GAMEDAY: Cal at No. 23 Oregon State

Cal is set for another huge Pac-10 conference game. Last week, the Bears' offense failed to get on track against USC. They cannot afford to struggle against this week against No. 23 Oregon State. The Beavers are the only team in the Pac-10 that still controls its own destiny to the Rose Bowl…

California 6-3 (4-2) at No. 23 Oregon State 6-3 (5-1)
TV/TIME: ABC Regional/12:30 p.m. PT

Games Played: 60
Series Record: Cal leads, 33-27
First Meeting: 10/28/1905, Cal, 10-0
Last Meeting: 10/13/07, Oregon State, 31-28
Current Streak: Oregon State has won 7 of last 9
Tedford vs. Oregon State: 2-4

Last year, the Cal-Oregon State series took another step as the Beavers denied the Bears the opportunity to be the No. 1 ranked team in the nation. Cal entered last season's game as the No. 2 team in the nation behind Florida. After the Gators had lost earlier in the day, all Cal had to do was beat unranked 3-3 Oregon State. The Bears were without starting quarterback Nate Longshore, which gave Kevin Riley his first collegiate start.

OSU started the scoring jumping out to a 7-0 lead. Cal would answer with a 7-play 77-yard drive to tie it up at 7. OSU would drive to the Bears 1 on their next scoring drive, but Cal stuffed them at the 1 and the Beavers settled for a field goal and a 10-7 lead. Cal would put together another long drive this time going 87 yards on 11 plays for a touchdown and 14-10 lead. The drive ate up almost five minutes but still left :43 before the half. OSU took advantage nailing a 52-yard field goal just before the half giving the Beavers unnecessary momentum cutting Cal's lead to just one point.

OSU carried that momentum into the second half scoring a touchdown off a 76-yard drive. Cal would answer on a short 4-play 26-yard drive retaking the lead 21-20 at the start of the fourth quarter. The Beavers took the lead for good with a 55-yard 12-play drive. The two-point conversion gave OSU a 28-21 lead. Cal would then fumble on the subsequent kickoff return setting up a Beaver field goal.

With just 3:26 left to play in the game, Cal forced an OSU punt. The Bears would quickly score on a 64-yard touchdown pass cutting the lead to 31-28. Cal attempted an onside kick but it was recovered by the Beavers, but they were unable to run out the clock. Cal took over with under a minute and a half to play. Riley would show his moxie converting a key 4-and-17, and leading the Bears down the field with two more first downs. Then with :14 left, and no timeouts, Riley was tackled in the field of play. Unable to get another play off, Cal suffered a loss that sent the team spiraling to a dismal 6-6 record.

California embarks on its final road trip of the season when the Golden Bears visit Oregon State. After this weekend, Cal returns home to host Stanford in the 111th Big Game on November 22 and Washington on December 6 in Memorial Stadium.

Over the past four seasons, the road team has prevailed in the Bear-Beaver series, with Cal winning in 2004 (49-7) and 2006 (41-13) in Corvallis. OSU came out on top in Berkeley in both 2005 (23-20) and 2007 (31-28).

A mere two seasons later, Cal's lineup features just one other player who recorded an offensive stat in the game - FB Will Ta'ufo'ou, who had one rush for two yards. The youth on the 2008 Bears can be seen in the number of first-time starters they have had on offense this year (11), including six first-time starters along the offensive line alone.

Sophomore Jahvid Best, now in the lead role at tailback, continues to pace Cal's ground attack with 95.8 ypg and an average of 6.3 yards per carry. Back-up Shane Vereen (5.3 ypg), a redshirt-freshman, is also churning out good yardage for the Bears, adding another 558 yards.

On the outside, Nyan Boateng, Jeremy Ross and Verran Tucker have emerged as the leaders of the wide receiver corps, having corralled 35 catches between them over the last four contests after combining for just 15 receptions the first five games of the year.

Cal's defense continues to rank among the national leaders in several categories, now 30th in total defense with an allowance of 312.3 ypg. The Bears are also sixth in the country in pass efficiency defense (98.2 rating) and tied for second in interceptions (17).

Even in its 17-3 defeat at USC last Saturday, Cal's defense limited the Trojans to 20 points under their season scoring average. Overall, the Bears are giving up 20.6 ppg - 6.1 ppg less than they did a year ago. Top Stories