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Football: Gruesome numbers on eve of USC

Some scary numbers related to Saturday’s Cal vs. USC game:

— Cal has not held a lead against USC in 2,191 days, since Justin Forsett scored 17-yard touchdown for a 7-0 lead with 7:18 left in the first quarter on Nov. 10, 2007.

— Over the past five years, USC has outscored Cal 109-6 in the first half. The Bears were held without a touchdown in the first half of all five of those games.

— Cal has held a halftime lead just once the past nine years vs. USC: 9-6 in 2006.

— USC has outrushed the Bears 972 yards to 277 the past five years. Cal averaged just 2.1 yards per rush in those five games.

— The Bears have scored nine touchdown the past nine games against the Trojans.

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Football: USC game preview

The equation appears problematic for the Cal football team: USC has sacked the quarterback more than any team in the Pac-12 Conference and the Golden Bears have allowed more sacks than anyone.

“It’ll be a challenge,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes conceded.

Still in search of their first conference victory, the Bears (1-8, 0-6) face a USC team (6-2, 3-2) that might have improved more over the past month than any in the Pac-12. And a USC team that owns nine consecutive wins over Cal.

“I don’t know if we’re concerned as much as about beating USC as getting a win for ourselves,” freshman quarterback Jared Goff said. “Beating anyone in the Pac-12 would be a big game at this point.”

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CAL VS. USC

RECORDS: Cal 1-8, 0-6 Pac-12; USC 6-3, 3-2.

KICKOFF: Noon, Memorial Stadium.

TV: Fox

RADIO: 810-AM

SERIES HISTORY: USC leads 65-30-5. The Trojans have won the past nine meetings — their longest streak vs. Cal since winning 11 in a row from 1959 through 1969. USC has allowed the Bears a total of just 38 points the past five games.

STORYLINES: Thirteen Cal seniors play their final home game, although only DE Dan Camporeale, NT Deandre Coleman and PK Vincenzo D’Amato are first-line players. … Cal hasn’t beaten USC since a 34-31 triple-overtime win in 2003 fueled by quarterback Aaron Rodgers. … The Trojans, playing a 13-game schedule, need one more victory to become bowl eligible. They are 3-1 since coach Lane Kiffin was fired, replaced on an interim basis by Ed Orgeron. … Saturday is coach Sonny Dykes’ 44th birthday.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal – LB Khairi Fortt (biceps), RB Daniel Lasco (shoulder), RB Daniel Ervin (shoulder), OG Matt Cochran (ankle) and WR Richard Rodgers (thumb) are probable. USC – DE Morgan Breslin (hip), Tre Madden (hamstring), TE Randall Teller (knee) and CB Anthony Brown (ankle)  are out; DE Leonard Williams (shoulder) is doubtful; OT Kevin Graf (ankle) and Saf Su’a Cravens (groin) are probable.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s front seven vs. USC’s run game. After surrendering a combined 393 rushing yards to Washington’s Bishop Sankey and Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey the past two weeks, Cal tries to stop USC’s running back by committee. Tre Madden (4), Silas Redd (2), Javorius Allen (1) and Justin Davis (1) have combined for eight 100-yard rushing games, although Madden is out. Redd and Allen totaled 273 last week against Oregon State.

STATS THAT MATTER: It’s been 2,191 days since Cal held a lead against the Trojans. Justin Forsett’s TD run in the first quarter on Nov. 10, 2007 put Cal in front 7-0 in a game USC won 24-17. … USC allowed 93 points in games vs. Arizona State and Arizona, and just 75 total points in its other seven games. … Cal has surrendered 385 points, more than in all but three full seasons in a football history that dates to 1886. … Freshman Jared Goff needs 119 passing yards to become just the third Cal QB to reach 3,000 for a season. With 141 yards, he will move into the No. 2 spot on the school’s single-season list.

 

 

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Football: Cal post-game notebook

Cal’s blocking and tackling — the two basic building blocks of football — both were better Saturday in a 33-28 loss to Arizona.

Coach Sonny Dykes said the offensive line had its best day and the defense tackled better than it has all season.

He chalked up the improvement to continuity. “We’ve had some consistency in some of the players,” he said, referring to the fact that the Bears haven’t been forced by injuries to make lineup changes the past couple weeks.

Quarterback Jared Goff, who was not sacked, called offensive line’s performance “probably their best game so far. They did a great job of protection.”

Click here to read the rest of this Cal notebook.

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Football: Arizona game thread

Click here to read my game story and for Ray Chavez’s terrific photo of Kenny Lawler’s left-handed, diving touchdown catch.

FINAL SCORE: Arizona 33, Cal 28: Competitive for the first time in Pac-12 play, the Bears (1-8, 0-6) nonetheless lost their seventh straight game and extended losing streaks to Pac-12 opponents (11) and FBS foes (13). Goff threw a career-best four TDs — three of them to Kenny Lawler — but was intercepted twice. Goff finished with 289 yards. Lawler became the first Cal player with three TD receptions in a game since DeSean Jackson in 2006. Arizona (6-2, 3-2) won its third straight game.

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Football: Cal-Arizona preview

CAL VS. ARIZONA

RECORDS: Cal 1-7, 0-5 Pac-12; Arizona 5-2, 2-2.

KICKOFF: 12:30 p.m., Memorial Stadium.

TV: Pac-12 Networks

RADIO: 810-AM

SERIES HISTORY: Tied 14-14-2. Arizona won 10-9 at Tucson in 2010 in the most recent meeting. Cal has won the past four matchups in Berkeley.

STORYLINES: The Golden Bears are trying to end an assortment of ignominious streaks — a six-game losing skid, 10 games in the Pac-12 and 12 games to FBS opponents. Cal has not even held a lead at anytime in the past six games. … This is the Bears’ first day game since Washington State on Oct. 5 and the first of two straight at Memorial Stadium to end the home schedule. … Arizona comes off wins over Utah and Colorado to stay within 1 1/2 games of Pac-12 South leader Arizona State.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal – RB Daniel Lasco (shoulder) and OG Matt Cochran (ankle) are probable; LB Nick Forbes (back) is out. Arizona – LB Jake Fischer (knee), Saf Tra’Mayne Bondurant (head), Saf Jared Tevis (knee) are probable; WR Austin Hill (knee) is out.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s defensive front against Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey. The Bears are allowing 189.1 rushing yards per game and were dissected for 241 by Washington’s Bishop Sankey last week. Cal has given up 21 rushing touchdowns, most in the Pac-12. Carey, the nation’s top rusher a year ago with 1,929 yards, leads the way again at 153.3 per game. He also is the nation’s active career leader with 42 total touchdowns.

STATS THAT MATTER: Cal’s defense has allowed 20 touchdown passes and intercepted just four. … The Bears are one of only two FBS teams in the country (along with Hawaii) who have allowed at least 30 points in every game. … Sophomore WR Chris Harper needs just one catch for 100 in his career. … Freshman QB Jared Goff, with 2,592 passing yards, needs just 94 yards to move onto Cal’s single-season top-10 list, 408 to become the third Cal passer to reach 3,000 for a season.

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Football: Ervin latest to try sparking run game

Coach Sonny Dykes’ latest bit of tinkering involves promoting a former Texas high school quarterback to No. 1 running back.

Darren Ervin, who started fall camp as realistically no better than the Bears’ No. 4 back, carried the ball a team-high 10 times last week and will continue to get the chance to show what he can do Saturday afternoon when Arizona visits Memorial Stadium.

For the first time since his high school days in Houston, Ervin awoke sore last Sunday morning. “It’s a good feeling,” he said, “because it shows how much work you put in on the field.”

Arizona (5-2, 2-2) arrives with one of college football’s most prolific running backs in junior Ka’Deem Carey, bidding to win back-to-back NCAA rushing titles.

The Bears (1-7, 0-5 Pac-12) can only dream about that type of production. They rank 10th in the Pac-12 in rushing offense.

In an effort to find a winning hand, Dykes has reshuffled the deck constantly since last spring. Players have moved from offense to defense and from one position to another.

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Basketball: Freshmen in strong debut

Freshmen Jabari Bird, the highest-rated local player recruited to Cal by coach Mike Montgomery, enjoyed his exhibition debut  Thursday night.

“I played here before in high school,” said Bird, the former Salesian High star. “But putting on the Golden Bears uniform was a totally different experience for me and I enjoyed it.”

Bird had nine points, four assists, three rebounds and two blocked shots as the Bears scored an 83-61 win over Humboldt State.

It was an encouraging opening night for five Cal freshmen, who combined for 33 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists. Jordan Mathews, son of former USF coach Phil Mathews, led the way with 15 points, including four 3-point baskets in a span of 2 minutes, 38 seconds in the second half.

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Basketball: Bears face Humboldt in exhibition

The Cal basketball team makes it debut Thursday night with a 7 p.m. exhibition game against Humboldt State.

Coach Mike Montgomery welcomes back four starters from last year’s 21-win team that reached the third round of the NCAA tournament. The Bears also feature a five-man freshman class, headed by local standout Jabari Bird.

“We scrimmaged Saturday and I wasn’t very pleased. We didn’t play hard enough,” Montgomery said. “We’ve got a lot of new people and some of them were nervous, playing against somebody else. There’s just an adjustment.”

Montgomery said that senior point guard Justin Cobbs, the second-team all-Pac-12 pick who had foot surgery during the summer, is feeling good.

“He’s been going fulltime, been getting better every day,” Montgomery said. “We’ve kind of forgotten that he missed about four months. I don’t think his timing is as good, but he’s getting better every day.”

Bird, a 6-foot-5 wing high school All-American from Salesian-Richmond,

“We need him to be good — he’s got talent. But he’s confused with all the offensive stuff we’re doing,” Montgomery said. “I tell him, `You’ve got to play hard, take good shots and start to figure out what those are for you.’ I think he will do that.”

Montgomery is encouraged by the team’s backcourt depth, but a little less confident about big men off the bench. He said freshman 7-footer Kameron Rooks is progressing, but not ready to make a significant contribution.

In the meantime, he said Ricky Kreklow and freshman Richard Moute a Bidias could slide inside from their wing positions in what would become a small lineup.

Humboldt State, a member of the California Collegiate Athletic Association, finished 11-15 overall last season. Two of the Lumberjacks’ top returning guards — Austin Bryan and Ethan Dillard — sustained season-ending injuries earlier this month.

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The Cal women, ranked No. 9 in the preseason USA Today coaches poll, plays an exhibition game Friday night at Haas Pavilion against NAIA powerhouse Vanguard.

Tipoff is scheduled for 8:30 p.m., following the Cal women’s volleyball team facing off against Pac-12 rival USC.

The Cal women’s hoops team also will hold an open practice Sunday, beginning with team introductions at 11 a.m.

The Bears open their regular season on Friday, Nov. 8 against Long Beach State in the first game of a doubleheader capped by the men’s team playing Coppin State.

 

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Football: Cal-UW notebook

Cal’s new-look offensive line generally got thumbs-up marks Saturday night after the Bears’ 41-17 loss at Washington.

That’s not to say anyone was satisfied.

“I thought they played good at times,” coach Sonny Dykes said. “Obviously, we’ve got to continue to play better. I thought they were a little more physical than we have been.”

Dykes reshuffled his O-line during practice this week, shifting left guard Jordan Rigsbee to center, pulling freshman Chris Borrayo from his redshirt year to play left guard, and replacing left tackle Freddie Tagaloa with redshirt freshman Christian Okafor.

Quarterback Jared Goff thought the new group “did a really good job, especially Borrayo for his first game.”

Rigsbee also was upbeat. “I thought we played pretty well up front,” he said. “We definitely made improvements from the last couple of games.”

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Football: Lots of changes, same results

All the changes Cal made during the week — and the one that didn’t happen — had no impact on the bottom line Saturday night at Husky Stadium.

Bishop Sankey ran for a career-best 241 yards and two touchdowns and Keith Price passed for 376 yards and two TDs as Washington dominated the Golden Bears 41-17 in front of 62,328 fans.

***** Click here for game stats

Coach Sonny Dykes shuffled his offensive line and let freshman quarterback Jared Goff compete all week for his job, but none of that prevented the Bears from losing their 12th straight game to a Football Subdivision opponent and their 10th straight to a Pac-12 rival.

“It feels similar … frustrating,” Dykes said afterward. “We certainly don’t ever don’t want to get used to losing. They all sting badly.

“It’s tough because you play good in spurts, but that’s not good enough against the people we’re playing against.”

Cal (1-7, 0-5) has not even held a lead at any time during a six-game losing streak since a Sept. 7 win over FCS opponent Portland State.

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