Dec. 1, 2008
PDF of Official Cal Game Notes
Mack On Lowe's Senior CLASS Award List
Cal Tops Standord in 111th Big Game
Anger a Semifinalist for Ray Guy Award
Follett a Quarterfinalist for Lott Trophy
Mack a Receives National Football Foundation Scholarship
2008 Cal Schedule and Results
Official Washington Website
PDF of Official Washington Game Notes
2008 CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL
Saturday, December 6, 12:00 p.m. (PT)
California (7-4, 5-3 Pac-10) vs. Washington (0-11, 0-8 Pac-10)
Berkeley, Calif. - Memorial Stadium
TV: FSN (Barry Tompkins, Petros Papdakis, Jim Watson) .
Radio: Touchdown Radio (Roxy Bernstein, Gino Torretta, Jon Bloom); KGO Radio (810 AM) in San Francisco (Joe Starkey, Troy Taylor, Todd McKim) - and affiliate stations KGIL Radio (1260 AM Los Angeles), XSURF Radio (540 AM San Diego), KNTK Radio (102.3 Weed), KCBL Radio (1340 AM Fresno), KESP Radio (970 AM Modesto), KVBL Radio (1400 AM Visalia) and KTKZ Radio (1380 AM Sacramento). The pre-game show begins 30 minutes prior to kickoff.
GOLDEN BEAR FACTS
Head Coach: Jeff Tedford
Alma Mater/Year: Fresno State/1983
Record at Cal/Year: 57-30/7th
Career Record/Years: Same
Football SID: Herb Benenson
Office Phone: 510-642-0515
Secondary Contact: Chris DeConna
Office Phone: 510-643-4724
Ticket Info: 800-GO-BEARS
Games Played: 87
Series Record: Washington leads 46-37-4
First Meeting: 11/24/1904. Tie, 6-6
Last Meeting: 11/17/07, Washington, 37-23
Current Streak: Cal has won 5 of 6
Tedford vs. Washington: 5-1
California concludes the 2008 regular season when the Golden Bears host Washington at 12 noon Saturday in Memorial Stadium. The game will be televised by Fox Sports Net and can be seen locally on CSN Bay Area.
Cal will be looking to finish the campaign with an unblemished 7-0 record in Berkeley. The Bears have outscored their opponents 208-104 at home this year, and a win over the Huskies would mark the third time under Jeff Tedford that the Bears finish a season undefeated in Memorial Stadium (2004, 2006).
Under Tedford, Cal is 5-1 vs. Washington. The Bears snapped a 19-game losing streak to the Huskies in Tedford's first season in 2002, winning 34-27 in Seattle, and will be looking for their third straight victory at home in the series for the first time since taking six in a row in Berkeley from 1945-55.
At 7-4 overall, Cal has already won at least seven games for the seventh straight year - a first in the history of the program. With a win, Tedford will tie legendary Bear coaches Andy Smith (1916-25) and Pappy Waldorf (1947-56) for most career eight-victory seasons with five. Tedford's teams previously won 10 games in 2004 and `06 and eight games in 2003 and `05.
In Cal's most recent contest vs. Stanford, sophomore TB Jahvid Best rushed for a career-high 201 yards on just 19 carries to lift his season total to 1,083 yards, marking the seventh consecutive year the Bears have produced a 1,000-yard rusher. Prior to the current streak that began in 2002, Cal had just seven backs reach 1,000 yards in its history and none since 1993.
A two-time Pac-10 Player of the Week, Best, who averages 7.0 yards per carry, is also the team's leading receiver with 27 catches for 246 yards and a score. He could become the first Cal player since Chuck Muncie in 1973 to pace the Bears in both rushing yards and receptions.
Defensively, the Bears have picked off 21 opponent passes - No. 3 in the country and easily best in the Pac-10 with no one else having more than 16. The total ties for the highest amount under Tedford (also 2006), and no Cal team has had more than 22 since the 1953 squad registered 23 interceptions. Twelve players have gotten into the act in 2008, led by Syd'Quan Thompson's four interceptions.
Linebacker Zack Follett enters this week ranking second the Pac-10 in tackles for loss with 17.0 and tied for fourth in the league with 7.5 quarterback sacks. Cornerbacks Thompson and Darian Hagan have both broken up 16 passes, which ties for the second-highest number in the school record book behind Harrison Smith's 18 in 2004.
As a result, the Bear defense ranks 36th nationally allowing 325.9 ypg, a 52-yard-per-game improvement over last year. Cal has also held seven of 11 foes to 20 points or less, including USC (17) and Oregon (16), both of which rate among the NCAA's top 15 scoring offenses.
On special teams, freshman Bryan Anger let loose with two of the five longest punts in school history in his last outing vs. Stanford. His first kick traveled 76 yards and his second went 75. For the game, he set a Cal single-game record by averaging 60.2 yards on four punts.
Cal-Washington Matchup Washington holds a 46-37-4 lead in a series that began in 1904 ... Cal broke a 19-game losing streak to the Huskies in 2002 and had won five straight before a 37-23 setback last year in Seattle ... in the most recent meeting in Berkeley, the Bears outlasted UW, 31-24, in overtime after the Huskies scored on the last play of regulation ... Marshawn Lynch's 22-yard TD run in OT provided the difference ... in 2003, Cal set a school record with 729 yards of total offense in a 54-7 victory over Washington in Memorial Stadium.
Senior Salute Saturday's contest marks the final Memorial Stadium appearance for 17 seniors on the Golden Bear roster, and they will be recognized in a pregame ceremony on the field. The list of players being honored consists of WR LaReylle Cunningham, DE Rulon Davis, LB Anthony Felder, LB Zack Follett, WR Drew Glover, S Bernard Hicks, DT Mika Kane, PK Jordan Kay, QB Nate Longshore, C Alex Mack, OG Noris Malele, FB Zach Smith, WR Alex Stroud, LS Nick Sundberg, FB Will Ta'ufo'ou and LB Worrell Williams. Over the last four years, Cal has compiled a 32-17 record and won three straight bowl games - the 2005 Las Vegas Bowl (35-28 over BYU), the 2006 Holiday Bowl (45-10 over Texas A&M) and the 2007 Armed Forces Bowl (42-36 over Air Force).
Alex Mack: Center of Attention Senior C Alex Mack, who won the Morris Trophy as the top offensive lineman in the Pac-10 last year, is in line for his share of honors again this season. In October, he was selected one of 15 finalists for the 2008 Draddy Award by the National Football Foundation & College Hall of Fame, an award that is presented to the top football scholar-athlete in the country. As a finalist, he will receive an $18,000 postgraduate scholarship. Mack is the third Cal player to be named an NFF Scholar-Athlete, joining previous recipients Je'Rod Cherry (1995) and Pat Newell (1959). He will travel to New York for the NFF banquet on Tuesday, Dec. 9 when the Draddy Ward is presented.
In addition, Mack was named a semifinalist for the Rotary Lombardi Award, given to the nation's best lineman, and a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, for achievement on and off the field. He was also chosen a first-team midseason All-American by both College Football News and Sporting News Today.
A two-time first-team All-Pac-10 selection and a first-team All-American choice by The Sporting News in 2007, Mack has written a weekly blog for Sporting News Today this fall.
Simply the Best Sophomore TB Jahvid Best needed 118 yards in Cal's last outing vs. Stanford to reach 1,000 for the season, and he easily surpassed the milestone with a career-best 201 yards on the ground. The effort topped his previous high of 200 yards set at Washington State on Sept. 6. Now with 1,083 yards entering the Washington game, Best's total ranks ninth on Cal's single-season rushing list, and he's within striking distance of the top 5. The Bears have had a 1,000-yard rusher each of the last seven years, second only to USC's 10 in a row from 1972-81 in Pac-10 history.
In addition to his running prowess, Best leads Cal in receptions (27) and is first in the Pac-10 in both all-purpose yards (170.7 ypg) and kickoff returns (29.1 ypr). Twice named Pac-10 Player of the Week this season (after the WSU and Stanford games), Best has achieved the lofty stats despite suffering a dislocated left elbow vs. Colorado State Sept. 27, which caused him to miss the Arizona State contest and has forced him to wear a brace on his left arm.
In his brief career, the speedster already has 67 plays (rush, receive, KO return) of at least 10 yards.
Cal's 1,000-yard Rushers since 2002 2008 Jahvid Best (1,083) 2007 Justin Forsett (1,546) 2006 Marshawn Lynch (1,356) 2005 Marshawn Lynch (1,246) 2004 J.J. Arrington (2,018) 2003 Adimchinobe Echemandu (1,195) 2002 Joe Igber (1,130)
Cal Single-Season Rushing Leaders 4. Marshawn Lynch (2006) 1,356 5. Marshawn Lynch (2005) 1,246 6. Adimchinobe Echemandu (2003) 1,195 7. Russell White (1991) 1,177 8. Joe Igber (2002) 1,130 9. Jahvid Best (2008) 1,083
7th Heaven With its victory against Stanford, Cal secured its school-record seventh straight season with at least seven wins - each year that Jeff Tedford has overseen the program. Tedford's turnaround has been quite remarkable, especially considering that the Bears were coming off a 1-10 campaign in 2001 and had not had a plus .500 season since 1993.
Tedford Trends I Of the 86 head football coaches at Pac-10 schools over the last 50 years, Jeff Tedford is one of just four to have winning seasons in each of his first six years. Others: Frank Kush (ASU), John Robinson (USC) and Mike Bellotti (Oregon). Since he arrived in 2002, the Bears have won 57 games, second among Pac-10 teams to USC's 79; played in five bowl games going on six, second only to USC's six going on seven; won four bowl games, second only to USC's five; earned three top-3 finishes in the Pac-10, second only to USC's six; and is 6-1 in the Big Game.
Tedford Trends II Since Jeff Tedford's arrival in 2002, Cal has scored 30+ points 44 times, posting a 40-4 record in those games. The Bears are 5-0 this season when scoring 30 or more points, and have won 21 in a row since 2005. Additionally, Cal is 30-2 when amassing at least 40 points since 2002.
Cal Offense Quick Notes Cal has the 30th-best scoring offense (32.0 ppg) in the nation ... Cal has won 21 straight games when scoring 30 or more points since 2005 (including 5-0 this year) ... the Bears are 30-2 when totaling 40 or more under Jeff Tedford (since 2002) ... sophomore TB Jahvid Best ranks 6th in the NCAA and first in the Pac-10 in all-purpose yards, averaging 170.7 ypg ... in addition, he is second in the Pac-10 in rushing (108.3) and eclipsed 1,000 rushing yards (1,083) after gaining a career-best 201 yards in the Big Game vs. Stanford ... Best had his fifth run of 60 yards or longer this season with his 60-yard scamper on the second play from scrimmage against the Cardinal ... junior TE Cameron Morrah (7 touchdowns) is tied Tom Swoboda for the most touchdowns by a tight end in a season with seven in the Tedford era ... Shane Vereen hauled in a career-long 59-yard touchdown pass against Stanford ... Cal's 90-yard scoring drive vs. Stanford in the second quarter was the Bears' longest scoring drive since the Colorado State game on Sept. 27 ... senior QB Nate Longshore has moved ahead of Gale Gilbert in career passing yards and into fifth place on Cal's all-time list, now with 6.578 yards ... Cal tops in the Pac-10 lead (18th in the nation) in turnover margin (+10) ... Kevin Riley set a school record with 58 pass attempts against Maryland ... his 423 yards passing vs. the Terps were the third most in a game in school history and the most single-game passing yards in the Tedford era ... the 81-yard run by Vereen against Michigan State and the 80-yard TD run by Best on the opening play against Washington State marked the first time in program history that Cal had two 80-yard runs in the same season; Best extended that mark by adding an 86-yard run against WSU ... Best and Vereen both rushed for 100 yards against Michigan State, the seventh time Cal has had two 100-yard rushers in the same game since 2002 ... Vereen set a school record for rushing yards by a freshman in his debut vs. Michigan State with 101 and also set a Cal freshman record for longest run with his 81-yard TD ... the Bears' 391 rushing yards at Washington State are a Tedford-era record and the most by a Cal team since 1991 ... Cal's 66 points at WSU were the second-most scored in the Jeff Tedford era and the third-most for Cal since World War II ... the 63-point margin of victory at WSU was Cal's largest since 1922 ... Cal has not been shut out in a school-record 118 straight games dating back to Sept. 11, 1999 ... Cal has scored 2,880 points, the second most of any other team in the Pac-10, since 2002 (USC, 3,309).
Cal Defensive Quick Notes Cal has scored 108 points off its opponent's 28 turnovers (15 TDs and a FG) this season ... the Bears are third in the nation in interceptions with 21 (Cal had 10 interceptions all of last season) ... Cal equaled its season-high in sacks with 4 against Stanford ... Cal also tied a season-high with 4 forced turnovers against the Cardinal ... Cal held Oregon's ground attack (No. 5 in the nation entering the game at 277.8 ypg) to 206 yards ... the Bears also had three players record double-digit tackles vs. Oregon, marking the first time since last year against Oregon State such a feat had been accomplished ... Cal returned two interceptions for touchdowns in the win over UCLA, marking the first time since Arizona State on Sept. 23, 2006, that two INTs were taken back for scores ... Cal's rush defense was stout against UCLA, holding the Bruins to just 16 yards rushing ... the last time Cal held an opponent such a low amount was against Stanford in 2005 (also 16 yards) ... the Bears registered four INTs against UCLA (also four picks at Washington State) ... the Bears rank 10th in the nation in pass efficiency defense with a 99.56 opponent rating (second in the Pac-10) ... the Bears boast the third-best rush defense in the Pac-10 at 124.2 ypg and the league's fourth-best total defense (325.9 ypg) ... Cal ranks first in the nation in red-zone defense (65.0%, 26 scores in 40 trips inside the 20) ... CB Syd'Quan Thompson has four interceptions this year, including two against Washington State ... his 108 interception return yards against WSU were a school record ... sophomore DB Sean Cattouse has three picks on the year ... senior LB Zack Follett leads the team with 17 tackles for loss (8th in the nation) and sacks with 7.5 ... DE Cameron Jordan (ASU), LB Mike Mohamed (UCLA) and LB Zack Follett (Oregon) have all been named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week.
Special Teams Quick Notes Bryan Anger ranks 11th in the nation (second in the Pac-10) in punting at 44.1 ypp ... Anger booted a career-best 76-yard punt against Stanford (also the fourth-longest in school history) ... he followed that punt with a 75-yarder later in the game, which tied Ryan Longwell for the fifth longest in school history ... he averaged 47.7 ypp vs. Arizona State to earn Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week honors (Oct. 6) ... Cal has turned three blocked kicks into 21 points ... Bryant Nnabuife has a pair of blocked punt returns for TDs - 5 yards vs. Michigan State and 30 yards against Colorado State; the MSU return was Cal's first off a blocked punt for a TD since 2004 ... Rulon Davis also blocked a Washington State field goal that Zack Follett scooped up for a 68-yard score, his first career touchdown ... Syd'Quan Thompson has amassed 286 punt return yards (11.0 ypr) and returned a punt 73 yards for a touchdown against Colorado State (his first career touchdown on a punt return) ... Cal set a single-game record with 187 punt return yards vs. Colorado State - Thompson (131), Nnabuife (30), Mychal Kendricks (26) ... true freshman Georgio Tavecchio has connected on seven of his last eight field goals, including three of 40 yards or more ... he stepped in for an injured David Seawright (groin) at Arizona, making two field goals (42, 40) and three extra points in his first action other than kicking off this season.
Cal-Stanford: Postscript Cal's 37-16 victory over Stanford secured its school-record seventh straight season with at least seven wins ... Jahvid Best had a career-best 201 yards on 19 carries with three touchdowns (two rushing, one receiving) - it was his sixth 100-yard rushing game and the second 200-yard rushing game ... Bryan Anger's 76-yard punt in the first quarter was not only a personal best, but also the fourth best in school history ... it was the longest punt since Scott Tabor booted one a school-record 89 yards against USC on Sept. 26, 1987 ... TE Cameron Morrah caught his seventh TD pass of the year in the third quarter ... the Bears picked off three passes and stopped a Stanford drive on the Cal 10 with a fumble ... Cal scored 27 straight points after halftime to build a 37-3 lead, including three scores in a 4:06 span of the third quarter ... LB Anthony Felder recorded a team-high 13 tackles and Zack Follett added 10 stops.
Full of First-Time Starters in 2008 Over the course of the season, Cal has had 14 players register their first career starts at some point during the year. Three of the starts have come on the defensive side of the ball in the form of DE Cameron Jordan, LB Eddie Young and CB Darian Hagan. But on the offensive side, 11 different players have made their starting debuts this fall, including six along the offensive line - Chet Teofilo, Chris Guarnero, Mark Boskovich, Justin Cheadle, Mitchell Schwartz and Donovan Edwards. Guarnero (toe) and Teofilo (ankle) both opened the year as starters but have been felled by injuries, leaving senior C Alex Mack the only veteran along the front wall.
First-Time Starters for the Bears in 2008 TB - Jahvid Best, Shane Vereen WR - Nyan Boateng, Jeremy Ross, Sean Young OL - Mark Boskovich, Justin Cheadle, Donovan Edwards, Chris Guarnero, Mitchell Schwartz, Chet Teofilo DL - Cameron Jordan LB - Eddie Young DB - Darian Hagan
Midseason Honors Senior linebacker Zack Follett, who leads the Golden Bears with 17 tackles for loss and 7.5 quarterback sacks this year, was named one of 15 semifinalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award (top defensive player), as well as one of 20 defensive players to earn a spot on the Lott Trophy quarterfinalist list.
Freshman punter Bryan Anger has been listed as one of 10 semifinalists for the 2008 Ray Guy Award, which identifies the nation's top collegiate punter. Anger, who is averaging 44.1 yards per kick, is the only freshman and Pac-10 player among the candidates.
Junior CB Syd'Quan Thompson, owner of four interceptions and 12 pass break-ups to date, was chosen a second-team midseason All-American by College Football News and SportsIllustrated.com.
Unkind in the Red Zone Opponents have struggled to score in the red zone against the Bears this season, shown by the fact that Cal ranks first in the country (No. 1 in the Pac-10) in red-zone defense (65.0%). Prior to the Big Game, Stanford ranked No. 1 in the Pac-10 and in the top 10 nationally in red-zone offense, but only came away converting on 2-of-4 tries. Cal forced a fumble in addition to a missed FG by the Cardinal. Overall, the Bears have allowed 18 TDs and 8 field goals in 40 opponent trips inside their 20-yard-line.
INT Zone With three interceptions against Stanford Nov. 22, Cal climbed to No. 3 in the nation with 21 interceptions on the year. The total matches the 2006 squad for most by a Bear defense since the 1991 Citrus Bowl team had 22. Unlike the `06 season when Daymeion Hughes intercepted eight passes, no one Bear is dominating the statistical category this year. To date, 13 different players have recorded at least one INT, with Syd'Quan Thompson and topping the list with four.
NCAA Passes Intercepted Leaders 1. Boston College 25 2. Florida 23 3. California 21 4. Iowa 20 Boise State 20
Cal Season Interception Leaders 1. 1948 30 2. 1947 27 3. 1953 23 4. 1949, 1968, 1970, 1991 22 8. 2008 21* *Others tied with 21
The Plus Side of Turnovers Head coach Jeff Tedford has focused on turnovers as the No. 1 key to football since his arrival in 2002 and for this season, he and his staff have taken it a step further. Every practice in preseason camp featured a turnover circuit with each payer on the team working on drills related to protecting the football, recovering the football and forcing turnovers.
The result is that Cal ranks first in the Pac-10 and 18th nationally in turnover margin, having forced 28 turnovers through 11 games, leading to 108 points (30.7% of the Bears' total points).
A look at the stats during Tedford's tenure backs up his assertion of the value of TOs. In his seven years at Cal, the Bears are 32-3 (.914) when winning the turnover battle and 13-19 (.406) when losing that statistical comparison (as well as 12-8 when tied). In Pac-10 games, the stats are even more decisive, as Cal is 21-1 (.954) with a positive margin and 7-17 (.291) with a deficit (7-5 when turnovers are tied).
In Tedford's first season in Berkeley, the Bears were third in the country in turnover margin (+18 total, +1.5 per game).
Cal's Turnover Margin Per Game, NCAA Ranking and Team Record since 2002 2008 (+.91) 18th 7-4 2007 (-1.2) 76th 7-6 2006 (+0.5) 30th 10-3 2005 (-0.5) 88th 8-4 2004 (+0.2) 51st 10-2 2003 (+0.2) 50th 8-6 2002 (+1.5) 3rd 7-5
3rd-Down Deficiency When it comes to stopping opponents on third down, Cal ranks among the best in the country, having limited teams to 29.8% (48-161), second in the Pac-10 and ninth in the NCAA. Among conference schools, only USC (27.5%, 3rd NCAA) is better. The Bears are even stingier in Pac-10 action, holding league schools to 29.8% on third downs (48-161). On the flip side, with the Cal offense facing such stout defenses, the Bears have converted only 29.9% of their own third-down tries (41-137).
Depth Counts A key to any successful football season is to have depth at every position to insure against injury or other factors. This season, Cal has been fortunate to have the services of backups that have stepped up to keep the Golden Bears on track for a winning campaign.
For example, when TB Jahvid Best missed the Arizona State game with a dislocated left elbow, redshirt-freshman Shane Vereen stepped in and finished with 93 yards on 27 carries, to go along with a career-high five catches for 51 yards. In addition, sophomore Cameron Jordan filled in for Rulon Davis on the defensive line vs. ASU, recording his first two sacks of the season and earning Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week notice.
At linebacker, Cal's second-leader tackler, Mike Mohamed, is primarily a reserve, while Sean Cattouse, who has one start this year, is second on the team with three interceptions.
In Cal's game at Arizona, PK Georgio Tavecchio ably replaced David Seawright (groin), booting field goals from 40 and 42 yards - the Bears' longest of the season to that point - and he has held onto the starting position since.
On the offensive line, sophomore Donovan Edwards and redshirt-freshman Justin Cheadle earned their first career starts against Oregon (filling in for injured starters Noris Malele and Chet Teofilo), paving the way for 348 yards of total offense on a rain-soaked field.
Game Changing Bears Many of Cal's touchdowns this season have been a result of big or game-changing plays on offense, defense and special teams. A summary of the highlights are below.
Michigan State: Blocked punt (Brett Johnson) returned 5 yards for a TD (Bryant Nnabuife) 81-yard touchdown run (Shane Vereen) Washington State: Touchdown runs of 80 and 86 yards by Jahvid Best Blocked field goal attempt (Rulon Davis) returned 68 yards for a TD (Zack Follett) Colorado State: Blocked punt (Mychal Kendricks) returned 30 yards for a TD (Nnabuife) 43-yard interception returned for touchdown (Brett Johnson) 73-yard punt return for touchdown (Syd'Quan Thompson) UCLA: 69-yard interception returned for touchdown (Marcus Ezeff) 53-yard flea flicker for a touchdown (Kevin Riley to Nyan Boateng) 19-yard interception returned for a touchdown (Michael Mohamed) Oregon: 50-yard interception return to the Oregon 3 (Worrell Williams), sets up Cal TD before halftime Fumble recovery (Matt Russi) on a dropped fair catch at the Oregon 6 sets up Cal TD with 8:57 left in the game Stanford: Tyson Alualu forces fumble at the Cal 10-yard-line; on the ensuing drive, Kevin Riley hooks up with Shane Vereen for a 59-yard touchdown pass to put the Bears up 10-3 Eddie Young interception on the first play of the second half sets up TD pass from Kevin Riley to Cameron Morrah for a 17-3 Cal lead
Pick 6 Cal has return three interceptions for touchdowns this year, including two in the Bears' 41-20 win over UCLA Oct. 25. S Marcus Ezeff returned one pick 69 yards for a TD, while Mike Mohamed added a 19-yard TD return in the fourth quarter. S Brett Johnson was the first Bear to get a pick 6 with 43-yard return vs. Colorado State Sept. 27.
Cal also returned three INTs for touchdowns in 2006 and 2002, and set a school record with five interceptions returned for TDs in 1999.
Under 4,000 Cal's defense has given up 3,585 yards through 11 games this season, 599 yards less than the Bears surrendered at the same point last year. Cal's per-game average of 325.9 ypg allowed is the second lowest during Jeff Tedford's tenure as head coach, behind only the 320.9 ypg permitted in 2004. The last time the Bears had a lower per-game rate was in 1994 when they gave up 299.9 ypg.
3-4 Showcases Linebacker Strength The California coaching staff changed its base defense from a 4-3 to a 3-4 this year to take advantage of its superior talent and depth at linebacker. Recognized among the best linebackers in the nation, the Cal contingent features three seniors in Anthony Felder, Zack Follett and Worrell Williams who were also starters in 2007.
Felder, leads team with 80 stops, reached double digits in tackles for the third time this season after posting a team-high 13 in the Big Game vs. Stanford (also had 10 at USC and 12 against Michigan State).
Follett continues to climb up Cal's career chart in tackles for losses (45.0) and is now eighth on the list after recording a team-high 17.0 this season - eighth in the country. Follett had 10 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 5 tackles for loss against Stanford, and in the Oregon game, recorded 11 total tackles, with three for loss and a sack, in addition to breaking up a pass attempt to claim Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week honors; and had a big day at Maryland with five tackles, a sack, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble and a pass breakup.
Williams has been active around the ball all season, recording 55 stops (fifth on the team), 5.0 tackles for loss and five pass break-ups. He recorded his first interception of the season against Oregon and returned it 50 yards to help set up a Cal touchdown just before halftime.
Other Bear linebackers have contributed, as well, in 2008. Sophomore Mike Mohamed is second on the team with 76 tackles, while junior Eddie Young, who has started nine games this season, picked off his first interception of the season (second of his career) against Stanford that helped set up a Cal touchdown. He recorded a personal-high seven tackles against Colorado State, and has 33 on the year. Junior Devin Bishop, the younger brother of former Cal star LB Desmond Bishop, has 11 tackles, including four vs. Colorado State, while sophomore Charles Johnson (six tackles), redshirt freshman D.J. Holt (12 tackles) and true freshman Mychal Kendricks (14 tackles) all are in the mix.
ZFLs Senior linebacker Zack Follett, a key cog in the 3-4 defensive scheme, continues to climb the Cal career chart in tackles for loss, checking in with 45.0 - eighth-best in program history. The Colvis product tallied had a career-high five tackles for loss against Stanford, marking the first time since Tully Banta-Cain had 5 TFLs against New Mexico State in 2002 to raise his season total to a team-high 17.0 (second in the Pac-10 and seventh best in the nation at 1.55 per game), eclipsing his previous personal high of 12.5 TFL set last season.
Follett has amassed 36 tackles in his last four games, including double-digit performances three times (Oregon 11, Oregon State 10, Stanford 10). Overall, he has 74 stops on the year, which includes the team lead in sacks (7.5). In the Stanford game, Follett had 10 tackles, 2.5 sacks and 5 tackles for loss. He recorded 11 total tackles vs. Oregon Nov. 1, with three for loss and a sack, in addition to breaking up a pass attempt, to claim Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week notice.
Felder Force As Cal's leading tackler (80), senior linebacker Anthony Felder has posted 30 tackles in the last three games, including double-digit performances against USC (10) and Stanford (13).
Felder, who had 101 tackles last year (third on the team) has accumulated 181 tackles in the last two seasons, and needs two more tackles to crack Cal's top-10 career tackles chart.
Mighty Mo As Cal's second-leading tackler (76), sophomore LB Mike Mohamed made the most of his first start of the season (second of his career) against Oregon by leading the Bear defense with a personal-best 14 tackles. A versatile performer who can play any of Cal's four linebacker sports, Mohamed has 5.0 tackles for loss, a pair of sacks and an interception despite his primary reserve status.
The 6-3 product of Brawley, Calif., had his first career sack and first career INT (returned 19 yards for a touchdown) against UCLA, helping him to Pac-10 Player of the Week honors (Oct. 27). He added another sack and two TFLs at USC and had five tackles with a season-high two passes broken up at Oregon State.
All-Purpose Ross Whether it's returning kickoffs, catching passes, running reverses or even throwing for the end zone, sophomore WR Jeremy Ross seems to be involved. He had a career-long 41 yard rush against Stanford in the third quarter (to the Stanford 7-yard line), which helped set up a Jahvid Best three-yard TD run.
In the Oregon State game, Ross took a lateral from QB Kevin Riley, then found a wide-open Nyan Boateng down field for a 30-yard score. He also caught three balls for 30 yards and had 31 yards on kickoff returns against the Beavers.
The sophomore from Sacramento has 14 catches for 196 yards and 2 touchdowns, 15 kickoff returns for 318 yards this season, including a career-long 47-yard return against UCLA, 64 yards rushing and a 30-yard touchdown pass.
Ross led the Bears in all-purpose yards for a span of four games (Arizona-USC), notching 119 vs. Oregon, 123 vs. UCLA, 141 against Arizona and 61 vs. USC.
Boateng Boost Cal's leader in receiving yards (403), junior WR Nyan Boateng has caught a touchdown pass in five of his last eight games, after corralling a 30-yard touchdown pass from fellow wideout Jeremy Ross at Oregon State - the second time he has caught at TD via the flea flicker.
Against UCLA, Boateng hauled in a 53-yard reception for a score from QB Kevin Riley, who got the ball back after handing off to Jahvid Best during the trick play. Boateng finished with a season-high 67 yards receiving against the Bruins. He then matched his season best in receptions (4) at USC with 43 yards.
A transfer from Florida in the spring of 2007, Boateng is second on the team with 25 catches overall.
Tucker on Target Junior wideout Verran Tucker registered his third touchdown of the season at Oregon State, and has become a consistent target in the passing game of late, registering career bests in receptions (5) against Oregon and in yards (68) at Arizona. Tucker was instrumental on Cal's second offensive drive vs. Oregon when he hauled in a 17-yard reception on a 3rd-and-15 (at the Cal 24) to move the chains, then again on a 3rd-and-4 (on the Cal 47), when he nabbed a 24-yard reception to extend the drive. The Bears would eventually score a touchdown to go up 7-6.
For the season, Tucker, who had just two receptions through first five games, has 19 catches for 258 yards and three touchdowns.
Syd Snares Another One In his third season as a starter (37 straight starts, six career INTs, 28 passes defended), Syd'Quan Thompson recorded his fourth interception of the year at Oregon State - the most in a season for the Bears since Daymeion Hughes picked off eight passes in 2006. He also came up big defensively against one of the nation's best passers (Rudy Carpenter) knocking down a career-high four passes against the Sun Devils.
Early in the campaign, Thompson picked off two passes against Washington State, becoming the first Cal player since Hughes in `06 to have two interceptions in a game. He returned the second INT 90 yards (fifth longest in Cal history) to set up a five-yard TD. Overall, he set a school-record with 108 interception return yards vs. the Cougars.
Thompson was also instrumental in Cal's 38-31 win over Michigan State. He intercepted a pass at the end of the second quarter near the goal line, spoiling a Spartan scoring drive. The Sacramento product swatted away three total passes while adding five tackles. Two of his tackles came on third-down plays and forced punts, and one pass break-up came on a key third-and-18 play to force a punt, as well.
Thompson is 27th in the country in punt returns (11.0 ypr), with his biggest thrill coming against Colorado State when he brought back a kick 73 yards for a TD. For the game, he had 131 punt return yards against the Rams, just seven yards shy of the Cal record. Defensively against CSU, he recorded his second sack of the season to go along with a team-high nine tackles.
Darian D's Up Syd'Quan Thompson is not the only cornerback to step up for the Bears this year, as sophomore Darian Hagan has developed into a special player in his own right. The product of Crenshaw HS in Los Angeles equaled his career best with three pass break-ups against Oregon Nov. 1, and has added three more in his last three games. Overall, he is tied for third (with Thompson) in the Pac-10 with 16 passes defensed, just two shy of the Cal record held by Harrison Smith (2004).
Hagan turned in another solid performance in October against Arizona State with a career-best eight tackles to go along with a fumble recovery. He picked off his first interception in the Colorado State game, adding seven tackles to his stat line.
Last season, Hagan saw action in just five games, primarily on special teams. He has started every game for the Bears this year.
Anger Management Freshman P Bryan Anger saved his best performance of the season for the Big Game. Anger booted a career-long 76-yard punt in the first quarter (pinning Stanford on its one-yard line), the fourth-longest punt in Cal history and furthest since Scott Tabor booted one a school-record 89 yards against USC in 1987. Anger followed up with a 75-yarder in the third quarter, which tied with Ryan Longwell for No. 5 in school history. His 60.2 average on four kicks set a Cal single-game record.
Anger was named one of 10 semifinalists for the 2008 Ray Guy Award, which identifies the nation's top collegiate punter. He is the only freshman and Pac-10 player on the list.
The Camarillo native is currently averaging 44.1 yards per punt this season - 11th-best in the nation. Fifteen of Anger's 63 punts have traveled 50+ yards and 23 of his punts have placed inside the 20-yard-line.
Against Arizona State, for example, he punted seven times for a 47.4 average, including a 72-yarder that pinned ASU on its own 4-yard-line with less than five minutes to play. Overall, three of his kicks landed inside the ASU 10, earning him Pac-10 Special Teams Player of the Week honors (Oct. 6).
Rare Non-Big Game Finish for 2008 Cal's game against Washington marks just the fifth time since World War II that the Bears have ended the regular season against an opponent other than Stanford. Two of the games were rescheduled from their original dates. In 2004, the Bears moved their game at Southern Mississippi from September to Dec. 4 due to Hurricane Ivan, while the 2001 contest at Rutgers shifted to Nov. 23 following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Cal twice played at Hawaii at the end of the year (1968 and 1993), while the Bears traveled to Tokyo to face Washington State on Nov. 28, 1987.
Final Regular-Season Games Other Than Stanford since World War II Nov. 30, 1968 Cal 17, Hawaii 12 Honolulu, HI Nov. 28, 1987 Cal 17, Washington State 17 Tokyo, Japan Nov. 27, 1993 Cal 42, Hawaii 18 Honolulu, HI Nov. 23, 2001 Cal 20, Rutgers 10 Piscataway, NJ Dec. 4, 2004 Cal 26, Southern Mississippi 16 Hattiesburg, MS
Quick Starts Through 11 games this season, Cal has outscored its opponents 84-40 in the first quarter and 103-58 in the second, giving up an average of just 9.8 ppg in first halves. Only three opponents - Maryland, Oregon and Oregon State - have managed to score a touchdown in the first quarter. In fact, the Bears have shut out their foes in the opening period six times and limited two teams - USC and Washington State - to just one field goal each. Overall, Cal has outscored opponents eight times in the first quarter and nine of 11 times in the second quarter.
Big Numbers at the Gate Again Cal enters its final home game averaging 63,566 fans per contest, the fourth time in the last five years the Bears have drawn more than 60,000 fans per game. In terms of pure numbers, Cal will attract its second-highest total ever this year. With 381,399 fans having passed through the gates so far, only the 2006 season, which drew 450,223 fans and averaged a record 64,318, will have a higher total.
Bears Bowl-Bound for Sixth Straight Year At 7-4 overall and 5-3 in the Pac-10, Cal has assured itself of its sixth straight bowl appearance, a school record. The Bears' trip to the Insight Bowl in 2003 marked the team's first bowl berth since 1996. Over the ensuing years, Cal has gone to the Holiday Bowl twice, the Las Vegas Bowl and the Armed Forces Bowl. The Bears' 2008 fate, though, won't be determined until after Saturday's games.
Prior to the current run, Cal had earned bowl bids just four times since 1959.
Cal Bowl Games under Jeff Tedford 2003 Insight Bowl Phoenix, AZ Cal 52, Virginia Tech 49 2004 Holiday Bowl San Diego, CA Texas Tech 45, Cal 31 2005 Las Vegas Bowl Las Vegas, NV Cal 35, BYU 28 2006 Holiday Bowl San Diego, CA Cal 45, Texas A&M 10 2007 Armed Forces Bowl Ft. Worth, TX Cal 42, Air Force 36
The Tedford Era Jeff Tedford, now in his seventh year at the helm of the Bears, has quickly brought the program into another "Golden" Age. The Bears' seven-year record of 57-30 is among the best-ever at Cal.
Era Years Record Pct. Highlights The Wonder Teams 1920-24 44-0-4 .958 Three National Titles The Thunder Teams 1937-38 20-1-1 .932 One Championship Pappy's Boys 1947-52 53-9 .855 Three Rose Bowls The Tedford Era 2002-current 57-30 .655 Five straight bowls Early 90s 1990-93 30-17 .638 Three bowls Mike White Era 1972-77 35-30 .538 Pac-8 title in `75
Early Action Guys Head coach Jeff Tedford has inserted 11 newcomers in 2008, and all have contributed in key moments - Trevor Guyton (DT), Verran Tucker (WR), Anthony Miller (TE), Donovan Edwards (OL), Bryant Nnabuife (DB), Marvin Jones (WR), Mychal Kendricks (LB), David Seawright (PK), Kendrick Payne (DT), Giorgio Tavecchio (PK) and Robert Mullins (LB). Last year, Cal played four newcomers (true freshmen Jahvid Best, Chris Conte and Cameron Jordan, and Zach Smith, a transfer from Duke).
Bears on TV For the second year in a row, all Cal football games will be broadcast live on television. The Bears have appeared on ABC seven times, including five consecutive weeks from Oct. 25 (UCLA) through Nov. 22 (Stanford). Cal was also on ESPN for the game at Maryland and on Comcast SportsNet-California for the Washington State, Colorado State and Arizona contests. This week's regular-season finale vs. Washington will be aired nationally on Fox Sports Net.