Nov. 9, 2003
Game No. 12 -- Washington Huskies (5-5, 3-3 in Pac-10) at California Golden Bears (5-6, 3-3 in Pac-10)
Saturday, Nov. 15, 2003, Memorial Stadium (67,537, Momentum Turf), Berkeley, CA
Kickoff: 12:30 p.m.
Radio: KGO Radio (810 AM) with Joe Starkey, Lee Grosscup, Mike Pawlawski
A Quick Look at California
California plays its final home game of the 2003 season when the Golden Bears host Washington Saturday at 12:30 p.m. The contest marks the final Memorial Stadium appearance for 13 Cal seniors.
The Bears, who stand at 5-6 on the year, need to win their final two contests in order to finish with their first winning record since they were 9-4 in 1993. Cal is coming off a heartbreaking 21-17 loss at Oregon, the Bears' fourth defeat this season decided in the final two minutes or in overtime.
Cal built a 17-7 edge over Oregon, only two watch the home-standing Ducks score two touchdowns in the last 4:19. Still, the Bears limited Oregon to just 318 yards of offense.
Over the past four games, Cal has allowed just 324.75 ypg of total offense, compared to the 423.0 ypg given up over the first seven games of the year. Five times in the last seven contests, opponents have been held to less than 100 yards rushing, including a 99-yard effort against the Pac-10's top rushing team - USC.
Offensively, Cal continues to average more yards per game (388.1) than the Bears' high-powered attack did last season (355.7). Senior TB Adimchinobe Echemandu, who has five 100-yard games this year, has 1,074 yards to move into fifth place on the school's single-season rushing list, and he'll take over the No. 2 spot with another 104 yards.
Junior WR Geoff McArthur, also a member of the 1,000-yard club with 1,079 yards receiving, needs just 72 more yards to break Dameane Douglas' Cal record of 1,150 receiving yards. McArthur's 63 catches also place him fourth on the Bears' reception chart.
At quarterback, sophomore Aaron Rodgers has completed 58.2 percent of his passes, with 11 touchdowns and only four interceptions. The Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Week when he completed 17-of-22 for 307 yards and three scores at Arizona State, Rodgers recently had a streak of 105 attempts without an interception end on Cal's final play at Oregon.
Washington leads the all-time series, which dates back to 1904, 45-33-4. UW had won 19 straight over the Bears before Cal's 34-27 victory in Seattle last fall. In that game, Cal QB Kyle Boller threw five touchdown passes against the 12th-ranked Huskies, as the Bears built a 34-18 advantage early in the fourth quarter. The Bears, though, have not defeated Washington at Memorial Stadium since claiming a 27-24 decision in 1975.
A Quick Look at Washington
Washington, which enters Saturday's game at 5-5 overall and 3-3 in the Pac-10, is coming off a 27-22 loss at Arizona. The Huskies held a 16-13 lead early in the fourth quarter, but surrendered two long touchdown runs midway through the period. UW has been involved in six games decided by 20 or more points, going 4-2 in those contests, including a 42-10 home win over Oregon and a 38-17 victory at Oregon State. Behind senior QB Cody Pickett, the Huskies rank third in the Pac-10 in both passing offense (279.4 ypg) and total offense (411.6 ypg). Pickett has thrown for 2,635 yards and 13 touchdowns. Junior WR Reggie Williams, one of 10 semifinalists for the Biletnikoff Award, leads the conference and rates second nationally in receptions per game (7.80), totalling 78 catches for 1,027 yards and eight scores. He has had at least 10 receptions four times, including a 13-catch, 121-yard performance at Arizona. On special teams, junior Charles Frederick tops the Pac-10 in punt returns with an average of 12.23 yards per return.
With No Margin for Error, Bears Eyeing 1st Back-to-Back Winning Seasons in 12 Years, 1st Bowl Berth Since Mariucci's 1996 Team
The arrival of Jeff Tedford continues to transform the Cal football program. In his first season at the helm in 2002, Tedford inherited a Golden Bear club that had gone 1-10 the previous season and promptly staged one of the biggest one-year turnarounds in school history in leading Cal to its first winning season (7-5) in nine years. Named the Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 2002, Tedford has now continued his coaching wizardry in his second campaign at Cal. Picked to finish eighth in the conference by Pac-10 media in the pre-season survey, the Bears once again have risen above outside expectations to post a 5-6 overall record and 3-3 mark in the Pac-10. Among their 2003 victims are nationally No. 2 ranked USC and Arizona State, schools that were selected in that same media poll to finish first and second, respectively, in this year's conference race. Winners of four of their last seven games, the Bears are eyeing the school's first back-to-back winning seasons in 12 years--not since Bruce Snyder's teams finished 7-4 in 1990 and 10-2 in 1991--and gunning for Cal's first post-season bowl appearance since Steve Mariucci's 1996 club registered a 6-6 ledger and earned an invitation to the Aloha Bowl. Although the Bears will have to run the table in their last two games, what makes this year's record all the more impressive is the fact that Tedford and his coaching staff lost 23 seniors and 15 starters off the 2002 club.
Echemandu Averages 121.5 Rushing Yards in Past 6 Games as Pacific-10's 2nd Leading Ground Gainer with 1,074 Yards
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 5.1 yards per carry this year, Echemandu is the eighth player in Cal history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season. The Nigeria native has chalked up 1,074 yards and 11 touchdowns on 209 carries through 11 games this season, already ranking No. 5 on Cal's all-time single season rushing list. If he hits his season average this Saturday against Washington, he will vault into third place on the school's season chart, passing the legendary Jackie Jensen, who rushed for 1,080 yards and averaged 7.3 yards per carry in 1948, and last year's sensation, Joe Igber, who sliced up 2002 defenses for 1,130 yards. Echemandu's 97.6 yards-per-game average ranks second in the Pac-10 behind Oregon State's Steven Jackson, who is out of sight at 124.2 ypg. Buoyed by a career-high 201 yards (30 carries) and three touchdowns on the ground against Arizona Oct. 25 and a 128-yard, two-TD performance at ASU Nov. 1, the 225-pound senior has averaged a jaw-dropping 121.5 rushing yards per game over his last six appearances. While projections can be faulty at best, it's interesting to note that Echemandu's current rushing rate would compute out to 1,269 yards for a 13-game season. That figure would rank second behind Chuck Muncie (1,460) on Cal's single season list.
Gilbertson Makes Return to Memorial Stadium as Head Coach
For the first time in eight years, Keith Gilbertson will roam the sidelines of California's Memorial Stadium as a head football coach this week. Gilbertson, the former Golden Bears' head coach from 1992-95, had served as Washington's offensive coordinator for the past three seasons, and was promoted to the Huskies' head coach in late July when he replaced Rick Neuheisel. This is Gilbertson's third head coaching stint, having posted a combined 28-9 record in three seasons at Idaho in 1986-88 (including Big Sky titles in '87 and '88), and registering a 20-26 mark as the Cal skipper. His last appearance as a head coach at Memorial Stadium came on Nov. 11, 1995, when his Bears dropped a 38-29 decision to Arizona State. Gilby's top season at the helm of California was 1993 when the team chiseled out a 9-4 record and shellacked Iowa, 37-3, in the Alamo Bowl. It was the Bears' last winning season before Tedford led the school to a 7-5 mark in 2002.
Gilby is 5th New Head Coach That California Has Faced in '03
Washington's Keith Gilbertson is the fifth new head coach that Cal has faced on its 2003 schedule. The Bears have posted a 1-3 mark thus far against first-year head coaches this fall. They ambushed Mike Hankwitz and Arizona, 42-21 at Berkeley Oct. 25; dropped a 23-20 overtime game to UCLA's Karl Dorrell Oct. 18 at the Rose Bowl; lost to a Utah team that featured newly-hired coach Urban Meyer, 31-24, in Salt Lake City Sept. 11; and were on the losing end of a 35-21 verdict to a Mike Riley-led Oregon State in Berkeley Oct. 4.
Three Epic Streaks Came to an End in Seattle When Bears Upset Nationally No. 12 Ranked Huskies Last Season, 34-27
Three monumental streaks came to a crashing halt last season at Husky Stadium. By virtue of its stirring 34-27 victory over nationally No. 12 ranked Washington, Cal stopped 26 years of utter futility by ending the Huskies' 19-game win streak against the Bears. It was Cal's first triumph over the Dawgs since 1976, when Joe Roth and the Bears edged UW, 7-0, in Seattle. The victory also marked the first time Cal had won in the state of Washington since that 1976 win at Husky Stadium, as the Bears had lost 10 in a row in Pullman against WSU and nine straight to the Huskies before last year's verdict. And to score a hat trick, Cal's win also stopped a 17-game home victory skein for Washington at Husky Stadium. In beating the 12th-ranked Huskies, the 2002 Bears became the first team in Cal history to post two road victories over Top 15 opponents in the same year. In fact, since national rankings started in 1936, Cal had beaten two Top 15 foes in the same regular season-home or away-only once previously. That occurred in 1951, when Pappy Waldorf's club topped No. 6 Oregon State, 35-14, in Berkeley and bested No. 3 Stanford, 20-7, in Palo Alto. Actually, California did turn the trick one other time in 1937, but the second Top 15 conquest did not occur in the regular season-coming in the postseason, a 13-0 win over No. 4 Alabama in the Rose Bowl.
Last Year's Victory over UW Also Preserved Cal's League Record for Most Consecutive Home Wins (26), Set in 1919-23
In snapping Washington's 17-game home winning streak-which had tied the Huskies' modern day record-the Golden Bears also preserved the all-time conference home win streak record of 26 consecutive games. That mark is held by none other than the University of California, which under the direction of the legendary coach Andy Smith, spliced together a remarkable run from 1919-23. During that period, Smith directed the Bears to unbeaten overall records for four straight seasons in 1920 (9-0-0), 1921 (9-0-1), 1922 (9-0-0) and 1923 (9-0-1), and two Rose Bowl appearances (a 28-0 win over Ohio State in 1921 and 0-0 tie with Washington & Jefferson in 1922).
Speaking of Streaks: Cal & Washington Own 2 of Longest in College History
Neither Cal nor Washington is a stranger to long unbeaten streaks in their respective school histories. The Golden Bears once reeled off an unbeaten string of 50 straight games, spanning the years of 1920-25. The skein, which included 46 victories and four ties, is the third longest in NCAA Division I-A history. It was finally halted on Oct. 10, 1925 when the Olympic Club blanked the Bears, 15-0, in the first-ever loss suffered at then three-year-old Memorial Stadium. Meanwhile, UW continues to own the longest unbeaten streak in NCAA Division I-A annals, having reeled off 63 consecutive games (59 wins, 4 ties) without a loss from 1907-17. The Huskies' incredible ride came to an end on Nov. 3, 1917, when ironically, a football team from Cal defeated Washington in Berkeley by a 27-0 count.
Golden Bears, Huskies Experience Similar Outcomes vs. Common Opponents
Cal and Washington have played five common opponents-UCLA, Oregon State, USC, Oregon and Arizona-thus far this season, with both schools sporting 2-3 marks. Interestingly, the two clubs have only had one similar outcome-both lost to UCLA at the Rose Bowl. Here's an opponent-by-opponent rundown of the 2003 common opponents:
California Opponent Washington W 34-31 (3OT) at Berkeley, Sept. 27 USC L 43-23 at Seattle, Oct. 25 L 35-21 at Berkeley, Oct. 4 Oregon State W 38-17 at Corvallis, Oct. 18 L 23-20 (OT) at Pasadena, Oct. 18 UCLA L 46-16 at Pasadena, Oct. 4 W 42-14 at Berkeley, Oct. 25 Arizona L 27-22 at Tucson, Nov. 8 L 21-17 at Eugene, Nov. 8 Oregon W 42-10 at Seattle, Nov. 1
Washington Series is Cal's 3rd Longest Running Pac-10 Rivalry
In the history of Cal football, the Bears-Huskies series is the school's third-longest running rivalry among Pac-10 opponents. This Saturday marks the 82nd renewal of the series, with Washington holding a 44-33-4 edge. The only Cal series that feature more meetings are the Big Game with Stanford (105 games, Cardinal leading 54-40-11) and USC (91 games, Trojans leading 56-30-5).