NOTEBOOK: Oregon State at California

Series history...Cal connections...tough running game at a time...those dang turnovers and more inside.

Head coach: Jeff Tedford (6th season)
(Career: 48-26  | At Cal: 48-26)
Current ranking: #2 in both polls
Current record: 5-0, 2-0
Streak: Five game winning streak
Head coach: Mike Riley (7th season)
(Career: 41-37 | At OSU: 41-37)
Current ranking: NR
Current record: 3-3, 1-2
Streak: One game winning streak


Last time Oregon State and California met...
Sept. 30, 2006 in Corvallis - #20 California 41 , Oregon State 13
California and Oregon State met early in the season at Corvallis and the Golden Bears jumped out to a 31-0 first-half lead and cruised in with a 41-13 victory.

Cal QB Nate Longshore completed 22-of-31 passes for 341 yards and four TDs to spearhead the Bear attack. WR Lavelle Hawkins had 128 receiving yards and a TD on six receptions.

California's defense limited OSU to 56 yards rushing and posted four QB sacks. Beaver PK Alexis Serna hit a 58-yard field goal to tie the school record for longest field goal. ... more from


Last time Oregon State played in Berkeley...
Oct. 15, 2005 - Oregon State 23, #18 California 20
Oregon State broke an eight-game losing streak to nationally ranked opponents with a 23-20 victory over California. The loss snapped a 10-game home winning streak for the Bears.

Running back Yvenson Bernard rushed for a career-high 194 yards and two touchdowns, but it was his teammates linebacker Keith Ellison and punter Sam Paulescu who later earned Pac-10 Players of the Week honors.

Ellison had nine tackles, including three-for-loss and two sacks -- he also had a fumble recovery. Paulescu averaged 49.9 yards per punt and had six downed inside the 20. OSU forced five turnovers in the game ... more from


Last time California played...
Sept. 29, 2007 in Eugene - California 31, Oregon 24
In an always evenly-matched series that usually holds to form, the Bears came into hostile Autzen Stadium Saturday with something to prove.

With a 4-0 record, a shiny #6 ranking and a prolific offense, the Bears have garnered national attention thus far this season. Add one of the most talented receiving trios in the nation with Heisman Trophy hopeful DeSean Jackson along with one of the national leaders in yards per game at 121 as well touchdowns, with 7 in Justin Forsett and you have a team with a lot of weapons and a lot of ways to beat you ... more from


Last time Oregon State played...
Oct. 6, 2007 - Oregon State 31, Arizona 16
RB Yvenson Bernard ran for 140 yards and a pair of touchdowns, then caught another score, and Oregon State defeated Arizona 31-16.

QB Sean Canfield completed 17 of 30 passes for 139 yards for the Beavers (3-3, 1-2 Pac-10), who built a big early lead but did not surrender it like they had in their previous two games.

The Beaver defense limited Arizona to just 231 total yards, just nine yards rushing, while sacking Willie Tuitama eight times and picking him off three times ... more from | Post game notes


Series history (Arizona leads 33-26, 19-13 in Berkeley).
California and Oregon State have met 59 times dating to 1905 with the Golden Bears leading the series 33-26. Cal has won two of the last three, which broke a five-game OSU winning streak in the series. In 32 games played at Berkeley, Cal leads 19-13. However, Oregon State has won the last three in Memorial Stadium - the longest streak by a Pac-10 team at Cal -  with the last Cal home win coming in 1997 (33-14).

In the Beavers last three victories at Cal, the running game has clicked.  Here's a closer look.

  • Oct. 15, 2005 -- Yvenson Bernard, 194 yards (career-high), 2 tds.
  • Oct. 4, 2003 -- Steven Jackson, 227 yards, 2 tds
  • Nov. 4, 2000 -- Ken Simonton, 125 yards, 3 tds


Cal connections.
Oregon State mentor Mike Riley coached then quarterback and current California head coach Jeff Tedford during the 1988 Canadian Football League season in Winnipeg. The Bombers won the Grey Cup title that season and Riley was named the Coach of the Year.

Riley also has another connection. He was a defensive graduate assistant in 1975, the last time Cal won the conference title. Cal offensive line coach Jim Michalczik was Oregon State's offensive line/special teams coach from 1999-2001 while wide receivers coach Dan Ferrigno coached in Corvallis from 1987-95 serving stints at running back, defensive back, linebacker and special teams


Versus the elite.
Oregon State hasn't played a team ranked as high as No. 2 California on the road since a 52-28 loss to then No. 2 USC Dec. 6, 2003. The last time the program won on the road against a No. 1 or No. 2 team was Oct. 21, 1967 at second-ranked Purdue - 22-14.


You can't run on us!
Oregon State enters this week's action leading the nation for rush defense, allowing 43.3 yards per game. A big part of the statistic is OSU is tied for second in the nation with Georgia Tech for quarterback sacks with 26 (Indiana 1st with 29). The Beaver defense leads the nation for accumulated lost yards with 206.

OSU is also second in the nation for accumulated yardage for tackles-for-loss with 284 (Georgia Tech at 294). Here is a closer look at the opponents' rushing statistics:


Two of the best.
Saturday's game will feature two of the best running backs in the conference in Cal's Justin Forsett and OSU's Yvenson Bernard.

Forsett has rushed for 100 yards in four of five games this season and has scored a rushing TD in six straight games. He leads the league in scoring (10.8) and rushing TDs (9).  He is second in the Pac-10 for yards per game at 117.0

Bernard has topped 100 yards in four of six game this year while scoring a rushing touchdown in four straight games.  Bernard is third in the league for yards per game at 107.0. and second in the Pac-10 with eight touchdowns.  The last time Bernard played in Memorial Stadium he set a career high rushing for 194 yards while adding two touchdowns.


Fast starts.
Oregon State has outscored its opponents 78-6 in the first quarter this season and over the last 15 games has a margin of 158-30. On the down side, the Beavers have been outscored 55-27 in the fourth quarter, including 48-6 over the last three games. OSU's 78 points are the most scored by any BCS team in the opening quarter, Oklahoma has 77. The 72-point margin in the quarter trails only Kansas' 75 (78-3 in 3rd) as the largest in the BCS.


One game at a time.
Five of Oregon State's six road opponents appear in this week's Associated Press top-25. California checks in at No. 2, Oregon at No. 9, USC at No. 10, Arizona State is No. 14 and Cincinnati is No. 15. Washington State is the only team the Beavers face on the road that is currently not ranked. The Beaver football program has never played five road games against nationally ranked foes -- in 1950 it did play five away from Corvallis, but three of those games were held in Portland.


Those dang turnovers.
The good: Over the last 43 games, Oregon State is 19-2 when committing fewer turnovers than its opponent, 3-14 when committing more turnovers and 3-2 when even. In its victories last season, Oregon State was plus-14 for turnover margin; in its losses minus-6.

The not so good: Oregon State leads the nation in the dubious turnover category with 23. The Beavers are last in the Pac-10 for turnover margin at minus-9. Meanwhile, California leads the conference at plus-11 and is tied for 13th in the nation for turnovers gained with 15.

The effects:  Opponents have had a short field on several scoring drives this season. To be exact, opponents have scored 75 points or 50 percent of the total 151 when starting at midfield or in OSU territory. The stat does not factor in another seven points that Cincinnati scored on a blocked punt and seven points Arizona scored off an interception. In comparison, OSU's offense has scored 44 points or 27 percent of its total when starting at the opponents' 50-yard line or deeper. The Beavers do have 21 points via two interceptions and a fumble recovery.


Injury bug.
Injuries have started to take a significant toll on the starting lineup.  Here's the latest.


Quarter by quarter.
In a perfect football world you would accumulate 25 percent of your season's total offense in each quarter; OSU has not been perfect. Here is a closer look at how the Beavers' 2,400 yards in total offense shakes out:

Click for larger image


True freshman watch.
Wide receiver Darrell Catchings has 16 receptions for 167 yards, including having the first touchdown of the season via the pass, and will be starting his third consecutive game at split end. Wide Receiver James Rodgers has made his presence known on rushing plays with 11 attempts for 171 yards, good for second on the team.  He also has five catches for 68 yards.

Freshman linebacker Keith Pankey has been activated from redshirt status due to injuries on special teams and saw his first action at Arizona State.  He has five tackles in three games on special teams.


Additional notes.

  • The Golden Bears have risen to No. 2 in all the polls, the highest ranking since Pappy Waldorf's 1951 squad held the top spot.

  • Cal now stands at 5-0. The Bears have not started a season 6-0 since 1950, when they finished the regular season 9-0-1 and won the Conference championship before falling to Michigan in the Rose Bowl.

  • Golden Bears have longest current winning streak among Pac-10 teams at seven straight, also third longest in the nation. Also, Cal has won 10 straight home games and 21 of last 23 at Berkeley. Cal has scored more than 40 points in 14 of those 23 games.

  • Bears have scored 30 or more points in six straight games for the first time ever.

  • Cal has forced 15 turnovers and lost only four, both figures are best in the Pac-10, and thus Cal leads the league in turnover margin at +11.

  • WR Robert Jordan has a reception in 35 consecutive games, just one shy of the Cal record of 36 by Brian Treggs (1988-1991).

  • Cal's offensive line has allowed just four QB sacks in five games.

  • RB Yvensen Bernard is averaging 107.0 yards per game rushing and has gone for 266 yards in last two games. The All-Pac-10 tailback has upped his career rushing total to 3,290 yards, good for third on the OSU career list and 17th on the Pac-10 career chart.

  • Beavers lead the Pac-10 with 25 QB sacks, six more than runnerup UCLA has posted. OSU has slammed opponents for 206 yardsin losses with those sacks. Beavs had eight sacks for minus-75 yards vs. Arizona last week. DEs Norris Slade and Victor Butler lead OSU and are tied for third in Pac-10 with 5.5 QB sacks each. Butler also is tied for second in the league in tackles for loss with 7.5.

  • Oregon State has enjoyed recent success in the Bay Area; it's last loss in 1999 at Stanford. Since then, OSU is 3-0 on the road at both Cal and Stanford.

  • Oregon State is 36-6 when it leads after three quarters with Mike Riley as the head coach. Starting with the 2004 season, the Beavers are 22-2 (losses to LSU - 04 & UCLA - 07) when they head into the fourth quarter with the lead.

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