Cal Hosts New Mexico State Saturday
Sept. 1, 2002
Cal could not have scripted a better opening to the 2002 season, as the Golden Bears kicked off the Jeff Tedford era with a 70-22 rout of visiting Baylor last Saturday in Memorial Stadium.
Starting from the first play from scrimmage - a 71-yard TD pass from TB Terrell Williams to WR David Gray - Cal piled on the points. The Bears set a modern day school record with 35 points in the first quarter - more points than they tallied in any full game last season.
Almost every area of the lineup contributed to the victory, with the defense returning two interceptions for touchdowns (LB Matt Nixon, 100 yards; CB Jemeel Powell, 26 yards), the offense compiling 460 total yards without a turnover, and special teams averaging better than 26 yards on kickoff returns.
Senior QB Kyle Boller also enjoyed one of his most productive afternoons as a collegian, completing 18-of-26 attempts for 213 yards and three touchdowns. Not only did he throw for a career-best number of yards in an opening effort, but his completion percentage (.692) was the highest of any game during his career. As a result, Boller surged ahead of Cal Hall of Famer-elect Mike Pawlawski (1988-91) on the school's career passing list, now claiming sixth place with 5,378 yards.
With last Saturday's result coupled with a 20-10 win over Rutgers in the 2001 finale, the Bears look to amass their first three-game winning streak since 1998 when they host New Mexico State Saturday afternoon. Cal also has not begun a year 2-0 since topping Houston (35-3) and Oklahoma (40-36) in 1997.
Cal-New Mexico State Series
This weekend's game between Cal and New Mexico State marks the first ever meeting between the two clubs. The Aggies will visit Berkeley again on Sept. 11, 2004, while the Bears will travel to Las Cruces on Sept. 24, 2005.
A Quick Look at New Mexico State
New Mexico State opened the season before 83,717 hostile fans in Columbia, S.C., yet took 22nd-ranked South Carolina to the wire before falling, 34-24, last Saturday. The Aggies trailed by just a 20-17 margin after three quarters until the Gamecocks were able to open a double-digit lead in the final period. Running back Eric Higgins ran for 111 yards on only nine carries to pace a ground attack that gained 212 yards. That should come as no surprise, as NMSU has ranked among the nation's Top 25 rushing teams the past five years, and five members of the Aggie coaching staff are graduates of Nebraska.
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m.
Radio: KGO (810 AM)
Television: KRON (Channel 4)
Tickets: 800-GO BEARS