Bear Intelligence - November 14, 2005

This week's edition looks at the breakdowns that resulted in USC's five touchdowns, compares the performances of the quarterbacks on Saturday, how November has traditionally been a miserable month for football fans, another Sacramento-area prospect who's having a breakthrough area and a hot new barbecue spot in Berkeley.

The Big Five

While USC's offense scored five touchdowns, they were helped a great deal by Golden Bear mistakes.  The defense and special teams played well, limiting USC to just two plays of longer than 25 yards. Cal also did a terrific job of keeping the starting field position relatively even between the two teams. Yet breakdowns on or leading to each of the touchdown drives proved to be fatal. As the team gets more experienced, cutting down on two or three of these a game is what will separate a good team from a very good team.

  Miscue Result
Touchdown #1 Interception by Ayoob gives USC the ball at the Cal 47 White 1-yard touchdown run
Touchdown #2 Pass interference on Hughes on 4th-and-4 from the Cal 30 Leinart 6-yard touchdown run
Touchdown #3 Jarrett left unguarded for 44-yard reception to the Cal 8 Leinart 3-yard touchdown run
Touchdown #4 Leinart finds White for a 39-yard gain to Cal 6 on 3rd-and-10 White 6-yard touchdown run
Touchdown #5 Two Cal personal fouls contribute to a 97-yard touchdown drive White 2-yard touchdown run

Yardage by quarter

California used a ball-control strategy early on. By stretching out their offensive possessions and slowing down the game, they sought to keep USC's offense off the field.   After getting out of the 1st quarter down 7-3, it appeared that the Bears were onto something.  But three consecutive three-and-outs and two other possessions that ended with interceptions turned the second quarter into a lost cause offensively.  Although the defense played well, two mistakes cost them dearly, and Cal went into halftime trailing 21-3. The Bears had some success with their running attack in the third quarter, but this came only after Cal was down 25 and the game was effectively out of reach.

Although a 32-point loss would suggest otherwise, the Golden Bear defense was valiant, keeping LenDale White and Reggie Bush from doing major damage and preventing Matt Leinart from getting insanely hot.  The Trojan offense certainly deserves its mention alongside the most potent offenses in college football history. Several plays that could have resulted in touchdowns or extremely long gains were reined in by generally excellent tackling by the defense.

CAL USC
TOTAL RUN PASS TOTAL RUN PASS
No. Yds. Avg. No. Yds. Avg. No. Yds. Avg. No. Yds. Avg. No. Yds. Avg. No. Yds. Avg.
1 12 49 4.1 10 46 4.6 2 3 1.5 18 83 4.6 6 16 2.6 12 67 5.6
2 17 65 3.9 5 8 1.6 12 57 4.8 21 136 6.5 11 39 3.5 10 97 9.7
3 13 111 8.5 7 63 9.0 6 48 8.0 20 120 6.0 11 71 6.4 9 49 5.5
4 12 62 5.2 4 12 3.0 8 50 6.3 16 60 3.8 12 59 4.9 4 1 0.3
Tot 54 287 5.3 26 129 5.0 28 148 5.3 75 399 5.3 40 185 4.6 35 204 5.8

Yardage by Downs

Even taking out Marshawn Lynch's two first-down runs of 35 and 15 yards, Cal was very productive on first downs.  However, the Bears struggled on second and third downs. On third down passing, Cal was 1-of-6 for 3 yards and a scramble for 5 yards which resulted in 0 first downs..  USC on the other hand, was 4-of-7 for 68 yards, with two scrambles for eight yards and a sack for -7 yards, resulting in three touchdowns and a first down.  Oddly, the Bears only faced three third-down situations against the Trojans, either getting first downs sooner than that or committing turnovers.

CAL USC
TOTAL RUN PASS TOTAL RUN PASS
No. Yds. Avg. No. Yds. Avg. No. Yds. Avg. No. Yds. Avg. No. Yds. Avg. No. Yds. Avg.
1 29 202 7.0 17 106 6.2 12 96 8.0 34 193 5.7 16 71 4.4 18 122 7.3
2 17 68 4.0 8 14 1.7 9 54 6.0 26 127 4.9 19 96 5.0 7 31 4.4
3 8 17 2.1 1 9 9.0 7 8 1.1 14 85 6.1 5 18 3.6 9 67 7.5
4 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- 1 -6 -6.0 -- -- -- 1 -6 -6.0
Tot 54 287 5.3 26 129 5.0 28 148 5.3 75 399 5.3 40 185 4.6 35 204 5.8

QB comparison

Ayoob had his second consecutive game with a success percentage under 20.   Whereas earlier in the season, he would mix in a good quarter or two during the course of the game, he's had considerably more trouble doing so during the past two games. But then, those two games have been against the arguably two toughest teams on Cal's schedule, and there aren't many quarterbacks that'll have good quarters against USC's first unit.

Levy looked good during his late-game stint, but at that time USC had most of its reserves in and was concerned about giving up big-yardage plays.

As the peanut gallery continues to crow, does anyone really believe that if one quarterback is consistently performing another quarterback in practice, that a coach would continue to start and play the lesser quarterback?   OK, then let's say that the better quarterback in practice starts to stumble during games.  By what logic would you conclude that the 2nd string quarterback would all of a sudden be better in front of 70,000 people against the top team in the country with the game in the balance?  The only line of thinking that might get you there is "well, it can't get any worse."  Anybody who tries to manage by thinking like may get lucky once in awhile but isn't destined for long-term success.

Quarterback Analysis

 

 

Succ. % TP FD+TD TP Yds. Avg. Att. Comp. Pct. Yds. FD TD Int. Sacks Scram
Pl. Yds. Pl. Yds.
Joe Ayoob, CAL 16.1% 22 4 22 100 4.5 19 9 47.4 98 4 0 4 1 -8 2 10
Steve Levy, CAL 50.0% 6 3 6 58 9.6 4 4 100.0 34 3 0 0 -- -- 2 24
Matt Leinart, USC 33.3% 36 12 36 250 6.9 32 20 62.5 245 10 2 1 1 -6 3 11
J.D. Booty, USC 0.0% 1 0 1 -9 -9.0 0 0 0.0 0 0 0 0 1 -9 -- --
Note:   The Success Percentage attempts to measure a QB's effectiveness by looking at how often he achieves a successful result (a first down by passing or running or touchdown) out of all pass plays attempted. Current QB rating methodology does not include either sacks or scrambles  - this rewards QBs taking sacks instead of throwing incompletions. In addition, QB rating formulas reward the eight-yard pass on 3rd-and-12 (i.e., it's a completion, it's not an interception, and there's an above average yardage gain). Anything over 40 is exceptional, 35 to 40 is very good, 30 to 35 is OK, and it's very rare that a team will win when a QB's success % is less than 30. Key: Succ.% - Touchdowns + First Downs/Total Plays, TP - pass attempts + sacks + scrambles, FD - first downs, TD - touchdowns, Yds - Yards, Avg - Average, Att. - Attempts, Comp. - Completions, Pct. - Completion %, Int - Interceptions, Pl. - Plays)

Quarters - Leinart

Leinart was the model of efficiency. USC's offense involves a lot of sleight of hand and misdirection which gave Leinart a lot of fairly high percentage passes that, if executed properly, can be broken for large gains. It's something that's easier said than done and is greatly facilitated by having tall, fast receivers.  It's rare for any quarterback to finish a game with the success percentage of higher than 35%; Leinart had quarters of 33.3%, 50% and 22.2% and 0.0%.  His first half success percentage was an impressive 41.6%.

Succ. % TP FD+TD TP Yds. Avg. Att. Comp. Pct. Yds. FD TD Int. Sacks Scram
Pl. Yds. Pl. Yds.
1st quarter 33.3% 12 4 12 68 5.7 11 9 81.8 66 4 0 0 -- -- 1 2
2nd quarter 50.0% 12 6 12 113 9.4 10 6 60.0 104 4 2 0 -- -- 2 9
3rd quarter 22.2% 9 2 9 60 6.7 8 4 50.0 66 2 0 1 1 -6 -- --
4th quarter 0.0% 3 0 3 9 3.0 3 1 33.3 9 0 0 0 -- -- -- --

Quarters - Ayoob

It wasn't likely that Cal was going to make it through the game throwing less than 10 passes, although that seemed like the idea after the first quarter.   Ayoob never found a comfort zone, although he did have slightly better success throwing to running backs and wide receivers than the tight ends.  Simply by not making major mistakes - commiting turnovers and taking sacks - a quarterback can often help a team effective simply by staying afloat. While it would have been difficult to beat USC under most circumstances, the four interceptions didn't help matters any.

Succ. % TP FD+TD TP Yds. Avg. Att. Comp. Pct. Yds. FD TD Int. Sacks Scram
Pl. Yds. Pl. Yds.
1st quarter 0.0% 2 0 2 3 1.5 2 1 50.0 3 0 0 1 -- -- -- --
2nd quarter 16.7% 12 2 12 57 4.8 11 5 45.4 52 2 0 2 -- -- 1 5
3rd quarter 33.3% 6 2 6 48 8.0 5 3 60.0 43 2 0 1 -- -- 1 5
4th quarter 0.0% 2 0 2 -8 -4.0 1 0 0.0 0 0 0 1 1 -8 -- --

Halves   

Although the second half numbers look a little better, Cal didn't get the ball until after USC scored with the opening possession - meaning the Bears were down 28-3 at the time.

Succ. % TP FD+TD TP Yds. Avg. Att. Comp. Pct. Yds. FD TD Int. Sacks Scram
Pl. Yds. Pl. Yds.
1st half 14.2% 14 2 14 60 4.3 13 6 46.2 55 2 0 3 -- -- 1 5
2nd half 25.0% 8 2 8 40 5.0 6 3 50.0 43 2 0 1 1 -8 1 5

Starting Field Position

Even with Cal's five turnovers, the starting field position between the two teams were just about even. Credit should be given to the kickoff and punt teams for denying Reggie Bush a chance to break any long returns and give USC a significant field position advantages. Even more impressive is that the Bears didn't keep the ball away from Bush by shanking kicks out of bounds or pooching 20 yard punts.

  1st half 2nd half Total
California 24.0 41.0 31.1
USC 33.5 30.0 31.8
Bears advantage/disadvantage -33 +25 -8

Inside the 30

It wasn't going to make a difference this past Saturday, but once again, the Bears struggled inside the USC 30-yard line.  While there are too many dynamics involved to use simple substitution, if Cal had scored touchdowns instead of attempted field goals, they could have had 14 points at the end of the third quarter, which could have kept USC within hailing distance.

  TD FG FGNG TO/Downs Opp. Opp. % Pts/Pos PtsPos%
California 1 1 1 1 2/4 50.0% 10/28 35.7%
USC 5 0 0 1 5/6 83.3% 35/42 83.3%
Key - TD-touchdown; FG-field goal; TO - turnovers; Opp. - Opportunities; Opp.% - Opportunities possible; Pts/Pos - Points/Points Possible; PtsPos% - % of points possible scored

Lynch by Quarters

During the first quarter it appeared that the Bears were committing themselves to a ball control strategy consisting of running and more running. In the second quarter the Trojan defense forced the Bear offense on four consecutive possessions of three plays or less, limiting the Bears chances to control the ball and use Lynch.   On two third quarter possessions, he had runs of 15 and 36 yards, but both possessions ended with turnovers.

Qtr. No. Yds. Avg. FD TD
1 7 25 3.6 1 0
2 2 7 3.5 0 0
3 4 55 13.8 2 0
4 0 0 0.0 0 0

Lendale White by quarters

The Bear defense limited White and Bush to just 44 yards combined rushing in the first half.

Qtr. No. Yds. Avg. FD TD
1 4 11 2.8 1 1
2 1 3 3.0 0 0
3 5 33 6.6 2 1
4 5 36 7.2 2 1

Reggie Bush by quarters

Bush gained 31 of his yards after USC was up 28-3.  In the first half, he was nearly invisible with nine carries for just 30 yards and one first down.

Qtr. No. Yds. Avg. FD TD
1 1 9 9.0 1 0
2 8 21 2.6 0 0
3 5 38 7.6 1 0
4 3 14 4.7 0 0

Checking in on the running backs

Adrian Peterson had a good game on Saturday, but at this point, All-Amercan and Heisman consideration are far beyond his reach. None of the three California-based running backs had a standout game on Saturday.  Drew was overshadowed by Drew Olson's 510-yard passing performance; Cal fell into a sizable deficit which forced it to move away from its rushing game; and the Bears did a good job of denying Bush any return yardage.  

Lynch's 204 yards moved him up to 12th on NCAA all-purpose running leader chart with a 158.6 yard average., where he still trails Washington State's Jerome Harrison (2nd, 186.6 avg), Bush (3rd, 182.5 avg.), Drew (9th, 165.3 avg.)

Although Lynch gained just 87 yards, he's still the nation's 11th leading rusher with a 116.1 yard average.

  Att. Yds. Avg. TD FD FL >28 OYds OTDs
Peterson, OU 27 135 5.0 2 7 1 0 0 0
Drew, UCLA 23 88 3.8 1 4 1 0 25 0
Lynch, Cal 13 87 6.7 0 3 0 0 117 0
Bush, USC 17 82 4.8 0 2 0 0 4 0
Hart, UM - Idle -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Key - Att.-Carries; Yds. - Yards; Avg. - Average; TD - rushing touchdowns; FD - rushing first downs, FL - fumbles lost, >28 - yards gained after the team was up by 28 points or more; Oyds - yards gained through receiving/returns; OTDS - touchdowns gained through receiving/returns

Penalties

Nine of the game's 12 penalties came during the Cal defense/USC offense end of things.

California had five defensive penalties (two personal fouls, two offside, one pass interference).

USC had seven penalties; four on offense (two holding, one false start and one offsides), two on special teams (personal fouls), and one on defense (illegal block), that was was technically an offensive penalty since it took place after USC gain possession on a penalty.

Receiver distribution

The Bears were 5-of-12 for 29 yards when throwing to their wide receivers, 4-of-5 throwing to their running backs for 62 yards and 4-of-6 throwing to their running backs for 41 yards.

  Att. Comp. Yds.
Lavelle Hawkins 5 2 7
Robert Jordan 4 2 13
Craig Stevens 3 3 26
Marshawn Lynch 3 2 25
Chris Manderino 2 2 37
Eric Beegun 2 1 15
Desean Jackson 2 1 9
David Gray 1 0 0
Unknown WR 1 0 0

A Different November

During each of Jeff Tedford's first three years, the Golden Bears have always finished the season strong. Autumns were unkind during the Mariucci/Holmoe years, Cal was 3-19 in November and December games.  Since Tedford has arrived, the Bears were 10-2 in November/December games coming into this year. This will be the first time that the Bears have lost two games in November since Tedford arrived.

  Aug./Sept. Oct. Nov/Dec. Total
2005 4-0 2-2 0-2* 6-4
2004 2-0 4-1 4-1 10-2
2003 3-3 1-2 4-1 8-6
2002 3-2 2-2 2-1 7-5
2001 0-4 0-3 1-3 1-10
2000 1-3 2-2 0-3 3-8
1999 2-1 2-3 0-3 4-7
1998 3-1 2-2 0-3 5-6
1997 2-1 0-4 1-3 3-8
1996 4-0 1-2 1-4 6-6
Total 24-15 16-23 13-24 53-62

*With the Big Game and a bowl game still to come.

Prospect watch

Westview (Daniel Lofton) finished their season at 2-8 after a 27-19 loss to Mt. Carmel...Crenshaw (R.J. Garrett) defeated Fremont 27-0 and Dorsey (Keith Browner) easily beat Manual Arts 41-9...Buchanan (Justin Prueitt) withstood a late charge to defeat Central 18-0...Modesto (Levirt Griffin) wins its first outright Modesto Metro Championship in 40 years after defeating Davis 21-13....Wilcox (Isaac Leatiota) defeated Saratoga 35-14...Monte Vista (Mike Costanzo) thumped San Ramon Valley 49-7 as sophomore quarterback Drew McAllister was 19-of-30 for 271 yards and three touchdowns....Kevin Riley threw for three touchdowns and ran for two as Beaverton defeated Redmond 46-25...Even with a Taylor Mays 82-yard touchdown run, O'Dea still needed a late touchdown to beat Burlington-Edison 24-22 to advance in the first rounds of the Washington Class 3A state championship tournament.

Despite Major Culbert's 231 yards in just 20 carries, Narbonne was defeated by San Pedro 29-25....Terrence Austin had two kick returns for touchdowns in Long Beach Poly's 48-10 win over Lakewood. Justin Robertson had 23 carries for 50 yards. Long Beach Press Telegram writer Bob Keisser wrote a column about this year's Jackrabbit team....Even though Colton's Allen Bradford kayoed the Redlands East Valley starting quarterback with a big hit, REV rallied late to pull out a 41-40 win on a touchdown pass with five seconds left and a two-point conversion. Here's another link to a story about the game. The game was televised locally and will be replayed; here's a link to a strange story about the TV production of the Colton-Redlands East Valley game...Lonyae Miller ran for 161 yards and scored three touchdowns as Kaiser defeated Bloomington 28-18...Derek Lamoreux, a 6-foot-6 senior, caught three touchdown passes, threw one, had two sacks and blocked a pass as Yucca Valley defeated Great Oak 39-28...C.J. Gable had 11 carries for 151 yard in Sylmar's 55-0 win over Monroe...Clovis East locked up its third Tri-River AthleticConference championship in four years with a 31-22 win over Madera. Tracy Slocum is still suffering the effects of a bone chip in one of his fibulae...Anthony McCoy caught a 57-yard touchdown pass, Kevin Hedrington ran for 204 yards and three touchdowns, and the coach was assessed back-to-back unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, was ejected from the game and will be suspended for the team's first-round playoff game. Oh, and Bullard defeated Hoover 55-36...Dominic Williams had just six carries but ran for 87 yards and also returned a kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown as Aragon beat Hillsdale 45-15...Louis Arnold was at it again, running for 411 yards and five touchdowns on just 22 carries as Bishop O'Dowd defeated Moreau Catholic 49-18. Three of his touchdowns were more than 50 yards (66, 59, and 51), and he was caught from behind on an 87-yard run. More astoundingly, Arnold played just one play in the first half....James Montgomery had 30 carries for 211 yards and four touchdowns as Cordova defeated Ponderosa 35-14...Bellevue had little problem with Lindbergh, 63-7....Derrick Hill had a 66-yard fumble return for a touchdown as McClymonds won its second consecutive Oakland Athletic League title with a 32-14 win over Oakland Tech....

Oaks Christian overcame 224 yards of penalties to defeat Nordhoff 42-7. Marc Tyler ran for 207 yards and had a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and Jimmy Clausen was 13 of 21 for 148 yards...Samson Szacaksy was 13-of-17 for 240 yards and four touchdowns as Camarillo defeated Rio Mesa 28-13....Ryan Bass ran for 200 yards including a 70-yard touchdown run as Corona Centennial defeated Santiago 28-26...Milton Knox ran for 189 yards an four touchdowns as Birmingham routed Chatsworth 42-7...

Norco's Toby Gerhart, who's looking to play football and baseball in college, set the state's all-time rushing mark with a 299-yard game against Corona on Thursday. Gerhart, who favors Stanford and UCLA, is now at 8,632 yards...Similarly, Valencia's Michael Herrick set the state's all-time passing mark after throwing for 273 yards against Saugus on Friday. Herrick is at 9,996 yards and passed Newbury Park's Keith Smith who held the previous mark at 9,971 yards. Herrick has committed to Missisippi..At the Nike Combine in Palo Alto this summer,  just one player ran a 40 time under 4.4.  He's having a big year as a wide receiver, running back, kick returner and safety, and if you scroll to the bottom of the link, yes, the Bears are interested...Crenshaw wide receiver Tyquan Knox left school last week to transfer to Narbonne and is awaiting word on whether he can  play for Narbonne in the City Section playoffs....

Laney defeated Chabot 24-19 and will advance to postseason play. Houston Lillard passed for 256 yards and three touchdowns, including the gamewinner with 47 seconds left. Frank Summers had 17 carries for 53 yards...Brian Flowers ran for 133 yards and two touchdows as El Camino defeated Saddleback 35-7 to finish the regular season undefeated and position itself for a #1 or #2 seed in the Southern California Regional playoffs...In a score more fit for a basketball game, Reedley defeated College of the Sequoias 69-40.  Reedley's Terry Mayo, who's bound for Central Florida, threw for four touchdowns and passed for three more. In defeat, Brent Schaeffer threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns...College of the Sequoias offensive lineman Ofa Mohetau is a big prospect in more ways than one...

Pop Culture Tip:  A few sips of anything in this selection will make you wonder if you've found the Weapons of Mass Destruction.  Drink it with a meal at your own peril...Those west of the Berkeley Hills who are consistently looking for barbecue digs will be very happy at T-Rex.  It opened just over a week ago, and you'll want to eat there before the local food press writes about it and the lines get crazy.  Big thumbs up on the brisket.


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The Big Five

While USC's offense scored five touchdowns, they were helped a great deal by Golden Bear mistakes.  The defense and special teams played well, limiting USC to just two plays of longer than 25 yards. Cal also did a terrific job of keeping the starting field position relatively even between the two teams. Yet breakdowns on or leading to each of the touchdown drives proved to be fatal. As the team gets more experienced, cutting down on two or three of these a game is what will separate a good team from a very good team.

Yardage by quarter

California used a ball-control strategy early on. By stretching out their offensive possessions and slowing down the game, they sought to keep USC's offense off the field.   After getting out of the 1st quarter down 7-3, it appeared that the Bears were onto something.  But three consecutive three-and-outs and two other possessions that ended with interceptions turned the second quarter into a lost cause offensively.  Although the defense played well, two mistakes cost them dearly, and Cal went into halftime trailing 21-3. The Bears had some success with their running attack in the third quarter, but this came only after Cal was down 25 and the game was effectively out of reach.

Although a 32-point loss would suggest otherwise, the Golden Bear defense was valiant, keeping LenDale White and Reggie Bush from doing major damage and preventing Matt Leinart from getting insanely hot.  The Trojan offense certainly deserves its mention alongside the most potent offenses in college football history. Several plays that could have resulted in touchdowns or extremely long gains were reined in by generally excellent tackling by the defense.

Yardage by Downs

Even taking out Marshawn Lynch's two first-down runs of 35 and 15 yards, Cal was very productive on first downs.  However, the Bears struggled on second and third downs. On third down passing, Cal was 1-of-6 for 3 yards and a scramble for 5 yards which resulted in 0 first downs..  USC on the other hand, was 4-of-7 for 68 yards, with two scrambles for eight yards and a sack for -7 yards, resulting in three touchdowns and a first down.  Oddly, the Bears only faced three third-down situations against the Trojans, either getting first downs sooner than that or committing turnovers.

QB comparison

Ayoob had his second consecutive game with a success percentage under 20.   Whereas earlier in the season, he would mix in a good quarter or two during the course of the game, he's had considerably more trouble doing so during the past two games. But then, those two games have been against the arguably two toughest teams on Cal's schedule, and there aren't many quarterbacks that'll have good quarters against USC's first unit.

Levy looked good during his late-game stint, but at that time USC had most of its reserves in and was concerned about giving up big-yardage plays.

As the peanut gallery continues to crow, does anyone really believe that if one quarterback is consistently performing another quarterback in practice, that a coach would continue to start and play the lesser quarterback?   OK, then let's say that the better quarterback in practice starts to stumble during games.  By what logic would you conclude that the 2nd string quarterback would all of a sudden be better in front of 70,000 people against the top team in the country with the game in the balance?  The only line of thinking that might get you there is "well, it can't get any worse."  Anybody who tries to manage by thinking like may get lucky once in awhile but isn't destined for long-term success.

Quarters - Leinart

Leinart was the model of efficiency. USC's offense involves a lot of sleight of hand and misdirection which gave Leinart a lot of fairly high percentage passes that, if executed properly, can be broken for large gains. It's something that's easier said than done and is greatly facilitated by having tall, fast receivers.  It's rare for any quarterback to finish a game with the success percentage of higher than 35%; Leinart had quarters of 33.3%, 50% and 22.2% and 0.0%.  His first half success percentage was an impressive 41.6%.

Quarters - Ayoob

It wasn't likely that Cal was going to make it through the game throwing less than 10 passes, although that seemed like the idea after the first quarter.   Ayoob never found a comfort zone, although he did have slightly better success throwing to running backs and wide receivers than the tight ends.  Simply by not making major mistakes - commiting turnovers and taking sacks - a quarterback can often help a team effective simply by staying afloat. While it would have been difficult to beat USC under most circumstances, the four interceptions didn't help matters any.

Halves   

Although the second half numbers look a little better, Cal didn't get the ball until after USC scored with the opening possession - meaning the Bears were down 28-3 at the time.

Starting Field Position

Even with Cal's five turnovers, the starting field position between the two teams were just about even. Credit should be given to the kickoff and punt teams for denying Reggie Bush a chance to break any long returns and give USC a significant field position advantages. Even more impressive is that the Bears didn't keep the ball away from Bush by shanking kicks out of bounds or pooching 20 yard punts.

Inside the 30

It wasn't going to make a difference this past Saturday, but once again, the Bears struggled inside the USC 30-yard line.  While there are too many dynamics involved to use simple substitution, if Cal had scored touchdowns instead of attempted field goals, they could have had 14 points at the end of the third quarter, which could have kept USC within hailing distance.

Lynch by Quarters

During the first quarter it appeared that the Bears were committing themselves to a ball control strategy consisting of running and more running. In the second quarter the Trojan defense forced the Bear offense on four consecutive possessions of three plays or less, limiting the Bears chances to control the ball and use Lynch.   On two third quarter possessions, he had runs of 15 and 36 yards, but both possessions ended with turnovers.

Lendale White by quarters

The Bear defense limited White and Bush to just 44 yards combined rushing in the first half.

Reggie Bush by quarters

Bush gained 31 of his yards after USC was up 28-3.  In the first half, he was nearly invisible with nine carries for just 30 yards and one first down.

Checking in on the running backs

Adrian Peterson had a good game on Saturday, but at this point, All-Amercan and Heisman consideration are far beyond his reach. None of the three California-based running backs had a standout game on Saturday.  Drew was overshadowed by Drew Olson's 510-yard passing performance; Cal fell into a sizable deficit which forced it to move away from its rushing game; and the Bears did a good job of denying Bush any return yardage.  

Lynch's 204 yards moved him up to 12th on NCAA all-purpose running leader chart with a 158.6 yard average., where he still trails Washington State's Jerome Harrison (2nd, 186.6 avg), Bush (3rd, 182.5 avg.), Drew (9th, 165.3 avg.)

Although Lynch gained just 87 yards, he's still the nation's 11th leading rusher with a 116.1 yard average.

Penalties

Nine of the game's 12 penalties came during the Cal defense/USC offense end of things.

California had five defensive penalties (two personal fouls, two offside, one pass interference).

USC had seven penalties; four on offense (two holding, one false start and one offsides), two on special teams (personal fouls), and one on defense (illegal block), that was was technically an offensive penalty since it took place after USC gain possession on a penalty.

Receiver distribution

The Bears were 5-of-12 for 29 yards when throwing to their wide receivers, 4-of-5 throwing to their running backs for 62 yards and 4-of-6 throwing to their running backs for 41 yards.

A Different November

During each of Jeff Tedford's first three years, the Golden Bears have always finished the season strong. Autumns were unkind during the Mariucci/Holmoe years, Cal was 3-19 in November and December games.  Since Tedford has arrived, the Bears were 10-2 in November/December games coming into this year. This will be the first time that the Bears have lost two games in November since Tedford arrived.

*With the Big Game and a bowl game still to come.

Prospect watch

Westview (Daniel Lofton) finished their season at 2-8 after a 27-19 loss to Mt. Carmel...Crenshaw (R.J. Garrett) defeated Fremont 27-0 and Dorsey (Keith Browner) easily beat Manual Arts 41-9...Buchanan (Justin Prueitt) withstood a late charge to defeat Central 18-0...Modesto (Levirt Griffin) wins its first outright Modesto Metro Championship in 40 years after defeating Davis 21-13....Wilcox (Isaac Leatiota) defeated Saratoga 35-14...Monte Vista (Mike Costanzo) thumped San Ramon Valley 49-7 as sophomore quarterback Drew McAllister was 19-of-30 for 271 yards and three touchdowns....Kevin Riley threw for three touchdowns and ran for two as Beaverton defeated Redmond 46-25...Even with a Taylor Mays 82-yard touchdown run, O'Dea still needed a late touchdown to beat Burlington-Edison 24-22 to advance in the first rounds of the Washington Class 3A state championship tournament.

Despite Major Culbert's 231 yards in just 20 carries, Narbonne was defeated by San Pedro 29-25....Terrence Austin had two kick returns for touchdowns in Long Beach Poly's 48-10 win over Lakewood. Justin Robertson had 23 carries for 50 yards. Long Beach Press Telegram writer Bob Keisser wrote a column about this year's Jackrabbit team....Even though Colton's Allen Bradford kayoed the Redlands East Valley starting quarterback with a big hit, REV rallied late to pull out a 41-40 win on a touchdown pass with five seconds left and a two-point conversion. Here's another link to a story about the game. The game was televised locally and will be replayed; here's a link to a strange story about the TV production of the Colton-Redlands East Valley game...Lonyae Miller ran for 161 yards and scored three touchdowns as Kaiser defeated Bloomington 28-18...Derek Lamoreux, a 6-foot-6 senior, caught three touchdown passes, threw one, had two sacks and blocked a pass as Yucca Valley defeated Great Oak 39-28...C.J. Gable had 11 carries for 151 yard in Sylmar's 55-0 win over Monroe...Clovis East locked up its third Tri-River AthleticConference championship in four years with a 31-22 win over Madera. Tracy Slocum is still suffering the effects of a bone chip in one of his fibulae...Anthony McCoy caught a 57-yard touchdown pass, Kevin Hedrington ran for 204 yards and three touchdowns, and the coach was assessed back-to-back unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, was ejected from the game and will be suspended for the team's first-round playoff game. Oh, and Bullard defeated Hoover 55-36...Dominic Williams had just six carries but ran for 87 yards and also returned a kickoff 87 yards for a touchdown as Aragon beat Hillsdale 45-15...Louis Arnold was at it again, running for 411 yards and five touchdowns on just 22 carries as Bishop O'Dowd defeated Moreau Catholic 49-18. Three of his touchdowns were more than 50 yards (66, 59, and 51), and he was caught from behind on an 87-yard run. More astoundingly, Arnold played just one play in the first half....James Montgomery had 30 carries for 211 yards and four touchdowns as Cordova defeated Ponderosa 35-14...Bellevue had little problem with Lindbergh, 63-7....Derrick Hill had a 66-yard fumble return for a touchdown as McClymonds won its second consecutive Oakland Athletic League title with a 32-14 win over Oakland Tech....

Oaks Christian overcame 224 yards of penalties to defeat Nordhoff 42-7. Marc Tyler ran for 207 yards and had a 93-yard kickoff return for a touchdown, and Jimmy Clausen was 13 of 21 for 148 yards...Samson Szacaksy was 13-of-17 for 240 yards and four touchdowns as Camarillo defeated Rio Mesa 28-13....Ryan Bass ran for 200 yards including a 70-yard touchdown run as Corona Centennial defeated Santiago 28-26...Milton Knox ran for 189 yards an four touchdowns as Birmingham routed Chatsworth 42-7...

Norco's Toby Gerhart, who's looking to play football and baseball in college, set the state's all-time rushing mark with a 299-yard game against Corona on Thursday. Gerhart, who favors Stanford and UCLA, is now at 8,632 yards...Similarly, Valencia's Michael Herrick set the state's all-time passing mark after throwing for 273 yards against Saugus on Friday. Herrick is at 9,996 yards and passed Newbury Park's Keith Smith who held the previous mark at 9,971 yards. Herrick has committed to Missisippi..At the Nike Combine in Palo Alto this summer,  just one player ran a 40 time under 4.4.  He's having a big year as a wide receiver, running back, kick returner and safety, and if you scroll to the bottom of the link, yes, the Bears are interested...Crenshaw wide receiver Tyquan Knox left school last week to transfer to Narbonne and is awaiting word on whether he can  play for Narbonne in the City Section playoffs....

Laney defeated Chabot 24-19 and will advance to postseason play. Houston Lillard passed for 256 yards and three touchdowns, including the gamewinner with 47 seconds left. Frank Summers had 17 carries for 53 yards...Brian Flowers ran for 133 yards and two touchdows as El Camino defeated Saddleback 35-7 to finish the regular season undefeated and position itself for a #1 or #2 seed in the Southern California Regional playoffs...In a score more fit for a basketball game, Reedley defeated College of the Sequoias 69-40.  Reedley's Terry Mayo, who's bound for Central Florida, threw for four touchdowns and passed for three more. In defeat, Brent Schaeffer threw for 298 yards and three touchdowns...College of the Sequoias offensive lineman Ofa Mohetau is a big prospect in more ways than one...

Pop Culture Tip:  A few sips of anything in this selection will make you wonder if you've found the Weapons of Mass Destruction.  Drink it with a meal at your own peril...Those west of the Berkeley Hills who are consistently looking for barbecue digs will be very happy at T-Rex.  It opened just over a week ago, and you'll want to eat there before the local food press writes about it and the lines get crazy.  Big thumbs up on the brisket.

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