Quite a scene on the field after the game. I was on the field and decided to follow Shane Vereen around immediately afterward (my assignment tonight was to write a feature on Vereen. Our Jon Wilner wrote the main game story which I will post tomorrow).
Vereen was mobbed by Cal fans behind hte end zone as they stormed the field when it ended. Recruiting coordinator Kevin Parker presented Vereen with the Cal hard hat, given to a player who carries an exceptional workload.
I interviewed Vereen briefly on the field and then later outside the locker room. As I interviewed him on the field, he was choking up with emotion, tears welling in his eyes. He pointed toward his family in the stands. As he usually does, he talked more about the team than his individual performance.
The bowl situation cleared up slightly after tonight, but not much. If the Bears beat Washington in their finale, they could finish as high as a tie for third place in the Pac-10. But there could be as many as three other teams tied for that spot. That means Cal could be headed to the Holiday Bowl, Sun Bowl, Emerald Bowl or Las Vegas Bowl. If the Bears were to lose to Washington, there would still be multiple bowl possibilities, and the Poinsettia Bowl would be added to the mix.
The Bears were supposed to have their usual Sunday night conditioning practice tomorrow but let’s just say the players made a sales pitch to cancel. While Tedford started to address the team in the locker room after the game, the players began to chant “Sunday off, Sunday off!” After a few opening comments, Tedford exclaimed “Sunday off!”, prompting a roar from the team.
I talked to Jahvid Best briefly after the game and he still hopes to come back for the Washington game. He said he plans on rehabbing over the break, even saying he would come in on Thanksgiving if the trainers are working. But Best mostly boasted about the performance of his good buddy, Vereen.
And now for some notes:
–Vereen’s 42 carries were the most by a Cal back since Terrell Williams had 36 in 2001 at Rutgers. The Cal record for carries in a game is 46 by Paul Jones in 1978.
–Cal converted 11 of 19 third down opportunities.
–Cal had 31 first downs, tying for the Pac-10 high this season. Oregon had 31 twice.
–Vince D’Amato was the placekicker for the first time since the UCLA game. He had a 21-yard field goal and made all four of his PAT attempts.
–The win tied Jeff Tedford for first place all-time in Cal victories in the modern era with 67.