Aug. 25, 2001
Cal begins its 119th season of intercollegiate competition when the Bears host Illinois Saturday afternoon in Memorial Stadium. The game kicks off at 12:30 p.m. and will be televised nationally on Fox Sports Net.
Against the Illini, Cal looks to run its season-opening winning streak to six games. The string began under then-head coach Steve Mariucci with a 45-25 victory at San Jose State in 1996. Since then, current head coach Tom Holmoe has started 1-0 every year, including a 24-21 win over Utah last season. Cal, which is 73-40-5 all-time on opening day, has won five straight home openers.
The Bears return 17 starters from last year (8-offense, 8-defense, 1-kicker), including four of five on the offensive line. Junior quarterback Kyle Boller, who already has 19 starts to his credit, begins his third consecutive season as Cal's signal caller.
Cal-Illinois: The Series
Cal is 1-6 against Illinois, with only win coming in 1974 when the Bears upset the then-No. 14 Illini, 31-14, in Champaign. Last year, Cal scored on a 32-yard pass to Charon Arnold with 1:26 left in the game. But Kyle Boller's two-point conversion pass was batted down, giving No. 19 Illinois a 17-15 victory.
Quote of the week
Brad Edwards, ESPN.com: "Keep an eye on QB Kyle Boller. Boller struggled through most of his first two seasons but came to life in the spring under (Al) Borges' offensive system. With four starters back on the line, he should have much better protection. If everything clicks together, Cal could pose a threat on the offensive side of the ball. If Boller makes good decisions and limits turnovers, the Bears might have a fun year."
2001 Cal Schedule, Results & Notes
Sept. 1 Illinois (FSN) 12:30 p.m. Missed 2-point conversion separated teams in 17-15 Illinois win last year. Sept. 8 BYU 2:30 p.m. Tom Holmoe earned All-WAC honors at BYU in 1982 as a CB. Sept. 15 at Rutgers 7:00 p.m. ET Cal makes its first trip to the East Coast since 1993. Sept. 23 at Washington State 2:00 p.m. Cal is 4-12-1 all time in Pullman. The Bears last won there in 1979, 45-13. Sept. 29 Washington 2:00 p.m. Bears look to defeat Huskies for the first time since 1976. Oct. 13 Oregon 12:30 p.m. Cal holds a 35-27-2 series lead over the Ducks. Oct. 20 at UCLA (FSN) 7:15 p.m. Cal off. coordinator Al Borges held same position at UCLA from 1996-2000. Oct. 27 at Oregon State 1:00 p.m. Cal QB Kyle Boller threw for a career-high 349 yards vs. the Beavers last year. Nov. 3 Arizona 12:30 p.m. The last 12 games in the series have been decided by 12 points or less. Nov. 10 USC 12:30 p.m. Cal has run up 22 sacks vs. USC over the last three years. Nov. 17 at Stanford 12:30 p.m. Cal and Stanford meet for the 104th renewal of the Big Game.