Nov. 7, 1999
BERKELEY, Calif. - California enters its final home game of the 1999 season with a clear picture of what it will take to contend for the program's fifth bowl berth of the current decade. With two games remaining, the Bears need victories in both to end the year with a 6-5 overall record (5-3 in conference). A 5-3 conference mark will place Cal in no worse than third place in the league standings and will give the Bears a strong chance for a bowl berth. Saturday's opponent is Oregon, which is a game ahead of the Bears with just two league losses and working on a three-game winning streak. The Bears and the Ducks are meeting for the first time since 1995, having a two-year hiatus according to the Pac-10 master schedule. Cal has a solid 35-25-2 series edge in a rivalry that dates back to 1899. Oregon has won three straight in the series and four of the last five games. In the last two decades, the two teams have battled on relatively equal terms with Oregon holding a 8-7 edge since 1980. In games played in Berkeley, Cal holds a solid 23-11-2 edge.
Final Home Game This Saturday for 20 California Seniors
This Saturday's game will mark the final appearance in Memorial Stadium of 20 California football players. A pre-game introduction will honor those seniors. Those who will be donning their home Cal uniforms for the final time are Ignacio Brache, Eric Brown, Wes Dalton, Jerry DeLoach, Kevin Doherty, Pete Destefano, Fa'avae Fa'avae, Drae Harris, Damian Marzett, Keith Miller, Deltha O'Neal, Jeremiah Parker, John Romero, Sekou Sanyika, Mawuko Tugbenyoh, Joshua White, Yauger Williams and Joel Young. A pair of players who have injuries, but will also go through the senior introductions are Matt Beck and Brian Stumpf. In the above group is one sixth-year senior (Yauger Williams) and 12 fifth-year seniors (Beck, Brache, Dalton, DeLoach, Doherty, Destefano, Fa'avae, Romero, Sanyika, Stumpf, Tugbenyoh and Young).
Bears Challenge 1993 Arizona Desert Swarm Defense for Pac-10 Sack Mark
Oregon State may have found a way to slow down Cal's relentless sack attack that has a chance to challenge for the Pac-10 record of 59, set by Arizona's famous Desert Swarm defense of 1993. The Beavers threw almost exclusively on three-step drops to get rid of the football before Cal's defensive line and other possible blitzers arrived in the backfield. That meant that Cal recorded only three sacks on the game. However, it also meant that OSU quarterback Jonathan Smith had to throw much earlier than he wanted to and he suffered through the worst game of his career, hitting only 8-of-33 passes for 160 yards. Oregon and Stanford, Cal's final two opponents may employ similar quick passing techniques, but the low completion percentage may be the price to pay. Cal and Arizona's 1993 defense are the only teams in Pac-10 history to average over five sacks a game and the Bears could challenge the league mark with a couple of big days the next two weeks. However, they'll be facing the two best teams in the Pac-10 in protecting the quarterback and eliminating sacks. Oregon has allowed an average of only 1.44 sacks a game this season, while Stanford has allowed 1.38 sacks a game thus far. The problem opponents have in game-planning their pass protection schemes is that the Bears have several threats. Mawuko Tugbenyoh has 9.5 sacks, Andre Carter has 9.0, Jacob Waasdorp at 8.0, Sekou Sanyika has 5.5 and Jeremiah Parker has 4.5 sacks.
Pac-10 Single-Season Team Sack Leaders in the 1990s
School-Year Sacks Yards Sacks/Gm School-Year Sacks Yards Sacks/Gm
1. Arizona-1993 59 412 5.4 5. Arizona State-1992 50 352 4.5
2. USC-1992 52 316 4.7 6. California-1999 48 253 5.3
2. Washington-1990 52 398 4.7 6. Washington-1991 48 282 4.4
4. Washington-1998 51 333 4.63 8. Arizona-1997 47 320 4.2
Cal Team Sacks from 1987-98
1998 35 1995 33.5 1992 29 1989 28 1997 31.5 1994 40 1991 37 1988 27 1996 36 1993 30 1990 30 1987 35Injuries Beginning to Take Their Toll on Depleted Cal Team
Cal put together an admirable effort, particularly by a depleted defensive unit, in taking a 7-2 lead into the fourth quarter against Oregon State before the Beavers rallied after a pair of offensive miscues by Cal. The Bears made the trip to Corvallis without several of its key players, including three players who were expected to be the heart of the Cal defense in 1999 ? linebackers Matt Beck and Keith Miller and defensive tackle Jerry DeLoach. Cal also had starting safety Damian Marzett playing through an ankle sprain that left him far less than 100 percent. Still, the Bears held an Oregon State offense that entered the game ranked No. 3 in NCAA total offense with an average of 487.5 yards a game to just 280 yards of total offense and just 1-of-17 on third-down conversions. There haven't been as many injuries on the offensive side of the football, but Joe Igber's shoulder injury has been critical to a struggling Cal offensive unit. Every team has their share of injuries this time of the season, but clearly Cal's injuries have had a dramatic impact on the team's fortunes this season.
Cal Junior Nick Harris Has Punted for over 10,000 Yards in Career
With his last punt against Oregon State, Nick Harris joined a very elite group of punters who have kicked for over 10,000 yards in a career. He now has 10,003 yards on 235 career punts and figures to overtake Cal's Ryan Longwell's school record (10,763) either later this season or early in his senior campaign. He ranks No. 5 nationally in punting with a 45.17 average. With just two games remaining, he has a chance to break the Cal single-season record. Scott Tabor averaged 45.3 yards per punt in 1987. The 6-3, 215-pounder has been a dominant performer all season long. Harris' average is even more amazing when considering he's been asked to pooch punt inside opponent territory 13 times this year, including six punts from the opponent 40-yard-line or closer. He now has had a punt of at least 48 yards in all 31 games of his Cal career. This season, he has 27 punts of 50 yards or longer and six of 60 yards or longer. The following are the Harris punts of 50 yards or more this season: Rutgers: 56, 52, 67, Nebraska: 65, 50, 64, Arizona State: 50, 60, 58, Washington State: 52, 50, BYU: 51, 50, 51, 54, UCLA: 50, 57, 58, 68, 60, Washington: 54, 51, USC 53, 57, 52, Oregon State 70, 54. Below is where Harris stands on Cal's single-season and career lists.
Cal Single-Season Punting Average Cal Career Punting Average
Name Year Punts Yards Avg. Name (Years) Punts Yards Avg. 1. Scott Tabor 1987 66 2993 45.35 1. Scott Tabor (1986-87) 118 5187 43.96 2. Ryan Longwell 1996 60 2714 45.23 2. Nick Harris (1997- ) 235 10,003 42.57 3. Nick Harris 1999 71 3207 45.17 2. Robbie Keen (1987-90) 184 7775 42.26Deltha O'Neal Ranks No. 2 Nationally in Interceptions
There were some that thought the decision to move Deltha O'Neal from offense to defense last season was ill-advised. Many believed his big-play ability would be hidden with his transition to cornerback. Midway through his second year on defense, he has proven that his role as an impact player has not been diminished in the least. Last year, he made a pair of interceptions, one that he returned 76 yards for a touchdown vs. Washington State. This season, he already has returned three interceptions for scores, including a 67-yarder last week vs. USC, which gave Cal a 7-0 lead. His three picks for touchdowns is more than any player in the nation this season and also breaks the Cal school record and ties the Pac-10 single-season record. With four in his career, he is already tied for the Pac-10 career record and is one short of the NCAA career record. His 180 interception return yardage this season is also more than any other player does nationally. In his career, he now has 256 yards in interception returns, which is a new Cal school record (the previous record was 232 by Bobby Smith from 1965-67). He ranks No. 2 in the NCAA in interceptions with .78 per game. He also ranks 16th nationally in kickoff returns with a 26.0 ypr average. 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 *Aloha Bowl record 10/9/99 at Brigham Young 31 yards 10/16/99 at UCLA 27 yards 10/30/99 vs. USC 60 yardsDeltha O'Neal's Interception Returns for Touchdowns (one short of 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 CalDeltha O'Neal on Cal Career All-Purpose Rushing List O'Neal on Cal Single-Season Interception List
Player (Years) Rush Rec Ret Total Player Int. Yards Avg. TD 1. Russell White (1990-92) 3367 364 1212 4943 1. Deltha O'Neal 7 180 30.0 3 2. Deltha O'Neal (1996 - ) 667 335 3588 4590 (tied with Jack Jensen-1947, Ken Wiedemann-1968, Jim Hunt-1964, Paul Keckley-1948, Joe Stuart-1944)Sometimes the Best Offense is a Good Defense
Over the past three seasons you would be hard-pressed to find a more "offensive" defense than Cal's "Hit Squad." Going back to the beginning of the 1997 season, the Cal defense has scored 74 of the Bears 526 total points, representing 14.1% of the total points scored by the team. That percentage is even more dramatic if you stop to consider the numerous times the Cal defense has given the offense great field position after creating a turnover. After scoring 22 points in each of the past two seasons, the Cal defense has already scored 30 points through the first nine games of the 1999 season. The Bears have returned four interceptions and one fumble recovery for touchdowns this season, representing five of Cal's 19 touchdowns. If you included a S?kou Sanyika interception he returned to the UCLA 1-yard-line, that would be over 30 percent of Cal's scoring coming via the defense.
Cal's Defensive Scores the Last Three Seasons
A Look Back at One of NCAA's Greatest Comebacks: Cal over Oregon in '93
The last time Cal beat Oregon came on October 2, 1993 on a warm Saturday afternoon in Berkeley's Memorial Stadium. Oregon was absolutely dominant early in the game, scoring on its first five possessions. Just over 17 minutes into the game, Cal had committed three turnovers and Oregon took advantage by jumping to a 30-0 lead. However, the game was far from over as the Bears began to chip away. It wasn't like Oregon got conservative as the Ducks ended the game with 614 yards of total offense. But it wasn't enough. A pair of Cal touchdowns cut the margin to 30-14 just a minute into the second half. But Oregon responded with a touchdown and the score was 38-14 with 11:18 left in the third period. Cal immediately drove 95 yards in four plays to get back into contention at 38-20. Midway through the third period Eric Zomalt blocked an Oregon punt for a TD and it was 38-27. After an Oregon field goal made it 41-27 with 5:11 left in the game, Cal scored on the next play, a 72-yard bomb from Dave Barr to Damian Semien. Cal linebacker Jerrott Willard stopped Ricky Whittle on a 3rd-and-3 situation on the ensuing possession and the Ducks had to punt with 2:22 left on the clock. Cal drove 85 yards in 9 plays with the culmination coming on a 26-yard-pass from Barr to Iheanyi Uwaezuoke to pull the Bears to within one with 1:17 left. The Cal coaching staff sent in a running play for the two-point conversion attempt, but Barr audibled to a fade pattern and Mike Caldwell caught it in the corner of the endzone for the 42-41 victory. It marked the third greatest comeback in NCAA history and one Cal fans won't forget soon.
Miscellaneous Notes, Three-Dot Data, Et Cetera
Cal is ranked No. 110 in total offense (257.3 ypg) but will face an Oregon defense that is rated only No. 96 nationally in total defense (403.9), next week, Cal's offense will have another opportunity for success against a Stanford defense that is ranked No. 114 in defense (497.9 ypg)...With last week's starting assignments for defensive tackle Daniel Nwangwu and cornerback Atari Callen, the Bears have now started six true-freshmen this season (Kyle Boller, Scott Tercero, Joseph Echema and Jeremy Hershey are the others)...Cal is happy to be finished with artificial turf this season, after going 0-3 on the surface (Nebraska, Washington State and Oregon State) in 1999...The underdog has come away the winner more often than not in the Cal-Oregon series in recent years (Cal in 1980, '85, '87 and '90 and Oregon in 1983, '84, '86 and '92)...Cal is 41-9-1 in games the Bears have rushed for more than 150 yards...Cal has rushed for more than 150 yards three times this season, going 2-1 in those games...Cal running back coach Ron Gould was a starting defensive back at Oregon in 1987, after he transferred to the school following Wichita State's decision to drop football, Gould also served as a graduate assistant at Oregon in 1990 and '91...Oregon defensive line coach Don Pellum served as Cal's recruiting coordinator from 1990 through '93 before accepting an offer to return to coaching at his alma mater under Rich Brooks...Cal will be challenged by Oregon tailback Reuben Droughns, who ranks No. 19 nationally in rushing (107.0 ypg), but the Bears are one of the nation's stingiest against the run, allowing opponents only 110.6 yards a game to rank No. 23 in the NCAA...To provide depth to Cal's defensive line, reserve fullback Ryan Stanger was moved to defensive end last week.