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Cal Football Kicks Off Home Schedule Against Big Ten Power Minnesota
Courtesy: Cal Athletics  
Release:  09/04/2006

Sept. 4, 2006

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2006 CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL
Game 2: Saturday, September 9; 4 p.m. (PT)
Cal (0-1) vs. Minnesota (1-0)
Berkeley, Calif. - Memorial Stadium

GOLDEN BEAR FACTS
2006 Record: 0-1
2005 Record: 8-4
2005 Pac-10 Record/Finish: 4-4/4th
Head Coach: Jeff Tedford
Alma Mater/Year: Fresno State/1983
Record at Cal/Year: 33-18/5th
Career Record/Years: Same
Football SID: John Sudsbury
Office Phone: 510-643-4723
E-Mail: sudsbury@berkeley.edu
Ticket Info: 800-GO-BEARS

2006 CAL SCHEDULE AND RESULTS

OFFICIAL MINNESOTA WEBSITE

SERIES FACTS
Games Played: 4
Series Record: 2-2
First Meeting: Oct. 6, 1951, Cal, 55-14
Last Meeting: Sept. 19, 1987, UM, 32-23
at Berkeley: 1-1
Current Streak: UM W2
Tedford vs. Minnesota: 0-0

Recapping the Bears
California opened the 2006 season on Saturday at No. 23 Tennessee and the stout Volunteer defense took charge in Knoxville as the Golden Bears lost, 35-18. Tennessee had ranked second in the nation in rushing defense last season and the Vols showed more of that gritty run-stopping ability, holding Cal to just 64 rushing yards in the contest. Junior running back Marshawn Lynch finished with 141 all-purpose yards, including a game-high 74 yards on the ground (on 12 carries for an average of 6.2 yards per carry). Sophomore receiver DeSean Jackson had four catches for 87 yards, including a 40-yard TD reception which featured a nifty move to dodge a UT defender before slipping into the end zone. Sophomore Nate Longshore made the start at quarterback and completed 11-of-20 passes for 85 yards, while senior Joe Ayoob looked solid in the second half with 187 yards on 9-of-22 passing, including the TD strike to Jackson. Ayoob added the Bears' final score with a one-yard scamper. On the defensive side of the ball, junior safety Thomas DeCoud made the most of his first career start with a career-best 13 tackles, while classmate and fellow safety Brandon Hampton snagged his second career interception.

Bits on the Bears
Cal lost its season opener each of the last two years it won the conference championship (1958 and 1975) ... Saturday's attendance at Tennessee of 106,009 was the most-ever to watch the Golden Bears ... Cal's No. 9 AP ranking was its highest preseason rank since 1952 ... Prior to the Tennessee game, Cal had not opened a season against a ranked opponent since 1979 when it defeated No. 18 Arizona State, 17-9, on the road ... SI.com ranked Marshawn Lynch the top player in the Pac-10 and Brandon Mebane No. 4 ... Cal's running back combo of Lynch and Justin Forsett averaged 32 more yards-per-game than any other returning combo in the nation ... Lynch and Forsett are the only 1,000-yard rushers in the country who average more than 7.0 yards per carry ... the Golden Bears led the Pac-10 in scoring defense in 2005, allowing just 21.2 points per game ... as in the past under Jeff Tedford, Cal will select game captains this season ... the Bears have six freshman on the two-deep, including true freshmen Tyson Alualu and Derrick Hill ... Tedford, now in his fifth year at Cal, ranks fourth in seniority among Pac-10 coaches ... Cal has had a 100-yard rusher in 22 of its last 25 games ... the Bears have five different players on Watch Lists for nine different national awards ... Cals' last game in the South was Dec. 4, 2004, when it played at Southern Miss in Hattiesburg, Miss. - since the last Tennessee game in 1987, the Bears have also played at Miami (1990), at Houston (1997) and in the 1991 Citrus Bowl against Clemson.

Opening Loss
Despite opening the season with a loss, history has shown success can still follow. The last two conference championship teams at California lost their season openers. In 1975, the Golden Bears fell to Colorado on the road in their opener, but rebounded to finish 8-3 and share the Pac-8 Championship in 1975 behind star running back Chuck Muncie. In 1958, Cal lost to Pacific at home in the opener, but went 6-1 in league play to win the title and advance to the 1959 Rose Bowl behind star Joe Kapp.

DeCoud Not Just for Kicks Anymore
Junior Thomas DeCoud entered the 2006 season known for his kick-blocking skills as he has blocked six kicks in his career. However, making his first career start on Saturday at free safety, the product of Pinole, Calif., piled up a career-high 13 tackles, including 10 solo takedowns. He had entered the game with just 37 career takedowns in his first two seasons, including a career-best 10 stops against New Mexico State last season.

Larson Lets Loose
One of the biggest question marks entering this season for the Golden Bears was punting. With Saturday's performance in Tennessee, junior-college transfer Andrew Larson answered any questions. The newcomer punted seven times for 291 yards - a very-respectable average of 41.6 yards per punt. However, his net punting was the true measure of his value. The Volunteers returned just two punts for a total of 13 yards, giving Cal a net-punting mark of 39.7 yards. Last season, with veteran David Lonie handling punting duties, the Bears had a net average of 36.7 yards per punt.

Big Ten BoysJeff Tedford, Cal has registered a perfect 3-0 record against the Big 10, including two wins against Illinois (2003 and 2005) and a 46-22 win over then-No. 15 Michigan State in 2002.

Rebounders
California has posted a 12-5 record following losses in the Jeff Tedford era. Last year, the Golden Bears were 2-2 following losses.

Home Sweet Home
California has posted a 57-25 (.695) record in its home openers in the 82-year history of Memorial Stadium. In the last 10 years, Cal has won nine Memorial Stadium lid-lifters on the field (1999's 21-7 win over Rutgers was later forfeited). The Golden Bears are a perfect 4-0 in home openers under Jeff Tedford.

Rushing, For and Against
While Jeff Tedford is best known for his development of quarterbacks, he has also had eight 1,000-yard rushers in the past seven years (including three years at Oregon). However, more impressive may be Tedford teams' defense against the run. In his first 51 games at the helm of the Golden Bears, Tedford has seen just 14 games when foes had 100-yard rushers.

Mo-Eighty?
No, senior Marcus O'Keith is not indecisive about what jersey number he would like to wear, he's just following the rules by wearing multiple numbers. When he is on the field as a running back, he wears No. 2, hence his nickname of Mo-Deuce from his teammates. However, with junior safety Bernard Hicks also wearing No. 2, when the pair are on the field at the same time for kick returns, O'Keith swaps to No. 80. The senior from Carson, Calif., had three receptions for 50 yards and also added a game-high 27-yard kickoff return against Tennessee.

Debuts
Redshirt freshmen Cameron Morrah (TE) and Syd'Quan Thompson (CB) not only saw their first collegiate action on Saturday, but the pair also started the game. Other players making their first career starts were sophomore Alex Mack (C), senior Bryan Deemer (OG), junior Justin Moye (LB), junior Brandon Hampton (ROV) and junior Thomas DeCoud (FS). Joining Morrah and Thompson in making their collegiate debuts were junior-college transfers Rulon Davis (DL), Mike Gibson (OL), Andrew Larson (P), redshirt freshmen Marcus Ezeff (DB), Cody Jones (DL), and Matt Russi (LB) and true freshmen Derrick Hill (DL) and Tyson Alualu (DL).

Marshawn10.com
Cal fans and the media can keep up with all the highlights of Marshawn Lynch's junior season by visiting www.Marshawn10.com. The star tailback is a top candidate for numerous awards, including the 2006 Heisman Trophy. The website features highlight video from his first two seasons in Berkeley and will include highlights from each game of the 2006 campaign as the season progresses. Statistics, a complete bio and other information will offer fans and media the opportunity to get to know the running back. In addition, his honors and records and a list of quotes from college football experts, coaches and players from around the nation are available for perusal.

A Look at the Gophers
Minnesota entered the 2006 season having advanced to bowl games in six of the past seven season. The Golden Gophers have won 32 games over the past four seasons - the most during a four-year period at the school since 1902-05. In its opener against Kent State on Thursday, Minnesota rolled to a 44-0 victory over Kent State. The Gophers continued their strong rushing-game tradition with a pair of RBs going over 100 yards in the game. Sophomore Alex Daniels, who was a linebacker last year, rushed for 155 yards while junior Amir Pinnix added 114 yards on the ground. Senior quarterback Bryan Cupito passed for 146 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker. The Gopher defense held Kent State to only 282 yards of total offense. Junior linebacker John Shevlin, the team's top returning defender, led the team with eight tackles after racking up 74 tackles during the 2005 season. Sophomore safety Dominic Jones and junior linebacker Mike Sherels each added seven tackles against the Golden Eagles. Defensive back Trumaine Banks is two pass breakups away from tying the school's the career pass-breakup record.

Bears No. 9 Preseason AP Ranking is Highest Since 1952
California's No. 9 ranking in the 2006 Associated Press Preseason College Football Poll was its highest preseason ranking since the 1952 team was ranked No. 8 in the nation. The No. 9 ranking is the third-highest overall preseason ranking for Cal behind Pappy Waldorf's 1951 and 1952 teams. The 1951 club was ranked No. 5 in the nation in the preseason. This season marks just the 10th year that Cal has held a preseason ranking from the AP, including the current stretch of three straight years. From 1955 to 2003, the Bears appeared just twice in the poll. Under head coach Jeff Tedford, California has been ranked No. 13 (2004), No. 19 (2005) and now No. 9 in AP Preseason Polls.

Minnesota Head Coach Glen Mason
Glen Mason enters his 10th season at the helm of the Minnesota football program. From 2002-04, Mason's teams won three consecutive bowl games over BCS conference teams. While at Minnesota, Mason has coached 10 All-Americans, including running back Laurence Maroney and Rimington Trophy winner Greg Eslinger last season. During the nine seasons Mason has been at Minnesota 18 Gophers were drafted by NFL teams. The Ball State graduate currently ranks second among active Big Ten coaches in victories at 117. He is one of only three coaches to earn Coach of the Year awards in three different conferences (also won while at Kent State and Kansas).

Cal in Preseason AP Poll
1950: No. 14
1951: No. 5
1952: No. 8
1953: No. 14
1954: No. 12
1976: No. 15
1992: No. 20
2004: No. 13
2005: No. 19
2006: No. 9

Pac-10 Preseason Poll
California was picked to finish second in the Pacific-10 Conference in a preseason poll of West Coast media members who regularly cover the league. It is the third consecutive year that the Golden Bears have been tabbed to finish second, which is the highest that Cal has ever been picked, dating back to 1961. Three-time defending Pac-10 champion USC is the favorite to win the conference. USC garnered 18 of 29 first-place votes in the poll, but California, Oregon and Arizona State also received first-place support.

Preseason Hype
California received plenty of attention from the preseason magazines this year. The Golden Bears were ranked in the Top 10 in five different football preview publications, including a No. 6 rating in Street & Smith's College Football 2006 Yearbook. In addition, seven different Cal players were tabbed as preseason All-Americans: linebacker Desmond Bishop, cornerback Daymeion Hughes, tailback Marshawn Lynch, defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, cornerback Tim Mixon, tight end Craig Stevens and defensive end Nu'u Tafisi. Hughes was rated as the No. 1 cornerback in the nation by Phil Steele's College Football Preview and Lynch was ranked No. 2 among running backs by The Sporting News.

For Openers
In Cal's football history, the Golden Bears have posted a 68-42-4 record in season-openers. Jeff Tedford has recorded a 3-2 mark in lid-lifters putting him "just" six straight wins from matching Leonard "Stub" Allison, who was far-and-away the most successful Cal coach in season-opening contests. During his 10-year tenure in Berkeley, Allison posted a 9-1 mark in contests that christened the season.

Opening on the Road
This season marked just the 29th time in California football history that the Bears have opened a season on the road. In the first 28 season-openers away from home, Cal has recorded a 12-16 mark. One of those wins came in the 1977 season-opener, a 27-17 victory over Tennessee. This year was the third time Tedford-coached Bears have opened on the road - in 2004, the Bears rolled to a 56-14 win at Air Force, but in 2003, Cal fell 42-28 to No. 7 ranked Kansas State.

Power Points
In the four years under Jeff Tedford, the Golden Bears have averaged 34.4 points per game, by far the most in any four-year stretch in school history. In fact, Tedford-coached teams own four of the top five slots in single-season scoring in the modern era of football in Berkeley.

Cal Players on Preseason Watch Lists
Bednarik Award (Top Def. Player): Daymeion Hughes, Brandon Mebane
Butkus Award (Top Linebacker): Desmond Bishop
Doak Walker Award (Top Running Back): Marshawn Lynch
Hendricks Award (Top Defensive End): Nu'u Tafisi
Lott Trophy (Top Def. Player): Daymeion Hughes, Brandon Mebane
Maxwell Award (Player of the Year): Marshawn Lynch
Nagurski Trophy (Top Def. Player): Daymeion Hughes, Brandon Mebane
Outland Trophy (Top Lineman): Brandon Mebane
Walter Camp Award (Player of the Year): Marshawn Lynch

Cal Preseason All-Americans (first team unless noted)
Desmond Bishop - Street & Smith's
Daymeion Hughes - Blue Ribbon Defense, Playboy Magazine, Rivals.com, Phil Steele's, Lindy's Football Annual (second team), The Sporting News (second team), Street & Smith's (second team)
Marshawn Lynch - Lindy's Football Annual, Rivals.com, The Sporting News, Street & Smith's, Athlon Sports (second team), Phil Steele's (second team)
Brandon Mebane - Athlon Sports, Lindy's Football Annual, The Sporting News, Rivals.com (second team), Street & Smith's (third team), Phil Steele's (fourth team)
Tim Mixon - Street & Smith's (second team)
Craig Stevens - Street & Smith's (hon. mention)
Nu'u Tafisi - Street & Smith's (second team)

Golden Bear Opening-Day Heroes
Many of the hallowed names of Cal football history appear among the school's all-time Top 10 performances in season openers, but Marshawn Lynch owns the best Memorial Stadium opening day rushing performance as he piled up 147 yards last year against Sacramento State.

Poll History
California finished the 2005 season ranked No. 25 in both the Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today football polls. It marked the first time since the 1950 and 1951 seasons that Cal had finished a season ranked in the national polls in consecutive years. The Bears were No. 9 in 2004.

Finishing in a Rush
As Marshawn Lynch became healthier in 2005, his productivity took off. Over the final four regular-season contests and the bowl game in Las Vegas, Lynch rushed for an average of 150.6 yards (753 yards over five games). His only game under 100 yards during that period came against top-ranked USC when the sophomore carried the ball just 13 times but still reached 87 yards.

Twenty-Something
The Bears have won 26 games over the past three seasons (26-12). It is the most victories by California over a three-year period since the 1949-1950-1951 teams combined to win 27 games. Nationally, Cal's 18 wins over the last two years rank 13th, and the 26 wins during the three-year period is No. 18 in the country.

Double-Back
California will return the nation's most productive running back tandem in Marshawn Lynch (1,246 yards in 2005) and Justin Forsett (999 yards). Lynch ended the 2005 season seventh in the NCAA rushing stats and Forsett was No. 50. The 2,245 combined yards by the Bear pair is 385 yards more than their closest competition returning from last year (Rutgers' top two running backs had 1,860 rushing yards last season).

More TV Time
In addition to the Tennessee game, Minnesota (TBS), Portland State (Comcast SportsNet), Oregon (ABC), UCLA (ABC), USC (ABC) and Stanford (Fox Sports Net) will be televised. The remainder of the games could all be televised, as well, but full broadcast schedules have not been determined.

Schedule Talk
California's 2006 schedule will include five games against teams coming off of bowl appearances. The home opener is against Minnesota, which has participated in a school-record four consecutive bowl games. Cal, incidentally, is 3-0 vs. the Big Ten under Jeff Tedford with a win at Michigan State and pair of victories against Illinois. Along with Minnesota, Cal will face the Pac-10's 2005 bowl reps in Arizona State, USC, UCLA and Oregon. Tennessee did not appear in a bowl in 2005, but the Vols lost four of their six games to teams that finished among the nation's top dozen.

The 'All' Guys
California returns five players off of last year's All-Pac-10 squad. Returning first-teamers include cornerback Daymeion Hughes and defensive lineman Brandon Mebane. Second-team all-league choices that are back in the fold include linebacker Desmond Bishop, special teams standout Byron Storer and defensive end Nu'u Tafisi. Storer was also a second-team Pac-10 All-Academic selection.

Scoring Is Up...
California averaged 32.9 points per game during the 2005 season - the fourth-highest scoring average ever at Cal. In fact, of the top five scoring teams in Golden Bears history, four have been coached by Jeff Tedford. Each of Tedford's Cal teams have averaged at least 32 points per game.

...So Are Tickets
Since the arrival of Jeff Tedford, California's season ticket count has been on a steady climb. The Bears sold 16,200 tickets in 2002, Tedford's first year. His second season resulted in sales of 22,500. In 2004, the number again jumped substantially, up to a then-school-record 34,100. In 2005, California set another mark with 40,134 season tickets sold.

Season Streaks
California enters 2006 with an excellent chance of recording its fifth consecutive winning season. That note is significant because Cal has not strung together five straight seasons over the .500 mark since 1948 through 1952. From 1967 through 1971, the Bears did not have a losing season, but two of those records were exactly .500 (5-5).

Mebane in the Middle
California's defense is anchored by one of the best defenders in the country. Defensive tackle Brandon Mebane, a first-team All-Pac-10 performer a year ago, is back to provide headaches for opposing offensive fronts. Despite facing constant double- and, at times, triple-teams, Mebane led the Bears last season with seven sacks. The extremely active defensive tackle figures to be a candidate for national honors.

Pac-10 Preseason Poll
Three-time defending Pac-10 champion USC has been picked to win the conference. USC garnered 18 of 29 first-place votes in the poll, but California, Oregon and Arizona State also received first-place support. Following are the results of the preseason media poll (points 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1, first-place votes in parentheses):

1. USC (18) - 276
2. California (7) - 247
3. Oregon (3) - 229
4. Arizona State (1) - 204
5. UCLA - 145
6. Arizona - 133
7. Oregon State - 125
8. Washington State - 96
9. Stanford - 90
10. Washington - 50

POLL NOTES: Preseason media poll has correctly picked the Conference champion 23 of 45 times and has been very accurate of late in correctly identifying the Conference champ the last six years in a row and six of the last seven. While USC was a unanimous pick to win the Pac-10 the last two seasons, this year's poll with four team registering first-place votes is more typical. Prior to the last two years of unanimous support for the Trojans, at least four team received first-place votes in four of the previous five years.


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