Oct. 13, 2003
Cal (3-4) Travels to UCLA (4-2)
Bears Seek Fourth Win in Five Meetings vs. Bruins
Game No. 8: California Golden Bears (3-4, 1-1 Pac-10) at UCLA Bruins (4-2, 2-0, Pac-10)
Date: Saturday, Oct. 18, 2003, Rose Bowl;(91,136 - natural grass), Pasedena, CA
Kickoff: 12:30 p.m.
Radio: KGO Radio (810 AM) with Joe Starkey, Lee Grosscup and Mike Pawlawski
Television: ABC (Channel 7) with Keith Jackson, Dan Fouts and Todd Harris
This Week's Game
After enjoying a bye week following seven consecutive games, Cal resumes its schedule Oct. 18 when the Golden Bears travel to Pasadena for a Pac-10 clash with conference co-leader UCLA at the Rose Bowl.
Cal will be trying to rebound after a 35-21 defeat to Oregon State, a setback that occurred just seven days after a 34-31 triple overtime upset of then-No. 3 USC.
Although the Bears were unable to get their passing game on track against the Beavers, the quarterback tandem of sophomore Aaron Rodgers and junior Reggie Robertson has provided plenty of firepower this season. Rodgers, who has started the last three games, completed 17-of-21 for 203 yards in the first half against USC, and has thrown for 892 yards this year. Robertson currently leads the Pac-10 in passing efficiency (154.7 rating), and has nine TD tosses compared to just three interceptions.
Junior WR Geoff McArthur, the NCAA's third-leading receiver with 695 yards, has been the primary target down field, hauling in 41 catches and scoring six touchdowns. With 101 career receptions, he is poised to move into Cal's all-time Top 15 list this week, needing three more catches to tie No. 15 Paul Jones, who corralled 104 passes from 1977-79.
Senior TB Adimchinobe Echemandu is running with a vengeance of late, rushing for a career-high 147 yards vs. USC and another 146 yards against Oregon State. He ranks second in the Pac-10 with 91.1 ypg and is well on his way to a 1,000-yard season with 638 total yards.
Cal's young defense, which features only one senior starter, has been led all year by sophomore ROV Donnie McCleskey, who rates fourth in the conference in three vital categories: tackles (8.7 per game), sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (10.0). Junior LB Wendell Hunter has averaged 10.0 tackles over his last four outings, including a 15-tackle performance at Illinois that included a game-winning sack of Illini QB Jon Beutjer on the final play with Illinois threatening to tie the game on the Cal 8-yard-line.
UCLA leads the all-time series, 46-25-1, but the Bears have held the upper hand since 1990, winning eight of the past 13 meetings. Cal captured last year's contest in Berkeley, 17-12, capitalizing on seven sacks and three takeaways. The Bears' last victory in the Rose Bowl came in 1999-a 17-0 shutout that marked Cal's first blanking of the Bruins since 1950.
A Quick Look at UCLA
Led by a defense that ranks fourth in the Pac-10 for fewest yards allowed (331.5 ypg), UCLA has allowed less than 20 points in four of its six games this season. The Bruins have picked off 14 passes, while surrendering only seven touchdowns through the air. Senior LB Brandon Chillar tops the conference in tackles per game (11.5), and senior DE Dave Bell is the league leader in sacks with 8.5 and fumbles recovered with three. On the offensive end, sophomore Drew Olson, out of nearby Piedmont, Calif., is completing 56.2 percent of his attempts for 1,107 yards and four scores. SE Craig Bragg tops the receiving corps with 37 receptions for 519 yards.
Jeff Tedford, California (Fresno State '83), who directed Cal to its first winning football season (7-5) in nine years and the nation's biggest one-year turnaround in the regular season in 2002, owns a 10-9 mark in his second season as head coach of the Golden Bears. After taking over as the program's 32nd head coach in December 2001, he transformed Cal from a 1-10 team in 2001 to a 7-5 club last year. A vote of his fellow conference coaches awarded him the 2002 Pac-10 Coach of the Year award. Tedford arrived at Cal after four highly successful seasons at Oregon, where he served as offensive coordinator and helped the Ducks to a combined 38-10 record, including an 11-1 mark in 2001 when Oregon won the Pac-10 championship and earned a No. 2 national ranking. Tedford began his coaching career in 1989 as an offensive assistant with the CFL's Calgary Stampeders. In 1992, he returned to his alma mater, Fresno State, as quarterback coach. A year later, he was elevated to offensive coordinator, a position he held through 1997. A native of Downey, Calif., Tedford was a record-setting quarterback as a player at Fresno State, graduating with a degree in physical education in 1983.
Karl Dorrell (UCLA '87) is in his first season as head coach at UCLA after spending 15 years as an assistant coach on the collegiate and professional levels. The former UCLA wide receiver started his career as a graduate assistant at UCLA in 1988, then moved to Central Florida and Northern Arizona before landing in Boulder, Colo., in 1992, where he was an assistant at Colorado for six of the next seven seasons. Dorrell returned to the Pac-10 in 1999 as an assistant at Washington, then stepped up to the professional ranks as the wide receiver coach for the Denver Broncos from 2000-02. As a player, Dorrell caught 108 passes for 1,517 yards and nine touchdowns, and he was a part of five bowl teams from 1982-86.
IKON Office Solutions Play of the Week
Each week throughout the 2003 football season, IKON Office Solutions salutes the Golden Bear Play of the Week. Against Oregon State, freshman CB Daymeion Hughes returned an interception 72 yards for a touchdown for Cal's first score of the game.
The Times Player of the Game
Each week throughout the 2003 football season, the Contra Costa Times will recognize the Cal Player of the Game. In the Oregon State contest, SAF Ryan Gutierrez recorded a career-high 13 tackles (12 solo), including a game-best three for loss.
Echemandu Erupts for Career Highs of 147 (USC) & 146 Yards (Oregon St.) to Claim No. 2 Spot Among Pac-10 Rushing Leaders
Senior tailback Adimchinobe Echemandu has been perseverance personified, having overcome back-to-back missed seasons due to personal reasons to finally emerge as one of the Pac-10's premier rushers. Averaging an eye-bulging 5.4 yards per carry this year, Echemnadu has rushed for 638 yards and five touchdowns on 119 carries through seven games. His 91.1 yards-per-game average ranks second in the Pac-10 behind Oregon State's Steven Jackson, who's out of sight at 146.2 ypg. The 225-pound senior has averaged 121.0 rushing yards per game over his last three apperances, most recently reeling off career highs of 147 yards (34 carries) vs. USC and 146 yards (19) vs. Oregon State, arguably two of the nation's top defenses. During the season, he's enjoyed some other noteworthy milestones. His 60-yard touchdown jaunt against Southern Miss was the longest run from scrimmage by a Cal back since the year 2000 (Joe Igber, 80 yards at Arizona State). And his 147-yard outburst against USC marked the first time an opposing running back had rushed for 100 yards in a game against the Trojans in 17 contests. While projections can be faulty at best, it's interesting to note that Echemandu's current rushing rate would compute out to 1,184 yards for a 13-game season. That figure would rank second to the great Chuck Muncie (1,460) on Cal's single season list.
4 of Golden Bears' Last 5 Games Decided in Final 2 Minutes; Club Only 2 Defensive Stops Away from Possible 5-2 Record
Cal's Cardiac Kids may be only 3-4 this season, but virtually every one of their games has been great theater this year. Four of the Bears' last five games have been decided in the final two minutes of the game, with California prevailing in the last two nail-biters with victories at Illinois Sept. 20 (31-24) and vs. USC Sept. 27 (34-31, 3 OT). The Bears, who roared to a 21-7 hafltime lead over the No. 3 ranked Trojans, finally had their hand raised in victory on a 38-yard Tyler Fredrickson field goal in the third overtime. The previous week in Champaign, Ill., Cal staved off a furious Illinois rally that saw a 31-14 lead dissipate to 31-24 before Bear linebacker Wendell Hunter sacked Illini quarterback Jon Beutjer on the game's final play to seal a Cal victory. Those two last-minute wins came on the heels of two straight losses in which Cal roared back from two-touchdown deficits in the third quarter to claim short-lived leads over both Colorado State Sept. 6 and Utah Sept. 11, only to lose both games by slim margins. The Golden Bears, trailing 20-7 in the fourth quarter against visiting Colorado State, stormed back with two Reggie Robertson-to-Geoff McArthur touchdown strikes of six and 17 yards in the span of five-and-a-half minutes to give Cal a 21-20 lead with 6:34 left in the game. But the Rams, fueled by the brilliant passing and running of 2002 MWC Offensive Player of the Year Bradlee Van Pelt (317 yards passing/60 rushing), rallied in the final two minutes to set up a game-winning 32-yard field goal by placekicker Jeff Babcock. Then in Salt Lake City Sept. 11, the Bears wiped out a 21-7 Utah cushion by scoring 17 unanswered points in the third period. But the Utes regrouped to ring up 10 straight points in the fourth quarter, including a 14-yard winning TD run by Brandon Warfield with only 1:06 left on the clock. For California head coach Jeff Tedford, who now owns a 10-9 overall record since arriving in Berkeley last season, his Bears have endured four losses by seven points or less in his brief Cal career (including three by two-point margins-a 30-28 tear-jerker at USC last year and a pair of 23-21 decisions to visiting Air Force in 2002 and Colorado State this year). In fact, Tedford's nine defeats at Cal over the past two years have been decided by an average of 8.0 points.
Despite Held to 6 Catches & 70 Yards in Last 2 Games, Cal's Geoff McArthur Ranks 3rd Nationally in Receiving Yards
Although he was held to one catch for 13 yards against Oregon State, junior wide receiver Geoff McArthur still ranks third among all NCAA Division I-A players in total receiving yards through seven games. McArthur, who snared 35 passes for 612 yards in his first five games but has been limited to six grabs for 70 yards since, leads all Bear receivers in receptions (41), yards (695) and touchdowns (six). Those numbers translate into some healthy mid-season averages of 5.86 receptions (5th Pac-10, 31st NCAA), 99.29 yards (4th Pac-10, 13th NCAA) and 17.0 yards per catch. His six TD grabs are tied for ninth nationally and tied for second in the Pac-10. After snaring a career-high 10 passes for 155 yards and one TD in Game 5 on Sept. 20 at Illinois-the most catches by a Cal receiver since Dameane Douglas snared 13 vs. Stanford in 1998-McArthur was harnessed to 57 yards on five catches Sept. 27 by the Trojans, and was shut out by Oregon State until making his only catch (13 yards) with 14:10 left in the fourth quarter Oct. 4. McArthur has caught eight passes or more three times this season, tracking down eight for a career-high 169 yards at Kansas State (including a career-best 65-yard TD grab), eight for 130 and two TDs at Utah, and his 10-for-155 effort in Illinois. His 169-yard performance at K-State was the most receiving yards by a Cal player in six years (Bobby Shaw, 11 rec. for 204 yards at Houston, 1997). Interestingly, McArthur was well on his way to a big year in 2002, averaging 6.0 catches and 60 yards per game over his first five contests, but a hamstring injury limited him to one start and six receptions in the final seven games of the season.
Only a Junior, McArthur Moving Up Cal's Career Receiving Charts
Still with one-and-a-half seasons left in his Cal career, junior wide receiver Geoff McArthur is swiftly climbing the school's all-time lists in receiving. He currently stands at No. 12 in career receiving yards (1,517) and No. 16 in career receptions (101).
Averaging 269.7 YPG Entering Oregon State Game, Cal's Passing Game Derailed by Beaver Defense that Allowed Only 52 Yards
Cal's precocious sophomore quarterback Aaron Rodgers never knew what hit him. Rarely spotting open receivers and feeling constant pressure, the Butte JC transfer endured his toughest day as a Bear in the 35-21 loss to Oregon State. With California averaging 269.7 passing yards entering the game-the fourth-best figure in the Pac-10-Rodgers and his teammates had no answers for the Beavers' stifling pass defense, which held the Bear QB to 52 yards and a paltry .265 (9-of-34) completion percentage. It was the lowest passing yardage achieved by a Cal team in 17 years, not since Brian Bedford completed only 4-of-16 passes for 32 yards in a 21-15 non-conference loss to Boston College in 1986. The Oregon State game was certainly out of character for Rodgers, who has already gained national kudos for his early-season showings for Tedford's club. Only one week prior to the Oregon State debacle, he had battled through multiple injuries (ankle, finger and ribs) to complete 17-of-21 attempts for 203 yards and two touchdowns in the first half against USC's vaunted defense, setting the stage for Cal's upset win. It marked the second straight game that Rodgers had pierced the 200-yard barrier in the first half, as he hit on 17-of-28 passes for 236 yards Sept. 20 in a crucial win at Illinois. Rodgers exited the USC game with 7:16 left in the third period due to his injuries, having connected on 18-of-25 passes for 217 yards and two TDs. Reggie Robertson, who started the first four games of 2003 and currently ranks first in the Pac-10 in passing efficiency (154.69), provides the Bears with one of the nation's best backup QBs. He subbed for the wobbly Rodgers in the USC tilt and proceeded to thread nine of 12 attempts for 109 yards and one TD in the final 22 minutes of regulation and the three overtimes. Despite losing Kyle Boller to the pros (first round, Baltimore Ravens), the Cal passing game under Tedford had thrived up until the Oregon State game. The Bears lost more than 30 passing yards off their season average due to that 52-yard contest, now ranking seventh in the Pac-10 at 238.57 aerial yards per contest. Rodgers, a third team JC All-American last year, saw his completion percentage plummet from 61.5 percent to 52.9 (73-138) after the Oregon State nightmare, currently sporting 892 yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions to date. Robertson, meanwhile, has connected on 62.9 percent (61-of-97) of his attempts for 778 yards, nine TDs and three interceptions. After opening his Cal career with 98 passes without an interception, Rodgers has now thrown three picks in his last 40 attempts.
With QB Boller & RB Igber Gone, Cal Offense Still Produces
A year ago, the school's No. 2 all-time passer Kyle Boller and No. 2 career rusher Joe Igber spearheaded Cal's first winning season (7-5) in nine years. While Boller-selected 19th overall (Baltimore Ravens) in the 2003 NFL Draft's first round-and Igber have departed to the pros this fall, Cal has actually experienced a slight increase in total offensive yardage this year. However, this year's club is averaging 8.0 less points per game than 2002 (a figure that encompasses scoring from all three facets of the game-offense, defense and special teams).
McCleskey, Page Among Nation's Top Sophomore DBs
Two of the nation's top sophomores will be showcased in the defensive secondary this weekend at the Rose Bowl in Cal's Donnie McCleskey and UCLA's Jarrad Page. McCleskey, the Golden Bears' second-year starter at rover, has posted 61 tackles, 5.5 sacks and 10.0 tackles for losses of 45 yards-all team-leading figures-while emerging as one of the Pac-10 finest players. A former Los Angeles Times San Gabriel Valley Player of the Year who rushed for 2,236 yards and 29 TDs as a senior at Bishop Amat High School last fall, McCleskey has already set the school record for most sacks by a defensive back in a season (eclipsing the three sacks set by CB Nnamdi Asomugha (the Raiders' first-round pick this year) in 2000. McCleskey currently leads all defensive backs in NCAA Division I-A with his 5.5 sacks, and ranks 20th overall nationally in sacks (no other DB is even listed in the Top 50). Overall in the Pac-10, McCleskey's 8.7 tackles-per-game ranks fourth, and his 0.79 sacks per game and 1.43 tackles per loss per contest both rank fourth (no other DB appears in the Top 10). UCLA's Page, who became the first Bruin safety since All-American Kenny Easley (1977) to start as many as 10 games as a true freshman last year, is again shining brightly in 2003. The 6-1, 210-pound sophomore has bagged 24 tackles in UCLA's first six games. Page, who was named a first team Freshman All-America by The Sporting News last season, hails from the Bay Area, where he rushed for 1,014 yards and 16 TDs and snatched five interceptions at San Leandro High School as a senior.
Yo Vinny! Cal's 150-Pound Strang Leads Pac-10 in Punt Returns
While he only weighs 150 pounds--up from a playing weight of 137 pounds last season--senior Vince Strang plays much bigger. The senior wide receiver/punt returner has already scored three touchdowns this season in part-time work. First filling in for the injured Mixon Sept. 20 at Illinois, Strang returned five punts for 107 yards, including an electrifying, change-of-field 69-yard TD scamper with only 23 seconds left before halftime that gave Cal what seemed to be a commanding 21-7 lead. Thus far this year, Strang has also caught 13 passes for 162 yards and two TDs in reserve. And his early 15.1 yards per punt return (10 for 151 yards) ranks first in the Pac-10 and 12th in the NCAA.
Toler & Strang Pick Up Slack for Injured WR Makonnen
Junior Burl Toler III and Strang, both of whom entered Cal as walk-on wide receivers, have performed surprisingly well in picking up the slack left by the oft-injured Makonnen, who played in only three games before undergoing season-ending surgery. Toler (21-282, 1 TDs) and Strang (13-162, 2 TDs) have shouldered the load, combining for 34 receptions, 444 yards and three scores in ranking second and fourth, respectively, in catches on the team. Toler, who hunted down four passes for 81 yards (all in the first half) vs. USC, is the son of ex-Cal linebacker great Burl Toler Jr. (another Cal walk-on, now a Bay Area architect) and grandson of former USF football legend and long-time NFL game official Burl Toler Sr.
Starters Jonathan Makonnen (Foot), Tim Mixon (Knee) Sidelined With Season-Ending Injuries That Required Surgery
Cal's fortunes took a downward turn in recent weeks when wide receiver Jonathan Makonnen (stress fracture of left foot) and cornerback Tim Mixon (torn ACL in left knee) suffered season-ending injuries. Both have undergone successful surgeries, but their presence is missed. Makonnen, the Bears' leading receiver as a junior in 2002 with 54 catches for 682 yards and seven TDs, was limited to 14 receptions, 209 yards and one TD in three games played this fall. Mixon, who was beginning to resemble last year's Cal freshman of the year, Donnie McCleskey, before the injury was sustained at Utah (Sept. 11), had bagged 14 tackles and one sack, and had broken up a team-high five passes in his first three games this year as a redshirt freshman.
All-Pacific-10 Conference Candidate Mark Wilson Anchors California's Veteran Offensive Line at Left Tackle
With 42 starts to his credit entering the UCLA game, senior offensive tackle Mark Wilson ranks first among all Pac-10 offensive linemen and third nationally for most career starts. Wilson, voted All-Pac-10 honorable mention last year, is the quiet leader of a veteran offensive line that is one of the strengths of the 2003 California Bears. Thus far, Wilson and his fellow starting interior linemen-tackle Chris Murphy, center Nolan Bluntzer, and guards Jonathan Giesel, Ryan O'Callaghan and Aaron Merz-have opened up holes for 925 rushing yards and have protected quarterbacks Rodgers and Robertson for 1,670 passing yards. While admittingly facing some of the nation's best defensive clubs thus far, the Cal O-Line has yielded 15 sacks in the first seven games. However, they have allowed only five sacks over their last four games vs. Utah (one), Illinois (two), USC (two) and Oregon State (none).
A Win for the Ages: Cal Shocks USC in College Football's Biggest Upset This Year, Bears' 1st Win over No. 3 Team Since 1951
When Cal scored a 34-31 triple overtime win over nationally No. 3 ranked USC in its Pac-10 opener Sept. 27-severing the nation's second-longest current winning streak (11 games)-it was truly a victory for the ages. Not since 1975-when Joe Roth and Chuck Muncie led the eventual Co-Pacific-8 champion Bears to a 28-14 triumph over then No. 4 ranked Southern Cal-had Cal posted a win over a Top 5 opponent. And it had been 52 years since California had beaten a No. 3 ranked foe (Stanford in the 1951 Big Game, 20-7). In its history, Cal has only beaten a Top 10 team seven times and a Top 5 school on only three occasions.
Tyler Fredrickson, 1st Starting Punter-Kicker at California Since Ryan Longwell in 1996, Plays Key Role in Cal's Last 2 Wins
When senior Tyler Fredrickson replaced JC transfer Lucas Everett at punter in the second quarter of the Southern Miss game Aug. 30, it marked the first time in seven years that a Cal player as done double duty as the No. 1 punter and placekicker. From 1994-96, Ryan Longwell handled both chores and still ranks in the school's Top 10 in both punting (5th, 41.9 avg.) and kick scoring (9th, 177 points). Longwell, now the long-time NFL kicker with Green Bay, was brilliant as a Cal senior in '96 with a 45.2-yard punting average and 70 points, including 11-of-16 in field goal attempts. Fredrickson, a film major who has already held summer jobs at George Lucas' Skywalker Ranch and Dreamworks Studio, averaged 39.5 yards per punt last year, including seven punts of 50 yards or better and 19 boots that landed inside the opponent's 20-yard line. Thus far in 2003, Fredrickson has gained momentum in both roles after slow starts. He averages 37.1 yards per punt (last in the Pac-10) while connecting on 23-of-23 PATs and six-of-12 field goal attempts. He played key roles in Cal's last two wins. He converted his only field goal try at Illinois -a 32-yarder that lifted Cal into a 31-14 fourth-quarter lead-and despite averaging only 36.4 yards punting, booted four of his seven punts inside the Illini's 10-yard line (including balls downed at the six, seven and twice at the eight). Against USC, he endured a topsy-turvy field goal day. First, he connected on a career-best 51-yard field goal that gave Cal a 24-21 edge in the fourth quarter. That was followed by another 51-yard attempt, which was blocked with 4:54 left in regulation. Then, in heart-breaking fashion, Fredrickson had a second FG blocked-a 29-yarder in the second overtime, which would have won the game. But the Cal kicker presevered, finally drilling a game-winning 38-yard FG in the third OT. A footnote to Fredrickson's season: three of his six field goal misses this year have been by the narrowest of margins, with two hitting the goal post upright (a 48-yarder vs. So. Miss and 32-yarder at Utah), and another narrowly missing from 54 yards at Utah. And, two of his other three misses were blocked. Fredrickson's 51-yard FG against USC was only four yards short of the school record of 55 yards, set by Robbie Keen against Washington in 1988.
Incoming JC Talent Beginning to Make Impact on '03 Bears
As the need has dictated, Cal's incoming junior college transfers have made a strong impact on the 2003 Golden Bears. No less than eight new JC players have claimed starting jobs or significant playing time. On defense, linebacker Francis Blay-Miezah-who clutched his first sack of the year vs. Oregon State-has started every game and safety Matt Giordano has started all but the last three contests. Also, hard-charging end Ryan Riddle has made two starts and leads all linemen with three sacks this season. In fact, it was Riddle on special teams, who sprung loose Strang for his 68-yard punt return TD with as vicious block against Illinois Sept. 20. Another linebacker, Joe Maningo, returned to action against Oregon State after missing the previous four games with a knee injury. Maningo, who transferred from nearby Foothill College, has impressed with his hyperactive play, contributing seven tackles and one tackle for loss in his three game appearances. And a fifth JC defender, Ray Tago, continues to get more and more playing time since joining the team late, seeing action in the Bears' last five contests. Giordano (37) and Blay-Miezah (27) currently rank third and sixth, respectively, on Cal's tackle list. On offense, three JC transfers are already key contributors-QB Aaron Rodgers and TE Garrett Cross (who equalled the most receptions by a Cal tight end in eight years with seven for 41 yards and one TD vs. USC) and TB J.J. Arrington (193 yards, 3 TDs, 43 carries).
With Only 2 Starters Back from 2002, Inexperience of Cal Defense Spells Up-and-Down Year for Pac-10's 9th Ranked Unit
Still a work in progress, California's defense continues to show signs of both growth and inexperience. Featuring nine new starters from last year's unit, the Golden Bears have weathered a choppy season that has seen it allow 423.0 yards (9th, Pac-10) and 26.9 points (8th Pac-10) per outing. In their last outing, Oregon State's Steven Jackson proved unstopable in ringing up 227 yards on 35 carries in the Beavers' 35-21 victory. However, the Bears' "D" has performed relatively well in four games this year-they spun a defensive shutout (34-2) against Southern Miss in its Aug. 30 home opener, held Colorado State and Illinois-both potentially explosive clubs-to 23 and 24 points, respectively, and then limited USC to 24 points in regulation, some 15 points below their league-leading 39.7 ppg average entering the game.
Victimized by 17 Plays of 30 Yards or More in 1st 7 Games, California's Inexperience Shows on Defense
While California's defense continues to make strides, they have been short-circuited by numerous big plays this year. Through their first seven games, the Bears have allowed opponents to uncork 17 plays of 30 yards or longer. However, seven of those 14 plays came in Cal's very first game against Kansas State, while three occurred in the Bears' most recent contest vs. Oregon State. Six of the opponents' big plays this season have measured 50 yards or more. On the other side, Cal sprung loose two plays of 50 yards against Oregon State, with freshman CB Daymeion Hughes returning an interception 72 yards for a touchdown and senior CB James Bethea returning a kickoff 53 yards against the Beavers.
UCLA's Karl Dorrell Among 5 New Head Coaches Cal Faces in '03
Cal will face five opponents with new head coaches on their 2003 schedule. UCLA's Karl Dorrell represents the third first-year coach that they have faced this year, as the Bears lost to a Utah team that featured newly-hired coach Urban Meyer, 31-24, in Salt Lake City Sept. 11, and dropped a 35-21 verdict to a Mike Riley-led Oregon State in Berkeley, Oct. 4. Following the Bruins tilt, the Golden Bears will square off against new head coaches two more times this regular season-next week against Arizona (Mike Hankwitz) and Nov. 15 against Washington (Keith Gilbertson).
Cal Features 56 Players, 3 Coaches from SoCal
As has been the norm for many years, the Cal football program is bloated with Southern California refugees. No less than 56 Golden Bear football student-athletes have called or do call the Southland their home. The most accomplished include WR Geoff McArthur, who was named the Los Angeles Times' Westside High School Player of the Year at Pacific Palisades High after catching 91 passes for 1,779 yards (a state mark) and 28 TDs in 1999; RB Adimchinobe Echemandu (formerly Joe Echema), a prep All-American at Hawthorne High; RB Marcus O'Keith, another prep All-American who led Narbonne High to the CIF 3-A division title; DB Donnie McCleskey, the Los Angeles Times San Gabriel Valley Region Player of the Year who, as a running back, rushed for 2,236 yards and 29 TDs as a senior at Bishop Amat High; DE Monte Parson, former two-time first team All-City performer for Carson High; LB Wendell Hunter, the Los Angeles Times City Player of the Year for Carson High; and DB Tim Mixon, a member of the Long Beach Press-Telegram's 2001 Dream Team at Dominguez High. On the sidelines, Cal coaches who hail from SoCal include head coach Jeff Tedford, who played QB at Warren High in Downey and later at Cerritos College; WR coach Eric Kiesau, born in Pasadena and later coached at Moorpark High and Glendale CC; and defensive line coach Ken Delgado, the former defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at San Diego State.
UCLA Lists 21 Players Who Hail from Northern California
On the other sideline, UCLA features 21 players with Northern California backgrounds. Nine of those 21 are listed as current starters on the Bruins' depth chart: defensive ends Dave and Mat Ball (Dixon/Dixon HS), defensive tackle Ryan Boschetti (San Mateo/College of San Mateo), linebacker Spencer Havner (Nevada City/Nevada Union HS), strong safety Jarrad Page (San Leandro/San Leandro HS), placekicker Justin Medlock (Fremont/Mission San Jose HS), quarterback Drew Olson (Piedmont/Piedmont HS), wide receiver Craig Bragg (San Jose/Bellarmine Prep HS) and offensive tackle Ed Blanton (Napa/Napa HS).
The G-Men: Gladstone & Guerrero Among Pac-10's Newest Athletic Directors
Cal and UCLA may field two of the oldest sports programs on the West Coast, but they are led by two of the Pac-10 newest athletic directors. Steve Gladstone, the long-time men's crew coach at Cal, was named the Golden Bears' AD in April 2001 and oversees a program with 27 intercollegiate sports (second most in the conference behind Stanford). Daniel Guerrero, who directed athletic programs at UC Irvine and Cal State Dominguez Hills during the past 14 years, was appointed UCLA's AD in July of 2002. Gladstone, who continues to coach, is arguably the greatest college crew coach in modern rowing history. With 10 national titles to his credit-including five at Cal-he ranks second in all-time varsity championships behind Charles "Pop" Courtney, who won 11 titles at Cornell from 1901-15. Guerrero, who was inducted into the UCLA Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996 following a three-year career as a student-athlete in Westwood, directs a highly successful 24-sport program at UCLA.
Cal Seeks to Continue Recent Trend vs. SoCal Schools
While UCLA (46-25-1) and USC (56-30-5) own sizeable edges over Cal in the two schools' all-time series records, the Bears have fared well in recent years against their cross-state rivals. California, which traditionally features many players from the Southland, has won its last two games against the SoCal schools, having upset the nationally No. 3 ranked Trojans three weeks ago in Berkeley (34-31, 3 OT) and trimming the Bruins last season at Memorial Stadium by a 17-12 count. Cal has won seven of it last 11 meetings with its intrastate rivals, including three of the last four and eight of the past 13 outings vs. UCLA. By virtue of a 38-31 win in Berkeley, the Bears snapped an 18-game Bruin winning streak in 1990. In their last meeting played at the Rose Bowl in 2001, the nationally No. 4-ranked and unbeaten (5-0 entering the game) Bruins steamrolled the Golden Bears, 56-17, fueling visions of a possible national championship season for UCLA. However, soon thereafter, star UCLA running back DeShaun Foster was suspended for the season, and the Bruins proceeded to lose to Stanford, Washington State, Oregon and USC in four straight weeks to fall out of the national rankings.
Cal, UCLA Boast Quarterbacks with Super Bowl Imprints
The University of California is one of only three schools that have had three quarterbacks start in a Super Bowl game. The Bears' threesome were Joe Kapp (Vikings), Craig Morton (Broncos) and Vince Ferragamo (Rams), while Bart Starr (Packers), Joe Namath (Jets) and Ken Stabler (Raiders) represented Alabama as Super Bowl starters, and Daryle Lamonica, (Raiders), Joe Theisman (Redskins) and Joe Montana (49ers) did the same for Notre Dame. While UCLA has sent only two QB into Super Bowls as starters-Troy Aikman (Cowboys) and Billy Kilmer (Redskins)-the Bruins hold the record for most quarterbacks who have played in a Super Bowl game with five. The other three ex-UCLA QBs Jay Schroeder (Redskins), Tom Ramsey (Patriots) and Steve Bono (49ers).
Tedford Continues QB Tradition at Cal
Since the days of All-American John Meek, who led Cal to an unbeaten season and Rose Bowl title in 1937, the Golden Bears have been a cradle for college quarterbacks. Twelve years later in 1949, Bob Celeri also earned All-American honors after guiding the Bears to a 10-1 mark and Rose Bowl appearance. In the past four decades, Cal has produced an extraordinary list of polished passers. They include such legends as Joe Kapp (1956-58), Craig Morton (1962-64), Steve Bartkowksi (1972-74), Pat Barnes (1993-96), Joe Roth (1975-76), Rich Campbell (1977-80), Gale Gilbert (1980-84), Troy Taylor (1986-89), Mike Pawlawski (1988-91) and Pat Barnes (1993-96). Perhaps, the best is yet to come in Berkeley, thanks to the arrival of head coach Jeff Tedford last year. Tedford, himself a former All-American honorable mention QB at Fresno State, has recruited and/or developed five quarterbacks who have become high first-round draft choices in the NFL. As offensive coordinator at Fresno State, he worked his magic with Trent Dilfer (No. 6 pick by Tampa Bay, 1994) and David Carr (No. 1 by Houston, 2002). As offensive coordinator at Oregon, he transformed Akili Smith (No. 3 by Cincinnati, 1999) and Joey Harrington (No. 3 by Detroit, 2002) into college superstars. And last year at Cal, he inherited senior Kyle Boller, who after three previous seasons of frustration, blossomed into perhaps the nation's most improved quarterback. Boller, who later would become a first-round draft choice of the NFL's Baltimore Ravens, finished his Cal career ranked first in TD passes (64) and second all-time in passing yards (7,980) in school history.
Rebuilding or Reloading? Cal's Recruiting Class Must Help '03 Club That Returns Only 9 Starters
It's not Jeff Tedford's style to lay awake at night worrying about his team's potential, but any way you slice it, the Bears suffered heavy losses from last season's 7-5 club. Tedford and his club were forced to say farewell to the school's No. 2 career passer (Kyle Boller), No. 2 all-time rusher (Joe Igber), No. 3 career sack leader (Tully Banta-Cain) and No. 5 career kickoff returner (LaShaun Ward), plus a cornerback in Nnamdi Asomugha who joined Boller as NFL first-round picks last spring. Yet, perhaps more importantly, Cal lost 23 seniors from last year's team, and returns only nine starters-a figure that ranks dead last (tied with Florida and South Carolina) among 117 NCAA Division 1-A schools. While those facts and figures may sound gloomy for the '03 Bears, there may be reason to believe another winning season may be in the cards. Why? Because Tedford and his Cal coaching staff enjoyed one of the finest recruiting years in school history. The Bears signed 28 players in February, including 11 who received All-American accolades. Virtually every recruiting publication and web site ranked Cal's incoming class among the nation's Top 20. In Rival.com's ranking of the state's Top 100 prep players, the Bears landed 14 from the list (only USC had more among NCAA schools). Cal also boasted six of the country's Top 125 junior college players, according to PrepStar magazine.
2nd Quarters Tell the Tale of Cal's 3 Victories This Season
Colossal second quarters have spelled the difference in all three Cal victories this year. In the 34-2 triumph over Southern Mississippi, the Bears outscored the Golden Eagles by a whopping 20-0 count in the second period. In the stirring Sept. 20 win in Champaign, California out-pointed the Ilini, 14-0, in the second stanza. And against USC in the Pac-10 opener, the Bears hung another 14-0 score on their opponent in the second quarter. Yet, while the Bears hold a 48-0 edge in second quarters in their victories, they have been outscored 38-21 in the second periods of their four losses.
Bears Play One of Nation's Toughest Schedules in 2003
The California Golden Bears have traditionally played one of the nation's most challenging schedules, and 2003 is no exception. Of their 13 opponents, nine were bowl teams in 2002 USC (Orange), Washington (Sun), UCLA (Las Vegas), Arizona State (Holiday Bowl), Oregon State (Insight), Oregon (Seattle), Kansas State (Holiday), Southern Mississippi (Houston) and Colorado State (Liberty). What's more, three other 2003 foes were bowl bound two years ago-Illinois (Sugar), Stanford (Seattle) and Utah (Las Vegas). Another challenging aspect of Cal's 2003 schedule is travel mileage. The Bears have already logged 7,836 miles in their first three road trips to Kansas City, Salt Lake City and Champaign, Ill. The good news is, Tedford's club only will travel 2,834 more miles in their final four away games this season (for a total of 10,770 miles for the year). One added travel note: Cal joins Temple as one of only two teams in NCAA Division 1-A football to play seven road games during the regular season in 2003.
Cal Leads Pac-10 in Fewest Penalty Yards Per Game
Tedford preaches mistake-free football and at least in the penalty department, his Bears have taken heed. California has been whistled for only 37 penalties for 307 yards over its first seven game, which averages to a Pac-10 low 43.9 yards per contest. Interestingly, 146 of those 307 penalty yards came in two games--nine infractions for 86 yards in the Kansas State opener and six flags for 60 yards in Cal's last game vs. Oregon State.
Bears' Defense Truly Golden in 17-12 Win over UCLA Last Year
Mounting a defensive effort so inspiring that its coaching staff considered nominating the entire unit for Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week honors, Cal's defense staged perhaps its finest performance of the 2002 season against the Bruins in Strawberry Canyon. UCLA's high-powered offense, which entered the game with averages of 33.5 points and 437.3 yards per contest, was limited to a season-low 12 points-including a giveaway safety to end the game-and 226 total yards of offense. Up 17-10 in the fourth quarter, Cal's defense stopped the Bruins twice inside the Bears' 20-yard line in the closing minutes. Bear defenders ripped off a season-high seven sacks, led by four seniors who have since departed. They included linebacker Matt Nixon (4 tackles, 1.5 sacks) and defensive linemen Tom Canada (two sacks, two forced fumbles), Tully Banta-Cain (1 sack, 2 tackles for losses of 21 yards, 1 forced fumble), and Jamaal Cherry (1 fumble recovery, 1 blocked FG). Top returnee from that game is junior tackle Lorenzo Alexander, who had four tackles, including two tackles for loss, and a fumble recovery in last year's win over the Bruins.
With its 35-21 loss to Oregon State coming after its 34-31, triple-overtime win against USC, Cal has now posted a 1-6-1 mark in games that followed a win over a Top 10 team in its history (two other wins came in the final game of a season). The only victory was a 31-21 decision over Rice in 1969 when Cal needed two touchdowns in the final minute to prevailĽWhile the Bears' kickoff coverage ranks eighth in the Pac-10, allowing 20.6 yards per return, and the team's net punting ranks ninth in the conference at 34.9, there have been a couple of bright spots on special teams. James Bethea is the Pac-10's third-leading kickoff returner at 22.2, while Cal as a team (14.8), and Strang individually (15.11), lead the conference in punt return averageĽCal head man Jeff Tedford has been associated with teams that have carved out a 31-12 record since the start of the 2000 season, as Oregon reeled off 11-1 and 10-2 marks in 2000 and '01 with Tedford serving as offensive coordinator, while Cal posted a 7-5 record in '02 and are 3-4 this yearĽThe Bears' opponent has scored first in seven of the last eight games, dating back to the 2002 season finale vs. Stanford. Cal is 4-4 in those eight tiltsĽCal's 21-point output against Oregon State Oct. 4 marked only the sixth time in 19 games under Tedford that the Bears have scored fewer than 28 points; prior to Tedford taking over the program last year, the Bears had reached the 28-point plateau only 10 times in their previous 48 contestsĽCal enters the UCLA game with an all-time record of 6-11-1 at the Rose Bowl venue. The Bears have posted a 4-6 mark against the Bruins since UCLA moved its home games to the Pasadena facility in 1982, and own a 2-5-1 record in Rose Bowl games played at the venerable stadiumĽWith Adimchinobe Echemandu (twice, Aug. 30 vs. Southern Miss and Sept. 27 vs. USC) and linebacker Wendell Hunter (Sept. 20 at Illinois) accounting for three Pac-10 Player of the Week awards in the early season, Cal ranks second only to Washington State's five selections in the conference this season. Last year, the Bears garnered six Pac-10 Player of the Week awards to rank second behind USCĽUCLA and Cal have played only one common opponent this year, with both schools shading Illinois in last-minute wins. The Bruins edged the Illini, 6-3, in a defensive slugfest at the Rose Bowl Sept. 13, while the Bears prevailed in Champaign, Ill., 31-24, on Sept. 20ĽUCLA's 10 bowl victories in the last 21 years rank No. 1 in the Pac-10. The Bruins were the first school in history to win a bowl game in seven straight years (1982-88)ĽCal's 17-0 whitewash of UCLA at the Rose Bowl in 1999 marked the first time the Bears had blanked the Bruins in 49 years. It also is the last time Cal has rolled a shutout, period. Earlier this year, Cal did register a defensive shutout in its 34-2 win over visiting Southern Mississippi Aug. 30, as the Golden Eagles' only score came on a safetyĽCal wide receiver Chase Lyman will miss his second straight Bear-Bruin clash due to injuries (ankle sprain this year, hamstring in 2002), certainly a disappointment for him and his family. Lyman was raised in a UCLA household, as his father, Brad Lyman, ran track and played fullback in Westwood (1969-70, '72) before enjoying a professional career with the Houston Oilers from 1968-74ĽTwo other Cal players, offensive linemen and brothers, Chris and Jonathan Murphy, have a sister, Elinor, who played water polo at UCLAĽUCLA's top QBs certainly have interesting connections. Sophomore starter Drew Olson is a graduate of Piedmont High School, near the Cal campus, where he passed for 1,700 yards and 16 TDs as a senior in 2001. And sophomore backup John Sciarra is the son of John Sciarra Sr., who quarterbacked the Bruins to a win over No. 1-ranked Ohio State in the 1976 Rose BowlĽOther Bruins with interesting bloodlines: free safety Kevin Brant (Bethesda, Md.), who played in 12 of 13 games last year (missing only the Cal game), is the son of long-time ABC football announcer Tim Brant; wide receiver Matt Slater (Orange, Calif.) is the son of former Los Angeles Ram and pro football Hall of Fame offensive lineman Jackie Slater; cornerback Trey Brown (Overland Park, Kan.) is the son of former UCLA and NFL (Chiefs, Seahawks, Cardinals) running back great Theotis Brown; and defensive end Bruce Davis (Houston, Tex.) is the son of former pro football offensive tackle Bruce Davis, who played on two Raider Super Bowl teamsĽUCLA's offensive tackle Alex Potasi was a high school teammate of Cal tailback Marcus O'Keith at Carson's Narbonne HighĽIn their athletic histories, UCLA has won a nation-leading 90 NCAA team championships entering the 2003-04 school year, while Cal has captured 62 national team titlesĽAmong UCLA's most prestigious alumni are former L.A. mayor Tom Bradley, ex-Disney executive Michael Ovitz, tennis star and humanitarian Arthur Ashe, WNBA President Val Ackerman, TV-movie producer Rob Reiner, movie producer Francis Ford Coppola, singer/songwriter Randy Newman, actors Lloyd Bridges and Mark Harmon, and actress/comedienne Carol Burnett.