Sept. 4, 1999
BERKELEY - Below are game notes from the Sept. 4 Cal-Rutgers football game:
Cal's 21-7 victory over Rutgers today represents the 10th time in the past 13 seasons Cal has opened the season with a win. Rutgers has now gone 9-4-1 in opening games since the 1986 season. The seven points Cal allowed in today's game are the fewest points Cal has surrendered in a season-opener since a 35-3 victory over Houston on September 6, 1997. Rutgers held a 36:40-to-23:20 advantage in time-of-possession in today's game.
Quickest Score to Open a Game in Four Seasons
Junior tailback Marcus Fields scored on a 49-yard TD run 22 seconds into today's game. The TD marked the quickest Cal score to start a game since Deltha O'Neal returned the opening kickoff 100 yards for a TD against Navy in the 1996 Aloha Bowl.
Marcus Fields Tears Up the Field
Fields' 49-yd TD run on Cal's first offensive play of the game now means that he has run for a TD of 40 or more yards in three of the last four games dating back to last season. This includes a career long TD run of 72 yards at Arizona State, Nov. 7, 1998. On Cal's opening drive of the second half, Fields also scampered for 47 yards. Fields recorded the second-best rushing day of his career finishing with 123 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries.
Freshmen Make Big First Impressions
True freshman quarterback Kyle Boller entered the game with 8:56 left in the second quarter. He finished the game completing 8-of-15 passes for 89 yards and one touchdown. Sophomore quarterback Samuel Clemons completed 2-of-2 passes for 14 yards and did not return to the game after Boller replaced him in the second quarter.
True freshman running back Joe Igber gained 35-yards on his very first collegiate carry in the first quarter. For the game, Igber had 55 yards on 7 carries.
O'Neal Records Second Career 75+-Yard Interception Return for TD
With 4:15 remaining until halftime, senior defensive back Deltha O'Neal made a one-handed interception and returned the ball 75 yards for a TD, to put the Bears up 14-7. The interception return for a TD was the first one for the Bears since Drae Harris returned an interception 26 yards for a TD again Washington State, Sept. 17, 1998. Earlier in that WSU game, O'Neal returned an interception 76 yards for a TD. O'Neal's 75-yard interception return for a TD today is tied for the 12th longest in Cal history, and O'Neal is the only player to record two of the top 15 longest interception returns in school history. O'Neal also caught an interception in the Cal endzone to stop a Rutger's scoring drive with only 1:17 left in the game. O'Neal now has four interceptions in his career.
O'Neal and redshirt freshman LaShaun Ward both saw time at defensive back, wide receiver, and as kickoff returners in today's game. On O'Neal's 75-yard interception return in the second quarter, Ward laid the final block on Rutger's quarterback Mike McMahon to pave the way for a touchdown. After recording five kick-off returns of over 40 yards and ranking No. 7 in the nation with a 28.4-yards per return average in 1998, O'Neal opened the game with a 50-yard return today.
Cal's "Hit Squad" Defense Shines
Cal allowed 287 yards in today's game, the fewest yards allowed in a game since Cal allowed 246 yards against Washington on October 17, 1998. In the second half, the Golden Bears allowed only 72 total yards, and only minus two yards in the third quarter. The Cal defense recorded 7 sacks in today's game, including two by Jacob Waasdorp.
Senior linebackers Matt Beck and Sekou Sanyika continued where they left off last season, making more plays behind the line of scrimmage. Today they each contributed two tackles-for-loss moving Beck into third place on the school career tackle-for-loss list with 48 stops behind the line of scrimmage. Sanyika, with 47 career tackles-for-loss, only needs one more to move past Ron Rivera (1980-83) into fourth place on the Cal career list. Senior linebacker Keith Miller recorded 8 total tackles and three tackles-for-loss in today's game.
Senior free safety Pete Destefano recorded a career-high 14 tackles in today's game, including one tackle-for-loss.
Nick Harris Booms Big Punts
Junior punter Nick Harris booted three punts over 50 yards in today's game. His first two punts traveled 56 yards and 52 yards, and late in the fourth quarter he uncorked a career-best 67-yard punt. Harris is averaging 47.6 yards on 5 punts this season.