Sept. 2, 2001
Cal looks to regroup this week from a season-opening loss to Illinois this Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium. But the Bears will have to do so against a high-powered BYU team that holds an early lead nationally in both scoring offense (61.0 ppg) and total yards (666.0 ypg). The Cougars beat Tulane, 70-35, Aug. 25, then crushed Nevada, 52-7, last weekend.
The game also has special meaning for Cal head coach Tom Holmoe, who was a three-year starter at cornerback for BYU from 1980-82, earning all-conference honors as a senior.
Rejuvenating the Cal offense was the Bears' main point of emphasis during the offseason, especially with the hiring of new offensive coordinator Al Borges. And although the Bears scored just 17 points against Illinois, they did out-gain the Illini, 381-373. Only once in the last two years did Cal gain more total yards, 390 in a loss at Arizona State last season.
Junior TB Joe Igber ran for 116 yards and two scores on 21 carries in the opener, jumping past Anthony Wallace, Chris Richards and the immortal Jackie Jensen into eighth place on Cal's career rushing list with 1,711 yards. It was also Igber's sixth 100-yard game, a figure topped by just four others in school history.
At quarterback, where his primary goal is to complete between 55 and 60 percent of his passes this year, Kyle Boller finished the Illinois game 17-for-29 (58.6%) for 184 yards despite being under a heavy rush much of the afternoon. In his career, Boller has had a higher completion percentage only two other times.