Oct. 17, 2004
Game No. 5: California Golden Bears (4-1, 2-1 Pac-10) at
Arizona Wildcats (1-5, 0-3 Pac-10)
Date: Saturday, Oct. 23, Arizona Stadium (56,002 - natural grass), Tucson, AZ
Kickoff: 4:00 p.m.
Radio: KGO Radio (810 AM) with Joe Starkey, Mike Pawlawski, Roxy Bernstein and Lee Grosscup
This Week's Game
California (#7 Associated Press/#8 ESPN/USA Today) returns to the road for the fourth time in six games this year when the Golden Bears visit Arizona in a non-televised contest Saturday afternoon.
With its 45-28 victory over UCLA last weekend, Cal regained its winning form following its 23-17 setback at top-rated USC, and at 4-1 on the season, the Bears are off to their best start since also opening 4-1 in 1998. A win over the Wildcats would make Cal 5-1 for the first time since 1996.
Now ranked No. 1 in the country in total offense at a rate of 518.2 yards per game, the Bears are moving into uncharted offensive territory. Not only is their 518.2 ypg average nearly 60 ypg higher than the school record (458.5 ypg in 1975), but their 41.6 ppg scoring average out-paces the Cal mark of 36.9 ppg set in 1991.
The Bears have topped 40 points in all four of their wins this season, with a high of 56 in their opener at Air Force. Dating back to the 2003 campaign, Cal has scored 40 or more points eight times in the last 11 games, a run that began with a 42-14 triumph over Arizona last Oct. 25 in Berkeley.
The key to the Bears' attack is balance, with the unit averaging 256.2 ypg on the ground and 262.0 ypg through the air. Senior TB J.J. Arrington, who rushed for a career-high 205 yards on 29 carries in the UCLA victory, is first in the Pac-10 and fourth nationally with 156.6 ypg. In gaining at least 100 yards in all five games this season, he has broken Chuck Muncie's school record for consecutive 100-yard performances. Muncie ran for 100 or more yards in four straight games twice in 1975 when he was runner-up in the Heisman Trophy balloting.
Ranked third in the country in passing efficiency with a 181.11 rating, junior QB Aaron Rodgers has completed a remarkable 75.2 percent of his attempts this fall, throwing 11 touchdowns and just two interceptions. Against UCLA, he was 19-for-29 for 260 yards and a career-high four scores.
Defensively, Cal has held each of its last four opponents to less than 100 yards rushing and enters the Arizona contest ranked 10th nationally in total defense (273.6 ypg). Senior LB Wendell Hunter has paced the Bears in tackles three games in a row, while senior DE Ryan Riddle owns a team-high 6.0 quarterback sacks.
The Wildcats lead the all-time series, 11-10-2, but Cal captured the last contest, 42-14 in Berkeley last Oct. 25. The Bears rushed for 327 yards and six scores that afternoon, including 92 yards on 11 carries by J.J. Arrington. Each of the past four games have been played in the Bay Area (1998, 2001-03), with Cal's most recent visit to Tucson coming in 1997 when the Wildcats pulled out a 41-38 double-overtime victory. In fact, the Bears have not won on the road in the series since squeaking out a 23-21 decision in 1991. Overall, 17 of the previous 23 games between the schools have been decided by seven points or less.
A Quick Look at Arizona
Since defeating Northern Arizona, 21-3, in its season opener, Arizona has lost five in a row, including last week's 28-14 decision at Oregon. The Wildcats began the year with four straight home games before playing its last two on the road. Among the contests during the homestand were a pair of close encounters - a 9-7 loss to Big Ten leader Wisconsin and a 20-19 setback to Washington State. Arizona, though, has yet to score more than 21 points in any game and currently ranks 115th out of 117 Division I-A schools in scoring with 14.0 ppg. Mike Bell paces the running attack with 77.0 ypg to rate fifth in the Pac-10 in rushing, while quarterback Kris Heavner has thrown for 827 yards and four touchdowns this year.
Jeff Tedford, California (Fresno State '83), who has orchestrated one of the greatest recent turnarounds in college football during his brief tenure in Berkeley, has led Cal to a 19-12 mark. After taking over as the program's 32nd head coach in December 2001, he transformed Cal from a 1-10 team in 2001 to a 7-5 club in `02 and claimed Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors. Last fall, Tedford directed the Bears to an 8-6 mark and the school's first bowl win - 52-49 over Virginia Tech in the Insight Bowl - in 10 years. He began his coaching career in 1989 as an offensive assistant with the CFL's Calgary Stampeders. In 1992, he returned to his alma mater, Fresno State, as quarterback coach. A year later, he was elevated to offensive coordinator, a position he held through 1997. Tedford then served four seasons as offensive coordinator at Oregon, helping the Ducks to a combined 38-10 record and a Pac-10 title in 2001. A native of Downey, Calif., Tedford was a record-setting quarterback as a player at Fresno State, graduating with a degree in physical education in 1983.
Mike Stoops, Arizona (Iowa `86) is in his first season as head coach of the Wildcats. Prior to his hiring in Tucson, he was the defensive coordinator to brother Bob Stoops at Oklahoma from 1999-2003. A two-time first team All-Big Ten safety for Iowa (1983-84), Stoops' first coaching job was as a Hawkeye graduate assistant from 1986-87. He was a volunteer assistant for the Hawkeyes' linebackers and defensive backs (1988-91) before becoming Kansas State's defensive ends coach (1992-95). Stoops was promoted to co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach at KSU before joining the Oklahoma program.
IKON Office Solutions Play of the Week
Each week throughout the 2004 football season, IKON Office Solutions salutes the Golden Bear Play of the Week. Against UCLA, TE Garrett Cross caught a diving, over-the-shoulder 26-yard pass from QB Aaron Rodgers with 17 seconds left in the first half to give the Bears the lead for good at 21-14.
The Times Player of the Game
Each week throughout the 2004 football season, the Contra Costa Times will recognize the Cal Player of the Game. Against UCLA, TB J.J. Arrington rushed 29 times for a career-high 205 yards - tied for the ninth biggest day in Cal history.
Golden Bear Game Notes
Berkeley's Big Three Proves Too Much for UCLA, as Nationally No. 7 Ranked Bears Roll up 550 Yards in 45-28 Homecoming Win
Berkeley's Big Three--running back J.J. Arrington, quarterback Aaron Rodgers and wide receiver Geoff McArthur--staged virtuoso performances in Saturday's 45-28 triumph over cross-state rival UCLA at Memorial Stadium. Steamrolling the Bruins for 550 yards in total offense, the Golden Bears zoomed out to the school's best start (4-1) since 1998. Much of the kudos can go to triumvirate of Arrington, Rodgers and McArthur, who simply willed the Bears to victory. Arrington darted his way to a career-high 205 yards and two touchdowns on 29 carries. Rodgers, coming off his unworldly 29-of-34, 267-yard dissection of No. 1 USC, completed 19-of-29 passes for 260 yards and a career-best four touchdowns against the Bruins. And McArthur, his rib muscle injury that hindered him in Cal's first two games now a distant memory, uncorked a vintage effort with nine catches for 163 yards and two TDs vs. UCLA. He and Rodgers collaborated on an 80-yard TD pass early in the fourth quarter that split the game asunder at 35-14. The 80-yard scoring toss was the longest pass play in both players' careers, surpassing a Rodgers-to-McArthur touchdown against Washington last year that spanned 79 yards.
Arrington Rushes for 5th Consecutive 100-Yard Game, Breaking All-Time Cal Record Set by the Legendary Chuck Muncie in 1975
Perhaps J.J. Arrington is no longer Cal's little secret. There is no denying his gargantuan rushing statistics this year, and a national television audience saw the Bear back electrify a crowd of nearly 70,000 in Berkeley last Saturday with a 205-yard ball-carrying clinic that would rival any running back in America. His 205-yard performance, which ties Tyrone Edwards for the ninth-best single-game total in school history, was the fifth consecutive game that Arrington has posted at least 100 yards on the ground. And that's a Cal all-time record, surpassing the old mark of four straight games by the legendary Chuck Muncie, who set the standard twice during the 1975 season.
J.J. Gaining 7.53 Yards Per Carry as Pac-10's No. 1 Rusher
with 783 Yards and 9 TDs in 1st 5 Games of 2004
Adimchinobe who? Last year, first team All-Pac-10 tailback Adimchinobe Echemandu finished second in the conference rushing race with 1,195 yards and 13 touchdowns. One would think his departure to the NFL this year would have left a large void in the Bears' ground game. Not so. In fact, J.J. Arrington seems intent on making his senior year even more eventful that Echemandu's was. Thus far, the 5-11, 210-pound back has flattened Cal's first five opponents for 783 yards and nine touchdowns on only 104 carries, including breathtaking runs of 89 (at Air Force) and 69 (vs. NMSU) yards. He enters the Arizona game ranked fourth in the nation in rushing (155.6 ypg), stands fifth in scoring (10.8 ppg) and eighth in all-purpose (169.8 ypg). He bolted for 181 yards and three TDs on 16 carries at Air Force Sept. 4--the second most rushing yards in a season opener in Cal history--and for encore performances, has barreled for 177 yards and three TDs vs. New Mexico State, 108 yards and one TD at Oregon State, 112 yards at USC (the first back to rush for 100 vs. the Trojans in 14 games) and 205 and two TDs vs. UCLA. His 7.53 yards-per-carry average leads the Pac-10 and ranks second nationally behind Auburn's Ronnie Brown, the NCAA's No. 40 rusher with 536 yards on 69 carries for a 7.77 ypc average.
Arrington Now Owns 4 of Top 23 Rushing Efforts in Cal History; 1st Bear to Run for 3 TDs in Back-to-Back Games Since 1993
Although he's only played in 18 games and made seven starts in his brief Cal career, J.J. Arrington certainly has made his mark. He's already rushed for 100 yards or more seven times in his career, and owns four of the Top 23 all-time single game rushing efforts in Golden Bear history--tying Russell White for the most spots among the Top 23. Arrington, who transferred to Cal from College of the Canyons in Southern California last year, has been the author of rushing outbursts of 205 (tied for 9th, vs. UCLA), 185 (15th, vs. Washington, 2003), 181 (20th, at Air Force, 2004) and 177 (22nd, vs. New Mexico State, 2004) yards. His 205-yard outburst last weekend marks the third time this season and fourth time in his career that Arrington has rushed for at least 170 yards in a game. By rushing for three touchdowns in each of his first two 2004 contests, J.J. also became the first Bear to accomplish that feat in back-to-back games since Lindsey Chapman turned the trick during the 1993 season. With nine scores to date, Arrington is more than halfway to the school's record for rushing TDs in a season (14), held by both White (1991) and Chapman. Interestingly, in his last six starts at tailback, Arrington is averaging 161.3 yards per carry in gaining a robust 968 yards and 10 touchdowns on 118 carries. Those starts occurred against Washington (54-7) last year, and all five games this season, contests in which Cal has outscored its opponents by a whopping 262-93 count.
Churning Out 518.2 Yards & 41.6 Points Per Outing, Bears Rank
1st in Total Offense & 3rd in Scoring in NCAA Division I-A
Scoring at least 40 points four times this year--and eight times in the last 11 games dating back to 2003--California's lethal offense enters the Arizona game with some robust statistics for the season. Nationally, head coach Jeff Tedford's offense ranks first in both passing efficiency (189.10) and total offense (518.2), third in scoring (41.6) and ninth in rushing (256.2). The Bears' 518.2 yards-per-game average is almost 60 yards above the school's all-time single season record of 458.5, set 29 years ago by the Chuck Muncie-led team of 1975.
Balancing Act: Cal Offense Averages 262 Passing, 256 Rushing
One of the nation's most balanced offenses will be on display in Tucson this Saturday as Cal's multi-pronged attack--the brainchild of head coach Jeff Tedford--spews out a Pac-10 best 256.2 yards per game and 6.1 yards per attempt on the ground, while also averaging 262.0 yards through the air. With the conference's No. 1 rusher J.J. Arrington (156.6 ypg) and true freshman Marshawn Lynch (47.4 ypg, 11th in Pac-10) paving the way with averages of 7.5 and 8.2 yards per carry, respectively, the Bears have early visions of repeating as Pac-10 rushing leaders in 2004. And California's passing game is also in good hands with junior Aaron Rodgers, who ranks third by an eyelash to Toledo's Bruce Gradowski (181.5) and Purdue's Kyle Orton (181.4) in national passing efficiency (181.11), completing 75.2 percent of his passes (91-of-121) for 1,141 yards, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Unsung Cal Defense Taking its Place Among NCAA's Finest, Ranks 10th in Total Defense, 24th in Scoring Defense Nationally
Under coordinator Bob Gregory, the Cal defense emerged last year as one of the Pac-10's finest units by season's end. Featuring nine new starters, that 2003 defense endured early-season growing pains and gained valuable experience that has served this year's unit well. After being gouged for 423.0 yards and 26.9 points per game in their first seven contests last year, the Bears rose up and held opponents to a mere 312.7 yards and 17.3 points per outing in the final six games of the regular season. Now, nine starters--linemen Lorenzo Alexander and Tosh Lupoi (albeit injured), linebackers Wendell Hunter, Joe Maningo and Francis Blay-Miezah, and defensive backs Donnie McCleskey, Ryan Gutierrez, Harrison Smith and Daymeion Hughes--return from that 2003 defense. Since a wobbly first half at Air Force in the opener, Gregory's defensive unit has shined this year. Allowing only 11 TDs in five games, the Bear hitmen have parcelled out a Pac-10 best 273.6 yards and 17.2 points per game in 2004, which ranks 10th and 24th, respectively, among NCAA Division I-A schools. Listed below is the night-and-day tale of Cal's defense, a unit that has yielded 128.1 less yards and 9.6 less points per game in their last 11 regular-season games dating back to last year, compared to their previous seven regular-season.
Bears' Rush Defense Has Held Last 4 Foes Under 100 Yards
Cal's conference-leading rush defense has suffocated 2004 opponents to the tune of only 86.0 yards per game (9th in NCAA) and 2.5 yards per carry. UCLA rushed for only 79 yards on 30 attempts Saturday, marking the fourth straight Cal opponent not to reach the 100-yard barrier.
Dating Back to 2003, California Has Averaged 41.1 Points & 514.5 Yards in Winning 7 of 8 and 9 of its Last 11 Games
Picking up where it left off last season, California's dismantling its four 2004 victims (Air Force, New Mexico State, Oregon State, UCLA) by a combined 181-63 margin only adds more juice to the rising reputation of Jeff Tedford and his Bears. One of the hottest teams in college football dating back to last year, Cal has cashed in victories in seven of its last eight games and nine of its last 11 contests. During that stretch--a period in which they have mowed down the likes of Virginia Tech (52-49), Washington (54-7), Arizona State (51-22) and Air Force (56-14)--the Good News Bears have averaged 41.1 points and 514.5 yards.
All-American Geoff McArthur Needs Only 58 Yards Saturday to Become California's Career Receiving Yardage Leader
Rebounding from an abdominal strain in the early season that impacted his 2004 numbers, All-American wide receiver Geoff McArthur has looked like his old self the past two games. He chased down seven catches for 101 yards and one TD at USC Oct. 9 and then erupted for nine receptions, 163 yards and two touchdowns vs. UCLA Saturday, including a dazzling 80-yard scoring pass from Rodgers that punctuated the Bears' win in the final quarter. McArthur, who led the nation in receiving yards (1,779 yards on 91 catches) while at Palisades High School, posted the finest all-around receiving statistics in the Pac-10 last year with 85 grabs for 1,504 yards and 10 TDs. His 1,504 yards were a school record, while his 85 catches were the second most in Cal annals. Named a second team All-American last season--and 2004 preseason first team All-American by Sports Illustrated--he ended his remarkable run by breaking the Cal single-season record for most receptions with 16 for 245 yards and two TDs in the Bears' 28-16 romp over Stanford in the 2003 Big Game. Had it not been for a freak injury (fractured arm) in practice Dec. 21, McArthur would have shattered the Pac-10 season receiving yardage record during the Insight Bowl. He fell 16 yards shy of Johnnie Morton's 10-year-old mark of 1,520 yards. Entering Week 6 of the 2004 season, McArthur (168 for 2,674 yards) needs only 58 yards Saturday to surpass Bobby Shaw (2731, 1994-97) and become the all-time Cal leader. He also needs only 28 catches to set Cal's career reception record for a career (Dameane Douglas, 195, 1995-98).
Ranking No. 3 Nationally in Pass Efficiency, Rodgers Netting 273.7 Yards Per Game in Last 10 Contests Dating Back to '03
Complementing a dominant ground game thus far in 2004, Aaron Rodgers has served as a highly-efficient field general for Cal. The junior signal-caller has completed 75.2 percent of his passes for 1,141 yards, while throwing 11 touchdowns and two interceptions. Those numbers compute to a 181.11 passing efficiency rating, No. 3 in the nation. Dating back to last year, he owns an 11-4 career record as the Bears' starting quarterback and has connected on 71.3 percent (196-of-275) of his attempts in averaging 273.7 passing yards with 23 TDs and only four interceptions in his last 10 games. His numbers are even better over the last eight games: 72.6 percent (164-of-226), 280.3 ypg, 19 TDs, 3 INTs. Despite starting only 15 games and playing in 18 contests in his brief Cal tenure, Rodgers is already perched in ninth place on the school's career total offense chart with 4,285 yards. He has eclipsed such legends as Chuck Muncie (3,205 yards), Russell White (3,381), Joe Roth (3,447), Steve Bartkowski (3,938) and Craig Morton (4,130) in the process.
Rodgers' 75.2 Completion Percentage (91-of-121) Threatens NCAA, Pacific-10 Conference Single-Season Marks
By connecting on 75.2 percent of his passes (91-for-121) thus far in 2004, Rodgers is on an early pace to challenge both the NCAA and Pac-10 single-season records for completion percentage. The NCAA mark is 73.6 percent (296-of-402) by Daunte Culpepper of Central Florida in 1998, while the Pac-10 standard is held by a fellow Golden Bear, Rich Campbell, who completed 70.7 percent of his attempts (193-of-273) in 1980.
Cal QB Also Eyes Pac-10 Career INT Percentage Mark
Aaron Rodgers, benefiting under the tutelage of Jeff Tedford and his QB legacy of developing five previous NFL first-round draft picks, tied a school record with five 300-yard passing games and set a Cal record for lowest interception percentage (1.43%) last fall. But most importantly, he inherited a 1-3 team and led it to a 7-3 record as the Bears' starting quarterback. Four of his 300-yard efforts came in the final five games of the season, capped by a classic performance that won him the Offensive MVP Award in the Insight Bowl. In arguably the finest passing display in Cal bowl history, Rodgers set school bowl records for yards and completion percentage in slicing up favored Virginia Tech for 394 yards and two TDs on 27-of-35 passing with no interceptions, while also rushing for 30 yards and two more scores. And he did all that on an injured left knee that would require surgery after the season. Rodgers, who entered his junior year having been named the preseason 2004 Pac-10 Player of the Year by Athlon Sports, has already developed a reputation for mistake-free football. Dating back to his only season at Butte College (28 TDs, 4 INTs in 2002), Rodgers has thrown 58 touchdown passes and only 11 interceptions combined over the past two-plus years (including 2004). Despite throwing two picks at Oregon State that snapped a 102-attempt streak without an interception, his current career interception percentage is a microscopic 1.49 (7 INT, 470 attempts). That's a figure that is well below the Pac-10 career mark of 2.59 (13 INT, 501 att.) set by USC's Paul McDonald in 1976-79 and the Cal record of 2.74 (26 INTs, 950 att.) by Pat Barnes in 1993-96. The NCAA career record for interception percentage, minimum 1,050 attempts, is 2.12 by Jeff Kingsbury of Texas Tech, who threw 40 picks in 1,883 attempts from 1999-2002. In the category 600-1,049 attempts in a career, the record holder is Billy Volek of Fresno State, who was intercepted 12 times in 934 attempts from 1997-99. And who was Volek's offensive coordinator in 1997? A guy named Tedford.
On the Mend, All-Pac-10 DB McCleskey (Shoulder) Plays His Best Game of the Season with 6 Tackles, 1 Sack, 1 FR vs. UCLA
If anyone truly epitomizes the resurgence of Cal football, it is defensive sparkplug Donnie McCleskey. Only a sophomore last year, the diminutive (5-10, 180) rover back established himself as one of the finest DBs in the nation, earning first team All-Pac-10 honors and breaking the school record for tackles (102) by a defensive back. McCleskey has added 15 pounds of muscle to his 5-10 frame during the offseason--now weighing in at 195 pounds--and has set his sights on becoming only the second defensive back in Cal history to win first team All-Pac-10 notice twice in a career (Ray Youngblood, 1970-71). A disruptive force in the secondary, he led all Pac-10 DBs in total tackles, sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (12 for 49 yards) last season and registered the most tackles by a Cal player in 10 years (LB Jerrott Willard, 147 in 1993). His teammates paid perhaps the greatest tribute when they voted him the team's Defensive MVP award--an honor rarely given to a true sophomore. After registering nine tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss and one sack in Cal's first two games this year, McCleskey was forced to sit out the Oct. 2 win at Oregon State due to a shoulder injury. He returned to the lineup at USC, managing only one tackle, but enjoyed his best 2004 game to date last Saturday. He flew around the secondary to post six tackles, one sack, one pass break up and fumble recovery in the Bears' 45-28 win over UCLA. If healthy, McCleskey continues to be a strong candidate to receive serious consideration for two of the highest honors a player at his position can receive, as he appears on the "watch list" of both the Bronko Nagurski Award (Nation's Best Defensive Player) and Jim Thorpe Award (Nation's Best Defensive Back).
Alexander the Great: California's Defensive Tackle Rebounds from Elbow Injury to Post 3 Tackles for Loss vs. Bruins
If there was any doubt that Lorenzo Alexander would some day be a football lineman, an early childhood story would have dispelled any doubt. At age eight, the precocious Alexander weighed in at 140 pounds--that's right, 140 pounds! His mother took him to sign up for Pop Warner football, and the program officials said her young son would have to play with the 12-year-olds. His mom, Stephanie Moore, would have none of it, as she felt Lorenzo would get hurt. Her son cried all the way home. But some 13 years later, it's Lorenzo who's puttin' the hurt on people. Ever since he joined the Bears out of Berkeley's St. Mary's High School, Alexander has flirted with greatness. As a rookie, he earned Pac-10 All-Freshman Team notice. As a sophomore, he stuffed the run with 25 tackles, one fumble recovery and one sack in gaining All-Pac-10 honorable mention. As a junior last year, Alexander again earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention. While his position is not conducive for big stats--he's mustered 13 tackles and three tackles for loss this year--those football people in the know are well aware that Cal's king-sized nose tackle (6-3, 300 pounds) represents the immovable object that, game in and game out, creates havoc for opposing teams. After missing much of the second half of the USC game due to an elbow injury, Alexander responded with four tackles and three tackles for losses of eight yards against UCLA.
Tedford Boasts 7-1 Mark in State of Arizona, Including 7 Straight Wins
The dry and sunny climate of Arizona has certainly been a welcome sight for Cal head coach Jeff Tedford through the years, as he's been associated with visiting teams that have posted a 7-1 all-time record in the state. As offensive coordinator for the Oregon Ducks, his first trip to Arizona resulted in a 38-3 loss to the University of Arizona Wildcats in Tucson in 1998. Since then, however, he's coached on clubs that have won seven straight in the desert, averaging a whopping 51.3 points per game in those victories. Tedford's most recent venture into the state came at the 2003 Insight Bowl Dec. 26, when his Golden Bears beat favored Virginia Tech in a 52-49 slugfest.
Cal, Arizona Have Split Last 15 Games, With 12 Decided by 7 Points or Less
When Cal and Arizona meet on the gridiron, it's almost a sure bet that the game's outcome will come down to the final minutes. Twelve of the last 15 meetings between the schools have been decided by seven points or less, including overtime games in 1996 and '97, and a 23-23 tie in 1987. The only exception has been the last three years at California Memorial Stadium, where the Wildcats have ambushed the Bears twice, winning 38-24 in 2001 and 52-41 in 2002, and Cal has prevailed, 42-14 last fall. Last year's rout was Cal's first win over Arizona in seven years. The '96 contest remains the longest in Cal history and featured a remarkable 503-yard, eight-touchdown display by quarterback Pat Barnes. In '97, Arizona prevailed in a 41-38, triple-overtime thriller in Tucson. Arizona and Cal have been dead even in their last 15 meetings, with each posting a 7-7-1 record.
Tucson Products Gould, Robertson Headline Bears With Arizona Ties
California running back coach Ron Gould and senior backup quarterback Reggie Robertson grew up in the shadow of the University of Arizona campus. Gould was born in Tucson and prepped at Santa Rita High School before becoming a standout defensive back at Scottsdale Community College in 1984-85. Robertson, a Nashville, Tenn. Native, also spent his childhood in Tucson, where he enjoyed a record-setting career at Saguaro High School. During his prep tenure, he passed for 7,106 yards in his career--second best in state history--and established the city's single-season passing record as a senior with 2,933 yards. Robertson, who started the Bears' first four games last year, must be regarded as one of the finest backup QBs in the nation. Ranked second in the Pac-10 in passing efficiency (154.2) last year, he enjoyed first-rate games against Kansas State (16-of-29, 257 yds.) and Colorado State (23-of-35, 248 yards), throwing for three touchdowns in both 2003 contests. Yet, perhaps his finest hour as a Golden Bear came in relief against nationally No. 3 ranked USC last year, when he was summoned in the second half to replace a banged-up Aaron Rodgers, and promptly connected on nine of 12 attempts for 109 yards and one TD in sealing a 34-31 Cal win in triple overtime on Oct. 4. He has been used sparingly thus far this fall, posting an astronomical passing efficiency rating of 277.20 with three completions in five attempts for 90 yards and one TD. Besides Gould and Robertson, Cal features one other product from the state of Arizona--second-string offensive tackle Derek Joyce, who grew up in Scottsdale, Ariz. and was all-state at Paradise Valley High School.
Wildcats List 18 Players with Northern California Connections
Eighteen Wildcats with Northern California will face the Golden Bears in Tucson this weekend, headed by offensive tackle Tanner Bell (Castroville, No. Monterey County HS), defensive end Copeland Bryan (San Jose, Bellarmine Prep) and linebacker Kirk Johnson (Oakland, Skyline HS). Other Northern California products include: linebackers Andre Torrey (San Francisco, Alameda HS), Dane Krogstad (Guerneville, El Molino HS), Randy Sims (San Francisco, San Francisco City College) and Marquell Stinson (Tulare, Western HS), offensive linemen John Abramo (Los Altos Hills, St. Francis HS) and Erick Levitre (Ben Lomand, San Lorenzo Valley HS), wide receivers Eric Sheehan (Atherton, Woodside HS), Ryan Eidson (Moraga, De La Salle HS) and Garon McHone (Suisun, Justin-Siena HS), tight ends Matthew Richards (Cupertino, St. Francis HS) and Travis Bell (Castroville, No. Monterey County HS), defensive backs Keil McDonald (Milpitas, Sacramento City College) and Sam Stephenson (San Ramon, California HS), and running back Chris Henry (Stockton, Edison HS). In addition, cornerback Luis Nunez, who hails from San Diego and Southwestern City College, is the son of Luis Nunez, Sr., a Cal graduate who now serves as a physician's assistant.
Don't Mess With Texas? Arizona Features 27 Players from Lone Star State
Whether it's the close proximity or Mike Stoops previous recruiting ground when he was an Oklahoma coach, the Arizona Wildcats clearly have targeted the Lone Star State as fertile recruiting ground. According to the U of A's media guide, no less than 27 Wildcat players hail from the state of Texas, including seven from the city of Houston. Among the noteworthy Texans are starting quarterback Kris Heavner, who attended Lyndon B. Johnson High School in Johnson City, and regular wide receivers Lance Relford (Houston's Booker T. Washington HS) and Biren Ealy (Houston's Cypress Falls HS).
Interesting Backgrounds Abound for Arizona's New Coaching Staff
The new Arizona football coaching staff offers many interesting backgrounds, starting with the Stoops brothers. Mike Stoops, the former defensive coordinator under brother Bob Stoops at Oklahoma, has borrowed a page from his older brother by hiring his other brother Mark Stoops--former DB coach at University of Miami (where the Hurricanes were 35-3 from 2001-03)--as his defensive coordinator at Arizona. Meanwhile, Stoops' tight end coach is Steve Spurrier, Jr., who served under his father (Steve Spurrier) with the Washington Redskins in 2002-03. And Mike Tuiasosopo, former Berkeley High School head coach (1993-95) and uncle of current Raiders' QB Marques Tuiasosopo, coaches the Wildcats' defensive tackles.
At the midseason point, Cal still dominates the Pac-10 team rankings. The Bears rank No. 1 in nine of the listed 30 team statisitcal categories in this week's Pac-10 release: total offense, total defense, scoring offense, rushing offense, rushing defense, pass efficiency, fewest opponents first downs, third down conversions, time of possession ...The Bears are outscoring their opponents by a 101-28 margin in the second half this year, as Cal's defense has allowed one touchdown in the third quarter (at USC) in 2004...Cal has scored 28 points or more in 22 of 31 games of the Tedford Era; prior to Tedford taking over the program in 2002, the Bears had reached the 28-point plateau only 10 times in their previous 48 contests...J.J. Arrington's 29 carries vs. UCLA Saturday was a career-high...Arrington is currently on pace to rush for 1,723 yards in an 11-game season, which would shatter the current school record of 1,460 yards, set by Chuck Muncie in 1975...Arrington's 7.53 ypc average this season also stands slightly ahead of the Cal single season mark of 7.3, set by another Bear legend, Jackie Jensen, in 1948....With his one sack Saturday, Donnie McCleskey now has bagged 7.5 sacks from his defensive back position during his Cal career...Cal's rising defense held UCLA to a 0-for-7 figure in third-down conversions entering the fourth quarter Saturday. The Bruins' offense ended 3-for-13 in third-down chances for the game...Another Cal player to come up huge Saturday was sophomore DT Brandon Mebane (pronounced MEE-bane). Filling in for Tom Sverchek, who was shifted to defensive end when Steve Kelly injured his knee in practice prior to the USC game, Mebane was the Bears' second-leading tackler vs. UCLA with six stops, tying Lorenzo Alexnander for team honors with three tackles for losses of nine yards....Geoff McArthur's 163 yards were the fourth most in his illustrious career. It also gave him nine 100-yard games in his career, moving him into sole possession of second place for 100-yard receiving games (Bobby Shaw leads with 11 from 1994-97)...With two TD catches Saturday, McArthur also climbed into fourth place with 16 career TD receptions...In limited action, freshman Marshawn Lynch accounted for 68 yards and one touchdown vs. UCLA. He rushed for 41 yards on five carries, including an inspiring 42-yard run from scrimmage, and also caught a 27-yard TD pass from Rodgers in the third quarter...This Saturday's game snaps a three-game streak in which the Cal-Arizona series has been staged in Berkeley. Arizona has not played Cal in Tucson since 1997...While Tucson is 2,020 feet above sea level, elevation should not be a factor for the Bears this weekend. Cal faced much greater altitude at Air Force in the 2004 opener, and Tedford's club performed well (56-14 win) in Colorado Springs' 6,008-feet elevation.... The Wildcats have won only one Pac-10 home game in the last three-plus seasons (27-22 over Washington last Nov. 22)...U of A running back Mike Bell rumbled for 182 yards on 19 carries, including a 49-yard TD jaunt, in Arizona's 42-14 loss to Cal at Berkeley last year. It was the second best rushing day of Bell's career...However, Cal's senior Adimchinobe Echemandu one-upped Bell, rushing for a career-high 201 yards on 30 carries in last year's game....The Bears passed for a season-low 17 attempts in the 2003 game, with Rodgers completing nine of 16 passes for 92 yards against the Wildcats... All six Cal touchdowns in last year's Arizona game were scored on the ground, the most rushing TDs in a game by a Bear team in nine seasons. Echemandu (3) and J.J. Arrington (2) combined for five of those scores. The 2004 Bears surpassed that rushing total in this year's opener at Air Force, tallying seven TDs on the ground against the Falcons...Defensively, Cal free safety Ryan Gutierrez (13 tackles) and LB Joe Maningo (51-yard interception return of a Kris Heavner pass) were last year's stars in the win over Arizona...Mike Stoops is the only first-year head coach on Cal's regular season schedule this year. Last year, the Bears were 2-3 vs. first-year head coaches, beating Washington's Keith Gilbertson (54-7) and Arizona's interim head coach Mike Hankwitz (42-14) at Berkeley, but losing to Utah's Urban Meyer (31-24), Oregon State's Mike Riley (35-21) and UCLA's Karl Dorrell (23-20 OT) on the road...Noteworthy alumni of the University of Arizona include the late U.S. Congressman Morris KI. Udahll, Anheuser Busch CEO August Busch III and Emmy Award-winning actor/comedian Garry Shandling.