TEDFORD SAYS: Seventh year Cal coach Jeff Tedford sports a 2-4 record against Oregon State, but his team has won the last two in Reser. With the Beavers in the hunt for the roses he expects Reser Stadium to be rockin' Saturday. "It ranks right up there with the Coliseum (USC) and Autzen Stadium (Oregon). I hear it is going to be a record crowd, and I expect that they will be amped up and ready to go. We are going to expect a hostile environment. Last week, we had pretty good training with it as we played in a pretty wild place."
LIGHTNING AND LIGHTNING: Cal features one of the youngest and most deadly running back tandems in all of college football in sophomore Jahvid Best and redshirt freshman Shane Vereen who have combined for 1,324 yards and nine touchdowns. Best, who is battling ankle and foot injuries, is third in the Pac-10 and 33rd in the country averaging 95.8 yards per game while averaging 6.3 yards per carry. He has four 100-yard games this season and two runs of 80 yards or more. Vereen is averaging 62.0 yards per game and 5.3 yards per carry. He set the school record for rushing yards by a freshman in his debut vs. Michigan State with 101 while also setting a Cal freshman record for the longest run with his 81-yard score.
30 EQUALS VICTORY: The Bears have the 27th-best scoring offense in the nation at 32.7 points per game and have won their last 20 games, including 4-0 this year, when scoring 30 or more points. Under Tedford Cal is 20-2 when scoring 40 or more points and have not been shut out for a school record 116 consecutive games dating back to 1999.
POW: Three Cal players have earned Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week honors this fall, with the most recent being senior LB Zack Follett - one of 15 semifnalists for the Chuck Bednarik Award as the NCAA’s best defensive player - who claimed the award following the Bears’ 26-16 victory over Oregon Nov. 1. DE Cameron Morrah (Oct. 6) and LB Mike Mohamed (Oct. 27) have also garnered the conference recognition.
A TEAM EFFORT: Cal's 17 interceptions have been a team effort with the steals coming from 11 different players. Cal’s total of 17 picks is seven more than the team had for all of last year. Three of the picks have been returned for a touchdown. Junior Syd’Quan Thompson and sophomore Sean Cattouse lead the way with three picks each.
COMING ON STRONG: Receivers Nyan Boateng, Jeremy Ross and Verran Tucker have emerged as the leaders of the wide receiver corps, corralling 35 catches between them over the last four contests after combining for just 15 receptions the first five games of the year. Boateng leads the team in receiving yards with 367 and has caught a touchdown in four of the last six games. Ross has ten grabs for 152 yards and a touchdown in the last four games. For the season, Tucker, who had just two receptions through the years first five games, has 15 catches for 230 yards and two touchdowns.
WINNING THE TURNOVER BATTLE: Cal is tied for the Pac-10 lead (18th in the nation) in turnover margin (+8) having forced 23 turnovers in nine games. Cal has scored 94 points off its opponent’s 23 turnovers (13 TDs and a FG) this season. In Tedford's seven years in Berkeley, the Golden Bears are 31-3 (.911) when winning the turnover battle and 13-18 (.419) when losing that statistical comparison (as well as 12-8 when tied). In Pac-10 games, the stats are even more decisive, as Cal is 20-1 (.952) with a positive margin and 7-16 (.304) with a defiit (7-5 when turnovers are tied).
ZFLs: Senior LB Zack Follett continues to climb the Cal career chart in tackles for loss, checking in with 40.5 - eighth-best in program history. Follett has 12.5 tackles for losses this year which is 21st-best in the nation.
TOP 3: The Golden Bears switched to a 3-4 defense this year to take advantage of a roster packed with talented linebackers. The change has paid off as Cal ranks nationally in several defensive categories and their top three tacklers are linebackers. Sophomore LB Mike Mohamed leads the team with 66 tackles, including a career-high 14 against Oregon, including five tackles for loss, and an interception. Senior LB Anthony Felder is second on the team with 60 stops, including one for loss, to go along with one interception and one forced fumble. He has reached double digit tackles twice this year. Senior LB Zack Follett rounds out the top three tacklers with 54 stops, including a team best 12.5 for loss, and three forced fumbles.
ANGER MANAGEMENT: Helping Cal win the field position game is redshirt freshman P Bryan Anger who ranks 16th in the nation (third in the Pac-10) in punting at 43.4 ypp. He has a career long of 72 with 19 of his kicks landing inside the 20. Eleven of his 51 punts have traveled 50+ yards and he was recently named one of 10 semifinalists for the 2008 Ray Guy Award.
THAT'S SPECIAL: True freshman K Georgio Tavecchio, who does not appear in the media guide as he joined the team three days before the season opener, has connected on six of his last seven field goals over the past four weeks, including three of 40 yards or more. The Milan, Italy native stepped in when David Seawright suffered a groin injury versus Arizona. PR Syd'Quan Thompson ranks 24th nationally in punt returns (11.7) while sophomore receiver/kick returner has Jeremy Ross led the Bears in all-purpose yardsthe last four games, notching 119 vs. Oregon, 123 vs. the Bruins, 141 against Arizona and 61 vs. USC.
GETTING DEFENSIVE: One of the main thrusts behind Cal's success this season has been an outstanding defense that ranks among the national leaders in several categories. The Bears rank 30th nationally in total defense (312.3), sixth in pass efficiency defense (98.2) and second in interceptions (17). They rank first in the Pac-10 in red-zone defense (64.5%) and fourth in rushing defense (116.2) The defense has allowed just two 100-yard rushers this season and have held five of their nine opponents under 300 total yards of offense. In last six games, Cal has recorded 19 quarterback sacks among 41 tackles for loss and forced 19 turnovers (12 interceptions, seven fumbles).
LONGSHORE OR RILEY: Sophomore QB Kevin Riley has started seven games this year while senior Nate Longshore has started three, including the last game against USC. On the year Riley has completed 91 of 178 (51%) passes for 1,124 yards, 10 touchdowns and four interceptions while Longshore has completed 78 of 133 (58%) attempts for 846 yards, eight touchdowns and four interceptions. Riley will start against Oregon State.