Sept. 9, 2000
Cal Wins Fifth-Consecutive Season Opener
Cal won its fifth-consecutive season opener and nine of its last 11 with today's 24-21 victory over Utah in front of 44,500 fans. The Utes fell to 0-2 after being ranked in the top 25 in several preseason polls. Cal owns a 4-1 series advantage with Utah winning the previous game in 1964 (14-0). Today's game began as last year's Cal season opener did with the score tied 7-7 at the break before the Bears scored 17 unanswered points to go up 24-7. The Utes answered with 14 unanswered points, but it wasn't enough.
Boller's Sophomore Debut Surpasses Freshman Debut
In Cal QB Kyler Boller's rookie debut in 1999, he hit 17-of-32 passes for 213 yards and a pair of TDs to lead the Bears to a 24-23 come-from-behind victory over Arizona State in the Pac-10 opener. The 6-4 native of Newhall, Calif., native's sophomore debut was similar, as he was 18-for-28 today for 209 yards, including one touchdown. He had two passes for 20 or more yards, a 45-yard strike to start the game to Phillip Pipersburg and a 20-yard completion to Chase Lyman. On the downside, Boller had one interception and one fumble.
Igber, Muhammad Ignite Cal's Rushing Attack
Cal sophomore TB Joe Igber led Cal's rushing efforts with 26 carries for 84 yards, including a 13-yard TD run to put Cal up 21-7 with 1:19 remaining in the third quarter. Igber has three-career touchdowns. Tailback Saleem Muhammad scored Cal's first points of 2000 on a one-yard TD run with 3:59 remaining in the first quarter. The touchdown was the third of his career with one each coming in each of his previous two seasons.
Cal Begins to Silence Offensive Critics
Cal took steps towards silencing its offensive critics against Utah. After averaging only 16.4 ppg in 1999, Cal posted 24 today. While Cal averaged only 250.8 yards/game of total offense in 1999, the Bears posted 329 yards today, including 173 in the first quarter alone. While the Bears defense spent an average of 29:35 on the field last year, Cal held an 32:01-to-27:59 time of possession advantage in the season opener.
Cal's "A-Bomb" Gets an A Grade -- Preseason All-America DE Andre Carter Shines in Season Opener
The Golden Bears preseason All-America defensive end Andre Carter had a huge game today, putting relentless pressure on Utah's quarterbacks and generally creating mayhem in the offensive backfield. Carter recorded seven total tackles in today's game including three tackles for loss and one sack. The Outland Trophy Award-hopeful also recovered a fumble in the third quarter to set up a Cal touchdown. Last season, Carter had 20 tackles for loss to lead the Pac-10 conference.
Bears Hit Squad Forces Four Turnovers Leading to 17 Points
Cal's famed hit squad forced four turnovers today - three fumble recoveries and one interception - leading to 17 third quarter points. The three fumble recoveries - by Scott Fujita, Andre Carter and Tully Banta Cain - were converted into a James Smith TD reception, a Joe Igber rushing TD and a Mark-Christian Jensen 27-yard FG, respectively. Cal reserve CB Jameel Powell intercepted a Darnell Arceneaux pass with 20 ticks left in the first quarter in the Utah endzone to preserve a 7-7 halftime tie.
Cal Defense Holds Utah Below Season Offensive Yard Average
Cal held Utah to 297 offensive yards, which was below the 370-yards the Utes posted in its 17-3 season-opening loss to Arizona. The 297 yard-mark is also below Cal's 1999 opponent average of 352.6.
Field Goal Kicking Decides Game
Cal struggled in the field goal department (5-of-15 overall) last season, but today it was a field goal which decided the outcome. Cal kicker Mark-Christian Jensen was 1-of-2 on his attempts, making a 27-yard attempt in the third quarter to put the Bears up 24-7 (the decisive three points in Cal's 24-21 victory) and missing a 44-yard attempt in the first quarter. Utah had a chance to send the game into overtime, but Utah's Golden Whetman's 55-yard attempt with seven seconds left in the game fell way short.
Cal's Nick Harris, Reed Diel Sustain Injuries
Cal center Reed Diel strained his left knee in the second quarter and didn't return...Cal's All-American punter Nick Harris suffered a concussion in the third quarter and didn't return to the game...the Bears could have used Harris, as Utah returned backup punter Tyler Fredrickson's only punt in the third quarter for a TD.
Three Dot Data
Utah had two Steve Smith touchdowns waved off, one on a pass ruled trapped in the endzone in the second quarter and one following an illegal block to the back on a punt return in the third quarter...Cal senior WR Phillip Pipersburg's 45-yards reception to start the game was the longest of his career...in his first collegiate game, redshirt freshman WR James Smith's first reception was a 12-yard catch for a TD, putting Cal up 14-7.