Washington vs. California Postgame Quotes and Notes

Oct. 5, 2002

Washington head coach Rick Neuheisel

General Comments 'I first want to congratulate California on a great win. I am as disappointed as I can be about the way we played. We're going to have to really do some soul-searching about what we're doing, how we're doing it, and getting back to being a fundamentally-sound football team that can do things that represent a very good team. I don't know why we struggle so. They made some big plays, a couple of trick plays that fouled us, and scored long touchdown passes. Unfortunately, we turned the ball over on our own end twice for two touchdowns and that is what we cannot afford to do. I've made a comment to our team that we had to do a heck of a lot better in the turnover department and instead we went the other way. We turned it over three times and you just can't afford to do that in Pac-10 play, especially against quality opponents. I'm excited that I don't have to play against Kyle Boller and Joe Igber again. They are great players and I wish them well during the rest of their Pac-10 careers. I thought they outplayed us. I'm really, really sick about losing our home-field streak, but hopefully we can find a way to rebound and get back up on the horse.'

On the health of Rich Alexis: 'He was gimpy a little bit through the week, and he didn't practice much until Thursday. Then he said he was ready to go, and then fumbles the first carry. I kick myself. A guy doesn't practice all week and he probably shouldn't be in the game. Yet, we wanted to see if we could get a little jumpstart in our running game with him and it failed miserably.'

On today's rushing game: 'I know there is going to be a lot made that we were not very good running the ball. We didn't come into the game with a big plan about how we were going to run it because we felt there was a lot of room outside. Unfortunately, they played very aggressive in pass defense. Sometimes we got calls and sometimes we didn't. The replays brought all kind of screaming from the crowd. You have to be able to run the ball if you're not going to be able to shake the thunder. We have a lot of work to do in that regard.'

On Reggie Williams' game after being hit with a helmet earlier in the game: 'I know Reggie competed really hard and I know we made a lot of just-missed plays. We just weren't in synch today. You have to give California a lot of credit. Our protection wasn't as good today as it had been and they got too close to Cody. We jus didn't look as efficient. Part of that is that you have to be able to counteract other than just dropping straight back. Then the game gets out of balance, and that is all you can do. It was a frustrating game. Like I said, we have to do some soul-searching as to how to go about fixing ourselves so that we can be better next week.'

On Cody and the secondary play today: 'The bottom line was, we didn't play as efficiently as we had played in the throwing area. I know he wasn't nearly in the 60 percent range, which is where he has been. When you are just slightly off, you have to have other ways to move the ball, and we just didn't move it well. I think we all have to share in the breakdown. It starts with me. We have to figure out how to be an offense that can generate yards and points when it matters most. You have to be able to do things that keep defenses honest and if you get one-dimensional, you no longer have that.'

On Cal's intensity this week compared to previous opponents: 'California is a good football team. We knew that they were coming in here with good experience on the road at Michigan State. Sometimes when you are not getting big home crowds, which is the case at Cal, it is almost more fun to go on the road. They like playing in front of big crowds. It is a very disappointing loss.'

On talking to J.D. Williams of Cal after the game today: 'I congratulated him. Obviously this is a huge win for them. Everyone knows J.D. is Curtis' (Williams) brother. As disappointed as I am, it was the right thing to do.'

On soul-searching for the rest of the season: 'You don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water. We certainly need to figure out what it is we're doing that is keeping us from getting better because something is missing in terms of improvement that teams need to have. I don't know if we are just falling in love with the ability to throw the ball and this talented group of receivers. I think we have some talent on our offense. We just got to see if we can get some positive yards other than just dropping straight back.'

Washington Players

On the trick plays: 'I really don't know what to say. We knew they were going to come out with tricks, and the tricks that they ran got us. The thing about the trick is that they can go both ways. There was an opportunity for the defense to make a big play, unfortunately it went their way.'

On how to rebound next week: 'There is only one way for us to go now. We have to get better, we know that we have to make plays and everybody has to work hard and get better. It has happened to us before. My freshman year we lost our first Pac-10 game and rallied back to win the conference. You never know, we will see what happens.'

On the defense:
'We played a good game today on defense. The first half wasn't that great, but in the second half we came out fired up and played much better.'

On the fumble he caused: 'The offensive lineman came at me and I hit him, then I saw the ball carrier and I think I hit him, too, and the ball came out. When I fell I hurt my hip and was like, 'Oh, no!' Then I found out we had the ball and I was like, 'Oh, yeah!''

On getting back on top:
'We have got to get back on top. All of our heads are down, but we have to pick ourselves back up, play hard next week and get a win against Arizona.'

On finding a way to turn the season around: 'We have find a way to turn this around. That is what our team is known for. It has happened to us before in 2000 and we have to come back and do it again.'

On performance:
'I made four, but in games like this where the points are crucial, I don't care how long the field goal is, I have to make it. I had two chances for an on-sides kick and I didn't kick either one real well.'

On preparing for Arizona:
'We have to get back mentally focused and have everybody stick together. Win as a team, lose as a team, so just come back here and get focused and we'll be alright.'

On officiating: 'There was a whole lot of P.I's (pass interference), but you can't really do anything about that, the refs are going to call what they're going to call. All we can do is try our best to get off it.'

On what need to fix:
'Our game plan was good, all we have to do is execute. We weren't getting calls our way, but that really doesn't matter. When you're in a game like that, you have to just play your game and not really worry about what everybody else does, just play your game.'

On game:
'We played well, but shot ourselves in the foot a little bit. We can't take anything away from Cal, they played great. I threw two picks - you can't do that in the Pac-10, the teams are too good. I threw a pick at our own goal-line, we can't do things like that if we want to win, so those are things we have to fix.'

California head coach Jeff Tedford

General Comments: 'This win means a lot because the last two games were very close and we needed this one to get back on track. Against a great football powerhouse like Washington, I think it shows our kids that they can play with anyone. More than anything else, it's our first Pac-10 victory and it renews the hope and the confidence of our players. That's something that is very important for them. I'm very happy for our football players right now. They were able to come into this hostile environment, the crowd was awesome out there today, and do what they were able to do. That's twice now on the road so I'm pleased for the players.'

On snapping Washington's home win streak: 'It means a lot to our players. I'm sure it means a lot to alumni and our past players who've dealt with many years of frustration when they've had good chances and let it slip away. As far as our motivation this week to play, that had nothing to do with it. We just focus on this year's team and how history is going to write about 2002 Cal Bears and that's what we talked about all week. I am happy for the past players and the alumni who have kind of endured the last 26 years.'

On Kyle Boller: 'He played an excellent game. He was very focused coming into this game. He got banged up a little bit. I respect that kid more than anything. He got banged up early and he's very, very tough. Our receivers did a nice job of catching the ball. He continually gets better week after week. I'm very happy for him because he's been in a few of those close games with Washington and now he can enjoy the victory. It's nice to see.'

On turning to the pass later in the game: 'I don't know that we changed our game plan at all. Their safeties were up there pretty tight to stop the run so there were a couple of times we took shots over the top but we were continually trying to mix it up. In the second half, they're really going to pack the box when you have to run to kill the clock. Unfortunately, the ball came out. I felt bad for Joe.'

On the rover's play against Reggie Williams: 'I felt we needed to try something a little different on the corner. Nnamdi Asomugha is a good corner guy and he's big and physical. He matches up a little better with those taller receivers than some of our other kids, so that was the reason for the change.'

On Washington's throwing tendencies: 'They've been throwing the ball quite a bit. I know everything I read in the papers says they want to get their run game going so we didn't know. We felt like the first thing was to stop the run, but we were going to expect the pass. They have great receivers, a great quarterback and a great offensive line. We were expecting them to throw but maybe try to establish a run early.'

On Cal's preparation for a physical game: 'It pretty much always is to be physical. In fact we practiced an extra day or an extra period against one another this week. Normally, you have one period where you practice against one another, ones vs. ones, and on Wednesday we had two of those periods just to get a fast look with more physical play. We tried to increase the speed and tempo and the physical part of the play this week.'

On not having a turnover until the second half: 'We talked about it as a team. The games we have been fortunate enough to win have been because the other team makes more mistakes and we don't and we capitalized on turnovers. That was the whole key coming into the game. Our focus was pay attention to details and protecting the football and not beating ourselves with penalties or turnovers.'

California Players

On the trick play to score first: 'As it was diagramed, a guy motioned down, the safeties came up, and Joe [Igber] made a good pitch back to me. He [Makonnen] was wide open, all I had to do was give him the ball.'

On the game: 'You want to start fast, but the main thing is, we needed to finish strong, and I think we did that today. We've really been emphasizing playing four quarters, and I think today we played four quarters of football. We still have a lot of improvements, we can get better, but it was nice to see that we played four quarters.'

Coming into this game did you think it would be a shootout with Pickett? 'All that matters to me is that we win. I could throw for eight yards, I could throw for 800 yards, I could throw for whatever. As long as we win, that's the main thing. I don't even know how many yards I threw for, but we got the 'W' and that's all that's in my head right now.'

On the touchdown against freshman corner Nate Robinson:
'Early on we saw that both the corners got banged up a bit. we didn't know what exactly was going on with them - whether it was their leg or something like that - so when they put the new guys on, we felt like, 'Allright, let's take a shot, they were on the sideline and were cold, so let's take a shot, we've been playing all game.' Early on we had opportunity, it was underthrown, second time we threw it, it was over thrown, Kyle just said to stay with it. They called the play again, Kyle just said to go get this one, and he threw it out there and I made a good catch.'

What's different about this Cal team? 'Attitude. Atttitude is the biggest key. We honestly believe, we trust in each other. That's the biggest thing we've been emphasizing on this team; trust in our coaches, trust in what they're telling us to do, and trusting in our players to go out and execute. The big thing, too, is confidence. We feel that we can go and play with anyone, we have the talent on this team, it's just a matter of going out and executing and doing the little things, which has been proven week after week on film.'

On the streak: 'It's just an overwhelming feeling to come up here and pull this victory off.'

On stopping Pickett:
'We just weren't allowing a lot of the explosion plays. We didn't allow anything big.'

On preparation from last week to this game: 'Last week we had a lot of mental mistakes, it was all on us. This week in practice that's what we we're trying to enforce, putting emphasis on working on our technique and making sure you're doing what you're supposed to do. Sometimes we still made mistakes, but we didn't make as many as last week.'

On beating UW at UW: 'Honestly, I don't real feel the 'beating the streak.' I'm just happy when were able to get back on track winning. The record can continue to improve, that's what I was really happy about. I know our previous history with them [UW] on how we always let them come back, and after a while I started to get scared, but we held it out. I'm just happy we got the vicory, and I'm ready to go on to the next one.'

Game Notes

Cal's win today snapped Washington's 17-game home winning streak. The last time the Huskies lost a home game was a 28-7 defeat at the hands of Arizona State Oct. 16, 1999. UW's 17-game home winning streak tied the modern Husky record for consecutive home wins, previously set between 1991 and 1993. UW fell one win short of the modern school record. Before today, Washington's streak was the longest active home winning streak in the Pac-10 and the third longest in the nation. The Huskies' all-time record for consecutive home wins is 44, set between 1908 and 1917.

With its win today, Cal also snapped a 19-game losing streak against Washington, the sixth-longest streak by one team over another in the NCAA. The last Husky loss to a Golden Bear team was in 1976, a 7-0 loss at Husky Stadium.

Coupled with a win over then-No. 15 Michigan State in Lansing earlier this year, Cal's win today marked the first time in its history that they've beaten two top-15 teams on the road in the same season. Only once before have the Bears ever beaten two top-15 teams in the same season, regardless of home or road. That was in 1951, when the Bears No. 6 Oregon State (in Berkeley) and No. 3 Stanford (in Palo Alto). In 1937, the Bears beat two top-15 teams, but one was in postseason (Rose Bowl).

With 399 yards passing today, Cody Pickett moved past Chris Chandler into eighth place on the UW career passing yardage chart. Pickett now has 4,321 career passing yards. He also extended his school records for most career 300-yard passing games (now seven) and most consecutive 300-yard passing games (now five).

Cody Pickett broke his own single-game school record with 35 pass completions today. Pickett's previous record was 34 set earlier this year against Wyoming. Pickett now has three of the top five highest single-game pass completions. Pickett also set a career high with 59 pass attempts, surpassing his previous career high of 54 vs. Texas in the 2001 Holiday Bowl. The UW school record for passing attempts is 62 set by Brock Huard vs. USC in 1998.

John Anderson's 51-yard field goal late in the first quarter marked his first 50-plus-yard field goal since his freshman year, when he hit a 56-yarder vs. UCLA. Today's 51-yarder ties for fifth-longest in school history. It also extended Anderson's school record for most 50-plus-yard field goals. With four, he's two better than both Jeff Jaeger and Chuck Nelson in second. Both of them had two.

John Anderson's five field goal attempts today ties a school record, and his four field goals made ties for second all-time in the single-game record books. The school record for field goal attempts is also held by Jeff Jaeger (set three times) and Steve Robbins (UCLA, 1977). Jaeger also holds the UW record for field goals made in a single game with five vs. Houston in 1985.

Braxton Cleman's second-quarter 21-yard touchdown was his first score since last season's Sept. 22 game vs. Idaho, a span of 14 games without a touchdown. However, it was in that Idaho game that Cleman sustained a season-ending collarbone fracture and he returned only last week after missing the first three games of this season with a hamstring pull. It was also the Huskies' longest rushing touchdown of the season.

Cleman's TD was only the second first-quarter touchdown allowed by California this season. The Bears had outscored opponents 69-13 in the first quarter entering today's game. The Huskies out-scored the Bears 10-7 in the first quarter today. Today also marked the first time this season that the Bears did not lead after the opening period.

UW's Patrick Reddick set a new career high with 10 receptions today. His previous high was five, earlier in 2002 vs. Wyoming.

Cal turned two of the Huskies' three turnovers into points today (two TDs, a punt on the other). Prior to today's game, the Huskies had allowed opponents to score after a TO only twice in 10 attempts.

When Jonathan Makonnen scored on an eight-yard pass after the Bears had recovered a UW fumble, it marked only the third time this season that a Husky opponent had turned a turnover into points. Coming into the game, UW opponents had scored two TDs and no field goals on 10 Washington turnovers. After a second-quarter interception, the Bears had to punt.

Cody Pickett extended his string of pass attempts without an interception to 112 before being picked off in the second quarter. The school record for consecutive pass attempts without an interception in a single-season is 137, set in 1983 by Steve Pelluer. The overall record (set over the course of two seasons) is 151, set by Brock Huard in the 1996 and 1997 seasons.

The Huskies' third-quarter safety (when Cal was called for grounding in the end zone) was the UW's first safety since Oct. 9, 1999, vs. Oregon State.

Cal entered the game having scored on 24 of 25 trips inside its opponents' red zone. The Bears made it 27 of 28 today with a trio of red-zone touchdowns.

With two first-half takeaways and no turnovers in the first 30 minutes, Cal improved its' vastly superior first-half turnover margin. With 15 takeaways and only one turnovers, the Bears are now +14 in the first half alone.

Kyle Boller's 55-yard TD pass to Vincent Strang was the longest pass play of the year by a UW opponent. Boller had a career-high five TDs on the day, giving him a 52 for his career, moving him past Dave Barr and into third place on the Cal career passing TDs list. Barr had 48 career touchdown passes. Boller also moved into fourth place on the Cal career passing yards chart. With 6,643 in his career, he moved passed Gale Gilbert, who had 6,566 passing yards from 1980-1984.

Boller's five TDs were third most in Cal single-game history. The school record of eight was set by Pat Barnes in a four-overtime game vs. Arizona, Nov. 2, 1991. Mike Pawlawski threw six TD passes vs. Pacific on Sept. 7, 1991, most in a regulation game.

Cal tailback Joe Igber moved past the late John Olszewski into fourth place on the Bears' career rushing chart. With 92 rushing yards today, Igber now has 2,531 career yards. Olszewski, who played from 1950-52, finished with 2,504. Igber finished his career in games against Washington with 434 yards in games vs. the Huskies.

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