Huskies Travel To Face No. 11 Cal Bears
Oct. 20, 2006
BERKELEY (AP) - California has proven it can win despite a subpar performance from its quarterback. Washington also may have to find ways to overcome a drop-off in its passing game.
After their best defensive game of the season, the 11th-ranked Golden Bears look to remain unbeaten in Pac-10 play Saturday when they host a Huskies team that will have to make do without its top quarterback.
California (6-1, 4-0) overcame a bad game from quarterback Nate Longshore to win 21-3 at Washington State on Saturday.
The Golden Bears had to rely on their defense in the second half after the offense went flat. California's offense went into the game averaging 39.5 points, including five straight of 40 points or better.
'Sometimes, one side of the ball has to step up,' Golden Bears coach Jeff Tedford said.
Longshore, who has thrown for 1,586 yards and 17 touchdowns, had two interceptions with no TD passes while being held to 176 yards on 17-of-31 passing. It was his worst performance since being pulled from a season-opening loss at Tennessee.
Though Marshawn Lynch rushed for a season-high 152 yards and two scores, the team's offense was overshadowed by the defense and special teams, which set up touchdowns with a blocked punt and an interception.
'We talk about effort ... playing snap to whistle,' Tedford said.
Tedford's defense won't have to worry about facing quarterback Isaiah Stanback, who had thrown for 10 touchdowns with only three interceptions this season for the Huskies (4-3, 2-2).
The senior must have surgery on the right foot he injured in last Saturday's 27-17 loss to Oregon State and is expected to miss the rest of the season, coach Tyrone Willingham announced on his radio show Monday.
Stanback was a major reason behind the Huskies' 4-1 start and early talk of playing in a bowl game. In seven games, he threw for 1,325 yards while running for another 350 yards and four scores.
'It's unfortunate for him and the type of year he was having - what he brought to this football team and what he brought to this offense,' Washington offensive coordinator Tim Lappano said.
Junior Carl Bonnell takes over as the starter with Johnny Durocher as his backup. While coaches have praised Bonnell's growth and understanding of the offense, he looked shaky replacing Stanback in a difficult situation last Saturday.
Bonnell went 2-of-6 for 10 yards and was sacked three times. He could not find a rhythm, or any open receivers, in the fourth quarter with the Huskies only trailing by two scores.
'Isaiah going down is an enormous blow to this team,' Bonnell said. 'But it's been my job this entire time that when he goes down to get in there, step it up and score some points.'
That may be tough against a Cal defense which is allowing 18.4 points per game. That unit is led by senior cornerback Daymeion Hughes, who is tied for second in the nation with six interceptions.
Lynch leads the Pac-10 with 108.1 rushing yards per game, helping Cal open 4-0 in league play for the first time since 1950. Since that year, the only time the Bears had a longer winning streak than their current six-game run came in 2004 when they won seven in a row.
Washington, which went a combined 3-19 over the previous two years, has lost consecutive games for the first time this season. The team faces major challenges the next three weeks with visits to No. 11 California and No. 16 Oregon sandwiched around a home game against Arizona State.
'We have to rally back together,' Huskies wide receiver Anthony Russo said. 'One man down is not going to stop us.'
Washington leads the all-time series 45-36-4 despite losing the last four meetings.