42

Football: Cal vs. Sac State game thread

Click here to read my game story and see staff photographer Kristopher Skinner’s photo slideshow.

*****

FINAL: Cal 55, Sac State 14. The Bears, at 2-0, have exceeded their victory total of all last season. They will enjoy a bye week before opening Pac-12 play at Arizona on Sept. 20. Sac State is 1-1. Cal finished with 579 yards to 302 for the Hornets. Cal used 75 players, including five quarterbacks. Sac State finished with 302 total yards, but had just 15 net yards on its first eight possessions before coach Sonny Dykes pulled his first team.

END OF THIRD QUARTER: Cal 55, Sac State 14. After Griffin Piatt’s interception in the end zone prevented the Hornets from creeper closer than 48-14, Sonny Dykes returned his first offense to the field. They needed just three plays to cover 80 yards, as Goff passed 55 yards to Trevor Davis, then fired a 12-yard TD pass to Chris Harper. Goff, who is surely finished for the day, is 17 for 22 for 229 yards with four TDs. He has seven TDs in two games this season. Cal’s yardage edge through three quarters: 507-266. One stat the Bears can’t be happy about: 10 penalties for 100 yards.

HALFTIME: Cal 45, Sacramento State 7: The Hornets avoided the shutout by scoring off Cal’s second defense in the final minute of the half. Some quick numbers: Cal with 398 yards to 82 for Sac State. Rush: Cal 152 yards, Sac St minus-12. Cal has 19 first downs to 9 for the visitors. Goff is 15 for 20 for 162 yards and 3 TDs. Rubenzer is 3 for 4 for 84 yards and a TD, and has rushed 6 times for 34 yards and another score. Lasco has 8 carries for a career-best 89 yards.  Sacks for the Bears: Scarlett, Barr & freshman Devante Downs. I would expect we would see Goff for one more offensive series (at the most) and that senior Austin Hinder gets some serious chance to play the rest of the rest. Also look for those freshmen RBs Tre Watson and Vic Enwere.

END OF FIRST QTR: Cal 28, Sac State 0. Well, that was decisive. Three TD passes for Jared Goff — who has six after five quarters this season — and one by freshman Luke Rubenzer. Goff is 8 for 11 for 76 yards, Rubenzer 2 for 2 for 73 yards. Sac State QB Garrett Safron is 3 for 9 for 31 yards. Cal has 197 yards to 26 for Sac State. First downs are 9 to 3. Average yards per play 8.2 yards for Cal, 1.6 yards for Sac. The Hornets have some defensive issues.

*****

A beautiful late morning at Memorial Stadium. A smallish crowd so far, with the players about to take the field for the opening kickoff.

Cal wins the coin toss, elects to receive the opening kickoff.

Follow me on Twitter @JeffFaraudo

 

5

Football: Cal vs. Sacramento State facts

CAL vs. SACRAMENTO STATE

KICKOFF: Saturday, noon at Memorial Stadium, Berkeley.

TV: Pac-12 Networks. Radio: 810-AM.

RECORDS: Cal 1-0, 0-0 in Pac-12; Sacramento State 1-0, 0-0 in Big Sky.

SERIES HISTORY: Cal leads 1-0. The Bears beat the Hornets 41-3 in 2005.

STORYLINES: Cal tries to avoid a letdown against an FCS-level team and build on its 31-24 opening win at Northwestern. A victory would double the Bears’ win total of a year ago and provide nice momentum headed into a bye week. … Sac State has had some success against the Pac-12, with a 30-28 win at Colorado in 2012 and a 29-28 overtime win at Oregon State in 2011. Last season, the Hornets were mashed 55-0 at Arizona State. … The Bears hope to ramp up their ground game after getting just 77 rushing yards from their running backs against NU. … The Hornets are coached by Jody Sears, originally hired as defensive coordinator after last season, then promoted after head coach Marshall Sperber stepped down in April amid an inquiry into possible recruiting violations. Sears was 4-19 the past two seasons as head coach at Weber State.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal: MLB Nathan Broussard (knee), Saf Quentin Tartabull (knee), RB Jeffrey Coprich (foot) and DE Harrison Wilfley (finger) are out; CB Darius White (shoulder) and Saf Avery Sebastian (quad) are questionable; Sacramento State: None reported.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal quarterback Luke Rubenzer vs. Sac State middle linebacker Darnell Sankey. Coming off the bench, Rubenzer stunned Northwestern with a game-high 48 rushing yards, three times negotiating first downs. He won’t have the element of surprise against the Hornets, who are likely to use 6-foot-2, 250-pound junior Sankey, a San Jose native, to track Rubenzer when he enters the game. Sankey had 10 tackles, forced a fumble and return an interception 59 yards for a TD last week against Incarnate Word.

STATS THAT MATTER: Sophomore quarterback Jared Goff’s three touchdown passes at Northwestern marked the seventh time in 13 career games he’s thrown multiple TD in a game. … Cal can start the season 2-0 for the first time since 2011. … Cal has averaged 49 points in its seven games against FCS opponents. … The Pac-12 has a combined record of 94-11 against FCS teams since 1978, when the NCAA began differentiating between what were then called Division I and I-AA programs.

3

Football: Bears won’t take Sacto St for granted

Cal, which faces Sacramento State on Saturday in its home opener, is 7-0 all-time vs. Football Championship Subdivision opponents.

Coach Sonny Dykes knows the matchup might prompt yawns from some fans, but dismissed the suggestion this amounts to an automatic victory.

“They obviously haven’t coached in many of these games,” Dykes said. “These teams have won too many times to even go into it.”

Sacramento State has accounted for two of three wins by FCS teams over the Pac-12 in the past three seasons, and it was only a year ago that schools formerly classified as Division I-AA enjoyed their most startling weekend at the expense of the bigger Football Bowl Subdivision programs.

Seven FCS teams took down FBS opponents during opening week last season, including these three:

• Eastern Washington became only the third FCS team to upset a Top-25 team with its 49-45 win at Oregon State.

• McNeese State’s 53-21 rout of South Florida represented the most points ever scored by an FCS team against an FBS foe.

• North Dakota State solidified its status as the little program every FBS program should avoid with a 24-21 win over defending Big 12 co-champion Kansas State. Iowa State didn’t get the message in time to avoid a 34-14 loss last Saturday, extending the Bison’s streak to five seasons featuring an FBS victory.

Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Cal’s scores against FCS teams:

2013: d. Portland State 37-30

2012: d. Southern Utah 50-31

2011: d. Presbyterian 63-12

2010: d. UC Davis 52-3

2009: d. Eastern Washington 59-7

2006: d. Portland State 42-16

2005: d. Sacramento State 41-3

 

97

Football: Cal-Northwesten game thread

FINAL SCORE: Cal 31, Northwestern 24. OK, you may now exhale.

Click here to read my game story. And my notebook, focusing on freshman Luke Rubenzer.

END OF 3RD QUARTER: Cal 31, Northwestern 21. Well, at 31-7 it looked like the only way the Bears could lose this game was by giving NU some help. And they did just that, when Goff’s pass went off the hands of Lasco and was picked off by LB Collin Ellis. You remember him, right? He had two INTs for TDs against the Bears last year. The Wildcats cashed in on the next play with a nice trick play: QB Trevor Siemian throws a lateral pass to WR Jayme Taylor, who then throws back to Siemian for the TD. That got the Wildcats within 10 points with 2:06 left in the 3rd Q. Cal has responded nicely so far, moving from its own 12 to the NU35, where it will have a first-and-10 when the fourth quarter begins.

HALFTIME: Cal 24, Northwestern 7. Goff was 12 for 18 for 186 yards with three TDs, one each to Bryce Treggs, Kenny Lawler and Trevor Davis. Cal has a 270-153 edge in total yards, a 14-7 edge in first downs. Hasn’t all been perfect: Cal’s four running backs have combined for 47 yards on 12 carries, just under 4 yards per. Rubenzer ran 9 times for 38 yards, but hasn’t played since being picked off on a pass he should have thrown out of bounds. Cal has held the lead for 23 minutes, 42 seconds — 14 minutes longer than the Bears were ahead of FBS teams all last season. Just one penalty vs. Cal — 5 yards for offsides on a kickoff. And the defense? Cal gave up a staggering 335 points in the first half a year ago, but allowed the Wildcats just one score in six possessions.

END OF 1ST QUARTER: Cal 14, Northwestern 0. Yep, it’s true. Goff threw TD passes of 1 yard to Bryce Treggs and 7 yards to Kenny Lawler and the defense got a stop on a fourth-and-one at its own 22 to snuff NU’s only possession of the game. The revelation has been the contributions of freshman QB Luke Rubenzer, on the field for at least 10 plays. He has run the ball eight times for 36 yards and completed 1 of 2 passes for 9 yards.

*****

Greetings from Ryan Field at Evanston, Ill.

It’s warm, humid, with scattered clouds. But the locals don’t think it will rain. We’ll see.

Will provide periodic updates all afternoon. Or follow me on Twitter at @JeffFaraudo

BTW: All present and accounted for on the Cal roster. DBs Darius White (shoulder) and Avery Sebastian (quad) both dressed and warming up, although still not convinced either will play.

 

0

Basketball: UConn women rout Cal

No. 1 UConn took charge from the start and dispatched Cal 80-47 in the Maggie Dixon Classic at Madison Square Garden.

The No. 21 Bears (7-3) shot 29.9 percent, including 1 for 9 from the 3-point arc.

Brittany Boyd had nine points, seven rebounds, six steals and five assists to lead the Bears, who had no player score double digits. But Boyd shot just 3 for 23

All-American Brenna Stewart had 29 points and 10 rebounds in just 27 minutes for the Huskies (12-0).

66

Big Game notebook: Barbour gives Dykes freedom to make any staff moves he deems necessary

Cal coach Sonny Dykes sidestepped questions Saturday about whether he might make changes on his staff, but athletic director Sandy Barbour made it clear Dyke has the freedom to do whatever he thinks is necessary.

“Those are decisions that are the head coach’s. In my mind, philosophically and practically, always will be,” Barbour said after the Bears lost 63-13 to Stanford in the Big Game to finish their season 1-11.

There will be pressure from fans — and perhaps current players and recruits — to make a change at defensive coordinator, where Andy Buh’s unit allowed a school-record 45.9 points per game.

Asked if he can guarantee any member of his staff will return next season, Dykes said, “We’ll take a look at it all. I can’t guarantee I’ll be back next year.”

Barbour called the season “tremendously disappointing” but is pleased with some progress, including in the program’s classroom performance.

“Sonny’s coming in and changing a culture, changing a program, building it right,” she said. “The part on the field is going to take a little longer.”

Stanford coach David Shaw had only good things to say about the Bears rookie coach.

“Cal has hired the right man,” Shaw said. “Sonny is going to do a great job there. They’re building. They know it’s going got be a process.”

Click here to read the rest of this notebook.

3

Football: Bears blasted in Big Blowout

The final game of the worst season in Cal football history went from insult to injury.

No. 10 Stanford stormed effortlessly to a 29-point halftime lead and knocked freshman quarterback Jared Goff out of the game on the way to a 63-13 rout in the 116th Big Game in front of 50,424 fans at Stanford Stadium.

Coach Sonny Dykes’ debut season with the Bears ended Saturday afternoon with another skewering of the Cal defense and a 10th straight defeat.

“I can make a bunch of excuses,” Dykes said. “My job’s to get the team ready to play and clearly they haven’t been ready to play. I haven’t done a very good job.”

Stanford’s 63 points were the most either team has scored in the rivalry game that began in 1892. The previous record was 48.

Cal (1-11, 0-9 Pac-12) finished without a win over a Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division I) for the first time since before 1900, extending losing streaks to 14 games against Pac-12 opponents and 16 against FBS teams.

By the time the Bears visit Northwestern on Aug. 30, 2014, to open next season, it will have been 684 days since their most recent victory over an FBS team, a 31-17 win at Washington State on Oct. 13, 2012.

Click here for the rest of this story.

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Football: Big Game thread

FINAL SCORE: Stanford 63, Cal 13. The 63 points are the most scored by either team in the Big Game, dating back to 1892. Goff finished with 3,508 yards, a Cal single-season record.

The Bears finish 1-11, 0-9 in the Pac-12 — the first time since before 1900 they have failed to beat a Football Bowl Subdivision/Division I opponent. They closed the season on a 10-game losing streak, extending droughts against Pac-12 foes (14 games) and FBS opponents (16).

Cal allowed more than 40 points for the ninth time in 12 games and gave up 551 points on the season — third-most in Pac-12 history.

Continue Reading

18

Football: Big Game preview

CAL AT STANFORD

RECORDS: Cal 1-10, 0-8 Pac-12; Stanford 8-2, 6-2.

KICKOFF: 1 p.m. at Stanford Stadium.

TV: Fox Sports 1

RADIO: 810-AM, KNBR-1050

SERIES HISTORY: Stanford leads 58-46-11. The Cardinal has won the past three meetings, including 21-3 last season at Berkeley. Cal’s most recent Big Game victory was a 34-28 win at Stanford in 2009.

CAL STORYLINES: The Bears are 31.5-point underdogs and need an upset of historical proportions to avoid their first season without a major college victory since the start of the 1900s … Cal is 0-4 on the road this season, with an average margin of defeat of 26.8 points … With eight projected starters out this week, the Bears’ season total for “missed starts” climbs to 73.

STANFORD STORYLINES: The Cardinal will take the field approximately 30 minutes after kickoff of the Oregon-Arizona game. An Oregon loss, combined with a Cardinal victory, would give Stanford the North division title and a berth in the league championship game … Stanford, which is coming off a 20-17 defeat at USC, has not lost back-to-back games since the 2009 season.

CAL INJURY UPDATE: WR Chris Harper (hip), LB Khairi Fortt (biceps), LB Hardy Nickerson (foot) and CB Isaac Lapite (knee) are out. RB Darren Ervin (shoulder) is probable.

STANFORD INJURY UPDATE: DE Ben Gardner (pectoral muscle) and CB Alex Carter (concussion) are out. K Jordan Williamson (leg) is questionable.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s run game vs. Stanford’s defensive front … After struggling on the ground all season, the Bears gained 190 yards against USC and 197 vs. Colorado the past two weeks. Junior Brendan Bigelow rushed for 107 yards at CU — the Bears’ first player to crack 100 yards this season … The Cardinal leads the Pac-12 and is tied for third nationally in run defense (91.6 yards per game) … Over the past three games, Stanford has allowed 1.4 yards per rush … Cal rushed for three yards against Stanford last year..

CAL STATS THAT MATTER: Cal freshman quarterback Jared Goff needs 186 passing yards to break Pat Barnes’ single-season school record of 3,499, set in 1996 … The Bears are last in the conference in turnover margin (minus-1.36 per game) and 11th in sacks allowed per game (3.0 per game.)

STANFORD STATS THAT MATTER: Stanford is second in the conference in sacks (3.2 per game) … The Cardinal has won 14 consecutive home games, the second-longest streak in the nation (South Carolina) … Stanford running back Tyler Gaffney is averaging 157.8 yards per game in the past month.

3

Football: Underdog Bears enter Big Game still seeking spark they can harness to build a future

Jeff Tedford in his debut season at Cal in 2002 had Michigan State. Jim Harbaugh five years later at Stanford had USC.

But what has first-year Cal coach Sonny Dykes’ team achieved this season that might provide a spark for the program’s future?

So far, nothing tangible. At 1-10 and without a win over a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent, Dykes and the Bears have one more chance to make a splash.

“If we beat Stanford,” linebacker Michael Barton said, “we’ll have a lot of steam rolling into next year.”

But as 32-point underdogs Saturday, the Bears are the biggest long shot in Big Game history.

Click here to read the rest of this story.