Oct. 31, 2004
Game No. 8: Oregon Ducks (5-3, 4-1 Pac-10) at
California Golden Bears (6-1, 4-1 Pac-10)
Date: Saturday, Nov. 6, Memorial Stadium
(67,537 - Momentum Turf), Berkeley, CA
Kickoff: 12:30 p.m.
Radio: KGO Radio (810 AM) with Joe Starkey, Mike Pawlawski, Roxy Bernstein and Lee Grosscup
Television: ABC with Keith Jackson, Dan Fouts and Todd Harris
Attendance: 58,000 (est.)
This Week's Game
In a battle of two teams deadlocked in second place in the Pac-10 standings with 4-1 league records, California (#4 Associated Press/#6 ESPN/USA Today) hosts Oregon at 12:30 p.m. Saturday in Memorial Stadium.
The Golden Bears, who jumped three spots to fourth in this week's AP poll, enter the contest with their highest ranking since they were fourth nationally in October 1952.
At 6-1 overall and off to its best start in 13 years, Cal is riding the momentum of back-to-back shutouts - a 38-0 blanking at Arizona Oct. 23 and a 27-0 whitewash over Arizona State this past weekend. Cal last kept consecutive opponents off the scoreboard in 1968, when the "Bear Minimum" defense topped Colorado (10-0) and San Jose State (46-0).
In fact, this season's defensive unit - although often overshadowed by Cal's potent offense - is proving to be one of the most accomplished groups in school history. To date, the Bears are allowing only 12.3 ppg - a figure that ranks fourth in Division I-A - while Cal's total defense rates 14th in the country, surrendering just 282.29 ypg.
In addition, the Bears have not allowed a point in their opponents' last four trips inside the red zone and just one touchdown (UCLA) in the last seven visits, dating back to the USC game.
Senior DE Ryan Riddle already has 11.5 tackles for loss this year, including eight sacks, while senior LB Wendell Hunter - the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week Oct. 25 - has led or tied for the Cal tackle lead in each of the Bears' past five games.
In the defensive backfield, sophomore CB Tim Mixon's 58-yard interception return vs. ASU, which handed Cal a 20-0 third-quarter lead, dealt a fatal blow to the Sun Devils, while junior CB Harrison Smith has broken up a team-high 9 passes.
On the offensive side, senior TB J.J. Arrington continued his remarkable surge up the Golden Bear rushing list with a 188-yard performance against Arizona State. He has rambled for at least 100 yards in all seven games this year - a school-record streak - and his total of 1,106 yards already places him fifth on Cal's single-season list. Ninety more yards will vault him into second place behind only Chuck Muncie, who set the school record with 1,460 yards in 1975.
QB Aaron Rodgers, No. 1 in the Pac-10 in passing efficiency with a 167.76 rating, has completed 71.2 percent of his attempts this fall, throwing 15 TDs and just four interceptions. With 4,444 yards through the air, he is now 10th on Cal's career chart, needing 68 more yards to pass No. 9 Craig Morton (4,501, 1962-64).
The Bears lead the all-time series, 35-29-2, but Oregon has won the last seven match-ups. Cal's last victory came in 1993, when the 15th-ranked Bears rallied from a 30-0 deficit to eke out a 42-41 victory in Berkeley - a feat that ties for the third largest lead overcome in NCAA history. Last fall, the Bears held a 17-7 advantage at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, before the Ducks rallied for two touchdowns in the final 4:19, the second coming with 47 seconds to play.
A Quick Look at Oregon
Since opening the 2004 season 1-3, Oregon has won four consecutive games to move into a tie for second place in the Pac-10 standings with Cal. QB Kellen Clemens, who has thrown for 2,012 yards and 14 touchdowns, leads the league in total offense, averaging 271.63 ypg. His biggest afternoon came in a 41-38 victory at Washington State, when he was 36-for-55 for 437 yards and three scores. Three receivers are averaging at least 3.5 catches per game - Demetrius Williams (5.38 cpg), Terrence Whitehead (4.25) and Tim Day (3.50). Whitehead, who is coming off a 25-carry, 122-yard performance at Washington, ranks third in the Pac-10 and 25th nationally in rushing with an average of 102.38 ypg. Defensively, the Ducks are surrendering only 101.25 ypg on the ground - third-best in the conference.
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 21-12 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 Bellotti, Oregon (UC Davis `73) is in 10th season at the helm of the Oregon program and has an 80-37 record with the Ducks. A Bay Area native, Bellotti starred at tight end and wide receiver for UC Davis. He began his coaching career on the Aggies' junior varsity staff (1973-74) before becoming the JV head coach (1975-76). He was offensive coordinator at Cal State Hayward (1977-78, 1980-83) and Weber State (1979) before taking the head coaching job at Chico State (1984-88), where he was 21-25-2 with the Wildcats. Bellotti's tenure at Oregon began in 1989 as the Ducks offensive coordinator until his hiring as head coach in February 1995.
Saturday is High School Band Day at Memorial Stadium. Fans are invited to take part in interactive fun and games as the MTVU Tour hits FunZone. Activities at Maxwell Family Field begin at 10 a.m.
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 Arizona State, CB Tim Mixon returned a third-quarter interception 58 yards for a touchdown to give the Bears a 20-0 lead.
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 Arizona State, DE Ryan Riddle had a five-yard sack, forced one fumble and recovered another as the Bears shut out the Devils.
Golden Bear Notes
Tedford's Bears (6-1) Off to Their Best Start Since 1991; This Week's No. 4 National Ranking the Highest at Cal in 52 Years
Jeff Tedford and his California football team are breathing rarified air these days. By virtue of Saturday's rousing victory over No. 20 ranked Arizona State in Berkeley, the Bears have improved their 2004 ledger to 6-1--the best start by the school since 1991, when Bruce Snyder's club finished 10-2, ranked eighth in the final Associate Press poll and clobbered Clemson, 37-13, in the Citrus Bowl. And Sunday the Bears learned that they are now perched at No. 4 in the AP poll, the school's highest national ranking since Pappy Waldorf's 1952 drew a No. 4 ranking in the AP poll after the fifth week of the season. Entering this weekend's Oregon skirmish, Cal is outscoring its opponents by nearly four touchdowns per game (26.7 ppg) and outgaining its foes by more than the length of a football field (110.4 ypg).
Goose Eggs Deluxe: Cal Defense Spins 2nd Straight Shutout;
27-0 Win vs. ASU Marks Bears' 1st Back-to-Back SHOs in 36 Yrs.
The State of Arizona could not muster a single point against Cal's suffocating defense this season. In consecutive weeks, the Bears hung shutout victories on Arizona (38-0) and Arizona State (27-0) in Pac-10 games that could go a long way in establishing California as a legitimate national title contender. It marked the first time since 1968 that the Golden Bears blanked back-to-back opponents (10-0 vs. Colorado and 46-0 vs. San Jose State), and was the first time Cal posted consecutive conference shutouts since 1948 (42-0 vs. Oregon State and 21-0 at Washington). With linebackers Wendell Hunter and Joe Maningo both kniving inside for two sacks apiece, and defensive end Ryan Riddle adding a sack, forced fumble and recovered fumble, the Bears' Big D held Andrew Walter and Arizona State's explosive offense to four first downs in the first half. The Sun Devils, in fact, failed to even cross midfield before intermission.
Gregory's Unheralded Unit Taking its Place Among NCAA's Finest; Ranks 4th in Scoring Defense, 14th in Total Defense
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. 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 group. Since a wobbly first half at Air Force in the opener, Gregory's defensive unit has shined this year. Allowing only 11 TDs in seven games, the Bear hitmen have parcelled out 12.3 points and 282.3 yards per game in 2004, which rank fourth and 14th, respectively, among NCAA Division I-A schools. Listed below is the night-and-day tale of Cal's defense, a unit that has yielded 126.7 less yards and 12.3 less points per game in its last 13 regular-season games dating back to last year, compared to the previous seven regular-season contests (the opening seven games of 2003).
A Far Cry From 2001: Bears Defense Shaves Off 26.9 Points & 164 Yards From Per-Game Yields of That 1-10 Team
The arrival of Bob Gregory--and a talented staff that includes Ken Delgado, J.D. Williams and Justin Wilcox--has transformed Cal's defense into one of the nation's finest. To truly appreciate the turn-around, simply peel back the pages of time to the Year 2001. That last Tom Holmoe-coached team was fleeced for 39.2 points and 446.3 yards per game, both low-water marks in the Pac-10 that season. Every year since, the Gregory-directed group has improved their standing in the league. And thus far in 2004, the Cal defense ranks second to No. 1 USC in the Pac-10 in both total defense (28.2.3 ypg) and scoring defense (12.3 ppg). If Cal were to finish the campaign as the Pac-10 leader in total defense, it would mark only the second time they have claimed that feat since 1968 (the Bears also led the conference in 1999 at 352.6 ypg). One key statistic that has aided Cal's resurgent defense this year is third-down conversions. In their past three games vs. UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State, Gregory's men have held the opposition to a 23.3% success rate in third-down conversions (10-for-43). For the season, the Bears rank fourth in the Pac-10 in that category at 32.1% (34-for-106).
Bears Looking to Lead Pac-10 in Rush Defense for 1st Time Since `68; ASU Becomes 1st to Run for 100 vs. Cal in 6 Games
Cal's conference-leading rush defense has suffocated 2004 opponents for only 91.6 yards per game (7th in NCAA) and 2.8 yards per carry. Arizona State finished with 125 yards rushing, marking the first time in the last six games a Cal opponent has topped the century mark rushing. The Bears have produced stop jobs of 37 yards vs. New Mexico State, 41 at USC and 79 vs. UCLA this fall. Cal, which has allowed only 459 yards on 173 carries over the past six games--an average of 76.5 yards per game and 2.6 yards per carry--is vying to become the first Bear offense to lead the conference in rush defense in 36 years. The 1968 defense, nicknamed the "Bear Minimum," parcelled out 108.1 rushing yards per game. The 2004 Cal defense has not yielded a rushing touchdown in its last four games and only three ground TDs all season.
Cal's Defense Steals Spotlight Away From Tedford's Offense With 38-0 Win at Arizona, School's 1st Shutout Since 1999
While Cal's high-performance offense features a galaxy of stars such as 2004 All-America candidates Aaron Rodgers, J.J. Arrington and Geoff McArthur, the Golden Bears' defense has demanded "equal time" this season. Taking a backseat to no one, coordinator Bob Gregory's defensive unit was thoroughly dominant at Tucson two weeks ago as it posted the school's first shutout since 1999 (17-0 at UCLA) in a 38-0 whitewash of Arizona. The Bears muzzled the Wildcats for a scant 245 yards, 12 first downs and a 3-for-15 third-down conversion rate. In a memorable third-quarter flurry, end Ryan Riddle, tackle Brandon Mebane and rover Donnie McCleskey batted down passes on three consecutive plays to punctuate a brilliant display of defensive dominance.
Arrington Rushes for 7th Consecutive 100-Yard Game, Extending Cal Record Set by 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, as he's on pace to obliterate Chuck Muncie's school single season rushing record (1,460 in 1975) with his current 158.0 yards-per-game average. Smoking the Memorial Stadium turf for 188 yards and one touchdown on 30 carries against the Sun Devils Saturday, J.J. has now rushed for 100 yards or more in seven consecutive games, extending his school record. Muncie held the previous mark with four straight 100-yard rushing games, which he accomplished on two separate occasions during that 1975 season.
J.J. Gaining 7.0 Yards Per Carry as Pac-10's No. 1 Rusher
with 1,106 Yards and 11 TDs in 1st 7 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 seven opponents for 1,106 yards and 11 touchdowns on only 158 carries, including breathtaking runs of 89 (at Air Force) and 69 (vs. NMSU) yards. He enters the Oregon game ranked fourth in the nation in rushing (158.0 ypg) and stands ninth in both scoring (9.43 ppg) and all-purpose rushing (167.4 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 jetted 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), 205 and two TDs vs. UCLA, 135 at Arizona, and 188 vs. Arizona State. His 7.0 yards-per-carry average leads the Pac-10 and ranks first nationally among the Top 30 rushers.
On Pace to Obliterate Cal's All-Time Single Season Rushing Mark, Arrington Becomes Earliest Bear Ever to Pierce 1,000
The Arrington Express continues to break school records and threaten other long-standing marks. Last weekend, the Bears' gifted tailback cleared the 1,000-yard mark in his seventh game--the earliest any Cal player has ever reached the coveted rushing milestone. Chuck Muncie vaulted the 1,000-yard barrier in his eighth game in 1975, while no other Cal player has cleared the magic number before their 10th contest. Averaging 158.0 yards per game, Arrington enters the Bears' final four regular-season games with a full head of steam that could obliterate Muncie's single season rushing standard of 1,460, set in 1975. At his current pace, Arrington would rush for 1,738 yards this season, not counting an impending bowl appearance. His current 1,106 total already ranks No. 5 on Cal's single season rushing list.
Arrington Can Become 5th Bear to Win Conference Rushing Title, 1st Since Joe Kapp in 1958 If senior tailback J.J. Arrington continues to blaze to a Pac-10 rushing title this season, it would mark the sixth time a Cal player has been crowned the league-rushing champion. Amazingly, it would be the first time a Cal player has claimed the title in 46 years--not since quarterback Joe Kapp rushed for 582 yards to pace the conference in 1958, which was the last season the Golden Bears went to the Rose Bowl.
Arrington Now Owns 5 of Top 25 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 20 games and made nine starts in his brief Cal career, J.J. Arrington certainly has made his mark. He's already rushed for 100 yards or more nine times in his career, and owns five of the Top 25 all-time single game rushing efforts in Golden Bear history--surpassing the Cal record of four, held by Russell White. 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), 188 (16th vs Arizona State), 185 (17th, vs. Washington, 2003), 181 (23rd, at Air Force, 2004) and 177 (25th, vs. New Mexico State, 2004) yards. His 188-yard outburst vs. Arizona State Saturday marked the fourth time this season and fifth 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 11 scores to date, Arrington is only three away from the school's record for rushing TDs in a season (14), held by both White (1991) and Chapman. Interestingly, in his last eight starts at tailback, Arrington is averaging 161.4 yards per carry in gaining a robust 1,291 yards and 12 touchdowns on 172 carries. Those starts occurred against Washington (54-7) last year, and all seven games this season, contests in which Cal has outscored its opponents by a whopping 327-93 count.
All-American Geoff McArthur Owns Career Receiving Record at California with 2,802 Yards, Surpassing Bobby Shaw
Rebounding from an abdominal strain in the early season that has impacted his 2004 numbers, All-American wide receiver Geoff McArthur has begun to look like his old self the past four games. He's snared 25 passes for 402 yards and four TDs during that period, averaging 6.25 receptions and 100.5 yards per contest. The Bear senior made school history two weeks ago in Arizona, as his six-catch, 94-yard effort propelled him past Bobby Shaw (2,731, 1994-97) to claim Cal's all-time receiving yardage record. The new mark was set when McArthur corralled an 11-yard scoring strike from Aaron Rodgers with 11 seconds left before halftime, which gave Cal a 28-0 lead at intermission. He now has 2,802 yards. His recent four-game tear comes on the heels of a phenomenal 2003 season for McArthur, who arguably posted the finest all-around receiving statistics in the Pac-10 with 85 grabs for 1,504 yards and 10 TDs last year. 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 victory 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 8 of the 2004 season, McArthur (177 for 2,802 yards) now needs only 19 catches to set Cal's career reception record, currently held by Dameane Douglas at 195 from 1995-98.
Churning Out 492.7 Yards & 39.0 Points Per Outing, Bears Rank
4th in Total Offense & 5th in Scoring in NCAA Division I-A
Scoring at least 38 points five times this year--and nine times in the last 13 games dating back to 2003--California's lethal offense enters the Oregon game with some weighty statistics for the season. Nationally, head coach Jeff Tedford's offense ranks first in passing efficiency (173.6), fourth in total offense (492.7), fifth in scoring (39.0) and ninth in rushing (243.9). The Bears' 492.7 yards-per-game average is 34.2 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. And if Cal were to continue to lead the Pac-10 in scoring and claim the conference title, it would mark only the second time in history that a Bear offense led the league in scoring. The first time? That Muncie team of 1975, which averaged 30.0 points per game.
Dating Back to 2003, California Has Averaged 39.7 Points & 501.4 Yards in Winning 9 of 10 and 11 of its Last 13 Games
Picking up where it left off last season, California's dismantling its six 2004 victims (Air Force, New Mexico State, Oregon State, UCLA, Arizona and Arizona State) by a combined 246-63 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 nine of its last 10 games and 11 of its last 13 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), Air Force (56-14) and Arizona (38-0)--the Good News Bears have averaged 39.7 points and 501.4 yards.
Balancing Act: Cal Offense Averages 244 Passing, 249 Rushing
One of the nation's most balanced offenses will be on display this Saturday as Cal's multi-pronged attack--the brainchild of head coach Jeff Tedford--spews out a Pac-10 best 243.9 yards per game and 5.8 yards per attempt on the ground, while also averaging 248.9 yards through the air. With the conference's No. 1 rusher J.J. Arrington (158.0 ypg) and true freshman Marshawn Lynch (42.0 ypg, 15th in Pac-10) paving the way with gaudy averages of 7.0 and 8.2 yards per carry, respectively, the Bears have visions of repeating as Pac-10 rushing leaders in 2004. And Cal's passing game is also in good hands with junior Aaron Rodgers, who ranks first in the Pac-10 and sixth nationally in national passing efficiency (167.76), completing 71.7 percent of his passes (126-of-177) for 1,541 yards, 15 TDs and four INTs.
Ranking No. 6 Nationally in Pass Efficiency, Rodgers Netting 241.3 Yards Per Game in Last 12 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 71.7 percent of his passes for 1,541 yards, while throwing 15 touchdowns and four interceptions. Rodgers, who owns the nation's sixth-best passing efficiency rating (167.76), has thrown eight TD passes in his last three games (4 vs. UCLA, 3 at Arizona and 1 vs. ASU). Dating back to last year, he owns a 13-4 career record, a .765 winning percentage, as the Bears' starting quarterback and has connected on 70 percent (231-of-331) of his attempts in averaging 241.3 passing yards with 27 TDs and only six interceptions in his last 12 games. His numbers are even better over the last 10 games: 70.6 percent (199-of-282), 264.2 ypg, 23 TDs, 5 INTs. Despite starting only 17 games and playing in 20 contests in his brief Cal tenure, Rodgers is already perched in ninth place on the school's career total offense chart with 4,693 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' 71.7 Completion Percentage (126-of-177) Threatens NCAA, Pacific-10 Conference Single-Season Mark
By connecting on 71.7 percent of his passes (126-for-177) 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 62 touchdown passes and only 13 interceptions combined over the past two-plus years (including 2004). Despite throwing two picks at both Oregon State and Arizona, his current career interception percentage is a microscopic 1.71 (9 INT, 526 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 (1.28%) from 1997-99. And who was Volek's offensive coordinator in 1997? A guy named Tedford.
With Last Week's ASU Triumph, Cal is Assured Its 3rd Straight Winning Football Season for 1st Time Since 1952
After wallowing in the Pac-10's lower division for more than a decade, Cal football was in dire need of dynamic leadership following an ulcerating 1-10 season in 2001. The not-so-Golden Bears endured the worst record at the school in 104 years that season and were outscored by their opponents by an average margin of three touchdowns. In December of 2001, Jeff Tedford was introduced as Cal's new head coach. Inheriting one of the nation's biggest challenges, the former Oregon offensive coordinator addressed that December press conference by calmly saying, "We plan on having a winning record next season." That 2002 club, comprised of mostly players from the 2001 squad that had gone 0-8 in the Pac-10, proceeded to post a 7-5 record - the school's first winning mark in nine years. Then last fall, the 2002 Pac-10 Coach of the Year took a Cal team with the fewest returning starters (nine) in the nation and molded it into an 8-6 club that tied for third in the conference (5-3), hung the season's only defeat on co-national champion USC (34-31 in triple OT). The Bears went on to claim back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in 12 years and a bowl game victory for the first time in 10 years. Now, only seven game into the 2004 season, Tedford's club has already clinched a third straight winning campaign for the Golden Bears, the first time that has been accomplished at Cal in 52 years (Pappy Waldorf's juggernaut teams reeled off six straight winning marks from 1947-52).
Cal Looks to Halt 7-Game Losing Streak vs. Oregon, as Matchup Pits Old Friends Tedford & Bellotti in Key Conference Game
California head coach Jeff Tedford and his nationally No. 4 ranked Golden Bears play host to the Oregon Ducks this Saturday, and Tedford will be facing his old team and former boss for the first time ever in Berkeley. From 1998-2001, Tedford served under Oregon head coach Mike Bellotti as the Ducks' offensive coordinator. During his tenure in Eugene, Tedford was part of a Duck program that registered a 38-10 overall record, two Pacific-10 Conference championships (2000 and 2001), two Top 10 final national rankings (No. 2 in '01 and No. 7 in '00), and four straight bowl game victories (Aloha, Sun, Holiday and Fiesta). In the four years, Tedford developed two quarterbacks (Akili Smith and Joey Harrington) who became NFL first-round draft picks, and three running backs (Reuben Droughns, Maurice Morris twice and Onterrio Smith) who produced 1,000-yard rushing seasons at Oregon. Tedford lost a heartbreaker to the Ducks in his first-ever meeting as Cal's head coach last year, as the visiting Bears saw a 17-7 fourth-quarter lead evaporate in the final five minutes en route to a 21-17 loss in Eugene. While it was Tedford's first setback against the Ducks, it was Cal's seventh straight defeat to Oregon. Six of those Oregon wins came under the direction of Belllotti. The most recent Bear triumph came in 1994, when Cal overcame a 30-point first-half deficit to eke out a dramatic 42-41 victory in Berkeley.
The Night the Lights Went Out in....Eugene! Bears See 10-Point Lead Melt Away in Game's Final 5 Minutes in Last Year's Loss
Last year's trip to Eugene, Ore. was full of surprises. First, the team arrived at Oakland Airport on Friday afternoon, only to learn that their charter jet needed repair work that would delay the flight's departure by four hours. Instead of arriving in Eugene at 7:15 p.m., the Bears landed around 11 p.m. They were forced to contend with the cold, rainy weather of Oregon in a game that kicked off at 7 p.m. to accommodate a TBS national television audience. Then in the fourth quarter of the game--with the Bears clinging to a 10-7 lead--there was a 23-minute delay due to lighting failure at Autzen Stadium. When play resumed, Cal drove 56 yards for another score, as an Aaron Rodgers' 18-yard TD pass to tight end Garrett Cross gave Tedford's club a 17-7 cushion with 10:07 on the clock. But the Ducks would not fold. Oregon whittled the lead to 17-14 on a Kellen Clemens 31-yard scoring pass to Tim Day. Then, after a fourth-and-two, 19-yard completion to Demetrius Williams kept another Oregon drive alive, Terrence Whitehead punched in the winning TD from one-yard out with only 47 second left.
A Berkeley Mismatch: Last Cal-Oregon Game Played at Memorial Stadium Resulted in 48-7 Duck Rout
The last time Cal and Oregon met in Berkeley, Tedford wore the Duck colors of green and gold, and he spent his time in the coaches booth in Memorial Stadium. What he saw below was one of the greatest mismatches in recent Cal history. Entering the contest, the Ducks were 5-0 and ranked No. 5 nationally, while the Golden Bears were 0-4 and trying to apply the brakes to a seven-game losing streak dating back to the 2000 campaign. Oregon, riding a two-year winning wave of 20 victories in 22 games when the Ducks arrived in Berkeley, sported a +11 turnover margin. Cal, meanwhile, came in with a -13 turnover figure. But if the facts and statistics sounded daunting for Cal entering the game, the numbers only worsened when the contest had ended. With Heisman Trophy candidate Joey Harrington at the controls, the Ducks ransacked the Bears, 48-7. The 41-point margin of defeat tied for the third-worst Cal loss in Memorial Stadium history, and was the widest point differential in the 104-year history of the Bears-Ducks rivalry.
TE John Rust the Only Oregon Native on Cal's '04 Roster
Almost exclusively a California-bred team, the Golden Bears feature only one Oregon native on their 2004 team roster. John Rust of Lake Oswego High School, a reserve tight end who has been limited to special team duty. When Garrett Cross suffered a late-season injury last year, Rust was thrust into a major role as the starting tight end for the Bears' final three games. He chased down two 20-yard receptions in last year's 28-16 win over Stanford in the Big Game, and also snared a seven-yard pass in the 2004 Insight Bowl in Cal's 52-49 victory over Virginia Tech.
On the Other Sideline: Duck Justin Wilcox Now at Cal
The Wilcox family has bled green and gold over the years, first with linebacker Dave Wilcox, who was a Duck All-American linebacker in 1962-63, and more recently with son Justin, who was a standout defensive back at Oregon from 1995-99 and earned second team All-Pac-10 honors as a senior. While the senior Wilcox went on to a brilliant career with the San Francisco 49ers that led to his enshrinement into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002, the junior Wilcox joined the Cal coaching staff last season as linebacker coach and has played a vital role in shaping the Bears into the Pac-10 top defense in 2004.
Ducks Feature 7 Coaches, 18 Players With NorCal Ties
The Ducks' football program might as well be called "Bay Area North," as no less than seven coaches and 18 players offer Bay Area connections. Head coach Mike Bellotti was born in Sacramento, earned his bachelor's degree at UC Davis and completed his master's at Cal State Hayward. Assistant head coach Neal Zoumboukos, the dean of Pac-10 assistant coaches with 25 seasons in Eugene, is a San Francisco native who graduated from St. Ignatius High School, UC Davis (B.A., history) and San Francisco State (master's, P.E.). Defensive coordinator Nick Alioto was born in Walnut Creek, graduating from Pittsburg High, UC Davis (B.S., P.E.) and Chico State (master's, P.E.). Wide receiver coach Dan Ferrigno is another San Francisco product who attended Riordan High and earned two degrees at San Francisco State (B.S., P.E. and teaching credential) before logging two coaching stints at Cal in 1981 and 1996-99. Secondary coach John Neal was born in Los Altos and attended both Los Altos High and Foothill College. Linebacker coach Don Pellum served one year at Cal as assistant athletic director for student services. And special teams/tight ends coach Robin Ross coached linebackers for the Oakland Raiders in 1999 and 2000. Among the Duck players with NorCal roots are such standouts as placekicker Jared Siegel (Sacramento, Jesuit HS), guard Nick Steitz (Los Banos, Los Banos HS), defensive tackle Igor Olshansky (San Francisco/St. Ignatius HS) and linebacker Ramone Reed (Berkeley, Berkeley HS).
Something's Got to Give: California's No. 9 Rushing Offense Squares Off Against NCAA's No. 14 Rush Defense
Perhaps the key matchup Saturday will be when Cal's rushing game, which ranks first in the Pac-10 and ninth nationally at 243.9 yards per contest, squares off against Oregon's rush defense, which has doled out a paltry 101.2 yards per game to rank third in the conference and 14th nationally. The Golden Bears, led by the conference's leading rusher, J.J. Arrington (158.0 ypg), have spewed out 1,707 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground over their first seven games. While the Ducks field one of the conference's leading rush defenses, they also rank fourth in pass defense (190.0) and fourth in scoring defense (21.2) among Pac-10 schools.
The Bears have not allowed more than 23 points in any of their last 12 regular season games dating back to 2003...Cal will place a five-game home winning streak on the line Saturday. Berkeley is 3-0 this year at Memorial Stadium...At the midseason point, Cal and USC dominate the Pac-10 team rankings. The Bears and Trojans both rank No. 1 in nine of the listed 30 team statistical categories in this week's Pac-10 release. Cal heads the following categories: total offense, scoring offense, rushing offense, pass efficiency, fewest opponents first downs, third down conversions, time of possession, red zone offense and red zone defense...The Bears are outscoring their opponents by a 125-28 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 23 of 33 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...Arrington's 7.0 ypc average this season is within range of the Cal single season mark of 7.3, set by Bear legend Jackie Jensen in 1948...Third-string tailback Terrell Williams, a former high school quarterback, has completed four of five passes for 185 yards and two touchdowns on halfback pass plays during his Cal career....True freshman tailback Marshawn Lynch continues to dazzle the Bear fans with his electrifying runs. He ripped off a 32-yarder in relief of Arrington in the second half last week, a run he almost broke the distance...Robert Jordan, another true freshman, has risen from scout team member to star wide receiver in a matter of three weeks. Due to a slew of injuries at the position, Jordan saw his first action of the year two weeks ago in Tucson, snaring five passes for 40 yards. Then last weekend in the Sun Devil game, he erupted for seven receptions and 116 yards, hooking up with Rodgers on a 24-yard TD pass play only 10 seconds into the contest...The Golden Bears are the Pac-10's most veteran team, leading the circuit in both senior starters (12) as well as seniors on the two-deep (19)...All-Pac-10 special teams whiz Mike McGrath does not have fond memories of last year's Oregon game, as the veteran Bear fractured both the tibia and fibula bones in his right leg late in contest. He fully rehabilitated in the offseason, however, and has played a key backup role at defensive back as well as his usual fine work on special teams...Under Bellotti, Oregon has cashed in more victories (80) than any other Pac-10 school during the past nine-plus years ...The Ducks' backup placekicker is redshirt freshman Luke Bellotti, the oldest son of the head coach ... Oregon's noteworthy alumni include Phil Knight, CEO and co-founder of Nike; Ann Curry, news anchor for the NBC Today Show; David Jeremiah, Vice Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Berkeley native James Ivory, the Academy Award-winning film director who has directed such movies as The Remains of the Day, Howard's End, and Le Divorce.