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Football: Beating Stanford `the next step’ for Bears

Sonny Dykes is no different than most coaches. They all insist on playing ‘em one at a time.

Well the next one for Cal is big: The Big Game.

And there is more at stake than usual – one more win and the Bears will play in a bowl game.

Asked to explain what a win over Stanford on Saturday would mean to his program, Dykes said it’s about the rivalry, but more than that.

“It’s just the next step. The next logical step is to beat a rival, to beat a team that’s been good here recently, a team we haven’t beaten in a while,” Dykes said. “The biggest thing is what it does for your program, makes you bowl eligible and gives you a chance to extend your season, which is big for us.

“It’s always big because of the rivalry. The bowl makes it bigger than usual.”

Cal suffered an historic 63-13 loss at Stanford a year ago – its biggest margin of defeat in the first 116 meetings of the two schools.

Dykes acknowledges that winning the line of scrimmage will be a big challenge, but a pivotal one in the game.

“That’s the strength of their football team,” he said of the Cardinal’s offensive and defensive lines. “They lost a lot of players (from last season) who were seniors, but they’ve got a lot of good experienced players back.

“They’re still a good football team, that’s who they are and what they’re good at. It will be very important for us to match their physical play and certainly hold up better than we did last year.

“I think it’s a better matchup for us. We’ll certainly be tested on Saturday. We’ll find out.”

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Swimming: 3 Cal coaches named to national team staffs

Cal men’s swim coach David Durden will serve as head coach of the USA men’s swim team at the 2015 World Championships in Kazan, Russia, USA Swimming announced.

Cal women’s coach Teri McKeever, a former Olympic team head coach, will be an assistant on the women’s staff for the same meet.

Yuri Suguiyama, an assistant on the Cal men’s team, has been named a men’s assistant at the 2015 World University Games in South Korea.

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Football: BYU game to begin at either 1:30 or 3 p.m.

Cal’s regular-season finale against BYU on Nov. 29 at Memorial Stadium will kick off at either 1:30 or 3 p.m., and will be televised by the Pac-12 Networks, the conference office announced.

The final start time will be announced either Saturday or Sunday, after the Big Game at Cal on Saturday afternoon.

Cal and BYU have met three times previously, with the Cougars winning twice. But the Bears prevailed in the most recent matchup, posting a 35-28 victory in the 2005 Las Vegas Bowl.

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Football alums: Aaron Rodgers has another huge day

Former Cal star Aaron Rodgers continued his red-hot play Sunday, throwing for 341 yards and three touchdowns in the Packers’ 53-20 rout of the Philadelphia Eagles.

Including last week’s 55-14 win over Chicago, Rodgers has gone 40 for 63 for 656 yards with nine touchdowns and zero interceptions in two weeks.

He has thrown 29 touchdown passes since his most recent interception in a home game, dating back to the 2012 season.

Elsewhere . . .

– Marshawn Lynch rushed 24 times for 124 yards in Seattle’s 24-20 loss at Kansas City.

– C.J. Anderson had eight catches for 86 yards and nine rushes for 29 yards in Denver’s loss to the Rams. Over the past two weeks, Anderson has totaled 278 yards rushing and receiving.

– Keenan Allen caught eight passes for 63 yards in San Diego’s win over Oakland.

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Football: Big Game activity schedule

Cal’s Big Game activity schedule:

Monday
11 am – Cable Car Rally Begins (Ghirardelli Square, San Francisco)
Noon – Cable Car Rally Ends (Union Square, San Francisco)
7 p.m. – Inside The Locker Room Radio Show (Doubletree by Hilton Hotel, 200 Marina Boulevard, Berkeley)

Tuesday
11:30 am – The Big Sail (St. Francis Yacht Club, 99 Yacht Road, San Francisco)
Noon – Tree Chopping Rally (Sproul Hall, Berkeley)

Wednesday
#11 a.m. – Guardsmen Big Game Luncheon (Fairmont Hotel, San Francisco)
7:30 p.m. – The Big Sing (Wheeler Auditorium, Berkeley)

Thursday
All Day – Big Give (online at BigGive.berkeley.edu)
8 p.m. – Night Rally (Starts at Bowles Hall, runs thru campus and City of Berkeley ending at Sproul Plaza)

Friday
6 p.m. (Doors)/Approximately 7 p.m. (Rally) – Bonfire Rally (The Greek Theatre, Berkeley)

Saturday
#1 p.m. – The 117th Big Game, Stanford at Memorial Stadium

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Women’s basketball: No. 15 Bears rout Pacific in opener

Sophomore Courtney Range scored a career-high 27 points and the No. 15 Cal women opened their season with an 84-64 win at Pacific.

Range, whose previous career high was 12 points, also grabbed 11 rebounds for her third career double-double. She shot 10 for 13 from the floor.

Senior forward Reshanda Gray had 17 points and seven rebounds in just 18 minutes and senior guard Brittany Boyd had 12 points, eight assists, four rebounds and three steals.

Freshman forward Mikayla Cowling scored 18 points in her college debut, 17 of them in the second half. She also had seven rebounds.

The Bears improved to 23-2 all-time vs. the Tigers.

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Basketball: Cal vs. Kennesaw St game thread

Click here for a photo slideshow courtesy of D. Ross Cameron: http://photos.mercurynews.com/2014/11/16/photos-california-men-romp-over-kennsaw-state-93-59/#1

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After an easy victory Sunday over the alma mater of Ryan Seacrest, the Cal basketball team travels to New York City this week to take on a program that produced Carmelo Anthony.

The Golden Bears improved to 2-0 with a 93-59 win over Kennesaw State in front of an announced crowd of 4,944 at Haas Pavilion in the 2K Classic on Sunday evening. Now the Bears step up in class with a Thursday matchup against No. 23 Syracuse (2-0) in the tournament semifinals at Madison Square Garden.

Cal is playing the Orange for the fourth time in six seasons, including the third year in a row. Syracuse beat the Bears 92-81 in Maui last season, 66-60 in the NCAA tournament at San Jose the year before, and 95-73 at the Garden early in the 2009-10 season.

Kennesaw, which lost by 47 points at Syracuse two nights earlier, provided the Bears little challenge. Cal was sluggish offensively early, but held the Owls scoreless for nearly 5 minutes to open the game, then stretched out to a 41-15 halftime advantage.

“I thought we got off to a slow start. I didn’t think we played California basketball the first 10-12 minutes of the game,” Cal coach Cuonzo Martin said. “Too much one on one weren’t making the extra pass.

“They settled down and played the way they are capable.”

The margin reached 35 points after consecutive 3-pointers by Jordan Mathews and Dwight Tarwater pushed the score to 55-20 with just over 16 minutes left.

Point guard Tyrone Wallace, who scored a career-high 22 in the Friday opener against Alcorn State, had another solid all-around game with 18 points, nine rebounds and seven assists. Mathews had 16 points to go with seven rebounds, Jabari Bird added 15 points and seven rebounds and Tarwater scored 10.

The Bears understand Syracuse and its long, aggressive 2-3 zone defense will present a much more difficult test.

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Football: Mediocrity on both sides of Big Game

Saturday’s 117th Big Game will be the first in 11 years where neither Cal nor Stanford enters with a winning record.

Both teams are 5-5 and in need of one more victory to become bowl eligible.

Not since 2003 has neither team in the rivalry had a winning record entering the Big Game. Cal was 6-6 going in that year, Stanford 4-5. The Bears won 28-16 and went on to beat Virginia Tech 52-49 at the Insight Bowl to finish 8-6.

The Bears want to reclaim The Axe after four straight wins by Stanford. The Cardinal routed Cal 63-13 last season and has outscored the Bears 163 to 58 the past four years.

Also at stake Saturday in Berkeley is second place in the Pac-12 North. A victory would lift the Bears to 4-5 in the conference, assuring them no worse than a tie for second. Stanford, which is 3-4, plays one more Pac-12 game the following week, at home against UCLA.

Cal’s season finale on Nov. 29 is at home against BYU, a nonconference foe.

The Big Game kicks off Saturday at 1 p.m. and will be televised on FoxSports1.

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Basketball: Bears aim for second 2K Classic win

Fresh off a 91-57 win over Alcorn State in its opening game Friday night, Cal takes on Kennesaw State in its second game of the 2K Classic on Sunday at 5 p.m.

The Owls arrive in Berkeley after suffering an 89-42 loss Friday night at Syracuse.

And they will take on the Bears without coach Jimmy Lallathin, serving a one-game suspension for NCAA rules violations.

Cal is a 24.5-point favorite to beat the alma mater of Ryan Seacrest.

Kennesaw was just 6-25 a year ago, including two wins over non-Division I foes, and finished last in the Atlantic Sun Conference. Lallathin was installed as head coach midway through last season.

The Owls return all five starters from that team, but were overwhelmed by Syracuse, which Cal faces on Thursday in the 2K semifinals at Madison Square Garden.

Syracuse forced the Owls into 25 turnovers and held them to 33-percent shooting. Kennesaw State was outscored 50-14 in the paint and was outrebounded 56-26.

Cal jumped out to a 15-0 lead over Alcorn in coach Cuonzo Martin’s debut and led by as many as 40 points. Six Cal players scored in double figures for the Bears, led by junior point guard Tyrone Wallace, who had a career-high 22.