Sept. 5, 1999
Game No. 2: California Golden Bears (1-0) at Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-0)
Saturday, Sept. 11, 1999, Memorial Stadium (75,056 - Astroturf), Lincoln, NE
Kickoff: 2:30 p.m. CT/12:30 p.m. PT
Television: Televised live regionally on ABC
Attendance: A crowd of 74,056 is expected
Bears Have More Difficult Task at Nebraska Following Opening Win
After Cal posted a sometimes impressive, sometimes spotty 21-7 opening win over Rutgers, the Bears weren't in a mood for a lot of celebration. One reason was that the team and coaching staff found a lot of room for improvement in the first-game performance. Another is the match-up on the horizon against one of the nation's best teams in one of the country's toughest venues in Lincoln, Neb., this Saturday. The Golden Bears will meet No. 5-ranked Nebraska in a game televised regionally by ABC. Nebraska has won 69 of its last 72 games in Lincoln, and this week's game will mark the 228th consecutive sellout in Memorial Stadium (dating back to Nov. 3, 1962), an NCAA record. The Bears have played once before in Lincoln, absorbing a 36-26 loss in 1978. In that contest, Cal had a 14-7 lead with 16 minutes left in the game until the 86-degree heat and high humidity began to take its toll.
A Look Back at Last Year's Win by Nebraska in Berkeley
Although Cal's defense battled admirably against a No. 4-ranked Nebraska squad last Sept. 12, the Bears anemic offense managed only nine first downs in a 24-3 Cornhusker win. The game was actually much closer than the final total as the scoreboard read 14-3 with less than four minutes to go in the game, before a pair of late Nebraska scores upped the margin. The Bears did find some holes in the Cornhusker secondary, completing passes of 40, 44 and 44 yards, but other than that, Cal managed only 108 yards on the other 54 plays (2.0 ypp). Cal tailback Marcus Fields had 30 yards on 8 carries. Nebraska played without QB Bobby Newcombe, but still had a nice day throwing the football as Erich Crouch and Monte Christo combined to hit 15-of-28 passes for 180 yards.
After Rutgers' Finesse Offense, Cal Will Face Nebraska Power Attack
Nobody in his right mind relishes the idea of facing a powerful Nebraska offense on its home turf. However, Cal's vaunted defense seems to be looking forward to a dose of smash-mouth football after last week's game against Rutgers "finesse" offensive attack. Faced with Rutgers' multiple offensive formations, motion, quick calls from the line of scrimmage and a few gadget plays, the Bears didn't show their usual aggressive style of play, particularly in the first half. In fact, Rutgers managed to run up 215 yards of total offense and maintain possession for 18:33 in the first half. Cal fared much better after the intermission, holding the Scarlet Knights to just five net yards, until a final drive in the final four minutes of the game racked up 67 yards. Rutgers finished the day with 287 yards. The Bears did manage to penetrate the line of scrimmage quite often, finishing with 17 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, including seven sacks. There won't be much deception this week, as Nebraska will line up with its traditional option attack and see if Cal can match that power. The Cornhuskers averaged 253.8 yards a game on the ground last season, the best in the Big 12. However, the Nebraska coaching staff was disappointed in that total and placed a stronger emphasis on the running game entering the 1999 season. In last week's opener at Iowa, Nebraska rushed for 347 yards and controlled the football for just under 36 minutes. That seems to indicate that the Big Red rushing attack is back in business.
Cal Linebackers Will Have Their All-America Credentials Tested
Cal has what Street & Smith's magazine rates as the No. 1 linebacker group in the country. Sekou Sanyika is on several publications first-team preseason All-America squads (The Sporting News, Football News, NFL Draft Reports, Sport), while fellow linebacker Matt Beck also has garnered his share of honors as a third-team preseason All-American by NFL Draft Reports and the No. 9 inside linebacker in college football by The Sporting News. All of those accolades will be given the acid test this week when Cal faces the powerful Nebraska offense. Last season, Sanyika had a big day vs. Nebraska with 11 tackles (10 unassisted), including four behind the line of scrimmage, but the Cornhuskers still managed to roll up 434 yards of total offense, including 254 on the ground. Beck did not play against Nebraska last season, sitting the game out with a hamstring injury. Cal's leading linebacker tackler last week was senior Keith Miller, who recorded 8 tackles, including three behind the line of scrimmage. However, both Sanyika and Beck edged closer to the school career record for tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Sanyika and Beck were each credited with a pair of stops for loss. Below is a list of Cal's career leading tacklers behind the line of scrimmage.
Cal Career Tackles For Loss 1. Jerrott Willard (1991-94) 54.0 2. Regan Upshaw (1993-95) 49.0 3. Matt Beck (1996- ) 48.0 4. Ron Rivera (1980-83) 47.5 5. Sekou Sanyika (1996- ) 47.0
Cal's Preseason First Team All-America Honors
The Sporting News
NFL Draft Reports
NFL Draft Reports
Successful Farming 1st Team
Battle in the Trenches will Be Handled by Massive Linemen
One preseason magazine (Lindy's) ranked Cal senior John Romero as the No. 5 center in college football this fall. Another publication (NFL Draft Reports) listed him as the top collegiate center and a first team preseason All-American. At 324 pounds, he is a mountain of a man. He'll face one of the biggest tests of his career this Saturday when he faces fellow titan Steve Warren, the Cornhusker noseguard who checks in a 6-2 and 315 pounds. Warren had some back spasm problems last year and thus was only a part-time starter. However, when healthy, he is a load and he had a big game at Cal last season, recording a Nebraska defensive line record with three pass deflections and a single tackle. On the other side of the ball, Cornhusker center Dominic Raiola is only a sophomore but is rated the No. 4 center in the country by The Sporting News and is already being touted as a possible future Outland Trophy candidate. He checks in at 6-2 and 295 pounds, but will be tested by either 310-pound Jerry DeLoach, who is difficult to move off the line of scrimmage, or by 270-pound noseguard Jacob Waasdorp, who has exceptional quickness. How those interior line battles fare will go a long ways toward telling the story of the game this Saturday.
No Freshman Blues for Cal's Precocious Class in 1999 Opener
Among Cal's 3,500 first-year students enrolled at Cal in 1999, there are more than a few who experience the "Freshman Blues." However, based on last week's 1999 opener, several Cal freshmen football players appear right at home in the college environment. Cal's recruiting class this past February was acknowledged as one of the best in school history and ranked among the Top 20 nationally. Last Saturday, several in that group had a major impact. Quarterback Kyle Boller made his debut with the score tied 7-7 against Rutgers and 8:56 left in the first half. He nailed a 26-yard slant pattern on his first collegiate pass attempt. He stayed in the line-up the rest of the way, hitting a 17-yard TD pass for Cal's final points. Tailback Joe Igber, the Hawaii Prep Offensive Player of the Year last season, also wasn't bashful in his college debut. On his first run from scrimmage, he broke several tackles in a 35-yard run. He finished with 55 yards on 7 carries. Defensive tackle Daniel Nwangwu posted a 9-yard sack in his first collegiate game. In all, 10 different Cal freshmen saw significant action in the Rutgers opener.
Deltha O'Neal Continues His Knack of Making Big Plays
Cal senior Deltha O'Neal continues to establish himself as perhaps college football's most potent all-around threat. He nearly single-handedly won last week's opener against Rutgers with three big plays. He opened the game with a 50-yard kickoff return, which set up Cal's first touchdown. Then, he gave Cal the lead for good when he picked off a Mike McMahon pass with a leaping one-handed grab and returned the ball 75 yards for a touchdown. Finally, he made his second interception in the endzone with just over a minute left in the game to preserve Cal's 21-7 victory. He had an 11-yard punt return among his three punt returns on the day. He also was in on a pair of plays offensively, although his one run on a reverse fooled nobody and resulted in a three-yard loss. However, he sprained his thumb during the game and was fitted with a brace. That may curtail his offensive or return duties this week at Nebraska. O'Neal now has managed a punt return, interception or rush for 20 or more yards in 12 of his past 13 games. He has moved into third place on Cal's career all-purpose yardage list with 3,874 yards and could challenge Russell White's school record by year's end. Below is a list of the top three in that category.
Cal's Career All-Purpose Yardage List Player Rush Receiving Returns Total 1. Russell White (1990-92) 3367 364 1212 4943 2. Chuck Muncie (1973-75) 3052 1085 57 4194 3. Deltha O'Neal (1996- ) 685 319 2870 3874
Cal Punter Nick Harris One of Rare Punters Who Dominates
With Cal's offense expected to grow gradually during the early part of the 1999 season, junior punter Nick Harris could become one of Cal's most valuable weapons. He finished the '98 season with a flourish, averaging 44.7 yards per punt over the final five games. The 6-3, 215-pounder picked up right where he left off in the '99 opener, averaging 47.8 yards on five punts against Rutgers. His average was even more impressive when considering he was asked to "pooch" two punts from the Rutgers 39- and 40-yard lines. Those two punts ended up being 23 yards and 40 yards. His other punts were for 56 yards, 52 yards and a career-best 67 yards. Harris should be a strong contender for All-America honors this fall. On the flip side of Cal's kicking game, the Bears continue to struggle in the field goal department as true-freshman Jeremy Hershey hit the right upright on his first collegiate attempt, from 35 yards, and later missed a 28-yard attempt.
Cal Rushing Game Will Have to Carry the Load as Passing Game Grows
The statistics from Cal's opening game were indicative of the belief that Cal's passing game will need time to grow. With untested quarterbacks and inexperienced receivers, new offensive coordinator Steve Hagen only had Samuel Clemons and Kyle Boller combine to throw the ball 17 times during the game. In fact, on Cal's two offensive touchdown drives, Cal ran the ball on six of the eight plays. In all, Cal stayed on the ground on 66 percent of its plays in the opener (34 of 51 plays), a trend that figures to continue until Cal's passing offense matures.
Odds and Ends, Miscellaneous Notes, Three-Dot Data
In one of the most telling stats in recent history, Cal (which rushed for 162 yards in its opening win over Rutgers last week) is 40-8-1 in games in which it has rushed for over 150 yards on the ground since the beginning of the 1990 season...While Cal doesn't have a single Nebraska native on its roster, the Cornhuskers boast five players from California, all from southern California, including All-America cornerback Ralph Brown from Bishop Amat HS...Sports Illustrated rated Cal's 1999 schedule the second toughest in the nation, while the publication rated Nebraska's as the 13th most difficult in the land...Cal safety Pete Destefano tied his career high with 14 tackles (12 unassisted) vs. Rutgers last week. He had 14 tackles against Nebraska last season (8 unassisted)...Offensive line coach Ed White singled out Brandon Ludwig and Kevin Doherty for their work in the Rutgers opener. Ludwig graded out at 96 percent in the film evaluations while Doherty checked in with a 94 percent score...The coaches also picked John Klotsche as the special teams Player of the Game.
Complete Cal Football information, including releases, statistics, records and features, can be found on Cal's official web site at www.calbears.com. Nebraska's web site is www.huskerwebcast.com.
Cal Radio Network
The game will be aired live over KGO Radio (810 AM) San Francisco and the five-station Cal Radio Network. Other stations on the network are: KRCK (1490 AM) in King City, KGOE (105.5 FM) in Eureka, KANM (970 AM) in Modesto and KYOS (1480 AM) in Stockton. The pre-game show begins 15 minutes prior to kickoff. KGO is in its 26th season as the Golden Bears flagship station. Sports Director Joe Starkey is in his 25th season handling play-by-play duties, and Lee Grosscup, who is in his 11th year in the booth, joins him with color commentary. The Tom Holmoe Show airs weekly on KGO Wednesdays at 6:20 p.m.
Cal TV Highlight Show
The weekly one-half hour Cal Football Highlight Show, hosted by Glen Kuiper, will air each Sunday afternoon during the season on Fox Sports Net Bay Area. The program will be shown Sundays at 4:30 p.m.
Cal-Nebraska: The Series
California will meet Nebraska for the third time in 21 years when the Bears head to Lincoln Sept.11, completing the home-home series between the two teams. Nebraska has won both of the previous meetings, beating Cal 24-3 last year and 36-26 in their first meeting at Nebraska in 1978.
Matt Beck in Top 10 on Tackles List
Senior linebacker Matt Beck's eight tackles against Rutgers puts him in the Top 10 on Cal's career list. Beck continues to surpass previous records despite missing four games and seeing limited playing time in several others due to injury over the last three years. He sat out last year's home loss to Nebraska with a strained hamstring, but will get a chance to attack the Cornhusker offense this weekend in Lincoln. Here's a look at what Beck needs to do to move up even further this season:
5. Eddie Walsh (80-83) 288 6. Steve Hendrickson (85-88) 286 7. Majett Whiteside (85-88) 268 8. Marquis Smith (95-98) 247 9. Natu Tuatagaloa (85-88) 240 10. Matt Beck (1996- ) 238
Deltha O'Neal Dismantles Rutgers and Gets in Record Books Once Again
When Deltha O'Neal intercepted a Scarlet Knight pass and returned it 75 yards for the TD, he became the only player in school history to record two of the Top 15 longest interception returns. His other entry is a 76-yarder against Washington State last year. O'Neal also had an interception in the Cal end zone to halt a Rutgers scoring drive late in the game, bringing his career total to four.
1999 Cal Schedule, Results & Notes
Sept. 4 Rutgers 21-7 Marcus Fields scores on 49-yard run on game's first play
Sept. 11 at Nebraska 12:30 p.m. PT Cal trailed just 14-3 with less than 5 minutes left in '98 game
Sept. 25 Arizona State 2:30 p.m. Only 4 of 20 games have been decided by a touchdown or less
Oct. 2 at Washington State 1:00 p.m. Bears scored three defensive TDs in last year's 24-14 win
Oct. 9 at BYU 4:00 p.m. PT Cal coach Tom Holmoe played on 3 WAC champion teams at BYU
Oct. 16 at UCLA TBA After Cal won 5 straight from 1990-94, UCLA has won the last 4
Oct. 23 Washington 12:30 p.m. Bears looking for first win over Huskies since 1976 (16 games)
Oct. 30 USC 12:30 p.m. Cal has won last 2 in L.A., USC has won last 3 in Berkeley
Nov. 6 at Oregon State 1:00 p.m. Bears have won 6 straight games vs. Beavers
Nov. 13 Oregon 12:30 p.m. Bears face Ducks for first time since 1996
Nov. 20 at Stanford 12:30 p.m. 102nd renewal of Big Game, 10th most-played rivalry in NCAA
Cal Radio on the Internet
All Cal football radio broadcasts can be heard live on the Internet. To listen, go to the football page at www.calbears.com, click on the broadcast.com icon and hear Joe Starkey and Lee Grosscup call the action.
Cal Radio on 800 Service
All Cal football radio broadcasts during the 1998 season are available nationwide via telephone through the facilities of TRZ Telephone Broadcast Services. Fans can access the Cal Radio Network from anywhere in the country at 1-800-846-4700, ext. 5918. The cost is $.50 for the first minute, with decreasing rates for additional minutes.
Pac-10 Standings Pac-10 Overall W L W L California 0 0 1 0 Oregon State 0 0 1 0 UCLA 0 0 1 0 USC 0 0 1 0 Arizona State 0 0 0 0 Washington 0 0 0 0 Oregon 0 0 0 1 Stanford 0 0 0 1 Washington State 0 0 0 1 Arizona 0 0 0 1
Around the Pac-10
Sept. 9 - Washington at BYU
Sept. 11 - Washington State at Stanford, Middle Tennessee at Arizona, UTEP at Oregon, Fresno State at Oregon State, UCLA at Ohio State.
Tom Holmoe, California (Brigham Young '83) is in his third year as head coach of the Bears and fourth with the Cal program. He has a career record of 9-14 with the Bears. A 1983 graduate of BYU, Holmoe was the Cougars starting cornerback from 1980-82 and led the WAC in interceptions as a sophomore in 1980. He earned first team WAC honors as a senior and later was drafted in the fourth round by the San Francisco 49ers. Holmoe went on to play seven years with in the NFL, all with San Francisco, and helped the 49ers win three Super Bowls. After retiring from pro football, he entered the coaching ranks, serving as a graduate assistant during the 1990 and '91 seasons under LaVell Edwards at BYU. In 1992, Holmoe was reunited with Bill Walsh after accepting an offer to become the Stanford secondary coach. After two years as a member of the Cardinal staff, he moved back to the pro ranks and his former team, the 49ers, as George Seifert's defensive backfield coach for the 1994 and '95 seasons. In 1996, Holmoe joined the Bears staff as the defensive coordinator and on Jan. 18, 1997, he was named head football coach at Cal.
Frank Solich (Nebraska '66) is in his second season as head coach and his 21st overall on the Nebraska coaching staff. From 1979-82 he served as the Cornhuskers' freshman head coach and in 1983 he became the running backs coach where he remained until 1997. In the 15 seasons Solich spent with the running backs, Nebraska led the nation in rushing nine times, led the conference 13 times and averaged 350 yards per game. He was promoted to assistant head coach in 1991 and held that position until he was named head coach in December of 1997, taking over for the legendary Tom Osborne. Solich has a 10-4 record as Nebraska's head coach and an overall record of 210-37-1 since he has been on staff. He lettered at Nebraska as a fullback in '63, '64 and '65 and his playing career earned him induction into the Nebraska Hall of Fame in 1992. He coached high school football from 1966-79 when he was hired at Nebraska.
IKON Office Solutions Play of the Week
Each week throughout the 1999 football season, IKON Office Solutions will salute the Golden Bear Play of the Week. This week's play is Marcus Fields' 49-yard touchdown run on the first play from scrimmage against Rutgers.
The Times Player of the Game
Each week throughout the 1999 football season, the Contra Costa Times will recognize the Cal Player of the Game. This week's winner is Deltha O'Neal, who had a 50-yard kickoff return and a pair of interceptions, returning one for a touchdown.