Oct. 21, 2001
Cal continues its search for its initial win of the season when the Bears visit Oregon State Saturday afternoon in Corvallis.
For the first time this year, though, the Bears will meet a team with a loss, after facing six consecutive undefeated opponents. In fact, all six of the schools Cal has played so far are ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 this week: No. 5 UCLA, No. 10 BYU, No. 11 Washington, No. 13 Oregon, No. 15 Washington State and No. 23 Illinois.
Against what the Sagarin ratings list as the nation's hardest schedule, the Bears have demonstrated an ability to play with teams early in games. But maintaining that level of play until the final snap has proved difficult each week. Last time out at UCLA confirmed the point yet again. The Bears jumped out to leads of 3-0 and 10-7 at the Rose Bowl and limited the NCAA's leading rusher, DeShaun Foster, to only 38 yards on 12 carries in the first half. But UCLA came out of the break with a 21-point third quarter to essentially put the game out of reach.
Against Oregon State, Cal hopes to have QB Kyle Boller back in the lineup. He missed the entire UCLA game with a back injury and is listed as day-to-day. In his place, senior Eric Holtfreter completed 11-of-29 attempts for 102 yards, including a 14-yard touchdown pass to Charon Arnold. At tailback, Joe Igber produced his best game of the season since the opener, rushing for 91 yards on 17 carries.
On the defensive side of the ball, Cal's front four recorded a season-best four sacks. Junior DT Daniel Nwangwu had three of them, while true freshman DT Lorenzo Alexander recorded the other. After not registering a sack in either of the Bears' first two games, Cal has 11 sacks in the last four contests.
Cal-Oregon State: The Series
Cal holds a 31-22 series lead over Oregon State, but the Beavers have won the last two games. Last year in Berkeley, the Bears nearly upset the 14th-ranked Beavers, falling, 38-32. Cal QB Kyle Boller threw for a career-high 349 yards and three touchdowns in the defeat. Oregon State also won in 1999 in Corvallis, 17-7. Cal's last win came in 1998 when the Bears forced six turnovers and pulled out a 20-19 squeaker on the road.
A Quick Look at Oregon State
Oregon State entered the season as the nation's No. 1 team according to Sports Illustrated, but the Beavers struggled out of the gate, falling at Fresno State, 44-24, in their opener. Now, OSU is coming off a 41-24 setback at Arizona State. The Beavers built a 24-21 lead entering the fourth quarter. However, ASU scored 21 unanswered points to pull out the win. Overall, Oregon State has played only two of its first six games at home. RB Ken Simonton, who paced the Pac-10 in rushing last season with 134.0 ypg, has seen his average dip to 72.3 ypg this season. Still, he is OSU's all-time leading rusher with 4,507 yards. QB Jonathan Smith throws for 190.0 ypg, with James Newson being his favorite target (31 catches 398 yards, 2 TDs).