For Arizona State, that comes in the form of notching head coach Dirk Koetter's first conference win in the state of California and over Bears skipper Jeff Tedford. Cal is ready to show the early season rust is gone after an embarrassing first week loss at Tennessee.
#21 CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS
2006 Record: 2-1, 0-0 Pac-10
Head Coach: Jeff Tedford
Last Week: The Golden Bears are riding a two game win streak after
routing Portland State at home, 42-16 .
WR DeSean Jackson, So.
LT Mike Tepper, So.
LG Erik Robertson, Sr.
C Alex Mack, So.
RG Noris Malele, So.
RT Mike Gibson, Jr.
TE Craig Stevens, Jr.
WR Robert Jordan, Jr.
QB Nate Longshore, So.
FB Byron Storer, Sr.
TB Marshawn Lynch, Jr.
Head coach Jeff Tedford didn't announce his starting quarterback until
late August but appears to have made the best choice in selecting
sophomore Nate Longshore. The young signal caller appears to have found
a rhythm following a rocky season debut in Knoxville a few weeks ago.
The sophomore is averaging 203 yards through the air, passing for 6
scores and two interceptions. Longshore is completing 65% of his passes
while senior backup Joe Ayoob has not been as efficient in relief time
with a 42% completion percentage and one interception.
Longshore has a very talented supporting cast at the skill positions.
DeSean Jackson is an emerging star at receiver with excellent speed and
big play capabilities. The true sophomore has collected 5 touchdowns in
three games this season and is averaging just over 100 receiving yards
per game. Joining Hawkins are a pair of juniors, Lavelle Hawkins and
Robert Jordan. The two are consistent targets and have a combined 23
catches and 311 receiving yards between them.
Keeping defenses honest in the backfield is Heisman candidate Marshawn
Lynch. The junior running back is forging his way to another 1,000+
yard season with 325 yards and three scores already. The Cal ground game,
averaging 162.7 yards per game, doesn't end with Lynch, however. Junior
Justin Forsett, a back up that could start for many schools, has 89
yards and one touchdown on 28 carries. Marcus O'Keith is also averaging
8.1 yards per carry as a senior.
DE Abu Ma'afala, Sr.
DT Matt Malele, Jr.
DT Brandon Mebane, Sr.
DE Nu'u Tafisi, Sr.
SAM Justin Moye, Jr.
MIKE Desmond Bishop, Sr.
WILL Worrell Williams, So.
FS Thomas DeCoud, Jr.
ROV Brandon Hampton, Jr.
CB Daymeion Hughes, Sr.
CB Syd'Quan Thompson, Fr.
Brandon Mebane, a senior, anchors a defensive line that hasn't yet
caught up with pre-season expectations but has remained a very
formidable front for the Bears. Mebane has collected two sacks and is
trying to jumpstart a sluggish pass rush from the front four early this
season. Senior defensive end Nu'u Tafisi is the line's next leading
tackler behind Mebane with 6 tackles and 2 quarterback hurries.
Cal's linebacking corps is among the more talented and deeper units in
the West. Senior linebacker Desmond Bishop is a load in the middle and
is a big reason why the Bear defense has allowed only two rushing
touchdowns this season. Bishop is second on the team in tackles with
20. Senior Mickey Pimentel and junior Justin Moye join on the strong
side to give Cal a great 1-2 punch. The two have a combined 19 stops
and 1.5 sacks. A trio of sophomores in Worrell Williams, Anthony Felder, and Zack Follett will play along the weak side.
Pre-season All-American candidate Daymeion Hughes is capable of
blanketing opposing receivers. The senior cornerback has notched 11
stops and intercepted 3 passes already. Starting at the opposite corner
spot is Syd'Quan Thompson, a freshman that was picked on in the season
opener at Tennessee. With the loss of Tim Mixon, the Bears pass defense
has suffered some, giving up an average of just under 240 yards per
game. Junior safety Thomas DeCoud leads the team in tackles with 23.
P Andrew Larson, Jr.
PK Tom Schneider, Jr.
PR DeSean Jackson, So.
KR Marshawn Lynch, Jr.
Junior punter Andrew Larson is in his first season at Cal, coming over
from junior college. 4 of Larson's 12 punts have been downed inside the
20 yard line while averaging 41.8 yards per punt. Surprisingly, kicker
Tom Schneider has only attempted one field in the Bears first three
games this season, connecting on a 32 yarder at Tennessee.
Wideout DeSean Jackson is a dangerous returner but his longest of this
young season went for 15 yards. Running backs Marshawn Lynch and Marcus
O'Keith have fared a bit better returning kicks. O'Keith is averaging
27.7 yards per return while Lynch averages just over 20 yards.
On a related note, the Bears kickoff coverage has had some holes,
allowing over 28 yards per kick return and a 99 yard return for a
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