Bears Motivated by ‘06 Loss

The last time the Bears traveled to Tucson they were ranked No. 8 in the nation and were upset by Arizona 24-20, which ultimately cost the Bears a Rose Bowl berth. California is currently ranked No. 22 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and the Bears have the opportunity to remain undefeated in the Pac-10 with a win over the Wildcats.

In 2006, California was plagued by turnovers in narrow victory by the Wildcats. The Bears hope to avoid the mistakes they made in 2006 when they play Saturday night.

Cal will be facing a very dynamic offense led by Arizona quarterback Willie Tuitama, running back Nic Grigsby and wide receivers Mike Thomas and Terrell Turner. In their last meeting in Arizona, Tuitama was very efficient as he completed 17-of-34 passes for 202 yards and no interceptions.

Two years ago, Nate Longshore did not have a good game. He went 17-of-36 for 250 yards with one touchdown but tossed three interceptions. Longshore will look to avoid the turnovers this time around against the Wildcats. This season, the Bear defense has been excellent at creating turnovers and giving their offense extra chances to put points on the board. Cal will look to continue the take-away trend against the best offense they have faced this season.

Tuitama is a threat to run and pass, but he will do his best to stay in the pocket.

"We need to be under control when rushing a mobile quarterback," said Zack Follett.

If the Bears' secondary is able to keep the Wildcat receivers under wraps, it will be up to the Cal linebackers to make sure Tuitama or back up quarterback Matt Scott (125 rushing yards) do not run for any positive yardage.

After being upset by Arizona in 2006, and with a lot at stake for the 2008 season, Follett knows the Bears need to avoid what took place two years ago.

"We need to play hard, stay focused and execute," said Follett.

If the Bears are able to do this they will leave Tucson in first place and undefeated in the conference. This will be a tough test for the Bears, but they have more experience playing in big games than Arizona does. It should give Cal a slight edge in this game.


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