personnel on the field before being transported to Highland General Hospital's emergency room. Best remained at the hospital overnight for observation and tests. CT scans and x-rays came back normal, and he was released the following day on Sunday, Nov. 8. Best has not played or practiced with the team since, missing the Arizona and Stanford games. No timetable for his return to the field has been established and his status for the Poinsettia Bowl is uncertain. Best has been on the sidelines for the team's last three games and served as an honorary team captain for the Arizona contest.
In the nine games Best has played in this season, he has a team-high 867 rushing yards on 141 carries for an average of 6.1 yards per attempt and 96.3 yards per game (No. 4 Pac-10, No. 29 NCAA). He also ranks second in the Pac-10 and third nationally in scoring with his 10.67 points per game average. His 16 touchdowns overall (12 rushing, 4 receiving) are within two TDs of the all-time single-season Cal record and within one of the school's modern-era mark. His 12 TDs on the ground are three shy of Cal's single-season record of 15 he equaled last year. Best set a single-game school record with five rushing TDs, to go along with 131 yards on the ground on a career-high 26 carries at Minnesota on Sept. 19. Best is also among Pac-10 leaders in all-purpose running (No. 9) with an average of 122.00 yards per game (1098 total - 867 rush, 213 receive, 18 kick return) and total offense (No. 13, 96.33 ypg).
Jahvid Best Rushing at Cal
Year G Att Yds TD Long Avg Avg/G2007 10 29 221 2 64 7.6 22.12008 12 194 1580 15 86 8.1 131.72009 9 141 867 12 93 6.1 96.3Totals 31 364 2668 29 93 7.3 86.1
2009 Jahvid Best Game-By-Game (Att-Yds-TD)
Game Rush Receive Game Rush ReceiveMaryland 10-137-2 2-23-0 Wash. State 13-159-2 1-27-1EWU 17-144-1 2-19-1 at ASU 18-63-0 7-61-1at Min. 26-131-5 3-17-0 OSU 9-29-1 1-(-4)-0at Oregon 16-55-0 2-14-0 Arizona DNP DNPUSC 14-47-0 2-5-0 at Stan. DNP DNPat UCLA 18-102-1 2-51-1 at Wash. DNP DNP
Jahvid Best in the Cal Career Record Book
1. Russell White (1990-92) 35 3T. Jahvid Best (2007-Current) 292. Chuck Muncie (1973-75) 32 3T. Marshawn Lynch (2004-06) 29
1. Duke Morrison (1920-22) 42 3. Chuck Muncie (2004-06) 372. Russell White (1990-92) 40 4. Jahvid Best (2007-Current) 35
1. Marshawn Lynch (2004-06) 17 4. Justin Forsett (2004-07) 152. Chuck Muncie (1973-75) 15 5. J.J. Arrington (2003-04) 142. Russell White (1990-92) 15 6. Jahvid Best (2007-Current) 13
1. Russell White (1990-92) 3367 5. Chuck Muncie (1973-75) 30522. Marshawn Lynch (2004-06) 3230 6. Paul Jones (1975, 77-79) 29303. Justin Forsett (2004-07) 3220 7. Jahvid Best (2007-Current) 26684. Joe Igber (1999-02) 3124
All-Purpose Running Yards
1. Deltha O'Neal (1996-99) 4998 4. Chuck Muncie (1973-75) 41942. Russell White (1990-92) 4943 5. Jahvid Best (2007-Current) 40453. Marshawn Lynch (2004-06) 4574
1. Doug Brien (1991-93) 288 5T. Robbie Keen (1987-90) 2442. Duke Morrison (1920-22) 277 7. Russell White (1990-92) 2423. Jim Breech (1974-77) 260 8. Chuck Muncie (1973-75) 2244. Tom Schneider (2004-06) 257 9. Jahvid Best (2007-Current) 2105T. Mark Jensen (1999-02) 244