Oct. 28, 1997
California-Oregon State Media Notes
* CAL RETURNS TO HOME TO MEMORIAL STADIUM IN 50TH RENEWAL OF OSU SERIES
California returns home to Memorial Stadium for the first time in three weeks this Saturday against Oregon State. The game will mark the first of 2 straight home games for the Bears, after playing 3 of the past 4 games on the road. Cal has a 29-20 edge in the rivalry which dates back to the 1905 season. Cal has won 4 straight and 13 of the last 19 games versus OSU. Cal has won 20 of the 30 games played in Berkeley, including 10 of the past 12 tilts. While Cal has won 4 straight , the last 2 victories have been struggles. In 1995, Cal emerged with a 13-12 victory, thanks to a 74-yard touchdown drive with 6:40 left in the game. Last season, Cal blew a 35-21 lead in the last 8 minutes of regulation, before finally emerging with a 48-42 victory in triple overtime. The Beavers had a huge opportunity to win the game in the second overtime, but a potential 26-yard field goal by Randy Lund was blocked after a poor snap from center. Cal's offense committed 6 turnovers on the day which led to 21 Oregon State points.
* WIDE RECEIVER BOBBY SHAW ON VERGE ON CAREER RECEIVING RECORD
Senior wide receiver Bobby Shaw, who leads the Pac-10 and ranks third in the country with an average of 8.14 receptions per game, needs just six more catches to pass Brian Treggs for Cal's all-time reception mark. Shaw enters the Oregon State game with 162 receptions in his career, while Treggs grabbed 167 catches from 1988-91. A semifnalist for the 1997 Fred Biletnikoff Award, which is given to the nation's outstanding wide receiver, Shaw already owns the school mark for receiving yardage with 2,559 yards, passing Treggs' record of 2,335 yards. Shaw also has 11 100-yard receiving games, better than the previous Cal mark of eight set by Wesley Walker from 1973-76. In fact, Shaw's five 100-yard games this season would put him tied for sixth on Cal's career list. In the Pac-10 record book, Shaw's 162 catches tie him for 10th all-time with Stanford's Vincent White, but seven more catches will push him past USC's Keyshawn Johnson for fifth in conference history. With a total of 57 receptions this season, Shaw is on pace to challenge the Pac-10 single-season mark of 88 receptions set by Johnson in 1995 when he grabbed 90. As for Cal's single-season record, Shaw is already tied for third with Steve Rivera (1975). In terms of yards, Shaw needs just 150 yards to pass Sean Dawkins (1070 yards in 1992) for the top spot.
Cal Career Receiving List Cal Single-Season Receiving List
Name (Years) Rec-Yards-Avg.-TD Name (Year) Rec-Yards-Avg.-TD
1. Brian Treggs (1988-91) 167-2335-14.0-15 1. Shawn Dawkins (1992) 65-1070-16.5-14
2. Na'il Benjamin (1993-96) 165-2196-13.3-13 2. Bobby Shaw (1996) 58-888-15.3-9
3. Bobby Shaw (1994-present) 162-2559-15.8-25 3. Bobby Shaw (1997) 57-921-16.2-8
3. Steve Rivera (1975) 57-790-13.9-4
Pac-10 Career Receiving List
Name (Years) Receptions
4. Hugh Campbell, WSU (1960-62) 176
5. Keyshawn Johnson, USC (1994-95) 168
6. Brian Treggs, Cal (1988-91) 167
7. Na'il Benjamin, Cal (1993-96) 165
8. Eric Guliford, ASU (1989-92) 164
9. John Jackson, USC (1986-89) 163
10. Bobby Shaw, Cal (1994-present) 162
10. Vincent White, Stanford (1979-82) 162
* BEARS GET A BREAK FROM NATION'S TOP PASSING OFFENSES
For the first time in more than a month, Cal's defense will not face one of the top passing attacks in the country when the Bears host Oregon State Saturday. The Bears streak began at Louisiana Tech Oct. 4 when Cal went up against the NCAA's No. 1 receiver in Troy Edwards, who is averaging 9.38 receptions and 150.25 receiving yards per game -- both tops in the nation. The next three weeks saw the Bears play against four of the Top 5 quarterbacks, beginning with Washington's Brock Huard Oct. 11. The next week, Cal saw Washington State's Ryan Leaf, and this past Saturday, the Bears defended against UCLA's Cade McNown. That trio now ranks Nos. 2, 4 and 1, respectively, in NCAA Division I pass efficiency rating. Together, that trio combined to throw for 811 yards and nine TDs. However, Cal now meets an Oregon State team that is passing the ball more than it has in recent years. The Beavers are averaging 231.9 ypg through air, the most for the team since OSU's 1989 squad averaged 255.1 ypg and far above the 85.1 ypg the Beavers averaged last season.
* CAL CUTS BACK ON PENALTIES AGAINST UCLA, HOPES TREND WILL CONTINUE
After entering last week's UCLA game averaging 12.3 penalties for 114.5 yards per game, Cal had its lowest number of flags against the Bruins with just six penalties for 66 yards. In fact, the Bears didn't pick up their first penalty until 7:11 remained in the first half when Cal was flagged for a holding penalty. The Bears had at least nine penalties in each of their first six games and had at least one score called back in their first four contests.
* CAL DEFENSE TAKES AIM AT STOPPING THE BIG PLAY
The Big Play, which has hurt Cal all year, reared its head again last week in Cal's 35-17 loss at UCLA. The Bears surrendered three passes of more than 50 yards -- two of which went for scores -- and had a punt blocked for another touchdown. Take away the 168 yards on those three loss pass completions, and UCLA gained just 233 yards the rest of the day against the Cal defense. Overall, Cal's defense is allowing 398.4 ypg, down from 460.3 ypg a year ago. However, Cal's opponents have used the big play to get into the endzone even more often than last season. Cal is giving up 33.6 points a game thus far (compared to 33.2 ppg last year). Thus far this season, Cal has given up 33 plays of 25 yards or longer. Over half of those plays (17 of the 33) have gone for touchdowns. (Actually two of the long plays were not the responsibility of the defense as one was a 65-yard interception return for a TD and another was a blocked PAT returned for a 2-point conversion). The hope is that as Cal's youthful defense (3 sophomores and 2 freshmen in the starting line-up) matures, they'll be less susceptible to giving up big plays. Below is a list of the big plays Cal has given up this season.
Cal Opponent Big Plays This Season
Houston (32 p, 25 r)
Oklahoma (54 r TD, 65 int TD, 73 p TD, 33 p TD, 26 p, 27 p, 98 y blocked PAT)
Louisiana Tech (52 p, 27 p, 36 p TD, 39 p, 28 r, 25 p, 42 p TD)
USC (25 p, 33 p TD, 65 p TD)
Washington (43 p TD, 25 p)
Washington State (54 r TD, 72 p TD, 28 r TD, 57 p TD, 55 p TD, 26 r, 43 p Td, 36 r)
UCLA (54 p, 58 p TD, 56 p TD, 28 p)
* FRESHMAN MARCUS FIELDS CONTINUES TO IMPRESS AT TAILBACK
Marcus Fields, a true freshman for the Bears, continues to be Cal's most efficient tailback this season. On the year, he leads the team with 312 yards (67 carries), four rushing touchdowns and a 4.7 ypc average. In last week's game at UCLA, Fields ran 16 times for 67 yards and one touchdown, a career-long 20-yard scamper that closed the gap to 21-10 early in the third quarter. Fields has led Cal in carries three times in the past four games, including a high of 19 rushes for 90 yards and a score at Louisiana Tech. After gaining 65 yards on 15 rushes in Cal's first three games (including no carries against USC), the 6-2, 205-pound Fields has gained 247 yards on 52 rushes in the last four games, and his activity figures to increase as the season progresses. Another newcomer who has been impressive all season in the backfield is sophomore fullback Joshua White, a transfer from Snow JC in Utah. White had 10 carries for 39 yards against the Bruins, including an 11-yarder, and has 138 yards and three touchdowns on the season.
* TURNOVERS, SACKS BEGIN TO GO CAL'S WAY
Cal, which entered the UCLA game with just 12 sacks on the season, was able to put pressure on the Bruins' Cade McNown last week, sacking the QB three times on the afternoon for minus 29 yards. Sophomore defensive end Mawuko Tugbenyoh was in on a pair of sacks, while senior defensive tackle Brandon Whiting and junior end John McLaughlin reached him once. The Bears also won the turnover battle for the second straight week. Cal recovered three fumbles at Washington State Oct. 18, then had three more fumble recoveries against a UCLA team that entered the contest ranked No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin. Although the Bears have not had an interception since the Oklahoma game Sept. 20, Cal is even in turnover ratio for the season, forcing 12 turnovers (9 fumbles, 3 interceptions) and giving up the ball 12 times (3 fumbles, 9 interceptions). Last year, Cal lost 19 fumbles on the season and had a minus 6 turnover margin.
* DELTHA O'NEAL EXCELS AS SPECIAL TEAMS PERFORMER
Sophomore Deltha O'Neal, who returns both punts and kickoffs for the Bears, has begun to distinguish himself as a top special teams performer. On punts, O'Neal has returned seven kicks for a team-leading average of 14.0 yards, quite a total for someone whose longest return is 18 yards. That average would also rank tied for ninth in the country if O'Neal had enough returns (1.2 per game minimum). On kickoffs, O'Neal is averaging 23.3 yards per return. He has a long of 53 yards (set against Oklahoma) and had 45-yard kickoff return at UCLA last week. Combined with his 151 rushing yards and 182 receiving yards, O'Neal is sixth in the Pac-10 and 24th in the NCAA with 138.00 all-purpose yards per game, just behind teammate Bobby Shaw, who is fifth and 23rd, respectively, with an average of 140.86 all-purpose yards. As a freshman last season, O'Neal returned 22 kickoffs for a 21.0 yard average, a total that does not include a 100-yard return for a touchdown to open the Aloha Bowl last December.
* ODDS AND ENDS, ET CETERA, MISCELLANEOUS, THREE-DOT DATA
Cal tight end and special teams coach Dan Ferrigno spent 9 years at Oregon State from 1987-95, under 2 different Beaver head coaches (Dave Kragthorpe & Jerry Pettibone) ... quarterback Justin Vedder is 18th in the NCAA with total offense with 263.86 ypg, while he is 42nd in passing efficiency with a 128.5 rating ... Nick Harris has moved up to 40th (from 49th) in net punting with 42.23 yards per kick ... Ignacio Brache's 40-yard field goal at UCLA last week was a career-long ... despite missing the past two games with a shoulder injury, inside linebacker Matt Beck still ranks second on the team in total tackles (34) and leads the Bears in tackles for loss with 10; he could return to action this week.