BERKELEY -- California (5-4, 4-4 in Pac-12) hadn’t beaten Oregon State in Corvallis since 2006. The Bears hadn’t won in the state of Oregon since 2007. They hadn’t had a winning road record since 2009. Cal has gotten plenty of monkeys off of its back this season, but there are still a few more, starting with next week’s clash against USC, who the Bears have not beaten since 2003. Cal hasn’t beaten the Trojans at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum since 2000, when tailback Daniel Lasco was in the fourth grade.
[MORE PRACTICE: Injured Stars Return on Tuesday]
“Honestly, they’re the next game on the list, and everybody has a lot of hype about USC, and going down there and I know that’s a huge game,” said Lasco after practice on Wednesday. “A lot of people here want to beat USC, almost more than they want to beat Stanford, but in my opinion, I feel like it’s another game. It’s another opportunity for us to go out and play great, and continue to build on this program.
“There’s a lot of L.A. people that are on this team, and them going back home, that would be an amazing thing to do to win in the Coliseum, against their hometown team, there’s so many emotions riding on this game, and it’s just a huge game, because we need this. Every game from here on is putting us in a bowl opportunity, and everybody’s trying to go bowling this year.”
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Lasco has certainly shaken his fair share of simians after coughing up a pass for an interception in the season opener against Northwestern. This week, he was named the SEVEN Magazine Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl Pac-12 Player of the Week, his second such honor of the season. He previously earned honorable mention honors from the College Football Performance Awards for its national Running Back Performer of the Week on Monday, for his career-best 30-carry, 188-rushing yard day against Oregon State.
On each of his career-high three rushing touchdowns, he ran completely untouched into the end zone.
“Unless it was a little hand, a fingertip or something, but for the most part, no,” he laughed. “If the offensive line plays like that? Please. If our line continues to play like that, it’s a field day for any running back.”
Lasco is also just 204 yards away from reaching the 1,000-yard plateau, something that no Cal running back has achieved since Isi Sofele ran for 1,322 yards in 2011.
“I have three games left, and we just have to take it game-by-game, and honestly, I’m not really focused on that,” said Lasco. “At the end of the season, you count up everything and see where you are. Right now, I’m focused on getting three or four yards, four or five yards, whatever it is, every single play, moving the chains, getting first downs. That’s my role on this team: Making sure that we continue to get first downs and put the ball in the end zone. At the end of the season, then we can look at how many yards I had.”
Last week at this time, Lasco said that the Cal offensive line had played “the game of their life”, after plowing the way for 193 rushing yards – 85 of those from Lasco. Then, Lasco went and rushed for 188, as the Bears set a season-high in team rushing yards with 269 – more than twice their game average last season.
“The offensive line this past Saturday, they played a remarkable game,” said Lasco. “They opened up some big, huge holes, that I feel like y’all could have ran through, to be honest with you.”
Some of those holes were so big, Lasco thought they were too good to be true.
“I can see pretty much the whole field, and when the holes are that big, I have to hesitate and feel, ‘This hole is so big; maybe someone is coming from the blind side or something like that,’ and a lot of the times I hesitated coming through, and I wish I would have hit the hole a lot faster,” Lasco said. “I just wasn’t used to seeing stuff like that. As the year progresses, everybody progresses, we’ll continue to get better. I’ll continue to get better.”
NOTES FROM PRACTICE
• Safety Avery Sebastian and wide receiver Kenny Lawler -- both of whom did not play last week – practiced in full. Sebastian saw reps with the second-team defense.
• Wide receiver Trevor Davis did not wear shoulder pads or a helmet, but he did catch passes and did some positional work during warm-ups.
• Darius Allensworth and Michael Barton each came down with interceptions against the scout team.
• Linebacker Jake Kearney, who missed last week’s game, practiced in full and got in on several tackles on the second-team defense.
• Vic Enwere got a lot of run on Tuesday, and ripped off a 20+ yard run against the No. 1 defense in 11-on-11 work, which was followed up by another 20+ yard run by Khalfani Muhammad.