Nov. 26, 2001
The Tom Holmoe Era came to a close at the University of California last weekend, but not before his 2001 team rewarded the departing coach with the Golden Bears' first victory of the season at Rutgers, 20-10. Mercifully, the win halted two school-record losing streaks-most consecutive defeats in a season (10) and most straight losses overall (13, 2000-2001).
By out-gaining the Scarlet Knights by a whopping 385-to-189 yardage margin in the season finale, Cal also avoided becoming the fourth team in the 119-year history of the school's football program to post a winless season. However, the Bears' 1-10 record this season will go down as the worst showing by a California team in 104 years.
Three previous Cal squads have endured winless campaigns-the Bears went 0-3-2 in 1897, 0-1-2 in 1894 and 0-1-0 in 1891, all units that played schedules against primarily club teams. Besides this year's edition, the only Cal squads to register one-victory seasons were Pete Elliott's 1957 crew and Marv Levy's 1962 team, both of which absorbed 1-9 marks.
Storming out to 17-3 lead at halftime-their largest advantage at intermission this season-the Bears rode the brilliant running of freshman tailback Terrell Williams and relentless pass rush of junior defensive end Tully Banta-Cain to triumph over their Big East opponent.
Williams enjoyed his best day as a collegian, barreling for 231 yards in total offense with 185 yards rushing and one touchdown on 36 carries and 46 additional yards on five receptions. His 185 yards on the ground was the 13th-best single game performance in Cal history, while his 36 carries were the most by a Bear back since Brandon Willis rushed 37 times for 129 yards against Oregon State in a triple overtime game in 1996. The last time a Cal player carried the ball more times in a regulation game was Russell White at Kansas in 1992.
Banta-Cain harassed the Scarlet Knights all afternoon, sacking freshman quarterback Ryan Cubit four times and racking up six tackles, including five stops for losses of 31 yards. He was named Pacific-10 Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts. Senior strong safety Dewey Hale, playing in the final game of his career, added two fourth-quarter interceptions to fuel the win.