No. 13 Bears Open at Air Force

Aug. 27, 2004

Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

California Golden Bears (0-0) at Air Force Falcons (0-0)
Date: Saturday, Sept. 4, Falcon Stadium (52,480 - Grass), Colorado Springs, CO
Kickoff: 9 a.m. PT / 10 a.m. MT
Radio: KGO Radio (810 AM) with Joe Starkey, Mike Pawlawski, Roxy Bernstein and Lee Grosscup
Television: ESPN2 with Gary Bender, Sean Salisbury and Ann Marie AndersonThis Week's Game
California (No. 13 Associated Press; No. 15 ESPN/USA Today) enters the 2004 season with its highest preseason ranking in 50 years - since the 1954 Golden Bear squad was ranked 12th in the AP poll.Among the other publications offering Cal Top 25 status are Playboy (9th), The Sporting News (11th), CBS Sportsline (12th), Athlon magazine (14th) and Sports Illustrated (22nd).However, the last time the Bears received notice in the Top 25, this week's opponent - Air Force - knocked Cal out of the polls. On Sept. 21 of that season, the Bears were 3-0, fresh off a 46-22 romp at then-No. 15 Michigan State and ranked 23rd by AP. But the Falcons edged Cal in a close contest, 23-21, in Berkeley.This year, with a veteran cast and some able-bodied underclassmen ready to showcase their talents, Cal football has generated a level of excitement in the Bay Area unseen in many seasons.On the field, the Bears sport 16 returning starters (7 offense, 9 defense) off a unit that was 8-6 overall, tied for third in the Pac-10 with a 5-3 mark in 2003 and outlasted Virginia Tech, 52-49, in the Insight Bowl - Cal's first bowl win in 10 seasons.The tandem of junior QB Aaron Rodgers and WR Geoff McArthur triggers the offense. Rodgers, despite not starting until the season's fifth game last fall, threw for 2,903 yards with 19 touchdowns and only five interceptions, while McArthur - a 2004 Sports Illustrated preseason All-American - hauled in 85 receptions for a school-record 1,504 yards.First team All-Pac-10 rover Donnie McCleskey leads the defensive charge after registering 102 tackles (school record for a defensive back) and 11 pass break-ups as a sophomore last year. Senior DT Lorenzo Alexander, a two-time honorable mention All-Pac-10 pick anchors the line. In total, 13 of Cal's top 14 tacklers from a year ago return, including each of the top seven.Cal-Air Force Series
Cal leads the all-time series between the schools, 4-2. Air Force claimed the first meeting, 15-14, in Berkeley in 1961, while the Bears prevailed in the next four matchups, including two wins in Colorado Springs - 24-7 in 1965 and 31-14 in 1975. Air Force won in the most recent game, seizing a 23-21 decision over the 23rd-ranked Bears on Sept. 21, 2002 in Berkeley. Cal's Mark Jensen set a school record with five field goals, but a failed two-point try with 31 seconds left proved to be the difference.A Quick Look at Air Force
Air Force returns just six starters (3 offense, 3 defense) from last year's squad that finished 7-5 overall and 3-4 in the Mountain West Conference. Consistently one of the top rushing teams in the country, the Falcons averaged 280.4 yards on the ground in 2003 - good for fourth in all of Division I-A. Although QB Chance Harridge has graduated, Air Force returns HB Darnell Stephens (604 yards, 5.0 ypc in `03) and HB Anthony Butler (388 yards, 5.1 ypc). On the defensive side, the Falcons have replaced their entire line, as well as half the linebacking corps and secondary. Senior LB John Rudzinski is the top returning tackler after registering 65 total tackles in 2003.Golden Bear NotesCal Aims for 3rd Straight Winning Season for First Time Since '52
After wallowing in the Pac-10's lower division for more than a decade, Cal football was in dire need of dynamic leadership following an ulcerating 1-10 season in 2001. The not-so-Golden Bears endured the worst record at the school in 104 years that season and were outscored by their opponents by an average margin of three touchdowns. In December of 2001, Jeff Tedford was introduced as Cal's new head coach. Inheriting one of the nation's biggest challenges, the former Oregon offensive coordinator addressed that December press conference by calmly saying, 'We plan on having a winning record next season.' That 2002 club, comprised of mostly players from the 2001 squad that had gone 0-8 in the Pac-10, proceeded to post a 7-5 record - the school's first winning mark in nine years. Then last fall, the 2002 Pac-10 Coach of the Year took a Cal team with the fewest returning starters (nine) in the nation and molded it into an 8-6 club that tied for third in the conference (5-3), won five of its last six games, and beat the likes of co-national champion USC (34-31 in triple OT), Washington (54-7) and Southern Miss (34-2). Cal capped its big-win season with a stirring 52-49 victory over Virginia Tech in the 2003 Insight Bowl, assuring the Bears of back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 12 years and a bowl game victory for the first time in 10 years. And if Tedford's 2004 club were to post a third straight winning campaign, it would mark the first time that has been accomplished at Cal in 52 years (Pappy Waldorf's juggernaut teams reeled off six straight winning marks from 1947-52).Golden Bears Earn Highest AP Preseason Ranking in 50 Years
By virtue of its No. 13 national ranking, Cal owns its highest position in the Associated Press preseason poll since Pappy Waldorf's 1954 squad was 12th in the AP poll. Over the ensuing 50 seasons, the Bears garnered preseason AP recognition only two other times--they were 15th in 1976 and 20th in 1992. The No. 13 ranking is also Cal's highest since the 1991 squad was eighth in the country following a Citrus Bowl victory over Clemson. Under head coach Jeff Tedford, the Bears were rated 23rd after starting the 2002 season 3-0 with victories over Baylor, New Mexico State and Michigan State.

Cal in the Preseason Rankings      Cal in Preseason AP PollPlayboy Magazine     9th           1950   14thESPN The Magazine    10th          1951   5thThe Sporting News    11th          1952   8thCBS Sportsline       12th          1953   14thAssociated Press     13th          1954   12thAthlon Magazine      14th          1976   15thESPN/USA Today       15th          1992   20thSports Illustrated   22nd          2004   13th

Cal Picked Record-High 2nd by Pac-10 Media in Preseason Poll
In a vote of West Coast media at Pac-10 Football Day in Los Angeles, Cal was picked to finish second in the conference in the annual preseason poll - the Bears' highest spot since the Pac-10 era began in 1978. Cal's previous high was fourth. USC was the unanimous No. 1 choice, followed by Cal, Oregon and Oregon State.

2004 Pac-10 Media Poll 1. USC (24)          240 2. California        210 3. Oregon            192 4. Oregon State      138 5. Washington State  133 6. Arizona State     131 7. Washington        100 8. UCLA               98 9. Stanford           40 10. Arizona           38(First-place votes in parentheses)

Tedford Becomes 1st Cal Coach to Win 15 Games in 1st 2 Seasons in Berkeley Since Legendary Pappy Waldorf
To further illustrate the impact that Jeff Tedford has made on the Cal football scene, consider this: last season he became the first California coach to win 15 games in his first two years at the helm since the legendary Pappy Waldorf chiseled out a 19-2 record in his first two seasons in 1947-48. Tedford, who followed the five-year Tom Holmoe era--which endured a 16-39-1 record--has guided the new, improved Bears to a 15-11 ledger over the past two seasons. Here's a list of Cal head coaches who have chalked up at least 10 wins in their first two seasons at the helm:

Head Coach        Years    WinsJames Schaffer   1909-10     24Pappy Waldorf    1947-48     19Jeff Tedford     2002-03     15Garrett Cochran  1898-00     15William Ingram   1931-32     15Stub Allison     1935-36     15Keith Gilbertson 1992-93     13Roger Theder     1978-79     12Joe Kapp         1982-83     12Andy Smith       1916-17     11Clarence Price   1920-26     10

Returning 16 Starters from 2003 Insight Bowl Champions, California Eyes 1st Rose Bowl Berth in 45 Years It has been 45 long years since the California Golden Bears have made an appearance in the coveted Rose Bowl, but Old Blues are holding out hope that this may be the season Cal returns to Pasadena. With memories of Joe Kapp's 1959 Rose Bowl team beginning to fade, the Bears surprised college football last year by coming oh-so-close to a return visit. Had it not been for a 23-20 overtime loss at UCLA and an ulcerating 21-17 setback at Oregon--the Bears blew a 17-7 fourth-quarter lead--Cal's 5-3 conference record would have improved to 7-1, sealing the Bears' first trip to the Rose Bowl in more than four decades. While those bitter defeats still serve as a reminder of how close they came to Pasadena, Tedford's club is brimming with optimism as it enters 2004. Returning 16 starters from last year's8-6 team that earned the school's first bowl appearance in seven years, California hopes to pick up where it left off in 2003. Claiming back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 12 years, the Bears closed fast last year, winning their final three games and five of their final six contests. During that six-game period--which included monster wins over such perennial powers as Washington (54-7), Virginia Tech (52-49) and Arizona State (51-23)--Tedford's offense proved virtually unstoppable, averaging 40.6 points and 511.5 yards per outing.All-American Geoff McArthur Needs 10 Yards Saturday to Claim No. 2 Spot on California's Career Receiving Yards List
While other more high-profile wide receivers earned the lion's share of the national spotlight last year, Cal's Geoff McArthur just kept putting up the numbers. Or as Lindy's Sports wrote in its preseason edition: 'McArthur was the most overlooked top-shelf wide receiver in the nation last season.' McArthur, who led the nation in receiving yards (1,779 yards on 91 catches) while at Palisades High School in Southern California, posted the finest all-around receiving statistics in the Pac-10 last year with 85 grabs for 1,504 yards and 10 TDs. His 1,504 yards were a school record, while his 85 catches were the second most in Cal annals. With Pitt's Larry Fitzgerald departing for the NFL, McArthur is the country's leading returning receiver in terms of yards-per-game average at 115.7 ypg. Named a second team All-American last season--and 2004 preseason first team All-American by Sports Illustrated--he ended his remarkable run by breaking the Cal single-season record for most receptions with 16 for 245 yards and two TDs in the Bears' 28-16 romp over Stanford in the 2003 Big Game. Had it not been for a freak injury (fractured arm) in practice Dec. 21, McArthur would have shattered the Pac-10 season receiving yardage record during the Insight Bowl. He fell 16 yards shy of Johnnie Morton's 10-year-old mark of 1,520 yards. Entering 2004, McArthur (145 for 2,326 yards) needs only 51 catches and 406 yards to become Cal's career leader in both categories. Currently No. 4 on the school's all-time receiving yardage list with 2,326, his first catch at Air Force this weekend may very well vault him past Dameane Douglas and Brian Treggs (both at 2,335) into sole possession of second place on the Cal chart.McArthur Heads One of Deepest Receiving Corps in Cal History
Their position coach, Eric Kiesau, calls them a 'special group,' a collection of players he might not see again if he 'coaches for another 30 years.' A close knit unit that hangs together in off hours--they even took a yoga class en masse this summer--this year's Cal wide receiver corps is much more than All-American Geoff McArthur. In fact, the unit lost only 17 of 165 receptions (10%) from last year's unit through graduation, and is ranked No. 1 in the Pac-10 and No. 4 nationally by Athlon Sports in its preseason magazine. A blend of veterans and youth, the group includes five seniors, four of which are bona fide starting material in McArthur, Jonathan Makonnen, Burl Toler and Chase Lyman. Add to that group sophomore David Gray, and mercurial redshirt-freshmen Sam DeSa, Sean Young and Noah Smith, and there's a veritable logjam at wideout.The Golden Bear with the Golden Arm: Junior Aaron Rodgers Looking to Fulfill Promise Shown Last Year
Ever since he first stepped on campus, Aaron Rodgers has had the look of someone special. Displaying an air of confidence, a remarkable aptitude for football and a golden arm compared favorably to the greatest quarterbacks in Cal history, Rodgers made a remarkable debut in Berkeley last year. Despite not starting until Week 5 of the season, the precocious sophomore riddled 2003 defenses for 2,903 yards and 19 touchdowns, completing 61.6 percent (215 of 349) of his passes and throwing a conference-low five interceptions. His 2,903 yards rank No. 2 on Cal's single season passing list, even eclipsing the heroics of his predecessor Kyle Boller, the Baltimore Ravens' No. 1 draft pick who passed for 2,815 yards for the Bears in 2002. And despite starting only 10 games last year, Rodgers also zoomed into second place among Cal single-season leaders in total offense with 3,113 yards.Rodgers Owns 2nd Best INT% Among Returning NCAA QBs
Aaron Rodgers, benefiting under the tutelage of Jeff Tedford and his QB legacy of developing five previous NFL first-round draft picks, tied a school record with five 300-yard passing games and set a Cal record for lowest interception percentage (1.43%) last fall. But most importantly, he inherited a 1-3 team and led it to a 7-3 record as the Bears' starting quarterback. Four of his 300-yard efforts came in the final five games of the season, capped by a classic performance that won him the Offensive MVP Award in the Insight Bowl. In arguably the finest passing display in Cal bowl history, Rodgers set school bowl records for yards and completion percentage in slicing up favored Virginia Tech for 394 yards and two TDs on 27-of-35 passing with no interceptions, while also rushing for 30 yards and two more scores. And he did all that on an injured left knee that would require surgery after the season. Rodgers, who enters his junior year having been named the preseason 2004 Pac-10 Player of the Year by Athlon Sports, has already developed a reputation for mistake-free football. Dating back to his only season at Butte College (28 TDs, 4 INTs in 2002), Rodgers has thrown 47 touchdown passes and only nine interceptions combined over the past two years.Philip Screwdriver (or is that Piledriver?) Anchors Bears' O-Line
One of the anchors of Cal's offensive line is junior Marvin Philip, who appears on the Rimington Award watch list as one of college football's premier centers. Philip, who returned from a two-year Mormon mission last year to reclaim his starting job by midseason, led all Cal linemen in pancake blocks and knockdowns for the 8-6 Bears. Starting the final five games of the 2003 season--a period in which the team etched a 4-1 record and averaged 206 yards rushing per contest--the 6-2, 280-pound veteran bridges the gap between pre-Tedford era and this fall's promising club. After ending his freshman season as the starting center on Cal's 2000 football team that finished 3-8, Philip departed Berkeley for a mission in North Dakota. Two years later, he returned to find a new head coach, a new team attitude that produced a winning season in 2002, and an offensive line that blossomed into one of the Pac-10's best. Arriving back on campus about 25 pounds under his normal playing weight, Philip underwent a demanding strength and conditioning program during the spring of 2002 and returned to his original 280 pounds. His maturity and experience could play a vital role in an offensive line that lost both its starting tackles in All-Pac-10 first teamer Mark Wilson (Washington Redskins, 5th round) and All-Pac-10 honorable mention choice Chris Murphy. Other key returning blockers include fellow starter Ryan O'Callaghan, who has been switched from right guard to right tackle this year, and part-time starting guards Jonathan Giesel and Aaron Merz.Arrington Ignites Golden Bear Running Game That Hopes to Defend Pac-10 Rushing Title This Year
While Jeff Tedford has gained a gilded reputation as a quarterback guru - he's recruited and developed five QBs into eventual NFL first-round selections - there is much more to the Cal head coach than a passing fancy. A closer examination reveals that Tedford offenses have featured a balanced attack for many years. In fact, Tedford has been the architect behind offenses that have produced 1,000-yard rushers six times in the past six years at Cal and Oregon. He has featured 1,000-yard backs (Joe Igber in 2002 and Adimchinobe Echemandu in 2003) in his two seasons in Berkeley, and the next possible back to reach a grand very well may be senior J.J. Arrington. As Echemandu's backup in 2003, Arrington zipped off a Pac-10-leading 5.7 yards per carry average in gaining 607 yards on 107 carries as the conference's No. 10 rusher. When he replaced Echemandu in the lineup, he sizzled last year (i.e., 185 yards on 14 attempts vs. Washington, 114 yards vs. Southern Miss and 92 yards vs. Arizona). While his presence went virtually unchronicled in this summer's preseason magazines, it would seem as though the Nashville, N.C., native may be a prime candidate for all-conference honors this fall. While the Bears lose Echemandu (7th round pick, Cleveland Browns) from last year's backfield--which averaged 168.3 yards-per-game to become Cal's first team to lead the conference in rushing since Joe Kapp's 1958 club churned out 238.0 ypg en route to the school's last Rose Bowl--the cupboard is far from bare.Much-Improved Cal Defense Returns 9 Starters from '03 Unit
Under coordinator Bob Gregory, the Cal defense emerged last year as one of the Pac-10's finest units by season's end. Featuring nine new starters, that 2003 defense endured early-season growing pains and gained valuable experience that should serve this year's unit well. After being gouged for 423.0 yards and 26.9 points per game in their first seven contests last year, the Bears rose up and held opponents to a mere 312.7 yards and 17.3 points per outing in the final six games of the regular season. Now, nine starters--linemen Lorenzo Alexander and Tosh Lupoi, linebackers Wendell Hunter, Joe Maningo and Francis Blay-Miezah, and defensive backs Donnie McCleskey, Ryan Gutierrez, Harrison Smith and Daymeion Hughes--return from that 2003 defense, which provides great optimism for Cal fans.Only a Junior, All-Pac-10 Rover McCleskey Considered Top DB
If anyone truly epitomizes the resurgence of Cal football, it is defensive sparkplug Donnie McCleskey. Only a sophomore last year, the diminutive (5-10, 180) rover back established himself as one of the finest DBs in the nation, earning first team All-Pac-10 honors and breaking the school record for tackles (102) by a defensive back. McCleskey has added 15 pounds of muscle to his 5-10 frame during the offseason--now weighing in at 195 pounds--and has set his sights on becoming only the second defensive back in Cal history to win first team All-Pac-10 notice twice in a career (Ray Youngblood, 1970-71). A disruptive force in the secondary, he led all Pac-10 DBs in total tackles, sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (12 for 49 yards) last season and registered the most tackles by a Cal player in 10 years (LB Jerrott Willard, 147 in 1993). His teammates paid perhaps the greatest tribute when they voted him the team's Defensive MVP award--an honor rarely given to a true sophomore. Named third team All-American in Athlon Sports' preseason magazine this summer, McCleskey has a chance to become the first defensive back to be a three-time All-Pac-10 first team choice since UCLA's Ricky Manning turned the trick from 2000-02. Making a remarkable transformation from high school running back to the college secondary, McCleskey also was named to The Sporting News' Pac-10 All-Freshman Team when he finished the 2002 season with 45 tackles, five pass break-ups and one interception. Now, he's receiving strong consideration for two of the highest honors a player at his position can receive, as he appears on the 'watch list' of both the Bronko Nagurski Award (Nation's Best Defensive Player) and Jim Thorpe Award (Nation's Best Defensive Back).Alexander the Great: California's King-Sized Defensive Tackle Worthy of National Recognition This SeasonIf there was any doubt that Lorenzo Alexander would some day be a football lineman, an early childhood story would have dispelled any doubt. At age eight, the precocious Alexander weighed in at 140 pounds--that's right, 140 pounds! His mother took him to sign up for Pop Warner football, and the program officials said her young son would have to play with the 12-year-olds. His mom, Stephanie Moore, would have none of it, as she felt Lorenzo would get hurt. Her son cried all the way home. But some 13 years later, it's Lorenzo who's puttin' the hurt on people. Ever since he joined the Bears out of Berkeley's St. Mary's High School, Alexander has flirted with greatness. As a rookie, he earned Pac-10 All-Freshman Team notice. As a sophomore, he stuffed the run with 25 tackles, one fumble recovery and one sack in gaining All-Pac-10 honorable mention. As a junior last year, Alexander again earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention. While his position is not conducive for big stats, those football people in the know are well aware that Cal's king-sized nose tackle (6-3, 300 pounds) represents the immovable object that, game in and game out, creates havoc for opposing teams.Toler Brothers Continue Family Football Tradition at California
One of the more uplifting family tradition stories to hit Cal in a long time involves senior wide receiver Burl Toler III and freshman cornerback Cameron Toler, who offer football bloodlines that would rival any family in America. The two brothers' grandfather, Burl Toler, was considered an equal to teammate Ollie Matson on the great University of San Francisco football teams of the early 1950s. A 1951 All-American, the elder (and still living) Toler suffered a serious injury in the College Football All-Star Game at Soldier Field that year that shortened his pro career. He went on, however, to become the first African American game official in NFL history. Burl III's football career at Cal mirrors his father's, as Burl Toler Jr.--like his eldest son--was a walk-on when he came to the university and finished as a starter and scholarship player. Toler Jr. was a two-year starting linebacker for the Bears in the mid-1970s and now is a successful East Bay architect. Burl III enters his senior year at Cal having already caught 61 passes for 795 yards and three TDs during his collegiate career. Toler started 10 games last year and snared 48 balls for 609 yards, including clutch performances against such teams as UCLA (7 for 104 yards, 1 TD), USC (4 for 81, 1 TD) and Virginia Tech (6 for 84 in the Insight Bowl). And while younger brother, Cameron, a walk-on DB from nearby Skyline High School in Oakland, hasn't yet played in a college game, he certainly has opened some eyes in training camp with a few flashy interceptions. Could he be the next Toler walk-on to pass the grade?Playing 4 of First 5 Games on the Road, Cal Looks for Fast Start,br>Without question, Cal's potential as an elite team in 2004 may hinge on the Bears ability to start fast this year. Tedford's troops will open the season with four of their first five games on the road, including such treacherous places as USC, Oregon State, Southern Miss and Air Force. In fact, four of Cal's first five opponents carved out winning records last fall, with Southern Miss, Oregon State and USC all making Bowl appearances last season. Interestingly, the Bears will play four of their final six 2004 contests at home, and only Oregon represents an opponent with a 2003 winning record.Advanced Degree: Giesel, McGrath & Ladouceur Pursue Master's
At a place like Cal, you would expect some exceptional stories about academic achievement. Berkeley is also the site of some famous scenes from the movie classic, 'The Graduate.' This season, Cal football can also offer a storyline about graduates. Three, to be specific. Guard Jonathan Giesel, rover/special teamer Mike McGrath and long snapper L.P. Ladouceur are all enrolled in graduate programs this fall, each three having already earned bachelor degrees from America's No. 1 public university (U.S. News & World Report). And all three players will figure prominently this season. Giesel, who's already received a bachelor's degree in religion and is working towards his master's in education, will be a third-year starter on Cal's revamped offensive line in 2004. He also is a returning Pac-10 All-Academic first team member. McGrath, who was well on his way to claiming a second straight All-Pac-10 honor as a special teams standout last year before suffering a multiple leg fracture at Oregon Nov. 8, has completed his bachelor's in mechanical engineering and is attending Cal's Graduate School of Education. McGrath, a former walk-on from Watsonville, was voted a first team CoSIDA District VII All-Academic and first team Pac-10 All-Academic choice in 2003. And the Montreal, Canada-born Ladouceur, regarded as one of the best long snappers in NCAA Division I-A football, already owns an undergraduate degree in earth and planetary science and, like Giesel and McGrath, is working on a master's in education.Stub Allison Was California's King of Opening Day Wins, Posting 9-1 Career Mark in Season Lid-Lifters
Leonard 'Stub' Allison was far-and-away the most successful Cal coach in season-opening contests. During his 10-year tenure in Berkeley, Allison posted a 9-1 mark in contests that christened the season. Ironically, Tom Holmoe, who endured a 12-43 overall record in six campaigns from 1996-2001, is tied for second on the opening game list with a 4-1 showing (in other words, one third of Holmoe's triumphs came in season debuts). Lynn 'Pappy' Waldorf, arguably the school's last legendary coach, was 6-4 in openers, winning the first six years but losing his final four debuts. The Bears' current skipper, Jeff Tedford, sports a .500 ledger in curtain raisers at 1-1. The chart below includes coaches from 1944 to the present with the best winning percentage in season-opening games (excluding those who coached only one season):

Coach                Years          W-L    Pct.Stub Allison         1935-44        9-1    .900Tom Holmoe           1997-2001      4-1    .800Bruce Snyder         1987-91        4-1    .800Pappy Waldorf        1947-56        6-4    .600Joe Kapp             1982-86        3-2    .600Jeff Tedford         2002-present   1-1    .500Ray Willsey          1964-71        4-4    .500Keith Gilbertson     1992-95        2-2    .500Pete Elliott         1957-59        1-3    .250Marv Levy            1960-63        1-3    .250Roger Theder         1978-81        1-3    .250Mike White           1972-77        1-5    .166

Tarik Smith, Rich Campbell, Bobby Shaw Among Those to Produce Legendary Feats in Golden Bear Opening Days
Many of the hallowed names of Cal football history appear among the school's all-time Top 10 performances in season openers. While All-Americans like Chuck Muncie, Joe Kapp, Sean Dawkins and Steve Bartkowski seized center stage in game ones, the ultimate efforts came from three others. Tarik Smith enjoyed the greatest opening-day rushing game in Cal history in 1996, when he shredded San Jose State's defense for 183 yards and one touchdown on 26 carries. Rich Campbell set school single-game records for completions and passing yards when he threaded 43-of-53 for 421 yards and one TD in a 41-13 loss at Florida in the 1980 opener. Twenty-four years later, the 43 completions remain the Cal mark while the 421 yards still rank third in school annals. And Bobby Shaw christened his senior season with an unworldly 204 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 11 catches in Cal's 1997 debut win (35-3) at Houston. Two current members of the Bears appear on the all-time Top 10 opening-game performance list in school history. Reggie Robertson's 257-yard aerial assault against Kansas State last year ranks eighth, while Geoff McArthur's 169-yard receiving night (on eight catches) in that same 42-28 loss to K-State ranks third all-time in Cal's season-opening history.DeBerry Trails Only Paterno, Bowden for Longest Active Tenure
The national reputation of Air Force head coach Fisher DeBerry continues to grow. Entering this season, DeBerry's Falcon teams have cashed in 58 wins since 1997--the 18th most in the nation--including a 10-3 mark in 1997 and 12-1 record in '98. DeBerry, who ranks third behind Penn State's Joe Paterno (39 years) and Florida State's Bobby Bowden (29 years) for the longest active coaching tenure in the NCAA Division I-A, has steered 17 of his previous 20 Falcon clubs to winning records. Twelve of those 15 clubs earned bowl game bids. With a 156-88-1 overall mark (.639), DeBerry is not only the winningest coach in Air Force history but also the winningest coach in service academy annals. Perhaps more alarming to Coach Tedford and the Bears is the following statistic: DeBerry's teams are 22-3 in their first five games of the season over the past five years.Bear Bytes
The last time a Golden Bear team kicked off at 9 a.m. PT was Jeff Tedford's first season at the helm in 2002. The Bears played at nationally No. 15 ranked Michigan State before a regional TV audience on ESPN in East Lansing, Mich. Final score of that game was 46-22, marking the first time a Cal team defeated a Top 15 team on the road in 28 years...Tedford has been associated with teams that have carved out a 36-14 record since the start of the 2000 season, as Oregon reeled off 11-1 and 10-2 marks in 2000 and '01 with Tedford serving as offensive coordinator, while Cal has posted 7-5 and 8-6 records the past two years...The Bears have tallied 28 points or more in 18 of the last 26 games under Tedford; prior to Tedford taking over the program in 2002, the Bears had reached the 28-point plateau only 10 times in their previous 48 contests...Under Tedford, Cal had scored 20 points or more in 13 consecutive games for the first time in school history before Oregon snapped the streak by limiting the Bears to 17 points on Nov. 8 last year...Air Force plays in the only conference that owns a winning record vs. Tedford. Mountain West Conference teams have posted a 3-0 mark against Tedford, with Air Force pinning the Cal coach with the first defeat of his head coaching career in 2002 (23-21). Colorado State (23-21) and Utah (31-24) also beat last year's Bears. The Cal coach is 9-7 vs. the Pac-10, 2-0 vs. the Big Ten, 1-0 vs. both the Big East and Conference USA, and 1-1 vs. the Big 12...Cal defensive line coach Ken Delgado is perhaps best equipped to prepare the Bears for Air Force's high-powered running game, as he has coached against the Falcons in eight previous meetings while he was either a defensive coordinator or defensive line coach at Cal (2002), San Diego State (1994-2001) or Utah (1993). Delgado's teams were only 2-6 in those games, although three of the losses were by reed-thin margins (Cal lost 23-21 in 2001, while San Diego fell, 24-18 in OT in '97 and 23-22 in '99)...Adimchinobe Echemandu and Geoff McArthur last year became only the second 1,000-yard rusher/1,000-yard receiver tandem in a single season in Cal history. The first duo was TB Russell White (1,069) and WR Sean Dawkins (1,070) in 1992...While Cal boasts a rich quarterback heritage that spans many decades, Air Force has produced five of the 19 players in NCAA history to rush and pass for 1,000 yards in the same season. They are: Chance Harridge (2002), Keith Boyea (2001), Beau Morgan (1995-96), Dee Dowis (1989) and Bart Weiss (1985)...DeBerry's 20 teams are a combined 83-33 in games played at 42-year-old, 52,480-seat Falcon Stadium, a facility that sits 6,621 feet above sea level...Last year's Air Force team lost four of its last five games of the season to drop out of bowl contention, including a 45-43, triple-overtime loss to Utah in Salt Lake City...The Falcons blocked seven kicks last season and have smothered 87 kicks since 1990--second most in the nation behind Virginia Tech (89), Cal's last opponent...Air Force ranked fourth (280.6 ypg) in the nation in rushing last year, marking the sixth straight season and 10th in the last 11 years that the Falcons have ranked among the country's top four...Air Force features seven Californians on their roster, including two Bay Area players. Senior Anthony Butler, who has rushed for 1,112 career yards at the Academy, starred at San Jose Gunn High School, while junior offensive tackle Gavin Cummings played at San Jose's Valley Christian High School.

Now on Pac-12 Network
9:00 PM PT

Airing on:

  • Pac-12 Network