November 11, 2007

USC-Cal: USC runs Cal aground.

USC kept itself grounded tonight. Literally.

Much like the smackdown of Nebraska I reported on back in September, the Trojans resembled the student body right days in wearing down the Cal Bears in a 24-17 win. For the game, USC ended up with 239 yards on the ground, though it seemed more like 500 yards. The Men of Troy air attack gained just 129 yards.

But 16 of SC's 19 offensive plays in the fourth quarter were running plays, accounting for 82 yards.

Chauncey Washington led the grindhouse offense, churning out an impressive 220 yards on 29 carries.

Continue reading "USC-Cal: USC runs Cal aground." »

November 10, 2007

USC-Cal: Trojans salt away the win, 24-17


USC never gave the ball back to Cal's offense after Terrell Thomas' interception of a Nate Longshore pass at the Trojan 17 with three minutes left. USC improves to 8-2 and 4-2, Cal drops to 6-4 and 3-4.

Game wrap-up coming soon.

USC-Cal: Forsett, Forsett, Forsett, then Cal decides to pass

Cal just started its last drive at its own four-yard line. With a pair of long Justin Forsett runs and a Justin Forsett swing pass, the Bears quickly moved the ball inside the Trojan 40. But curiously, Cal went away from what was working and Nate Longshore just threw another ill-advised pass, resulting in an interception by Terrell Thomas.

Now it's SC ball at its own 17 with just under three minutes remaining. Cal will probably get the ball again, but I'm not banking on Longshore's passing to be able to lead them back. And judging from the groans in the press box here, the Cal people don't believe so either.

USC-Cal: The Trojans go all Woody Hayes on us, now lead 24-17

USC just completed a 97-yard touchdown drive where eight on the 10 plays they ran the ball, grinding it from their own three-yardline out to midfield. Then a 1st and 20 pass to TE Fred Davis put the ball into Bear territory.

In fact, 72 yards of the drive came on terra firma with Stefon Johnson going the final three and giving USC the lead.

A 97-yard drive can be a backbreaker. Let's see how Cal responds.

USC-Cal; Maybe Lavelle Hawkins should have a Heisman campaign

When Cal needed a game-breaker, they went to Lavelle Hawkins on that drive. Hisdiving catch in the back of the end zone just tied this game up at 17 as we go to the 4th quarter now. For the record, Hawkins came into the game with more catches (53) and more yards (681) than DeSean Jackson. Now he's got twice as many touchdown catches (2).

Prior to that, the streamlined Bear wideout lined up at quarterback and got a direct snap, carrying the ball for five yards and a key first down on a 3rd and two.

The third quarter was filled with penalties and a pair of key turnovers, but we go into the last 15 minutes all knotted up. So much for Lee Corso's pick of USC winning in a blowout.

USC-Cal: Rhetorical question: Do you remember DeSean Jackson's Heisman campaign

DeSean Jackson just caught a five-yard pass and it reminded me that he was once the flash-in-the-pan Heisman contender after that brilliant punt return against Tennessee.

Oh he still has that game-breaking ability. In fact, just before halftime he caught that 41-yard bomb to set Cal up for a late score. Though, a sack and fumble later and Cal had to punt.

But Jackson is as quiet as it gets on this Bears team, despite his 55 catches. In the Arizona State game I covered a couple a weeks ago, once again he showed great flash, catching a toe-dragging 21-yard TD. But that has been his only touchdown catch of the season so far. And other than that 77 yard punt return against Tennessee, he's got 9 returns for just 29 yards coming into tonight.

USC-Cal: Remember what I said about turnovers? SC up now 17-10

While there were stunningly no turnovers in the first half, there have already been two in the first five minutes of the second half.

The second one was an interception from the arm of Cal's Nate Longshore at his own 13 yard line. But the defense bowed up and held the Trojans to a field goal.

A minute or so before that, SC tailback Chauncey Washington dropped the pill at the Cal two yard line.

USC-Cal: We've sloshed halfway through this one, SC up 14-10


So far it's still wetter than a steamy summer night on Bourbon Street here in Memorial Stadium on the Berkeley campus, in the shadow of the tree people.

USC - 14
Cal - 10
Mother Nature - Everything else.

When the defenses have been good, they've been really good.

But both offenses have had their moments where they look unstoppable on their touchdown drives, the last of which was USC going 71 yards in nine plays capped by Chauncey Washington's 36-yard run.

That drive put SC ahead by four with just over four minutes remaining in the half.

A 41-yard bomb to DeSean Jackson put Cal back in business right before the half deep in USC territory, but a sack and fumble by Longshore put the Bears out of field goal range. Just another indicator that the defenses are still dictating things tonight.

Continue reading "USC-Cal: We've sloshed halfway through this one, SC up 14-10" »

USC-Cal: What's the record for number of plays inside the 10 without scoring a touchdown?


The Cal Bears just ran eight plays inside the 10 yard line and only have a 23-yard field goal by Jordan Kay to show for it. It's now 10-7 Cal here in the second quarter.

USC on the other hand, continued to show why they are notoriously undisciplined, getting a fumble recovery at their own two, but having it nulified by an encroachment penalty. This is becoming the USC trademark this year.

USC-Cal: Slipping through one quarter here tied at 7-7


It's ironic that in water polo earlier today, Cal beat USC 10-9.
In water skating out here tonight, it's a 7-7 tie after one quarter.

This field is slippery as hell tonight people.

After one quarter, two things are obvious:
1- Whichever team gets a better grip out here tonight is going to win.
2- Despite the five losses between them, there's still a lot of talent on this field.

Both teams went through the other defense like milk in their touchdown drives. Cal went 73 yard in nine plays to go up 7-0. Then USC went 50 yards n five plays to tie the game.

Justin Forsett went in on a 17-yard run and Spenser Havili caught a 5-yard pass from John David Booty for SC's TD.

Cal total offense:
136 yards
USC total offense:
64 yards

USC-Cal: The Joe Roth "throw-back" unis for Cal

It's 30 minutes before kickoff here in Strawberry Canyon, but the big news is that the Cal Bears came out of the locker room today wearing vintage-1976 throwback uniforms supplied by Nike. They are bright blue jerseys with bright yellow pants, similar in color to USC's pants.

The helmets are also bright yellow and feature a block "C" surrounded by a blue oval. The facemasks are also yellow.

The uniforms are being worn to honor the late Joe Roth, an All American quarterback from the 1975-76 teams.

More on Joe Roth...

Continue reading "USC-Cal: The Joe Roth "throw-back" unis for Cal" »

USC-Cal: The Game That Was Supposed To Mean More

Welcome to USC-Cal, the game that was supposed to be a lot bigger than the three-legged dog it has become.

Here in Berkeley, it's cool, rainy and dark. I assume those portable lights are going to help a lot.

Continue reading "USC-Cal: The Game That Was Supposed To Mean More" »

October 28, 2007

Cal-ASU: Post-game lagniappe

TEMPE, Az. --

First off, Why this?...


You mean Arizona State students rushed the field because the Sun Devils beat a team that came in with two losses and was ranked at No. 21? C'mon ASU fans, you're smarter than that. Save it for a win that really matters, like the 1996 win over No. 1 ranked Nebraska. This one just wasn't worth ruining a perfectly good goalpost.

Now, on to other things.

Player of the Game:
Easy. ASU quarterback Rudy Carpenter.
Carp went 12-for-16 for 174 yards in the second half and looked like he was from another planet filled with superior beings in a galaxy far, far away. He was so cool, it's not even funny. Spot-on time and time again and making all the right decisions. He went just 5-for-13 for 45 yards in the first half. So his 180 was the key to the win - and a wicked, swarming defensive effort to boot.

Play of the Game:
Dimitri Nance's eight-yard touchdown run on 4th and 1 that put ASU ahead to stay at the 10:03 mark of the 3rd quarter. Especially considering that Nance looked like he was snuffed for a loss before bouncing outside to find paydirt. If not that play, then possibly the three times in the first half that ASU's defense forced Cal to settle for field goal attempts instead of touchdowns. If that doesn't happen, then Cal could've been up by as much as three touchdowns at halftime.

Post-game quote of note:
"We didn't really do anything big, just made an adjustment or two on both sides of the football. One thing about this team, when they go to halftime with a deficit, they still believe." - Dennis Erickson when asked what he did to change the game at halftime.

Next up:
Oh yeah. Lick your chops college football freaks. No. 4 (BCS) Arizona State takes its sparkling-clean record of 8-0 to Autzen Stadium and the No. 5(BCS) Oregon Ducks. Should be the biggest matchup of the weekend - rankings wise. Oh sure, there's that LSU vs. Nick Saban game in Tuscaloosa, but the ASU-UO game will match two teams in the Top 5.

Cal will play host to Washington State and hope to break this three game skid.

Cal-ASU: Final assessment? ASU is for real.

TEMPE, Az. --

It's becoming a habit.

As LSU found out at Kentucky, you can only mess with fire so many times. Guess who's messing with fire now? Yep, the Sun Devils. For the fourth time, Arizona State has gotten behind by double-digit amounts in the first half, only to come back to win the game.

First quarter score:
Cal - 13
ASU - 0

Final score:
Cal - 20
ASU - 31

This marks the sixth time in Devils history that they have started the season 8-0.

Tonight's turnaround was spearheaded by State quarterback Rudy Carpenter. Despite getting battered, beaten and going just 5-for-13 in the first half, he came out with a new purpose on the second half. In the telling third quarter alone, Carp went 7-of-9 for 143 yards.

He continued that trend in the second half, slicing the Bears for a pair of touchdown drives that put the game out of reach, 31-20 with seven minutes remaining. For the game, Rudy was 17-for-29, 219 yards and a touchdown.

The other big story was the revamped Sun Devil defense. After halftime, Cal was completely stymied and went without a third down conversion. They also intercepted Nate Longshore twice.

Guess who's next for Arizona State? A trip to Eugene to play the No. 5 ranked Ducks.

Cal-ASU: Longshore throws another pick. ASU goes for the throat

TEMPE, Az. --

For the second staight drive, Cal's Nate Longshore threw an interception, allowing ASU to take advantage of a short field. Rudy Carpenter then capped an 8-play drive by hitting Kyle Williams on a 12-yard inside slant route for paydirt.

ASU now leads 31-20 with just 7:07 remaining in the game.

Good night nurse! Has this game made a 180 or what?

Cal-ASU: "Today, we salute you Mr. Un-athletic sports talk radio guy"

TEMPE, Az. --

During the last break in action, the radio station that is broadcasting tonight's game played one of those brilliant "Real Men of Genius" radio spots from Budweiser.

This edition went something like this:

"Today, we salute you Mr. Un-athletic sports talk radio guy

You know more about the world of sports, except how to play them. You talk sports for eight hours a day, which is seven hours and 45 minutes longer than anyone listens.

Open up a cold fresh Budweiser, because we salute you Mr. Un-athletic sports talk radio guy."

Cal-ASU: Devils stay hotter than a pair of red sox, lead after three

TEMPE, Az. --

At the end of the 3rd quarter, it's now Arizona State 24, Cal 20.

Thomas Weber just blasted a 47-yard field goal through the uprights to boost ASU's lead from one to four. This has been another typical Sun Devil 3rd quarter domination as they have now outscored their opponents 92-17 this season.

In other words you night owls, DON'T GO TO SLEEP ON THESE SUN DEVILS. Go drink a Mountain Dew. Set your alarm to go off every two minutes. Stay awake. The game now heads to the final 15 minutes with all the momentum going to the maroon and gold side.

Cal-ASU: I'd like to welcome all of you that were watching the Red Sox game

TEMPE, Az. --

I'm sure most of you just went ahead and have gone to bed. You wimps. C'mon, we've got a bitchin' game here in the Valley of the Sun.

It's Arizona State leading 21-20 late in the 3rd Quarter.

For those of you still tuning in, congratulations. For those of you who have gone to bed and are reading this on Sunday morning - well LATER ON Sunday morning, you're missing a damn good game going on now. And you're still a wimp.

And by the way, the Red Sox are bad-ass. Not that I recommend pro sports on anyone, but if you have to watch pro sports, the World Series is one time you want to. Especially with Boston kickin' A like it is.

Cal-ASU: The Devils go all Les Miles on Cal, pulls ahead.

TEMPE, Az. --

Fourth down? ASU pulls an LSU and goes for it, and scores.

ASU must've made a deal with the Devil, 'coz they've just gone on 9-play, 91-yard go-ahead touchdown drive, getting a fourth down four-yard carry from Dmitri Nance to go ahead 21-20 here early in the 3rd quarter.

Again, that was a 91 yard drive. ASU only had 95 total yards in the first half alone. The ASU radio announcers are saying, "once again, Arizona State overcomes a double-digit first half deficit to pull ahead."

Cal-ASU: The best and worst mascots in college football

TEMPE, Az. --

Here's Sparky, the very athletic and enigmatic Sun Devil mascot. Easily the most entertaining mascot I've seen in all my years of covering college sports... with the possible exception of Montana's "Monte" the Grizzly.


Then there's the Cal Bear. Don't know his name, but this slouch should be called "Homer Simpson." He's a little goofy looking and has a horrible build. Sorry folks, I love Cal, just not their mascot.


October 27, 2007

Cal-ASU: It's past midnight (EST) so I'm SURE the Easterners are in bed now. This has been the longest first half in the history of amateur sports

TEMPE, Az. --

After three very long video replays, six time outs, 14 penalites marched-off and the usual amount of television timeouts, the first half has mercifully come to an end. This game started at 7:15pm and it's now 9:11pm. At some point I kept waiting for a game official to get on the p.a. and say, "that routine 2-yard run where nothing in particular really happened is being reviewed because we're sure something happenend."

Cal leads 20-14. They had the game seemingly well under control at one point, 13-0 and then again at 20-7, but ASU keeps scrapping its way back into this game. None-the-less, ASU deserves nothing better than a "C" grade

Check out these total yards numbers:
Cal- 270
ASU- 95

California should be up by a whole lot more but has settled for field goals and killed themselves with nine penalties.

Cal-ASU: The Devils aren't ready to wither away, score a TD.

TEMPE, Az. --

Just when I decided to start watching the ASU cheerleaders and dance squad instead of the Sun Devil offense, they go 65 yards in 12 plays, including a pair of 4th down conversions (one being a bone headed play on Cal's part for too many men on the field).

Somehow Arizona State is still in this game, cutting the UC lead to 20-14. Dmitri Nance got his second touchdown, running it in from two yards out.

It does appear that the Devils have found a soft underbelly in Cal's defense, since 60 of the 65 yards came on the ground. Run Devils run.

Cal-ASU: Bears score again, now up 20-7

TEMPE, Az. --

California didn't waste any time in displaying that they are, indeed, still the better team here tonight. DeSean Jackson scored a very unpopular touchdown on a 21-yard pass from Nate Longshore, though it appeared as if Jackson's foot was dragging on the white. The ASU fans booed like it was a Iranian parade.

I guess the whole "inconclusive" ruling must've come into play on that one. Because field judge Shane Anderson sure didn't make a confident touchdown call on the play. Ee-yah! Cal's getting the breaks for the most part.

And right now the ASU students are chanting what sounds something like "Bull-spit! Bull-spit!"

Total yards so far:
Cal: 224
ASU: 47

Cal-ASU: All that blustering about ASU? They're living up to it

TEMPE, Az. --

It's now Cal 13, ASU 7 after the Devils finally got, not only a first down, but a complete drive with a touchdown and everything.

Dmitri Nance scored on a touchdown run around the left side of the line. Carpenter looked sharp, including that long bomb that Michael Jones let bounce right off his hands. Jackie Smith, are you in the house?

7 plays
59 yards

Cal-ASU: Okay, all that blustering about ASU? Fuggedaboutit!

TEMPE, Az. --

Cal goes up 13-0 with just 1:13 left in the 1st quarter. This drive went 10 plays, 62 yards.

Cal is making minced meat of Arizona State's defense. Only positive for the Devils? They've held Cal to three straight field goal attempts. Two of them have been made.

The ASU radio announcers just said, "it's another one of those forgettable first quarters for ASU, only this time it's not Colorado or Washington State they're playing."

Cal-ASU: No facemask, Cal scores defensive TD.

TEMPE, Az.--

Frosh D-End Cameron Jordan picked up a fumble by Rudy Carpenter and ran in the first score of the game. Rulon Davis ran roughshod at Carpenter, pulled him down by the collar and forced the fumble. Though the replay showed his big mitt slid across the facemask first. But no grab, so no call.

By the way, with UCLA's loss to Washington State up in the Palouse, ASU now has a chance to grab sole possession of first place in the Pac 10. Although most of the buzz around the press box is that Oregon is playing the best football and is the team to beat. See? When you get down to it, even fellow Arizona media members don't believe in this team. Tsk. Tsk.

Cal-ASU: Know what this is? It's the current East Coast time

TEMPE, Az. --


And this is also the start time of tonight's ASU-Cal game. So that's why not many people back East know much about the Sun Devils (I'm looking your direction Harris Poll voters with a 10pm curfew!)

All five of ASU's previous home games this season have started at 7pm Pacific Time or later.

Cal-ASU: Welcome to Barry Bonds country

TEMPE, Az.--

Feel free to hiss or cheer that fact, but here we are in Tempe, Arizona.


No. 7 Arizona State and No. 21 California are about 30 minutes away from kick off. Although the game is officially a sell-out, maybe ASU fans are like L.A. sports fans, fashionably late. Because the stands are still largely barren - except for the student section of course.

One thing to keep an eye on is the heat. At 5:00, my car temperature guage showed 95 degrees. Al Gore may be onto something there. Here's another factor to keep an eye on during the game, Cal's sideline is equipped with six of those Big Fogg misters. ASU's slideline doesn't have anything for the heat relief.


Cal-ASU: Additional Pre-game notes

Some more notes on the upcoming Cal-Arizona State game.

- First some pre-game MUSICAL notes

(The Gore Gore Girls stying and profilin' on their amps)

A pre-game party at Club Red here in Tempe was highlighted by an outstanding high-heeled/mini-skirt clad performance from Detroit's The Gore Gore Girls. Led by lead singer Amy Gore (in all white) and guitarist Hammer, the Gores ripped through an 18-song set of outstanding garage rock ditties. No chants of overrated were heard during the hour-twenty minute show.

- Sold Out.
The 71,716-seat Sun Devil Stadium is officially sold out for the Cal game Saturday night. There will also be a national TV audience watching on Fox Sports Net as part of a Pac 10 triple-header. Then again, that's only available to those people with satellite TV or cable systems that carry the Fox Sports network. Otherwise, I guess it's not exactly "national television" is it?

Continue reading "Cal-ASU: Additional Pre-game notes" »

October 26, 2007

Cal-ASU: The Day-Before Preview


And now, 2007?

Listed above are all the once-a-decade teams that Arizona State has had that made a major splash on the national college football scene. So far, this year's Sun Devil squad is a perfect 7-0. But this five-game stretch to end the season will be as tough as any team in the country has to go through.

Tomorrow's game against Cal will be either a coming out party for the Devils or a "told-you-so" raspberry from the rest of the country. Since we all know so much about this year's California team, I've decided to treat this game as a chance for the nation to see what Arizona State is all about. Be it legit. Or a farce.

Continue reading "Cal-ASU: The Day-Before Preview" »

October 20, 2007

Turner emerges as most important '1' for UCLA

PASADENA, Calif. -- California wide receiver DeSean Jackson wears No. 1 on his jersey and it looked like he would be the one to lead the Bears to their first victory in the Rose Bowl since 1999.

Instead it was someone else wearing the No. 1 who made the biggest impact.

UCLA cornerback Alterraun Turner intercepted Cal quarterback Nate Longshore and returned it 76 yards for the clinching touchdown to lead UCLA to a 30-21 victory to remain atop the Pacific-10 Conference standings.

Continue reading "Turner emerges as most important '1' for UCLA" »

UCLA balancing act put them ahead

PASADENA, Calif. -- The Bruins used its physical run game, coupled with some good short passes to take the lead, 23-21, on a Kai Forbath field goal with 3:08 remaining in the game.

The Bruins went 42 yards on 11 plays and capped it with Forbath's 27-yard field goal to put them in the lead heading into the closing minutes of the contest.

Bears take back lead... for now

PASADENA, Calif. -- DeSean Jackson is doing his best to make up for last weekend.

So far so good.

Continue reading "Bears take back lead... for now" »

It's tricky in the Rose Bowl

PASADENA, Calif. -- UCLA offensive coordinator Jay Norvell evoked his inner Run DMC with a trick play that put the Bruins back on top in the Rose Bowl, 20-14, in the third quarter. The Bruins ran an end-around to Brandon Breazell, faked the reverse, and had Breazell throw it over the top.

Breazell appeared to make a mistake when he threw to Dominique Johnson, who had two Cal defenders near him, while other players were wide open downfield. His trust in his fellow wideout paid off as Johnson made a terrific catch in the end zone for the 29-yard touchdown pass.

Bell is ringing up yards

PASADENA, Calif. -- UCLA running back Khalil Bell doesn't always get the recognition of his backfield mate, Chris Markey, but if UCLA is going to deliver California its second loss in as many weeks, Bell is probably going to be the man who makes it happen. The 6-foot, 211-pound bruiser had 100 yards on 11 carries in the first half.

Making himself feel right at home

PASADENA, Calif. - California might be in Northern California but Coach Jeff Tedford recruits the Los Angeles area like Berkeley is just one of the dozens of Southern California suburbs.

Arguably his biggest recruit since he's been at Cal is wide receiver DeSean Jackson, who spurned USC to play for the Bears. Jackson reminded UCLA fans why he was so highly touted coming out of football factory Long Beach Poly in the first half.

Continue reading "Making himself feel right at home" »

Bending but not breaking

PASADENA, Calif. - UCLA is moving the ball on California but the Bears' defense isn't just giving away points. In three trips to the red zone, UCLA has scored all three times - but twice were held to field goals, which is a big reason Cal leads, 14-13, with just over five minutes left in the first half.

One of a kind

PASADENA, Calif. - It's been a few years since I've been at the Rose Bowl, in large part because traffic coming into and out of the Arroyo Seco is a nightmare for even the most savvy Los Angeles driver.

That being said, there is truly nothing like the roar of the Rose Bowl with the San Gabriel Mountains painting the horizon. And there was quite a celebration from the Bruins' faithful just a moment ago as defensive end Bruce Davis hit Cal quarterback Nate Longshore from behind to cause an incomplete pass and force a punt.

Khalil Bell followed on first down with a 64-yard run to the California 2-yard-line. UCLA tight end Logan Paulsen scored on the following play catching the 2-yard pass from Pat Cowan despite being interferred with on the play and UCLA has its first lead, 10-7, with 11:08 remaining in the first half.

SoCal kids put Cal ahead of UCLA early

PASADENA, Calif. - Think Cal likes having Nate Longshore back? With the 6-foot-5 junior back behind center, the Bears just finished a beautiful drive to take an early 7-0 lead. Longshire completed all seven of his passes on the 12-play, 71-yard touchdown drive, capping it with a 21-yard touchdown pass to tight end Craig Stevens.

The Bears' quarterback, tight end and place kicker, Jordan Kay, are all from Southern California. Longshore played high school ball in the Santa Clarita Valley, which is north of UCLA. Stevens and Kay actually went to the same high school, which is located in the South Bay area of Los Angeles.

Cal-UCLA about to start

PASADENA, Calif. - The Bruins are undefeated in the Pac-10 and should get a huge boost to keep things that way with Patrick Cowan set to start at quarterback. Cowan is a gutsy, slightly goofy quarterback who plays loose and it seems to fit well with the Bruins offense. Remember, it was Cowan who led the Bruins over USC last year.

California officials are mum on which quarterback will start for the Bears, freshman Kevin Riley or veteran starter Nate Longshore, who did not play last week due to an ankle injury. We'll find out right away because Cal is set to receive the opening kickoff. The Bears also have a few lineup changes with Lavelle Hawkins starting at wide receiver over Robert Jordan while defensive end John Allen and SAM linebacker Justin Moye will be two new starters on the defensive end.

The Rose Bowl isn't entirely filled despite it being just a few short minutes before kickoff. UCLA coach Karl Dorrell had an extra week to make sure his team has recovered from seven turnovers and a loss at home to a previously unbeaten Notre Dame. The bigger question in this game, however, might be whether or not the Bears have recovered from last week's stunning loss at home to Oregon State.

September 29, 2007

Cal gets first win in 20 years

EUGENE, Ore. -- The Bears hadn't won at Autzen since 1987. And now that's a thing of the past.

Continue reading "Cal gets first win in 20 years" »

Dixon's streak over

EUGENE, Ore. -- Dixon just threw his first INT of the season. Not a great time to turn the ball over. Oregon fans look beyond dejected. For crying out loud, these people should come up to Corvallis for awhile. There, interceptions area regular thing. Fans get used to it.

However, I'm thinking Cal is about to score on this play and if Oregon loses this game it's possible that people will say it was the turnover that lost it for the Ducks. But we've still got 3:11 to play, so every should just calm down. 31-24 Cal.

Longshore down

EUGENE, Ore. -- Longshore got smacked pretty hard on that last play and is now taking some time to enjoy the Autzen turf. Longshore's a tough kid -- I think he'll get up and be OK in a few minutes. In the meantime, the Oregon video board is screaming for fans to get "LOUDER!" You know, because it's nice to cheer when the other team is hurt.

Longshore's up, but off to the sidelines. Here comes Kevin Riley, the back up QB. All I can tell you is that he's a 6'3 redshirt freshman. And I'm sure the Oregon defense is having a field day talking trash to the kid. (You know, I have a good friend who played linebacker in the Pac-10 for a few years, and he said they actually don't talk trash that much. What is that? If I were in the Pac-10 I would talk trash all day long. Especially if my name were DeSean Jackson.)

The Dixon-Dixon connection

EUGENE, Ore. -- Turns out there's another guy on the Oregon roster named Dixon. Ed Dixon, in fact. And he just got the Ducks within one yard of the endzone on a nice little catch. Before that, Denis Dixon (I vote we call him "D-Squared" in tribute to my math nerdiness) dropped back to pass, waited awhile, waited a little more -- I'm sure this whole time he was hoping someone would get open -- and then scampered around for a 10 yard gain. I don't think we're giving his offensive line enough credit. They are pretty good if he has that much time to decide what he's going to do.

Oh yeah, the Ducks scored again. 24 all, 7:06 to go.

Cal score again

EUGENE, Ore. -- This is more like it.

Longshore to Jackson for a 31-yard touchdown. PAT was good, too. Cal leads 24-17. Now, let's think about this. At halftime it was 10-3. In 18 minutes the Bears have scored 21 points. Much more impressive.

And now the Ducks just had a nightmare happen: Cal kicked off and the Oregon plays ran into each other. Yeah, I know -- into EACH OTHER. Cal recovered the fumble and it's already 2nd & 10 at the 26. Eek. This game could get out of hand quickly.

Record attendence

EUGENE, Ore. -- The press box PA guy -- who happens to double as the men's basketball sports info director -- just announced that today's attendence is 59,273, which is an Autzen and state of Oregon record. That means they beat -- by almost 1,000 -- the record that was set last year against Oklahoma. (See: Really Bad Officiating Calls for more on that game.)

Cal's ball, third and 7, 12:58 to go. Bears take a timeout to talk things over. If I were them, I would suggest getting the ball to Jackson again. But I'm sure they've already thought about and discussed that.

17 All

EUGENE, Ore. -- Forsett went a whole yard for that score. And the PAT is good. Tie game again.

By the way, that pass to Jackson was a 31-yarder, not 25. My bad.

Bears within striking distance

EUGENE, Ore. -- Cal is about a foot short of a touchdown. But we'll be back after this break for some commercials that probably aren't funny. Then we start the fourth quarter, and I'm betting the Bears are going to score. Longshore found Jackson again for a gain of about 25, setting up the Bears' soon-to-be scoring drive.

After 30 minutes of trying to find cool things around the stadium to look at, this game is finally getting some excitement. Alright, this is what me and 54,000 other people were hoping for.

And now the play right before the quarter is under review. I thought it looked like Cal got into the endzone, but what do I know. This is why the officials are paid a lot of money, to make tough calls. That and because they have to wear those funny-looking hats, which are flattering on no one.

Anything Longshore can do ...

Dixon can do better. The Oregon QB just hooked up with Colvin for a 42-yard TD. I'm sure this makes Oregon fans a little happier with Colvin. Now we've got some offense! It's 17-10, Oregon. The Ducks did their scoring pretty quickly, too, using just over two minutes to take the lead back. 2:39 to go in the third.

High-Five the Bear!

EUGENE, Ore. -- Hey, Jackson finally got involved. Scored on a 25-yard pass from Nate Longshore. Then he high-fived the Cal Bear, who is looking really geeky dressed in a yellow sweater. And the extra point is ... good! Now it's tied 10-10. 4:44 to go in the third.

You know, while this hasn't be an on-the-edge-of-my-seat game, I'm betting D-coordinator Nick Alioti is feeling good about his coaching this week in practice. I mean, yeah, Jackson did just score, but the Oregon defense hasn't looked this good in a long time. There was a point last weekend when the Ducks were losing to Stanford. Stanford! Do you know how bad Stanford is? (Answer: Worse than Michigan.)

Some quick stats

EUGENE, Ore. -- I guess it would be easy to say that Jackson has been a non-factor for Cal because he only has 42 total yards, but it's not like anyone is really standing out on the stat sheet. Longshore is 13-21 with no INTs and Mohamed has six tackles for Cal. Ho-hum. The most telling stat is easily rushing yardage: Oregon has 123, Cal 31. Cal has a total of 119 yards, Oregon 186. Dixon was 11-17. Thurmond and Boyd have six and five tackles, respectively, for the Ducks. Stewart has 82 rushing yards, five of which he went for in the Ducks' score. That's pretty much it.


EUGENE, Ore. -- It's halftime. It's still 10-3. We'll have stats coming soon. Until then, it's time for some hot chocolate.

Ducks in the endzone

EUGENE, Ore. -- You had to know this was coming: Stewart barrelled his way through the Cal defense for an Oregon score and the Ducks now lead 10-3. Here we go, baby! I can feel the 40 points coming on.

Now it's tied

EUGENE, Ore. -- This is, uh, not exactly the most exciting game. Cal kicked a FG. Now it's tied 3-3. Whoooooo. 6:20 to go. It's not that this is a bad game, it's just not breathtaking. So far. Maybe now me saying that will turn things around. Because I'm sure the Oregon and Cal players are reading this while they're on the sideline. Maybe they'll read it at halftime though. I'm sure you've heard Oregon locker room is really sweet. I bet they have Wi-Fi in there.

Who's kicking for Oregon? No one knows.

EUGENE, Ore. -- Seems the Ducks are trying to throw off the Bears by using multiple kickers. Luke Bellotti (yep, it's the coach's son) kicked off to start the game, then Morgan Flint, who's No. 23 on our rosters but is actually wearing No. 14 for this game, kicked off after the Ducks' score. I'm sure all of this is driving Tedford Bonkers. And you thought college coaches weren't full of trickery.

For the record, Oregon's kicker last year sucked. He sucked a lot. So much so that I don't even remember his name. However, after the Civil War (Oregon vs. Oregon State) I was walking into the press conference next to a shall-remain-nameless Duck player who screamed, "We need to recruit a %*&$ing kicker!" Seems (Coach) Bellotti heard him.

Oregon still leads 3-0. 9:30 left in the half.

Oregon on scoreboard

EUGENE, Ore. -- Oregon got on the board with a 32-yard FG by Matt Evensen. Now the Ducks lead 3-0.

I predicted that with all the explosive offensive talent on the field the score would be 46-41 Cal. And yet again, it looks like I will be wrong.

Duck-Bear Throw-down?

EUGENE, Ore. -- Even if the game turns out to be a blowout, we in the press box are looking forward to a potential mascot throw-down.

As I'm sure all college football junkies know by now, the Duck was suspended after Oregon's opener against Houston when he engaged in an all-out brawl with the Houston mascot. (I think the Duck won.) This is Ducky's first game back and he's promised to be tame, but all bets are off against the Bear. My money's on the Duck, personally.

It occurs to me that I wrote about Follett because I completely forgot that he was out this week. This is Follett's second straight missed game, after what Tedford will only describe as a "neck stinger."

It's 15 minutes to kickoff and the band is playing Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" for the cheerleaders. I am not even making this up.

College GameDay in Eugene

EUGENE, Ore. -- Who knew college students were willing to be up before 10 a.m.?

Continue reading "College GameDay in Eugene" »

September 02, 2007


BERKELEY, Calif - DeSean Jackson was only given one chance to return a punt all night, but for Tennessee, it was one time too many.

Jackson broke a 14-14 tie in the second quarter with a 77-yard punt return for a touchdown, and Cal would never fall behind for the rest of the game, as the Bears beat the Volunteers 45-31 to open the 2007 season at Memorial Stadium.


September 01, 2007


BERKELEY, Calif. - It's offical, Cal has beated Tennessee 45-31 to open the 2007 season. I'm going to get reaction to the win, for the Bears, and the loss, to the Vols. Stay tuned for more from Memorial Stadium.


BERKELEY, Calif. - The Bears looked set to put the game away, with the ball at the Vols 1-yard line with less than three minutes left, but Nate Longshore fumbled the snap and Tennessee recovered in the endzone. Cal reviewed the play, but the ruling stood and the Vols now have the ball on its own 20 with 2:30 left.


BERKELEY, Calif. - A year ago, it was Tennessee that looked superior in everyway when these two school, met. This year, it hasn't been complete domination by Cal, but it's easily been good enough.

Last year, the fans chanted "S-E-C," to mock the "soft" Bears, but just moments ago the Bear fans returned the insult, with a "Pac-10 football" chant directed at Tennessee and its supporters.

Cal is up 45-31 with the ball at the Vols 8-yard line and 4:10 left on the clock. It's been a crazy game, but it at least seems like this one is going to go the Bears way.


BERKELEY, Calif. - In yet another impressive drive, thanks in most part to the passing of Longshore, Cal drove down the field to double its lead, as the Bears now hold a 45-31 advantage, with 9:10 left.

It's now up to the Cal defense to put this game away for the Bears, although, I have a feeling it's going to be a long 10 minutes for everyone involved.


BERKELEY, Calif. - Freshman Daniel Lincoln probably just kicked the biggest field goal of his young career, to get Tennessee within seven, at 38-31.

Tennessee could argue that it got robbed at the end of the drive, when pass interferance wasn't call on a third down play that forced the field goal attempt.

Bottomline is Cal has not looked impressive iin ts last two drives, and Tennessee is alive and well early in the fourth quarter.

One interesting statistic, because Cal has scored a fumble return and punt return for a touchdown, the Vols have dominated the time of possesion, leading 26:43 to 19:25. So Cal's defense might be tired (they look it).

Cal just went three and out, so Tennessee will have a chance to tie getting the ball with 12:28 left.


BERKELEY, Calif. - The Tennessee defense came up with a stop, and the Vols offense rewarded them, scoring a touchdown on a 10-play drive to cut the deficit to 10, at 38-28 Cal.

The big play on the Tennessee touchdown drive might have been a block.

Reciever Quintin Hancock leveled a Cal defended to free up Adrian Foster on a 3rd down reception.

Ainge has continued his great play, he's now 26-of-32 for 242 yards and three touchdown.

Tennessee's defense just had another stop, so the Vols will have a chance to get within singe digits.


BERKELEY, Calif. - In a game that has featured very little defense, Cal's goaline unit might have just put the Bears in control of this game.

Tennessee's Arian Foster had a 43-yard run to the Bears 4-yard line, but the Vols stalled inside the 2-yard-line, and lost the ball on downs. Erik Ainge had only two incompletions all game, but he threw two incompletions during the goaline sequence, including a poor pass on fourth down.

Cal has just punted the ball away, so the Vols are still in this game, they just can't waste anymore opportunities.


BERKELEY, Calif. - It took less the 90 seconds into the second half, for Cal to score its fith touchdown of the game.

DeSean Jackson picked up 21 yards on a reverse play, and Nate Longshore completed three pass culminating in a 3-yard pass touchdown to Lavelle Hawkins, to make the score 38-21.

Tennessee is in some trouble now. Scoring points shouldn' t be a problem, but at some point they will have to stop Cal. Rocky Top Nation can't be happy.


BERKELEY, Calif. - Tennessee finally couldn't answer a Cal touchdown, and the Bears kicked a short field goal with 12 second left in the half, to take a 31-21 lead into the break.

I was a fantastic first half to watch, and there is no reason to think that the second half won't be the same.

Continue reading "CAL ADDS THREE, LEADS 31-21 AT THE HALF" »


BERKELEY, Calif. - You gotta love college football.

It seems neither defense has any kind of answer for the opposing teams offense, so the only question now is who can outscore who.

The Bears continued our back and forth pattern, with Robert Jordan scoring a touchdown from a wide reciever screen play inside the Vols 5-yard line. So now it's 28-21.

The Vols currently have the ball at the Bears 46-yard line. Is there any doubt that they are going to score?

Tennesse ties it up once more

BERKELEY, Calif. - A bit of a pattern has begun at Memorial Stadium.

Cal score, Tennessee scores, Cal scores, Tennessee, etc. It was Tennessee's turn, and they came through, tying this SEC-Pac 10 matchup at 21.

Erik Ainge has been the player of the game. He is 13-of-14 for 141 yards and a touchdown. It was supposed to be the Tennessee secondary that was going to struggle, but the Cal secondary has yet to start playing.

There is 6:54 left in the second quarter. We'll see if that is enough time for two or three touchdowns before halftime. It's Cal's turn...

That Jackson kid is pretty good

Berkeley, Calif. - If there was one suggestion I could have made to the Tennessee coaching staff before the game, I would have told them "Just don't punt to Jackson." I don't think they did it on purpose, but they did, and I think if the punter does it again he is just going to be a student, intstead of a student-athlete.

Jackson just zig-zaged across the field here at Memorial Stadium, to score a ridiculous touchdown. The Arena football matchup now stands at: California 21, Tennessee 14.

Tennessee answers, again

It isn't hard to get in the endzone, when you start from your opponets 24-yard line, and Tennessee made it look really easy.

It took Tennessee just five plays to go a quarter of the field, to score its second touchdown of the opening quarter. Montario Hardesty leaped over the pile at the goaline to tie the game at 14.

It looks like the first one to 50 will win this one, maybe.

Cal runs into the lead

Berkeley, Calif. - With so much talk about Cal's wide reciever's, it was running back Justin Forsett that carried the load to the Bears first offensive touchdown of the game.

Forsett ran the ball five times for 31 yards and Nate Longshore completed two passes to DeSean Jackson, as the Bears drove 54 yards for a touchdown, taking a 14-7 lead.

Again, as I type, Tennessee's Foster just ran 62 yards on the kickoff to the Cal 24. I feel sorry for the people who bet the under in this game.

Tennessee answers

Berkeley, Calif. - Two touchdowns in less than five minutes, great for a fan - nightmare for a blogger :).

What seems clear it that there is nothing wrong with Erik Ainge's pinky, he has started the game completing his first seven passes including a 12-yard touchdown to runingback Arian Foster to tie the game at seven.

The Bears are on the Vols 49, with a 2nd and 5. I have a feeling "The Run and Shoot Blog," is going to live up to its name tonight.

Cal strikes

Berkeley, Calif. - It looked like a strong start for Tennessee, as they converted a third down and got into Bears territory after a personal foul penalty. But then, disaster struck for Rocky Top fans.

Continue reading "Cal strikes" »

Time for the main event

Berkely, Calif. - Here at the University of California, some of the nation's top young minds usually discuss some of the most serious issues facing the world, like the military industrial complex and how meat consumption effects global warming. But tonight, those minds are concerned about much more pressing issues, like, how is Erik Ainge's pinky finger and can the Tennessee secondary stop DeSean Jackson?

Continue reading "Time for the main event" »


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