Cal fans should enjoy Coach Tedford this season because he can flat out coach college football. He made certain that Heisman hopeful Aaron Rodgers completed his first pass (to Chase Lyman for a first down), he instilled confidence in J.J. Arrington by calling his #30 early and often (Arrington racked up 181 yards on 16 carries), and he even made adjustments at halftime so that his defense could ground the Falcons' triple threat offense.
On special teams, David Lonie, the team's Wonder from Down Under, launched his first punt 56 yards. The ball landed near the end zone and sucked back to the three-yard line like a well-spun wedge from fellow countryman Greg Norman. The only less-than-stellar effort came from place-kicker Anthony Binswanger, who failed to boot the ball into the back of the end zone with regularity, despite help from the mile-high conditions. But if Lonie learns to harness his leg in the coming weeks, Bear backers needn't worry about the kicking game.
The only worry heading into the home opener next week should come from Cal's next opponent, New Mexico St., because the Bears are rolling.
Separated at Birth:
Long-time Air Force Head Coach Fisher DeBerry is the spittin' image of Democratic deserter Zell Miller, especially when calls don't go his way. During a critical goal-line play in the second half, Arrington jumped over the pile for what was scored as a touchdown. Replays showed clearly that Cal's tailback had coughed up the football before scoring. Coach DeBerry threw down his hat and headset, and cursed a blue streak at the officiating crew like Miller going after the Kerry-Edwards ticket at the Republican National Convention.
Air Force quarterback Shaun Carney, a feisty 5-9 freshman, ran the Falcons' offense like another diminutive signal caller from another era named Doug Flutie. Carney played well and made history as the first frosh to start under center for Air Force in its 49-year history. He racked up 75 yards on 18 carries and was 9-for-15 for 89 yards passing.
The Golden Bears charged onto the field at Falcon Stadium sporting new uniforms. They wore white jerseys and pants, topped off with the traditional Cal script in gold on their blue helmets.
Running of the Bears:
Cal has never boasted this many able bodies in the backfield. Arrington had a huge afternoon on the ground, dashing for a career-best 89 yards on one play. He finished with 181 yards and three touchdowns. True freshman Marshawn Lynch impressed in his collegiate debut with 92 rushing yards and one touchdown. Fellow frosh Justin Forsett finished with 34 yards and a score. Junior Terrell Williams also hit pay dirt for the Bears backfield.
Aaron Rodgers did two things to keep his Heisman hopes alive – he won big and made no mistakes. Though his passing numbers were modest (11-16, 208 yards, one TD, no INTs), Rodgers stepped up on two keys plays that put his stamp on the game.
With Cal and Air Force knotted at one touchdown apiece in the first half, Rodgers faced 3rd and 9. He coolly delivered a ball downfield to his old friend and tight end, Garrett Cross. The 49-yard gain would have made his idol, Joe Montana, proud because it was a perfectly timed pass in the face of an oncoming blitz.
In the second half, Rodgers connected with another one of his favorite targets, Chase Lyman, for a 78-yard touchdown that put the game out of reach. Both passes reminded teammates, opponents, and fans that Rodgers has a knack for making great decisions under duress.
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