California Continues Home Slate; Hosts Portland State on Saturday Afternoon
Sept. 11, 2006
2006 CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL
Game 3: Saturday, September 16; 3:15 p.m. (PT)
No. 21 Cal (1-1) vs. Portland State (2-0)
Berkeley, Calif. - Memorial Stadium
GOLDEN BEAR FACTS
2006 Record: 1-1
2005 Record: 8-4
2005 Pac-10 Record/Finish: 4-4/4th
Head Coach: Jeff Tedford
Alma Mater/Year: Fresno State/1983
Record at Cal/Year: 34-18/5th
Career Record/Years: Same
Football SID: John Sudsbury
Office Phone: 510-643-4723
Ticket Info: 800-GO-BEARS
Games Played: First meeting
Series Record: 0-0
First Meeting: N/A
Last Meeting: N/A
at Berkeley: 0-0
Current Streak: N/A
Tedford vs. Portland State: 0-0
Recapping the Bears
California evened its record at 1-1 with an impressive 42-17 victory over Big 10 foe Minnesota on Saturday evening at Memorial Stadium. The Golden Bears fell behind 7-0 early, but then came to life behind quarterback Nate Longshore. The sophomore signal-caller completed 22-of-31 passes for exactly 300 yards and four touchdowns. It was Cal's first 300-yard passing game since Aaron Rodgers during the 2003 season. Back-to-back Longshore TDs put the Bears on top, then a pair of connections with sophomore DeSean Jackson gave Cal the lead for good in the second quarter. Cal outscored the Gophers 28-3 over the final two-and-a-half periods. While the passing game clicked, the Bears' talented backfield also rolled. Junior Marshawn Lynch registered his 10th career 100-yard game with 139 yards on a career-high 27 carries while classmate Justin Forsett rushed 12 times for 77 yards. Cal's receivers were also outstanding, led by Jackson who had seven catches for 114 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. Junior Lavelle Hawkins snared nine Longshore offerings for a career-best 125 yards. While the offense was crackling, the defense may have been even more impressive. Cal held Minnesota's vaunted rushing attack to just 116 yards - its least since Nov. 4, 2004. Senior linebacker Desmond Bishop led the way with 10 tackles while senior cornerback Daymeion Hughes snagged a pair of interceptions for the second time in his career.
Bits on the Bears
Cal had a pair of 100-yard receivers against Minnesota - the first time since 2003 it has done that ... Nate Longshore surpassed his previous CAREER totals with the Minnesota game alone ... Marshawn Lynch went over 2,000 career rushing yards on Saturday, the ninth player in Cal history to reach that milestone ... Andrew Larson has punted 10 times this year and opponents have just returned three of them for a total of 22 yards ... Cal lost its season opener each of the last two years it won the conference championship (1958 and 1975) ... Cal has had a 100-yard rusher in 23 of its last 26 games, meanwhile, its opponents have had just 14 games with 100-yard rushers in Tedford's tenure ... the Bears have six freshmen on the two-deep, including true freshmen Tyson Alualu and Derrick Hill ... the attendance at Tennessee of 106,009 was the most-ever to watch the Golden Bears ... Cal's No. 9 AP ranking was its highest preseason rank since 1952 ... SI.com ranked Marshawn Lynch the top player in the Pac-10 and Brandon Mebane No. 4 ... Cal's running back combo of Lynch and Justin Forsett averaged 32 more yards-per-game than any other returning combo in the nation ... the Golden Bears led the Pac-10 in scoring defense in 2005, allowing just 21.2 points per game ... as in the past under Jeff Tedford, Cal will select game captains this season ... Tedford, now in his fifth year at Cal, ranks fourth in seniority among Pac-10 coaches ... the Bears have five different players on Watch Lists for nine different national awards ... prior to the Tennessee game, Cal had not opened a season against a ranked opponent since 1979 when it defeated No. 18 Arizona State, 17-9, on the road.
A Look at the Vikings
Portland State has opened the 2006 campaign in style, winning its first two games without allowing a touchdown. The Vikings knocked off I-A foe New Mexico, 17-6, in their opener on Sept. 2 and then followed that up with a 45-3 Big Sky victory over Northern Colorado. While the Vikings have allowed just three field goals in two games, opponents have been able to move the ball, tallying 262.5 yards per game, however, Portland State has forced seven turnovers while also collecting seven sacks. The Viking offensive line has helped the offense lead the Big Sky in rushing for two straight years while allowing the least sacks in the league for three straight years (opponents have zero sacks to date this year). Gone from 2005 is All-American running back Joe Rubin (1,702 yards in 2005) as well as three other all-conference selections. However, Kelena Ho'okano has rushed 30 times for 105 yards and three TDs while quarterback Sawyer Smith is 26-of-51 for 427 yards and four scores. Brendan Ferrigno has 101.5 receiving yards per game. Defensively, senior linebacker Adam Hayward, a Colorado State transfer, has 25 tackles and four sacks.
California wide receivers coach Dan Ferrigno will watch the Golden Bear receivers closely on Saturday, but he may be eyeing No. 83 for Portland State as well. That would be his 22-year old son Brendan Ferrigno. While the elder Ferrigno was an All-American receiver at San Francisco State, his son has parlayed his genes into a record-setting career with the Vikings. Brendan holds five Portland State punt-return records, including a 91-yard punt return TD last year. He has played in 35 games and caught 47 career passes as well - he had four catches for 125 yards on Saturday against Northern Colorado - his first career 100-yard receiving game.
Quarterback Nate Longshore was one of the many stars of the game for the Golden Bears on Saturday. The sophomore signal-caller was 22-of-31 for exactly 300 yards and four TDs with no interceptions. It was just his third career start, but more importantly, it was the first time he finished a game - in his first game against Sacramento State in the 2005 opener, he was injured in the second quarter; and in this year's opener against Tennessee, Joe Ayoob closed out the game. Longshore joked after the game, 'I finally made it through a game. I'd never played a fourth quarter before, and it was exciting.'
More on Longshore
Nate Longshore's totals in Saturday's game surpassed his career totals entering the game (19-of-31 for 216 yards and one touchdown). In fact, his stats through the first play of the second quarter (9-of-13, 134 yards, 2 TD) had already qualified as his best career game. His first touchdown of the game (to junior Robert Jordan) was his first TD delivery in 371 days and his 300 passing yards marked the first 300-yard game by a Bear QB since Aaron Rodgers threw for 394 yards vs. Virginia Tech in 2003.
Wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins, a product of Stockton, Calif., had a solid season in his 2005 debut with the Golden Bears by snaring 18 passes for 171 yards. However, after Saturday's performance against Minnesota, Hawkins' 2005 stats look like small change. With nine catches for 125 yards (his first career 100-yard game) against the Gophers, the 5-11 junior now has 12 receptions for 166 yards in the first two games of 2006.
DeSean is On
DeSean Jackson was one of the top-rated high school receivers in the nation two seasons ago; and nothing he has done on the collegiate gridiron has changed his status. The young wide receiver registered his fourth career 100-yard receiving game on Saturday against Minnesota, finishing with seven catches for 114 yards and a career-best three touchdowns. After just 13 career games, Jackson is tied for 10th in career 100-yard receiving games at California. Four of quarterback Nate Longshore's five career TD passes have gone to Jackson.
Running back Marshawn Lynch continues to pile up the stats for the Golden Bears. Lynch ran for 139 yards on a career-high 27 carries on Saturday against Minnesota. The yardage pushed him over 2,000 rushing yards for his career, just the ninth player in California history to achieve that milestone. The junior from Oakland now has 10 100-yard rushing days in his career, to move into a tie for fourth all-time in that category at Cal. He also had two TDs in Saturday's game to climb to 20 career TDs on the ground.
Senior Daymeion Hughes, who is known by his middle name of Dante, was rated as high as No. 1 among the nation's cornerbacks in the preseason and he is living up to the hype thus far in 2006. The Los Angeles native has been a glove in coverage and on Saturday against Minnesota, he snagged a pair of interceptions - the second time in his career that he has turned that trick. Hughes now has nine career pick-offs to rank No. 11 all-time at Cal in that category. He also broke up a pass against the Gophers and now has 19 career pass break-ups. His first interception on Saturday came just after Cal took a 21-14 lead in the second quarter and led to the Golden Bears' fourth score of the afternoon. His second pick came late in the third quarter at Cal's own 22-yard line and snuffed a Golden Gopher threat to essentially put the game out of each.
50,000 Fans Again
Saturday's attendance against Minnesota of 55,035 marked the 12th straight home game that California has drawn over 50,000 fans. That streak includes every home game in 2004 and 2005 and is even more impressive when compared to the days before the current streak. In the first 13 home games under head coach Jeff Tedford (in 2002 and 2003), Cal attracted over 50,000 fans just TWICE. And, prior to Tedford's arrival at Cal for the 2002 season, Cal had a TOTAL of 13 crowds of 50,000 over the nine years from 1993-2001.
Since the arrival of Jeff Tedford, California's season ticket count has been on a steady climb. The Bears sold 16,200 season passes in 2002, Tedford's first year. His second season resulted in sales of 22,500. In 2004, the number again jumped substantially, up to a then-school-record 34,100. Last year, California set another mark with 40,134 season tickets sold and again this season, the record has been broken. The program surged past 40,134 on Friday (Sept. 8).
Saturday's game will be the final non-league contest of the year for California. Entering 2006 under Jeff Tedford, the Golden Bears have posted a 14-5 (.737) record against non-Pac-10 foes.
California has a pair of players from the Portland area. True freshman quarterback Kevin Riley is a graduate of Beaverton High School and was the Gatorade Player of the Year for Oregon in 2005. Senior Tyler Krieg, a transfer from Duke, is a native of Tualatin, Ore., about 13 miles from Portland. He is a 2002 Tualatin High School graduate.
Despite opening the season with a loss, history has shown success can still follow. The last two conference championship teams at California lost their season openers. In 1975, the Golden Bears fell to Colorado on the road in their opener, but rebounded to finish 8-3 and share the Pac-8 Championship in 1975 behind star running back Chuck Muncie. In 1958, Cal lost to Pacific at home in the opener, but went 6-1 in league play to win the title and advance to the 1959 Rose Bowl behind star Joe Kapp.
DeCoud Not Just for Kicks Anymore
Junior Thomas DeCoud entered the 2006 season known for his kick-blocking skills as he has blocked six kicks in his career. However, making his first career start against Tennessee at free safety, the product of Pinole, Calif., piled up a career-high 13 tackles, including 10 solo takedowns. He added six more solo tackles on Saturday against Minnesota and leads the team with 16 stops. DeCoud entered the season with just 37 career takedowns in his first two seasons, including a career-best 10 stops against New Mexico State last season.
Larson Lets Loose
One of the biggest question marks entering this season for the Golden Bears was punting. Thus far, junior-college transfer Andrew Larson has answered the questions. The newcomer has punted 10 times for 402 yards - a respectable average of 40.2 yards per punt. However, his net punting is the true measure of his value. Opponents have returned just three punts for a total of 22 yards, giving Cal a net-punting mark of 38.0 yards. Last season, with veteran David Lonie handling punting duties, the Bears had a net average of 36.7 yards per punt.
Home Sweet Home
California has now posted a 58-25 (.699) record in its home openers in the 82-year history of Memorial Stadium. In the last 10 years, Cal has won nine Memorial Stadium lid-lifters on the field (1999's 21-7 win over Rutgers was later forfeited). The Golden Bears are a perfect 5-0 in home openers under Jeff Tedford.
Rushing, For and Against
While Jeff Tedford is best known for his development of quarterbacks, he has also had eight 1,000-yard rushers in the past seven years (including three years at Oregon). However, more impressive may be Tedford teams' defense against the run. In his first 52 games at the helm of the Golden Bears, Tedford has seen just 14 games when foes had 100-yard rushers.
California's tailback tandem of Marshawn Lynch (1,246 yards) and Justin Forsett (999) combined for 2,245 yards in 2005 - 385 yards more than their closest competition returning from last year (Rutgers' top two running backs had 1,860 rushing yards last season). On Saturday, Minnesota received a strong dose of the duo. Lynch bulled his way for 139 yards while Forsett darted for 77 yards; it was the fifth time that the Bear pair combined for over 200 yards (tops is a combined 288 yards against UCLA last year).
Redshirt freshmen Cameron Morrah (TE) and Syd'Quan Thompson (CB) not only saw their first collegiate action on Saturday, but the pair also started the game. Other players making their first career starts were sophomore Alex Mack (C), senior Bryan Deemer (OG), junior Justin Moye (LB), junior Brandon Hampton (ROV) and junior Thomas DeCoud (FS). Joining Morrah and Thompson in making their collegiate debuts were junior-college transfers Rulon Davis (DL), Mike Gibson (OL), Andrew Larson (P), redshirt freshmen Marcus Ezeff (DB), Cody Jones (DL), and Matt Russi (LB) and true freshmen Derrick Hill (DL) and Tyson Alualu (DL).
No, senior Marcus O'Keith is not indecisive about what jersey number he would like to wear, he's just following the rules by wearing multiple numbers. When he is on the field as a running back, he wears No. 2, hence his nickname of Mo-Deuce from his teammates. However, with junior safety Bernard Hicks also wearing No. 2, when the pair are on the field at the same time for kick returns, O'Keith swaps to No. 80. The senior from Carson, Calif., had three receptions for 50 yards and also added a game-high 27-yard kickoff return against Tennessee.
Cal fans and the media can keep up with all the highlights of Marshawn Lynch's junior season by visiting www.Marshawn10.com. The star tailback is a top candidate for numerous awards, including the 2006 Heisman Trophy. The website features highlight video from his first two seasons in Berkeley and will include highlights from each game of the 2006 campaign as the season progresses. Statistics, a complete bio and other information will offer fans and media the opportunity to get to know the running back. In addition, his honors and records and a list of quotes from college football experts, coaches and players from around the nation are available for perusal.
Bears No. 9 Preseason AP Ranking is Highest Since 1952
California's No. 9 ranking in the 2006 Associated Press Preseason College Football Poll was its highest preseason ranking since the 1952 team was ranked No. 8 in the nation. The No. 9 ranking is the third-highest overall preseason ranking for Cal behind Pappy Waldorf's 1951 and 1952 teams. The 1951 club was ranked No. 5 in the nation in the preseason. This season marks just the 10th year that Cal has held a preseason ranking from the AP, including the current stretch of three straight years. From 1955 to 2003, the Bears appeared just twice in the poll. Under head coach Jeff Tedford, California has been ranked No. 13 (2004), No. 19 (2005) and now No. 9 in AP Preseason Polls.
Cal in Preseason AP Poll
1950: No. 14
1951: No. 5
1952: No. 8
1953: No. 14
1954: No. 12
1976: No. 15
1992: No. 20
2004: No. 13
2005: No. 19
2006: No. 9
Pac-10 Preseason Poll
California was picked to finish second in the Pacific-10 Conference in a preseason poll of West Coast media members who regularly cover the league. It is the third consecutive year that the Golden Bears have been tabbed to finish second, which is the highest that Cal has ever been picked, dating back to 1961. Three-time defending Pac-10 champion USC is the favorite to win the conference. USC garnered 18 of 29 first-place votes in the poll, but California, Oregon and Arizona State also received first-place support.
In Cal's football history, the Golden Bears have posted a 68-42-4 record in season-openers. Jeff Tedford has recorded a 3-2 mark in lid-lifters putting him 'just' six straight wins from matching Leonard 'Stub' Allison, who 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.
Golden Bear Opening-Day Heroes
Many of the hallowed names of Cal football history appear among the school's all-time Top 10 performances in season openers, but it is a pair of current Golden Bears who hold some of the key Memorial Stadium opener records. Marshawn Lynch owns the best Memorial Stadium opening day rushing performance as he piled up 147 yards last year against Sacramento State. This past Saturday, Nate Longshore became the first Bear QB to tally 300 passing yards in an opener in Strawberry Canyon. Lavelle Hawkins nearly set the mark for receiving yards as well; his 125 yards through the air on Saturday are second all-time in home openers for the Bears.
In the four years under Jeff Tedford, the Golden Bears have averaged 34.4 points per game, by far the most in any four-year stretch in school history. In fact, Tedford-coached teams own four of the top five slots in single-season scoring in the modern era of football in Berkeley.
Cal Players on Preseason Watch Lists
Bednarik Award (Top Def. Player): Daymeion Hughes, Brandon Mebane
Butkus Award (Top Linebacker): Desmond Bishop
Doak Walker Award (Top Running Back): Marshawn Lynch
Hendricks Award (Top Defensive End): Nu'u Tafisi
Lott Trophy (Top Def. Player): Daymeion Hughes, Brandon Mebane
Maxwell Award (Player of the Year): Marshawn Lynch
Nagurski Trophy (Top Def. Player): Daymeion Hughes, Brandon Mebane
Outland Trophy (Top Lineman): Brandon Mebane
Walter Camp Award (Player of the Year): Marshawn Lynch
Cal Preseason All-Americans (first team unless noted)
Desmond Bishop - Street & Smith's
Daymeion Hughes - Blue Ribbon Defense, Playboy Magazine, Rivals.com, Phil Steele's, Lindy's Football Annual (second team), The Sporting News (second team), Street & Smith's (second team)
Marshawn Lynch - Lindy's Football Annual, Rivals.com, The Sporting News,Street & Smith's, Athlon Sports (second team), Phil Steele's (second team)
Brandon Mebane - Athlon Sports, Lindy's Football Annual, The Sporting News, Rivals.com (second team), Street & Smith's (third team), Phil Steele's (fourth team)
Tim Mixon - Street & Smith's (second team)
Craig Stevens - Street & Smith's (hon. mention)
Nu'u Tafisi - Street & Smith's (second team)
Finishing in a Rush
As Marshawn Lynch became healthier in 2005, his productivity took off. Over the final four regular-season contests and the bowl game in Las Vegas, Lynch rushed for an average of 150.6 yards (753 yards over five games). His only game under 100 yards during that period came against top-ranked USC when the sophomore carried the ball just 13 times but still reached 87 yards.
The Bears have won 26 games over the past three seasons (26-12). It is the most victories by California over a three-year period since the 1949-1950-1951 teams combined to win 27 games. Nationally, Cal's 18 wins over the last two years rank 13th, and the 26 wins during the three-year period is No. 18 in the country.
More TV Time
This Saturday's game against Portland State will be televised live in the Bay Area by Comcast SportsNet marking the third game of the year to be sent through the airwaves (Tennessee was on ESPN and Minnesota on TBS). In addition, Arizona State (Fox Sports Net), Oregon (ABC), UCLA (ABC), USC (ABC) and Stanford (Fox Sports Net) will be televised. The remainder of the games could all be televised, as well, but full broadcast schedules have not been determined.
The 'All' Guys
California returns five players off of last year's All-Pac-10 squad. Returning first-teamers include cornerback Daymeion Hughes and defensive lineman Brandon Mebane. Second-team all-league choices that are back in the fold include linebacker Desmond Bishop, special teams standout Byron Storer and defensive end Nu'u Tafisi. Storer was also a second-team Pac-10 All-Academic selection.
California enters 2006 with an excellent chance of recording its fifth consecutive winning season. That note is significant because Cal has not strung together five straight seasons over the .500 mark since 1948 through 1952. From 1967 through 1971, the Bears did not have a losing season, but two of those records were exactly .500 (5-5).
Mebane in the Middle
California's defense is anchored by one of the best defenders in the country. Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, a first-team All-Pac-10 performer a year ago, is back to provide headaches for opposing offensive fronts. Despite facing constant double- and, at times, triple-teams, Mebane led the Bears last season with seven sacks. The extremely active defensive tackle figures to be a candidate for national honors.
Pac-10 Preseason Poll
Three-time defending Pac-10 champion USC has been picked to win the conference. USC garnered 18 of 29 first-place votes in the poll, but California, Oregon and Arizona State also received first-place support. Following are the results of the preseason media poll (points 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, first-place votes in parentheses):
1. USC (18) - 276
2. California (7) - 247
3. Oregon (3) - 229
4. Arizona State (1) - 204
5. UCLA - 145
6. Arizona - 133
7. Oregon State - 125
8. Washington State - 96
9. Stanford - 90
10. Washington - 50
POLL NOTES: Preseason media poll has correctly picked the Conference champion 23 of 45 times and has been very accurate of late in correctly identifying the Conference champ the last six years in a row and six of the last seven. While USC was a unanimous pick to win the Pac-10 the last two seasons, this year's poll with four team registering first-place votes is more typical. Prior to the last two years of unanimous support for the Trojans, at least four team received first-place votes in four of the previous five years.
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