Dec. 2, 2007
BERKELEY - The University of California will play in a fifth straight bowl game for the first time in program history as the Golden Bears will battle the United States Air Force Academy in the 2007 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas, on Dec. 31. The game will be televised live by ESPN from Amon G. Carter Stadium with kickoff scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Pacific Time (11:30 a.m. Central).
Since the arrival of Jeff Tedford in 2002, Cal has advanced to the Insight Bowl (2003), the Holiday Bowl (2004 and 2006) and the Las Vegas Bowl (2005). The Bears have posted three victories in those four bowl games.
"We're looking forward to the opportunity to play in the Armed Forces Bowl," Cal head coach Jeff Tedford said. "I've heard great things about the Bowl and we have always had a lot of respect for Air Force. This should be a great experience for our players and our fans."
"We're very excited to playing in our fifth bowl in a row," Cal athletic director Sandy Barbour said. "Texas and the Armed Forces Bowl are known for their hospitality and we're looking forward to a great experience."
The Armed Forces Bowl will mark Cal's first trip to the state of Texas since a 1997 victory over Houston. Last year, the Bears battled Texas A&M in the Holiday Bowl, emerging victorious, 45-10. Cal also played Texas Tech in the 2004 Holiday Bowl. Tedford's first career game also had a Texas flavor as the Bears rolled to a 70-22 triumph over Baylor on Aug. 31, 2002. This will be Cal's second bowl game in the Lone Star State as the Bears defeated Iowa, 37-3, in the 1993 Alamo Bowl.
"I've been in this business a long time," said Tom Starr, the Executive Director of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, "and I can tell those who plan to attend this year's Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl that they are in for a treat....these two teams are fun to watch! Air Force brings an impressive 9-3 record and its explosive ground game to town while California, ranked number two in the nation at one time this season, counters with a talented team that has been one of the nation's powerhouses over the past several years."
Cal has posted a 6-6 record this season and with a bowl game victory will post its sixth straight winning season - the first time in over 50 years (1947-52) that has happened for the Bears. The team is led by senior running back Justin Forsett, senior safety Thomas DeCoud, junior quarterback Nate Longshore and a trio of high-speed receivers - junior DeSean Jackson and seniors Robert Jordan and Lavelle Hawkins. Forsett has rushed for over 1,400 yards this season and ranks second in the Pac-10 in rushing, while DeCoud leads the Bears with a career-best 106 tackles. Longshore has completed nearly 60 percent of his passes for 2,544 yards and 16 touchdowns while Cal's three talented receivers have combined for 170 catches for 2,077 yards.
First-year head coach Troy Calhoun has guided Air Force to a 9-3 record, including a second-place finish in the Mountain West Conference with a 6-2 record. The Falcons have won their last three games, including a 41-24 victory over Notre Dame on the road. Air Force features the No. 2 rushing offense in the nation at 298.5 yards per game. Do-everything star Chad Hall, a 5-8, 180-pound senior, leads the team in rushing (211 carries for 1,415 yards), receiving (46 catches for 488 yards) and kick returns (18 returns for 425 yards). He ranks third in the nation in all-purpose yardage and has also scored 15 touchdowns.
The 2007 Armed Forces Bowl will be the fifth-edition of the Fort Worth-based bowl game, the previous games have featured Utah defeating Tulsa (2006), Kansas topping Houston (2005), Cincinnati upending Marshall (2004) and Boise State edging TCU in the inaugural game in 2003.