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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.

*****

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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Football: Cal-UW game thread

FINAL: Washington 41, Cal 17. Khalfani Muhammad’s 73-yard TD run with 5:06 left capped the scoring. The Bears (1-7, 0-5 Pac-12) have lost 12 straight to FBS opponents and 10 in a row in the conference. They haven’t held a lead at any time during their six-game losing streak. Goff finished 32 of 54 for 336 yards with a touchdown and no turnovers. The defense allowed 40 points-plus for the sixth time and the Huskies (5-3, 2-3) totaled 642 yards. 

THIRD QUARTER: UW 38, Cal 7. Not getting any better, is it? The Huskies are two points shy of becoming the sixth team to crack 40 against the Bears. UW has 557 yards through three quarters. Price is 18 for 29 for 365 and a pair of TDs. Goff is 28 for 48 for 279.

HALFTIME: UW 24, Cal 7. The Bears got on the board with a 13-play, 75 yard drive spanning the first two qtrs, with Goff going 8 for 9, including a 6-yard TD strike to Harper. The teams then exchanged eight punts, a nice stretch of defense for the Bears. But Sankey’s 59-yard TD run with 1:08 left in the half pushed the Huskies’ lead to 17 points. Goff is 20 for 35 for 180 yards in the half. Sankey has 16 carries for 188 yards. Cal does not have a turnover.

FIRST QUARTER: Huskies draw first blood, moving 97 yards in 11 plays, capped by Bishop Sankey’s 3-yard TD run with 8:48 left. QB Keith Price, who supposedly has an injured thumb on his throwing hand, was 6 for 6 for 74 yards. Price’s 68-yd TD pass to Jaydon Mickens makes it 17-0 with 1:41 left in Qtr. Bears now outscored 127-34 in opening period. Qtr stats: UW 219 total yards, Cal 66. Goff was 7 for 11 for 38 yards.

COIN FLIP: Cal wins the toss and will take the ball first.

Game time weather: 54 degrees. Cloudy, but still no wind.

*****

Greetings from Husky Stadium. A cool evening here in Seattle, but dry and windless. A good night for football, even if the game figures to end close to midnight.

A few depth chart changes for Cal:

– Puka Lopa will start in place of Kyle Kragen at rush end

– Joel Willis for Adrian Lee at cornerback

– Michael Lowe for Damariay Drew at free safety

And, the offensive line will look like this:

– Redshirt freshman Christian Okafor at LT

– True freshman Chris Borrayo at LG

– Sophomore Jordan Rigsbee at C

– Junior Alejandro Crosthwaite (over Freddie Tagaloa) at RG

– Redshirt Steven Moore at RT

And, yes, Jared Goff will start at quarterback.

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Football: Cal-Washington preview

CAL VS. WASHINGTON

RECORDS: Cal 1-6, 0-4 Pac-12; Washington 4-3, 1-3.

KICKOFF: 8 p.m., Husky Stadium, Seattle.

TV: Fox Sports 1

RADIO: 810-AM

SERIES HISTORY: Washington leads 50-38-4. The Huskies won 21-13 last season, Cal’s only single-digit defeat during their ongoing 11-game losing streak to FBS teams. The Bears have won just three of 14 matchups in Seattle since 1976.

STORYLINES: Freshman Jared Goff will be back at quarterback after coach Sonny Dykes announced Friday he has retained the job in a week-long competition with redshirt freshman Zach Kline. … UW quarterback Keith Price, nursing a injured finger on his throwing hand, was announced as the starter. … The Bears have shaken up their offensive line, with Jordan Rigsbee moving from OG to C and freshman Chris Borrayo coming out of his redshirt year to start at OG. … The game matches teams with the longest current losing streaks in the Pac-12. Cal has dropped five in a row and UW three straight since starting the season 4-0. … Cal will wear helmet stickers honoring UW coaching legend Don James, who died Sunday at the age of 80. James was 12-2 against Cal, winning 12 in a row through his retirement in 1992.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal – RB Daniel Lasco (shoulder) and OG Matt Cochran (ankle) are out. Washington –  LB John Timu (ankle), OG Dexter Charles (shoulder) and Saf Kevin King (arm) are questionable.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s front seven vs. Washington RB Bishop Sankey. The Bears have faced a series of prolific passers, but now engage the Huskies’ star junior, who has rushed for at least 100 yards in 12 of the past 18 games. His 921 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns are more than the total of all of Cal’s backs. Sankey had 189 yards and two TDs at Cal last season, but last week at Arizona State was held to a season-low 22 yards on 13 carries.

STATS THAT MATTER: The combined record of Cal’s first four Pac-12 teams is 22-6, 12 in the conference. The record of their next four Pac-12 foes is 15-11, 3-10. … The Bears have not beaten an FBS opponent in 378 days. … Cal ranks last in the Pac-12 in sacks allowed (22) and turnover margin (minus-11).

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Football: Dykes’ decision to make no change at quarterback is bolder than you think

First-year coach Sonny Dykes, who has reshuffled the hand dealt him regularly this fall in hopes of reversing the Golden Bears’ fortunes, made perhaps his boldest move yet Friday.

He changed nothing at the most important position on his team.

After nearly a week of speculation, Dykes announced that freshman Jared Goff has retained his starting quarterback job entering Saturday night’s game at Washington.

Goff and redshirt freshman Zach Kline shared first-team reps in practice and the stage seemed set for Kline to get his first chance to take the reins as the starter.

The Bears are 1-6, winless in Pac-12 Conference play and there was a bit of a “why not?” feel to the prospect of a change at quarterback.

It would have been the easy call, perhaps the popular one among Old Blues dying to see some tangible results from a season whose initial promise largely has drained away.

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Football: Defense chases historically bad numbers

Cal nose tackle Deandre Coleman, who attended Garfield High perhaps five minutes from Husky Stadium, expects to have 40 friends and family members at Saturday night’s game against Washington.

“It’s my senior year,” he said. “I’ve got to come out with a bang.”

Seven games into coach Sonny Dykes’ debut season, the Golden Bears have yet to make that kind of noise on defense. Cal ranks third-to-last nationally in total yards allowed, second-to-last in scoring defense and last among 123 FBS schools in passing yards surrendered.

“We’ve seen signs in practice,” Dykes said. “We haven’t seen a whole lot in a game up to this point.”

If there’s no improvement, the Bears are on target to field the statistically worst defense in Cal’s 131-year football history.

Having already given up at least 40 points in five games, the Bears are allowing 44.4 per game. They are on pace to give up 533 points — 102 more than Tom Holmoe’s 1-10 team of 2001 surrendered in one less game.

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Football: Oregon State game thread

FINAL SCORE: Oregon State 49, Cal 17. Beavers (6-1, 4-0 Pac-12) ride 493 passing yards and 4 TDs from Pleasanton native Sean Mannion to their fifth straight win. Cal (1-6, 0-4) loses its 11th straight game to an FBS opponent. The big question: Did SonnyDykes ignite a quarterback controversy? It wasn’t raining on Jared Goff when he was pulled as it was three weeks ago at Oregon. Zach Kline didn’t light up the night, but he gave the Bears a spark and got them into the end zone twice. My guess: Dykes opens up the QB competition again this week in advance of the Bears’ trip to Washington.

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