Oct. 25, 1999
BERKELEY, Calif. - A pair of frustrated football teams meet this Saturday when California and USC square off in Memorial Stadium. Both lost double-digit leads last week and lost an opportunity to establish themselves as legitimate Pac-10 contenders.
Still, a victory this week would go a long ways towards a bowl berth for either team. Every potential scenario remains possible for Cal, from winning the Pac-10 title to finishing with a losing record and out of the bowl picture.
Cal has a chance to improve to 3-2 in conference action and a victory over the Trojans would provide the Bears a major boost entering its November schedule which sees the Bears on the road for two of the final three games.
Saturday's game marks the 74th consecutive season that Cal and USC have met on the gridiron, dating back to 1926. USC has dominated the series with a 54-27-5 record and the Trojans are 28-12-2 in games between the two schools played Berkeley. Last season, Cal posted a dramatic 32-31 victory in Los Angeles, rallying from a 31-10 deficit. It marked the first time Cal had defeated USC in two consecutive games in Los Angeles since the 1948 and ?50 seasons, both Rose Bowl years for the Golden Bears.
While Cal has won two straight in L.A., the Trojans have won three straight and five of the past six games in Berkeley. The two teams are scheduled to miss each other in the 2003 season when the Pac-10 master schedule had a two-year break in the series as part of the rotating 8-game conference schedule each year.
USC Game Marks 50th Anniversary of Famous Frank Brunk Run
This Saturday's USC game will mark the 50th anniversary of one of the most famous plays in Cal Football history. On October 15, 1949, a Cal team ranked 9th in the nation hosted 12th ranked USC in Memorial Stadium.
Although it was only mid-season, it was clearly the game for the Rose Bowl as Cal and USC were the dominant teams in the Pacific Coast Conference and both teams were undefeated entering the game.
The Cal crowd was stunned when USC's Frank Gifford kicked a fourth quarter field goal to put the Trojans up 10-7. However, on the ensuing kickoff, Cal's Frank Brunk went 102 yards for the winning touchdown. On the way, he left a diving Gifford behind him. A later safety made the final score 16-10, and Cal went on to a perfect 10-0 record before losing, 17-14, to Ohio State in the Rose Bowl.
Then Athletic Director Brutus Hamilton dubbed the run and the Cal performance "athletic beyondness" and the Oakland Tribune wrote "it was like 14th and Broadway on New Year's Eve." Brunk remains active in Cal's Bear Backer group, and recently completed a two-year stint as President of "Pappy's Boys," a group of Cal football lettermen who played during the Pappy Waldorf regime.
Bears Attempt to Post a Sweep of L.A. Schools for 11th Time in History
With 33 players on its roster from southern California, Cal's games against the Los Angeles schools are always fiercely contested.
However, the Bears haven't had a huge amount of success against UCLA and USC over the years, with a combined 50-99-5 record against the southern schools. This week, Cal will have a chance to post a sweep of the L.A. schools in the same season for only the second time in the last 41 years and just the 11th time in Cal Football history.
The Bears swept USC and UCLA in 1991 in route to a 10-2 record and a final No. 7 national ranking after a Citrus Bowl victory. A sweep is obviously a great omen when considering the previous four season sweeps (1958, 50, 49 and 48) all were precursers to Rose Bowl appearances in those seasons. The other season sweeps of the Trojans and Bruins came in 1941, '40, '37 (Rose Bowl appearance), '35 and '34.
Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Battle on Display This Saturday
It's pretty obvious that the two freshman players who are having the most impact in the Pacific-10 this season are Cal tailback Joe Igber and USC wide receiver Kareem Kelly. The league's Freshman of the Year award will likely reside in one of the two's dorm rooms this winter.
They are both game-breaker types who can turn around a game. Igber is currently ranked 7th in the league in rushing, despite only starting the last three games and averaging only 5.5 carries a game for the first four games of the season. He is working on a streak of three straight 100-yard games.
Kelly is coming off an 8-catch, 129-yard performance against Stanford. He currently is ranked 24th nationally in receiving yardage, averaging 90.29 yards per contest. While a prep at Long Beach Poly HS, Kelly narrowed his choices of colleges to Cal and USC, before casting his lot with the Trojans.
Sekou Sanyika Omitted from Butkus Finalist List When the 10 finalists for the 1999 Butkus Award for the nation's top linebacker was announced last week, there was a glaring omission as Cal's Sekou Sanyika was nowhere to be found on that list.
The 6-4, 240-pound senior received a good amount of pre-season publicity, earned first team pre-season All-America honors by The Sporing News, Football News and Sport magazine. However, a relatively quiet first three games this season must have caused some myopic voters to ignore him. The last four games, he has been as dominant a defensive player as there is in college football. During that time, he has accounted for 12 tackles behind the line of scrimmage for minus 62 yards.
The last two weeks he has split time between his customary outside linebacker spot and an ILB position left vacant by the injured Matt Beck. Last week, he recorded a pair of interceptions deep in Washington territory which resulted in 10 Cal points. On the third play of the game, he intercepted a Marques Tuiasosopo pass and returned it 34 yards to the Husky 1-yard-line. On the next play, Cal scored.
In the second quarter, he intercepted another pass and returned it to the Washington 17-yard-line, setting up a Cal field goal. He now has 60 tackles behind the line of scrimmage in his career, a new California school record.
Bears Hope to Corral R. Jay Soward, Trojans Try to Stop Deltha O'Neal
Cal and USC have arguably the two most dangerous multi-dimensional threats in the Pac-10 in wide receiver / return specialist R. Jay Soward of USC and cornerback / return specialist Deltha O'Neal. How each team fares in stopping their opponent's main threat will tell a lot about the outcome of the game on Saturday.
The two are again creating headaches for opponents this season as Soward already has an 85-yard punt return for a touchdown on the ledger and currently ranks No. 10 nationally in punt returns with a 14.67 average. He hasn't been as productive as a wide receiver, but did catch a 64-yard TD pass last week against Stanford and his speed creates problems for any defense.
O'Neal is ranked 10th nationally in kickoff returns (28.29) and is tied for fifth in interceptions (.71 interceptions per game), and is a threat to break one every time he touches the football.
Already this season he has four punt returns longer than 20 yards and two kickoff returns longer than 50 yards. He's also scored two touchdowns on interception returns. Soward has been a particular thorn in Cal's side the last two seasons. He scored on touchdown catches of 65 and 33 yards.
He ended the day with seven catches for 148 yards. Last season, he had a 77-yard TD catch and returned a punt 80 yards for another TD, ending the day with four catches for 105 yards in a 32-31 loss to the Golden Bears.
O'Neal hasn't been as spectacular in the series, but certainly has had an impact. He had 118 yards of all-purpose rushing (37 rushing, 11 receiving, 51 kickoff returns and 19 punt returns) as a freshman in Cal's 22-15 win in 1996. He contributed a 17-yard punt return during the Cal loss in ?97.
Last season, he made four unassisted tackles and had a pair of pass deflections on defense, had one 5-yard run and had two catches for 12 yards on offense and had a huge return day. He had six kickoff returns for 183 yards (including returns of 31, 36 and 57 yards) and had two punt returns of 9 and 14 yards.
Cal Sack Attack Leads Pac-10's Top Defense
Cal is the leading defense in the Pac-10, giving up 353.7 yards per game. Much of the team's success comes from a relentless front seven that puts constant pressure on opponents. Cal has now produced 34 sacks this season to lead the Pac-10.
It's nearly impossible to shut down the Bears because they are so well balanced on defense. Andre Carter leads the team with 7 sacks, but Mawuko Tugbenyoh has 5.5, Jacob Waasdorp has 5, Jeremiah Parker has 4.5 and Sekou Sanyika has 4.5. All of those players rank among the Top 10 in sacks in the Pac-10. The Bears collected four sacks last week against Washington.
Cal Punter Nick Harris On Pace to Break Cal Single-Season Record Cal junior Nick Harris is currently No. 4 nationally in punting with a 46.56 average. With just four games remaining, he is on pace to break the Cal single-season record. Scott Tabor averaged 45.3 yards per punt in 1987. The 6-3, 215-pound junior has been a dominant performer all season long.
Harris' average is even more amazing when considering he's been asked to pooch punt inside opponent territory 10 times this year, including five punts from the opponent 40-yard-line or closer. He now has had a punt of at least 48 yards in all 29 games of his Cal career.
This season, he has 22 punts of 50 yards or longer and six of 60 yards or longer. The following are the Harris punts of 50 yards or more this season: Rutgers: 56, 52, 67, Nebraska: 65, 50, 64, Arizona State: 50, 60, 58, Washington State: 52, 50, BYU: 51, 50, 51, 54, UCLA: 50, 57, 58, 68, 60, Washington: 54, 51.
Cal Wide Receiver Rotation Continues to Change Each Week
On one play in last week's game against Washington, the coaching staff called a four-wide receiver formation and when the Bears broke the huddle, there were three defensive backs and a tailback at the receiver positions.
The players were Drae Harris, who played the first five games this season at cornerback, Jameel Powell, who played cornerback in the Rutgers opener before sitting out the next four games with a groin injury, LaShaun Ward, who is Cal's third cornerback but also spends spot duty on offense, and Joseph Echema, who was Cal's second team tailback last week in the absence of the injured Saleem Muhammad.
The Bears have also used tailback Marcus Fields at the position, although he has sat out the last two weeks with a shoulder sprain. The revolving door at the receiver position has been a problem all season long for the Cal offense.
One of the good signs last week was the play of true receivers Phillip Pipersburg and Sean Currin. Pipersburg added a pair of catches for 22 yards and Currin hauled in a 31-yard catch one week after catching a 39-yarder at UCLA.
Freshman Tailback Joe Igber Leads Rejuvenation of Cal Offense
It's more than just coincidence that the insertion of Joe Igber into the starting line-up at tailback has paralleled a significant jump in Cal offensive production over the last three games. His quick, darting style of running and penchant for the big play has infused a new energy into a Cal offense that was one of the least productive in the nation during the first month of the season.
Cal still is only 106th nationally in total offense (265.9 ypg), but the Bears have shown many good signs while averaging 24.0 points a game the last three games. The Bears have also averaged 191 yards on the ground the last three games.
Igber's impact was immediate as he broke a 55-yard run on the first play of the BYU game, his first starting assignment. Since that time, he has put together three straight 100-yard games. He is bidding to become only the second player in Cal history to post four straight 100-yard games.
Chuck Muncie turned that trick from October 11 to November 1, 1975, rushing for 207 yards vs. Oreogn, 149 yards vs. Oregon State, 126 yards vs. UCLA and 143 yards vs. USC. However, Igber suffered a shoulder sprain on his last rush late in the fourth quarter and his status is unknown for the upcoming USC game.
His 35-carry, 182-yard performance against Washington is the top freshman rushing performance in Cal history and the 15th best overall total. It was the most by a Cal player since Tyrone Edwards ran for 205 yards vs. Stanford on Nov. 19, 1994.
He now owns three of the top five individual game freshman rushing performances in Cal history.
Comparison of Cal Offensive Output First 4 Games vs. Last 3 Games (with Igber)
First 4 Games Last 3 Games (Igber in line-up) Scoring Offense 13.0 ppg 24.0 ppg Rushing Offense 77.8 ypg 191.0 ypg First Downs 13.5 fdpg 16.3 fdpg Total Offense 212.0 ypg 337.0 ypg
100-Yard Rushing Performances by Freshmen in Cal History
Player Att-NetYards Opponent Date 1. Joe Igber 35-182 vs. Washington October 23, 1999 2. Marc Hicks 14-139 at Missouri October 5, 1985 3. Deltha O'Neal 14-126 at Oregon November 16, 1996 4. Joe Igber 18-116 at BYU October 9, 1999 5. Joe Igber 20-113 at UCLA October 17, 1999 5. Marc Hicks 22-113 vs. USC November 9, 1985 7. Jackie Jensen 5-109 vs. Washington St. November 2, 1946 8. Greg Zomalt 23-105 vs. Washington St. November 11, 1989
Deltha O'Neal: Mr. Versatility Continues His Knack for Making Big Plays Cal's Deltha O'Neal is currently ranked No. 10 nationally in punt returns and tied for No. 5 in interceptions. He continues to display the type of "home run" threat that causes opponent coaches to shiver. Last week, he intercepted one pass against Washington and had a kickoff return of 39 yards. Below is a list of his long kickoff and punt returns during his four-year Cal career. Deltha O'Neal's Long Kickoff Returns (40+ yards) Deltha O'Neal's Long Punt Returns (20+ yards)
12/25/96 vs. Navy 100 yards* 11/22/97 at Stanford 56 yards 9/20/97 vs. Oklahoma 53 yards 9/5/98 vs. Houston 21 yards 10/4/97 at Louisiana Tech 45 yards 9/26/98 vs. Washington St. 24 yards 10/25/97 at UCLA 45 yards 9/26/98 vs. Washington St. 22 yards 9/12/98 vs. Nebraska 49 yards 10/17/98 at Washington 31 yards 9/26/98 vs. Washington St. 49 yards 10/31/98 at Oregon St. 27 yards 10/10/98 at USC 57 yards 11/14/98 vs. Arizona 26 yards 10/24/98 vs. UCLA 40 yards 11/21/98 vs. Stanford 57 yards 9/4/99 vs. Rutgers 50 yards 9/25/99 vs. Arizona St. 21 yards 9/25/99 vs. Arizona St. 53 yards 10/2/99 at Washington St. 35 yards *Aloha Bowl record 10/9/99 at Brigham Young 31 yards 10/16/99 at UCLA 27 yards
Deltha O'Neal on Cal Career All-Purpose Rushing List
Player (years) Rush Rec Ret Total 1. Russell White (1990-92) 3367 364 1212 4943 2. Deltha O'Neal (1996 - ) 667 335 3410 4412
Miscellaneous Notes, Three-Dot Data, Et Cetera
Cal starting offensive guard Scott Tercero will celebrate his 18th birthday on Thurday (October 28), he is the youngest starter in the Pacific-10 this season...The Bears rank No. 6 nationally in net punting, averaging 40.7 yards per punt...USC offensive coordinator Hue Jackson served as Cal's offensive coordinator under Steve Mariucci in 1996...Trojan head coach Paul Hackett was Cal's quarterback coach under Mike White in 1974 and '75...
Cal freshman placekicker Mark Jensen made field goals from 33 and 22 yards vs. Washington, marking the first time Cal has connected on two field goals in a game since a 20-19 win over Oregon State on October 31, 1998...Cal linebacker Keith Miller had a career best 13 tackles vs. Washington last week...
Cal head coach Tom Holmoe and USC wide receiver coach Mike Wilson were teammates on the San Francisco 49ers...The 14 points Cal scored in the first quarter last week vs. Washington was the most by the Cal team in the first period since they scored the same total on Sept. 14, 1996, against San Diego State...Cal is anticipating the return of back-up tailback Saleem Muhammad, who missed the Washington game with a sprained ankle...
Cal's game this week is being televised on the Pac-10 syndication network and next week's game at Oregon State will also be televised (although the network has yet to be chosen). That means six of Cal's first nine games will have been televised live...
Despite rushing for 197 yards against Washington, Cal lost the game which goes against history as Cal is 41-9-1 in games the Bears have rushed for more than 150 yards...Cal has rushed for more than 150 yards three times this season, going 2-1 in those games.
Cal Radio Network
The game will be aired live over KGO Radio (810 AM) San Francisco and the five-station Cal Radio Network. Other stations on the network are: KRCK (1490 AM) in King City, KGOE (105.5 FM) in Eureka, KANM (970 AM) in Modesto and KYOS (1480 AM) in Stockton. The pre-game show begins 15 minutes prior to kickoff.
KGO is in its 26th season as the Golden Bears flagship station. Sports Director Joe Starkey is in his 25th season handling play-by-play duties, and Lee Grosscup, who is in his 11th year in the booth, joins him with color commentary. The Tom Holmoe Show airs weekly on KGO Wednesdays at 6:20 p.m.
Game No. 8
USC (3-4, 1-3 Pac-10) at California Golden Bears (3-4, 2-2 Pac-10) Saturday, Oct. 30, 1999, Memorial Stadium (75,028 ? Grass), Berkeley, CA
Kickoff 3:30 p.m. PT
Televised live on the Fox Sports Syndication Package (locally on KICU TV, Channel 36)
Attendance 50,000 expected to attend
Cal TV Highlight Show
The weekly one-half hour Cal Football Highlight Show, hosted by Glen Kuiper, will air each Sunday afternoon during the season on Fox Sports Net Bay Area. The program will be shown Sundays at 4:30 p.m.
Cal-USC: The Series
The Trojans lead the series 54-27-5. The home field has not been much of an advantage in the series of late as Cal has beaten USC in Los Angeles two straight years, 22-15 in '96 and 32-31 last year. The Bears have not beaten the Trojans in Memorial Stadium since 1991.
Bears Could Sweep L.A. for 11th Time in History
California has a chance to sweep the Los Angeles schools for only the second time in 41 years with a victory over USC. The Bears have a 50-99-5 record against the two teams. The last time Cal beat both USC and UCLA in the same year was in 1991 when they finished the season with a 10-2 record. The Bears had a 27-24 win over UCLA in Los Angeles, along with a 52-20 victory over USC in Memorial Stadium that season. Each of Cal's last four season sweeps, which took place in 1958, 50, 49 and 48, led to a Rose Bowl berth.
Releases Available on InfoConnection
All California releases, statistics and rosters are available to the media via InfoConnection. To access InfoConnection, call 800-300-2050 and enter 72210 for the Pacific-10 Conference. You must also have a personal identification number (PIN), as well. If you do not have a PIN, call InfoConnection at 770-399-0096. The code numbers for Cal football are: release ? 1901, notes/depth chart ? 1902, stats only ? 1903, latest game stats ? 1904, latest game book ? 1905, roster ? 1908.
Cal Radio on the Internet
All Cal football radio broadcasts can be heard live on the Internet. To listen, go to the football page at www.calbears.com, click on the broadcast.com icon and hear Joe Starkey and Lee Grosscup call the action.
Cal Radio on 800 Service
All Cal football radio broadcasts during the 1998 season are available nationwide via telephone through the facilities of TRZ Telephone Broadcast Services. Fans can access the Cal Radio Network from anywhere in the country at 1-800-846-4700, ext. 5918. The cost is $.50 for the first minute, with decreasing rates for additional minutes.
The Pac-10 Conference will hold a media-only teleconference every two weeks during the 1999 football season: Sept. 14, Sept. 28, Oct. 12, Oct. 26 and Nov. 9. The call begins at 9:30 a.m., and Cal head coach Tom Holmoe will be on the line at 10:05. For more information, media should contact the Pac-10 at 925-932-4411.
Pac-10 Overall W L W L Stanford 5 0 5 2 Washington 3 1 4 3 Arizona State 3 1 4 3 California 2 2 3 4 Arizona 2 2 5 3 Oregon 2 2 4 3 Washington State 1 3 2 5 USC 1 3 3 4 Oregon State 1 3 4 3 UCLA 1 4 3 5
Around the Pac-10
Oct. 30-Oregon State at Washington State, Arizona State at Oregon, Arizona at UCLA, Stanford at Washington.
Tom Holmoe, California (Brigham Young '83) is in his third year as head coach of the Bears and fourth with the Cal program. He has a career record of 11-18 with the Bears. A 1983 graduate of BYU, Holmoe was the Cougars starting cornerback from 1980-82 and led the WAC in interceptions as a sophomore in 1980. He earned first team WAC honors as a senior and later was drafted in the fourth round by the San Francisco 49ers. Holmoe went on to play seven years with in the NFL, all with San Francisco, and helped the 49ers win three Super Bowls. After retiring from pro football, he entered the coaching ranks, serving as a graduate assistant during the 1990 and '91 seasons under LaVell Edwards at BYU. In 1992, Holmoe was reunited with Bill Walsh after accepting an offer to become the Stanford secondary coach. After two years as a member of the Cardinal staff, he moved back to the pro ranks and his former team, the 49ers, as George Seifert's defensive backfield coach for the 1994 and '95 seasons. In 1996, Holmoe joined the Bears staff as the defensive coordinator and on Jan. 18, 1997, he was named head football coach at Cal.
Paul Hackett (USC, '69) is in his second season at USC. In his first year at the helm, he led the Trojans to an 8-5 record and a berth in the Sun Bowl. He began his coaching career as freshman coach at UC Davis for three years and then joined the staff at Cal, where he served as a graduate assistant, became receivers coach and later spent two years as quarterbacks coach.
He spent five years as quarterbacks coach at USC and then joined the NFL, working as quarterbacks coach with the Browns and the 49ers. He was pass offense coordinator for the Cowboys for three seasons and in 1989, he became the offensive coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh.
One year later, he was named head coach at Pitt, where he remained for the next three years. Before returning to USC, Hackett spent five years as offensive coordinator for the Kansas City Chiefs.
USC Travel Plans
The USC travel party will depart for Oakland Airport Friday afternoon, with Sports Information Director Tim Tessalone accompanying the team.
Fox Sports Syndication TV Stations
Los Angeles, KCAL, Channel 9 Spokane, WA, KREM, Channel 2 San Francisco, KICU, Channel 36 Tucson, AZ, KMSB, Channel 11 Santa Rosa, KFTY, Channel 50 Colorado Sps KWHS, Channel 51 Seattle, WA, KTZZ, Channel 38 Reno, NV, KREN, Channel 27 Phoenix, AZ, KTVK, Channel 3 Santa Barbara, KKFX, Channel 11 Denver, CO, KWHD, Channel 53 Monterey, KCBA, Channel 35 Sacramento, KSPX, PAX,Channel 29 Eugene, OR, KVAL, Channel 13 Portland, OR, KWBP, WB, Channel 32 Sioux Falls, SD, Channel 26 San Diego, KUSI, Channel 51 Yakima, WA, KIMA, Channel 29 Salt Lake City, KUMB, Channel 30 Bakersfield, KUVI, Channel 45 Albuquerque, NM,KWBQ, Channel 19 Chico-Redding, KRVU, Channel 21 Las Vegas, NV, KVWB, Channel 33 Medford, OR, KOBI, Channel 5 Honolulu, HI, KWHE, Channel 14
IKON Office Solutions Play of the Week
Each week throughout the 1999 football season, IKON Office Solutions will salute the Golden Bear Play of the Week. For the Washington game, the play was Sekou Sanyika's interception on the third play of the game, which he returned 34 yards to the Washington one yard line, leading to the Bears first touchdown.
The Times Player of the Game
Each week throughout the 1999 football season, the Contra Costa Times will recognize the Cal Player of the Game. The winner for the Washington game is Joe Igber, who rushed for 182 yards to break the freshman rushing record and placing him 15th on the all-time Cal single-game rushing list.