Nov. 23, 1999
Berkeley - Cal senior Deltha O'Neal was named Tuesday as one of five finalists for the Mosi Taputu Special Teams Player of the Year Award.
O'Neal joins David Allen of Kansas State, Ben Kelly of Colorado, Dennis Northcut of Arizona and Vitaly Pisetsky of Wisconsin as the finalists for the award given to the nation's top special teams player.
The winner will be announced on the Home Depot Football Awards Show on ESPN on December 9.
O'Neal finished his season with a bang with a 100-yard kickoff return for a TD and a 58-yard punt return for a touchdown against Stanford. He also added to his Cal single-season interception record as he recorded his 9th of the year in the Big Game. He is tied for the national lead with .82 interceptions per game. He is also ranked No. 7 in NCAA kickoff returns.
O'Neal also brok the school record formerly held by Russell White (1990-92) in all-purpose rushing. He finishes his Cal career with 4948 all-purpose yards
With his 100-yard interception return for a touchdown last week vs. Oregon, he broke the NCAA record for touchdowns on interceptions in a season. It was his fourth this year. He ends the year tied for No. 1 nationally with .82 interceptions per game and his 280 interception return yard total was more than 100 yards higher than anybody else in the country. Last season, he made a pair of interceptions, one that he returned 76 yards for a touchdown vs. Washington State. His five career interceptions for touchdowns ties the NCAA career record with Ken Thomas of San Jose State (1979-82) and Jackie Walker of Tennessee (1969-71). In his career, he now has 356 yards in interception returns which is a new Cal school record (the previous record was 232 by Bobby Smith from 1965-67). Below is a list of O'Neal's long punt and kickoff returns in his career.
O'Neal's Long Kickoff Returns (40+ yards) Deltha O'Neal's Long Punt Returns (20+ yards) 12/25/96 vs. Navy 100 yards* 11/22/97 at Stanford 56 yards 9/20/97 vs. Oklahoma 53 yards 9/5/98 vs. Houston 21 yards 10/4/97 at Louisiana Tech 45 yards 9/26/98 vs. Washington St. 24 yards 10/25/97 at UCLA 45 yards 9/26/98 vs. Washington St. 22 yards 9/12/98 vs. Nebraska 49 yards 10/17/98 at Washington 31 yards 9/26/98 vs. Washington St. 49 yards 10/31/98 at Oregon St. 27 yards 10/10/98 at USC 57 yards 11/14/98 vs. Arizona 26 yards 10/24/98 vs. UCLA 40 yards 11/21/98 vs. Stanford 57 yards 9/4/99 vs. Rutgers 50 yards 9/25/99 vs. Arizona St. 21 yards 9/25/99 vs. Arizona St. 53 yards 10/2/99 at Washington St. 35 yards 11/20/99 at Stanford 100 yards 10/9/99 at Brigham Young 31 yards *Aloha Bowl record 10/16/99 at UCLA 27 yards 10/30/99 vs. USC 60 yards 11/13/99 vs. Oregon 30 yards 11/20/99 at Stanford 58 yards
Deltha O'Neal's Interception Returns for Touchdowns (ties NCAA career record) Date Opponent Length of Play Qtr. Score after TD Final Score 9/26/98 vs. Washington State 76 yards 3rd 17-7 Cal 24-14 Cal 9/4/99 vs. Rutgers 75 yards 2nd 14-7 Cal 21-7 Cal 10/9/99 at Brigham Young 19 yards 2nd 21-7 BYU 38-28 BYU 10/30/99 vs. USC 67 yards 2nd 7-0 Cal 17-7 Cal 11/13/99 vs. Oregon 100 yards 3rd 24-12 Oregon 24-19 Oregon Deltha O'Neal on Cal Career All-Purpose Rushing List O'Neal on Cal Single-Season Interception List Player (years) Rush Rec Ret Total 1. Deltha O'Neal 9 int 280 yds 31.1 avg 4 Tds 1. Deltha O'Neal (1996 - 99) 667 335 3946 4948 O'Neal on Cal Career Interception List 2. Russell White (1990-92) 3367 364 1212 4943 T5. Deltha O'Neal 11 356 35.6