Saturday, September 30, 2006

Daily Cal: More of the Same as Cal Piles It on Oregon State

The game may have been at a different venue, but the result—and the way it was achieved—stuck to the recent script for the No. 20 Cal football team. That is, strike early and strike fast.  The Bears reached the end zone four times and kicked a field goal in their five first-half possessions en route to a 41-13 victory over Oregon State. Quarterback Nate Longshore threw for 341 yards and four touchdowns.  Cal had scored 112 combined first-half points in the three games prior to Saturday’s bout with the Beavers (2-2, 0-1 in the Pac-10). The Bears (4-1, 2-0) sucked the energy out of a small, but vocal crowd of 39,309 at Reser Stadium, taking a 31-3 lead into the locker room.  Longshore tossed four touchdowns for the third time on the year, and again appeared comfortable in the pocket, completing 22-of-31 passes. Marshawn Lynch rushed for 113 yards and a touchdown. He also caught a air of scoring strikes from Longshore.

“Our offense did an extremely nice job in the first half moving the ball and converting some major third downs,” Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. “Those were big plays for us that kept drives alive.”  The Bears converted five of their six third down attempts in the first half.  Having lost to Oregon State, 23-20, a year ago at home, Cal wasted no time jumping out to a big lead.  Longshore, hit as he threw, delivered a perfect pass to Lavelle Hawkins for a score only 2:07 into the game. Hawkins ended the day with six catches for 128 yards.  That was only the beginning.  After Desmond Bishop forced a fumble by Beavers tailback Yvenson Bernard at the Bears’ 15-yard line, Longshore capped a nine-play drive by finding Jackson on a 27-yard strike.

“We have a lot of players who are capable of making plays out there,” Lynch said.  Lynch would add a pair of touchdowns—one on the ground and one through the air—and the damage was done, though Alexis Serna’s 58-yard field goal right before the half did put Oregon State on the board.

Cal returns home this week to face Oregon. The Ducks won easily, 48-13, over Arizona State on Saturday.

UPI: California 48, Oregon State 13

Nathan Longshore passed for 341 yards and four touchdowns Saturday to lead the No. 20 California Golden Bears to a 41-13 win over the Oregon State Beavers.  Longshore completed 22-of-31 passes with one interception for Cal (4-1, 2-0 Pac-10), which has won four straight since opening the season loss at No. 18 Tennessee.  Marshawn Lynch added three touchdowns, two receiving and one rushing, for the Golden Bears, who scored the game's first 31 points. Lynch ended with 106 rushing yards and 59 yards receiving.  Lavelle Hawkins led the Cal receiving corps with six catches for 128 yards and a TD.  Yvenson Bernard ran for 74 yards and a touchdown to lead offense for the Beavers (2-2, 0-1), who scored a season-low in points.  Cal scored on all five of its first-half possessions and took a 28-point lead into half-time.

Sports Network: Bears blast Beavers to win fourth straight

Nathan Longshore threw for 341 yards and four touchdowns to lead the 20th-ranked California Golden Bears over the Oregon State Beavers, 41-13, at Reser Stadium.  Longshore completed 22-of-31 passes with one interception for Cal (4-1, 2-0 Pac-10), which has won four straight since opening the season with a 35-18 setback at Tennessee.   Marshawn Lynch added three touchdowns, two receiving and one rushing, for the Golden Bears, who scored the game's first 31 points and coasted to the finish. Lynch ended with 106 rushing yards and 59 yards receiving, as Cal racked up 483 total yards of offense.   Lavelle Hawkins led the Cal receiving corps with six catches for 128 yards and a score, helping Cal beat the Beavers for the second time in three years after dropping six straight.  Yvenson Bernard ran for 74 yards and a touchdown to lead an anemic offense for the Beavers (2-2, 0-1), who have dropped two of three. OSU gained 300 yards of offense and scored a season-low in points.

Cal wasted little time putting this game out of reach, scoring on all five of its first-half possessions and taking a 28-point lead into halftime.  Longshore ended the first two Golden Bear possessions with TD tosses. He hit Hawkins with a 39-yard strike for a 7-0 lead just 2:07 into the contest. Then, after OSU's Bernard fumbled to give the ball back to Cal midway through the quarter, Longshore connected with DeSean Jackson for a 27-yard TD and a 14-0 lead with 5:52 left in the first quarter.  Jackson ended with seven catches for 74 yards. Following a Beavers' punt, Cal needed just six plays to find the end zone again. This time, Lynch ended the 74-yard drive with a 15-yard scoring run for a 21-point lead with 3:37 remaining until the second quarter.

In the second, the Golden Bears went ahead by 28 points when Longshore hit Lynch with a 27-yard pass play for a score. Cal's Tom Schneider added a 37-yard field goal with 51 seconds left until the break, but Alexis Serna finally put the Beavers on the board when he hit a 58- yard field goal as time expired. A 21-yard pass play from Moore to Joe Newton set up the career-long and school record-tying kick by Serna. Serna connected on a 40-yarder early in the third quarter to make it a 31-6 contest, but Longshore and Lynch again combined on a TD. This time a 28-yard pass play gave the Beavers a 38-6 cushion with 1:31 left in the third. In the fourth, OSU got its only touchdown of the game when Bernard ran in from four-yards out.

Schneider capped the game's scoring with a 43-yard field goal.  OSU quarterback Matt Moore ended 18-of-27 passing for 187 yards.

Game Notes

Serna's previous career-long was 55 yards. He is the reigning Lou Groza Award winner as the nation's top kicker...Chris Mangole also hit a 58-yard field goal in 1982...Cal leads the all-time series 33-26...OSU fell to 2-1 at home. It had outscored its previous to opponents 94-17 at home...Cal improved to 1-1 on the road.

AP: No. 20 California Overwhelms Oregon St.

Nate Longshore and California have their passing game down pat. The running game? It's pretty good, too. And Longshore predicts the best is yet to come from that part of the Bears' offense.  Longshore threw for 341 yards and four touchdowns, including two to Marshawn Lynch, and No. 20 California defeated Oregon State 41-13 on Saturday.  Lynch finished with three touchdowns for the Bears (4-1, 2-0 Pac-10), running 15 yards for another score.  "Offensively we did what we wanted to do in the passing game. I think as the season goes the run will open up a little more," he said.

Not that the Bears did all that bad. Cal rushed for 142 yards compared to Oregon State's 56. Lynch had 106 yards rushing.  For Oregon State (2-2, 0-1), Alexis Serna hit field goals of 58 and 40 yards, and a turnover led to the team's lone touchdown.  "It was actually really, really strange. We moved the ball in the heart of the field fine," Beavers tight end Joe Newton said. "Then we got down in the red zone and we couldn't finish the drive. If you can't finish, you can't win."  Longshore's 39-yard TD pass to Lavelle Hawkins gave Cal the early lead. Before the first quarter was over, Longshore found DeSean Jackson with a 27-yard scoring pass and Lynch's TD run made it 21-0.  Lynch had his second touchdown reception of the season, a 27-yard pass from Longshore, midway through the second quarter.  Tom Schneider kicked a 37-yard field goal to make it 31-0, before Serna, last season's Lou Groza award winner for the nation's top kicker, hit a 58-yarder to make it 31-3 at the half.

The kick matched the school record set by Chris Mangold against San Jose State in 1982.  After Serna added a 40-yard field goal, Lynch caught a 28-yard scoring pass from Longshore.  The Beavers capitalized on Sabby Piscitelli's interception in the fourth quarter that set up Yvenson Bernard's 5-yard scoring run. The series was marked by the replacement of starter Matt Moore with backup Sean Canfield.  Moore completed 18 of 27 passes for 187 yards, while Canfield was 5-of-7 for 57 yards.  "We never did get our feet under us on defense," Oregon State coach Mike Riley said. "From our vantage point, we just couldn't get them off the field."  Lynch added 59 yards receiving. It was his fourth straight game, and 13th in his career, with at least 100 yards on the ground. He has seven touchdowns.  Hawkins had 128 yards receiving for the Bears. Longshore completed 22 of 31 passes with one interception in his third game this season with at least four touchdowns.  "That's the best quarterback I've ever played with in my left," Hawkins said. "Nate is the guy. Nate is the man."

California has won four straight after a season-opening loss at Tennessee, when the Bears were ranked No. 9.  Last season, the Beavers visited Strawberry Canyon and surprised the Bears 23-20, dropping them in the rankings and ending a 10-game winning streak at Memorial Stadium.  "Last year they beat us at our place but they played what we thought was more physical than we did. It was our goal this week to make sure that didn't happen again," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said.  The Bears next week host No. 14 Oregon, which beat Arizona State 48-13 on Saturday. Bernard, who had a career-high 194 yards rushing against Cal last year, had just 74 against them this time around.

SF Chronicle: In pasting Oregon State, Cal scores 40-plus for 4th straight time

Offense keeps up the heat

Rusty Simmons, Chronicle Staff Writer

Cal's Lavelle Hawkins chose to have his locker right next to quarterback Nate Longshore, and the junior receiver uses that proximity to constantly lobby for the football.   "I talk to Nate every day, and I tell him that I'm always open," Hawkins said. "Whenever he feels pressure, he should look my way."  Longshore looked Hawkins' way quite a bit Saturday, and the duo connected on six passes for 128 yards and a 39-yard touchdown as the Bears dominated Oregon State 41-13 in front of 39,309 fans at Reser Stadium.   Longshore can seemingly pick and choose his targets at this point. He has responded from a poor performance in the season-opening loss at Tennessee by completing 77-of-110 passes for 1,116 yards and 14 touchdowns during a four-game winning streak by No. 20 Cal (4-1, 2-0 Pac-10).

Read the entire article here.


Oregonian: Reactions differ to Reser Stadium

While Cal's Jeff Tedford recalls "a difficult time playing there," OSU's Curtis Coker requests a rowdier crowd


CORVALLIS -- Some college football coaches motivate through revisionist history.   California coach Jeff Tedford, for example, looked ahead to today's Pacific-10 Conference game between the No. 20 Golden Bears and the Oregon State Beavers at Reser Stadium and said, apparently with a straight face: "We've always had a difficult time playing there."   If that were a response on an oral history exam, a professor would have given him an "F."

The last time California visited Corvallis, two years ago, the only thing that was "difficult" for Tedford was deciding when to pull his starters as the Bears beat the Beavers 49-7.  And though that game stands as Cal's only victory in the series in the past seven seasons, the Bears (3-1, 1-0 Pac-10) are a 91/2-point favorite today to extend their current winning streak to four games.  Still, there is the usual rhetoric.

"It's a tough environment there," Tedford said. "Their fans do a nice job. . . . It's not the loudest place in the conference, but it's a hostile environment, no question."  Yeah, and the Bears probably had chain-saw sound effects piped over the loudspeakers during practice this week as part of their preparation.  While Tedford, whose record at Reser as Cal's coach is 1-1, was trying to convince his players that they are about to walk into a hornet's nest, some of the Beavers were questioning just how much of a home-field advantage they have at Reser.  Not that the players don't think it's an advantage playing at home, but they're convinced it has the potential to be a bigger advantage than it has been recently.

Curtis Coker, the Beavers' junior defensive tackle who is back after serving a one-game suspension for breaking a team rule, said the fans who sat on their hands during last week's 38-0 victory over Idaho need to make more noise today.

"We need a 12th man on defense," Coker said. "It's disheartening as a player when I hear the student section (being) mediocre and the other side of Reser is just kind of quiet.   "It can get loud here, and that's what I want. Soon as you see that 'Make Noise' thing pop up on the screen, make some noise, because that means (the home team) needs it. . . . Oh yeah, you feed off it. It helps disrupt their offense. It helps a lot."  And for all of those in the OSU student section who have been calling for backup quarterback Sean Canfield and spewing insults at starter Matt Moore, some of the players have another suggestion: Direct some of that enthusiasm at the opposition.

Moore said the budding quarterback controversy isn't as bad as the soap opera he went through as a freshman at UCLA, where he and Drew Olson split time at the position.  "But still, I hear about it, you know?" Moore said. "They're fans . . . and I'm sure a lot of them are football-savvy.  "I mean, I'm a fan of a lot of other teams, and I'm harsh on guys. It's tough to talk about something like this, because you don't want to make it (a big deal). I don't even worry about it. People are going to say what they're going to say. It's not an issue with me at all."  Last season, Moore threw three interceptions against California, yet the Beavers rallied in the second half for a 23-20 victory over the then-No. 18 Bears in Berkeley.   Will last season's game factor into today's game?   "I'm going to remind our team about that and use that as a motivator," Beavers coach Mike Riley said. "I'm sure the Bears will bring it up, but each team is different, too. They've got a lot of new faces and a new team, and so do we.   "So, who knows exactly how that's going to play into it? We've got our own concerns about what they do and who they are and how good they are. That's our biggest deal."

Contra Costa Times: Injuries? Cal says so what

By Jay Heater

CORVALLIS, Ore. - The old Cal, the pre-Jeff Tedford version, would have been in big trouble today at Oregon State.  The old Cal could not have handled injuries to key personnel. When the Bears (3-1, 1-0 Pacific-10) line up today, sophomore Bernard Hicks will be at free safety for the injured Thomas DeCoud. DeCoud, who twisted his knee in last Saturday's victory over Arizona State, was tied for the team lead in tackles with linebacker Desmond Bishop and had become a key cog in a defensive backfield that has been rebuilt since last season. Tedford also has had to reshape his offensive line. Starting right tackle Scott Smith is out with a sprained knee, so junior college transfer Mike Gibson will be making his second start. Senior left tackle Andrew Cameron is recovering from a sprained ankle and should be available, but his ability to go the distance might be in question.

That could be a problem since his backup, sophomore Mike Tepper, is questionable because of a slight concussion he suffered early in the week during practice. Those kind of injuries would have doomed Cal five years ago. Not today. Three consecutive solid recruiting classes have changed the landscape. The Beavers undoubtedly will go after Hicks early, probably by attempting to draw him to the line of scrimmage with play action before going deep in his coverage area. But it's likely Gibson, rated the No. 55 junior college player in the nation last season by SuperPrep magazine, will hold his own. Tedford was asked to compare his current depth to the depth on his first team of 2002. ``I really don't want to say too much,'' he said. ``I don't want to say anything that would make the backups on the 2002 team feel bad. ``But, yes, at some positions, we are a lot deeper.''

On Tedford's first team at Cal, offensive line coach Jim Michalczik had to rotate a pair of walk-ons into the lineup when the injury bug hit. No starter on Cal's offensive line weighed more than 300 pounds. This week in practice, Michalczik rotated the Bears' offensive linemen to different positions just in case Cameron can't go the entire way and Tepper isn't ready. He had a host of 300-pounders to switch around. Included in the bunch was guard Tyler Krieg, a two-year starter from Duke who transferred to Cal yet can't break into the rotation. Cal linebackers Zack Follett and Anthony Felder, both freshman All-Americans last season, haven't cracked the starting lineup.

Read the entire article here.


Daily Cal: After Three Straight Blow Out Wins, Bears Roll Into Corvallis

BY Stephen Chen

A deflated Cal football team walked off the field last October at Memorial Stadium after yet another shocking loss to Oregon State. The Bears had turned over the ball five times, posted just 75 yards on the ground and suffered their second consecutive setback.  "They kicked our butts last year, there's no two ways about it," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "This year, our guys are looking forward to having another chance to play them."  Since 1999, no opponent has caused more problems for the Bears than the Beavers. In the teams' last seven meetings, Oregon State has won six times.

Although history may not be on Cal's side, the No. 20 Bears do have something going for them when they take on the Beavers on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. in Corvallis, Ore.-three straight blowout wins where Cal (3-1) has dominated in all facets of the game.  "They have that balance between run and pass that makes it the hardest to defend," Oregon State coach Mike Riley said.  The Bears lead the conference in scoring at 37.8 points a contest and has amassed an average of 44 points over the last three games.  Nate Longshore has been especially impressive, establishing himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the conference.  The sophomore, who leads the Pac-10 in pass efficiency, has won conference offensive player of the week honors two of the last three weeks and was named USA Today's national player of the week following the team's win against Arizona State.

With the air attack stealing the show, tailback Marshawn Lynch has quietly put together three consecutive 100-yard rushing games since his 74-yard performance in Tennessee. Lynch's 112.2 yards per contest is second in the Pac-10.  Cal's offense should face a stiffer challenge Saturday against the Beavers (3-1), who are coming off a 38-0 win against Idaho.  "They're going to attack you," Tedford said. "They don't sit back and wait for things. They run down hill at you, and they're very aggressive."  The Oregon State defense is second in the Pac-10 having allowed just 239.3 yards per game. The unit is traditionally known to be very physical off the ball.  A lack of offense was one of the main factors in the Bears' loss last season. Cal averaged just 2.2 yards a carry, and quarterback Joe Ayoob threw two interceptions as the Bears were forced to rely heavily on the passing game.  "We really want to see how we do against that type of defense," wide receiver Robert Jordan said.

Although Oregon State leads the Pac-10 by holding opponents to 124.3 passing yards per game, Riley pointed out that it has come against Eastern Washington, Boise State and the Vandals.  "I think their big test has yet to come," Riley said. "They'll be tested more this week for sure."   The Beavers offense also figures to be tested. Senior quarterback Matt Moore will contend with Cal Daymeion Hughes, who Riley called one of the best defensive backs he's ever seen.  Moore has averaged 124 yards a game, with a 56.6 pass completion rate.  "He's taking better care of the ball in most instances, but he can continue to improve on decision making and reads," Riley said.   "We're going to have to be balanced. We're going to have to run the ball. That always helps big time when you're moving against a good, athletic defense."  Last season, running back Yvenson Bernard had a career day against the Bears, racking up 194 yards. Bernard has continued his strong play, scoring four touchdowns this season, though he has averaged just five yards a carry.

Although Oregon State returned all five offensive linemen for this season, it will be without injured senior right tackle Josh Linehan.  Meanwhile, Tedford said that Cal defensive tackle Mika Kane will return for Saturday's contest, providing needed depth for the Bears defensive line.  Tedford also said that offensive tackle Andrew Cameron, who has been out for two weeks, looked fine at Thursday's practice and will be a game-time decision.

Cal will have to contend with what is expected to be a raucous crowd. Although it seats just 43,300 fans, Reser Stadium has earned a reputation of one of the tougher places in Pac-10 to play.   "It's a tough environment. Their fans do a nice job-it's very loud," Tedford said. "We've always had a difficult time playing there."

SF Chronicle: Bears look back to take on Beavers

Rusty Simmons

Jeff Tedford delivered something of a rarity at this week's news conference.   The Cal coach, who seldom allows outsiders to know he's focusing on the past or an upcoming opponent, needed just one statement to unveil that he is doing both this week.   "(Oregon State) came into our house last year, and not only did they beat us, but they were more physical than us," he said. "It's something that doesn't happen to us very often, and they kicked our butts last year. This year, our guys are looking forward to having another chance to play them."   The common themes coming from the Bears' camp this season have been to worry only about their team and to focus on "one play, one day and one game" at a time. Today's game against Oregon State (0-0 Pac-10, 2-1) has made Cal (1-0, 3-1) stray from each theme.

"You always remember things that happen before, but you never want to play for revenge," Cal sophomore quarterback Nate Longshore said. "That really gets your mind in a wrong place."   The Bears' minds were in the wrong place last season. Coming off a disheartening loss to UCLA in a game in which Cal gave up 19 points in the final 7:30, the then-16th-ranked Bears laid an egg at home to Oregon State, losing 23-20.   "They're a big, physical team that will try to come out and beat us up," Cal sophomore center Alex Mack said. "We were supposed to win last year, but they came in and beat us up, and it definitely gives us motivation."

Read the entire article here.

Friday, September 29, 2006

SF Chronicle: Bears, with Cameron, off to Corvallis for needed road win

Rusty Simmons, Chronicle Staff Writer

Cal left tackle Andrew Cameron, who missed the last two weeks with a sprained ankle, is expected to play Saturday against Oregon State, but coach Jeff Tedford isn't ready to name him the starter just yet.  "We anticipate that he'll be ready to go," Tedford said, "but we've still got to see how he warms up and everything. It'll be a game-time decision."  Sophomore Mike Tepper, who has impressed coaches while starting in Cameron's place the last two weeks, would start if Cameron can't.  Home alone: Safety Thomas DeCoud, who strained the MCL in his right knee in the first quarter of last week's win over Arizona State, won't make the trip this weekend, Tedford said.  Bernard Hicks will get his first collegiate start in place of the team's leading tackler, and Tedford said Robert Peele, Kenny Frank and Gary Doxy could also rotate in at safety.  Out of the gates: Cal players have stressed a need to set the tone early, which is something their defense has struggled to do the last three weeks. In each game during that span, Cal's opponent has scored on its first drive.

Read the entire article here.

Cal Athletics: Game Overview

#20 California Travels North To Take on The Oregon State Beavers at 1:05pm Saturday

The Golden Bears take their high-powered offense to Corvallis this weekend for another Pac-10 battle. The Beavers have allowed just one passing touchdown this season while Bears quarterback Nate Longshore (USA Today Player of The Week) has tallied 10 scores through the air. Cal is not just a passing attack however as the Bears have powerful running back Marshawn Lynch and a potent special teams attack paced by punt return star DeSean Jackson.


Unfortunately the Cal vs OSU game will not be aired on television but will be available live on KGO 810am, with the voice of the Bears Joe Starkey, and can be heard live online on The Golden Bear Sports Network.


Cal had it's third impressive victory in a row last Saturday defeating the then ranked #22 ASU Sun Devils 49-21! Just in case you didn't get enough, click here for video highlights:



Oregonian: Cal vs OSU Game Overview


No. 26 RB Yvenson Bernard: The Doak Walker Award candidate has rushed for more than 100 yards in eight of his last 11 games. Last season, in OSU's 23-20 upset of No. 18 California at Memorial Stadium, Bernard carried a career-high 42 times for a career-high 194 yards and scored two touchdowns. It was the highest rushing total in the Pacific-10 Conference in 2005. The Cal defense might key in on Bernard this week, but he probably needs a big game if the Beavers have a chance at an upset. In the last 11 games, the OSU workhorse has rushed for 1,437 yards (130.6 average) and 14 touchdowns.

No. 8 QB Matt Moore: The Beavers' oft-maligned senior could be the center of attention against Cal if the Bears sell out to stop the run -- daring Moore to beat them with his right arm. Moore heard boos last week against Idaho (he completed 16 of 31 passes for 169 yards and one touchdown, with one interception), and some fans think OSU coach Mike Riley should go with redshirt freshman backup Sean Canfield. Moore was 21 of 34 for 196 yards last season against Cal, but he threw three interceptions. Riley said his quarterback has to take better care of the ball and be careful when he throws in the vicinity of Bears cornerback Daymeion Hughes, tied for the most NCAA interceptions with five.


"They're better than any team we've faced. They've got good team speed, good athletic ability, terrific talent, a dynamic running game that makes them hard to defend. . . . We need to get better because our opponents' ability level is going to rise dramatically." -- Riley, talking about the challenge facing OSU

"They're a good team, but I don't want to make it all about them because we can beat them. There's things I notice, but that's just me. I might be a little off or crazy or something, but I've noticed they have some things they do that we can beat." -- OSU defensive tackle Curtis Coker, who returns to action Saturday after serving a one-game suspension for violating an unspecified team rule



No. 1 WR DeSean Jackson: The speedy 6-foot, 166-pound sophomore is one of the most exciting players in the Pac-10. He has seven touchdowns in four games. Last week, Jackson ran back a punt 80 yards for a touchdown in Cal's 49-21 win over Arizona State. In 15 career games, the former Long Beach (Calif.) Poly star has 15 touchdowns -- 13 receiving and two on punt returns. He has caught touchdown passes in six consecutive games, which ties him for the NCAA Division I-A lead. Jackson could make life miserable for OSU cornerbacks Keenan Lewis and Brandon Hughes.

No. 9 QB Nate Longshore: The 6-5, 233-pound sophomore had a rough afternoon at Tennessee in the Bears' 35-18 season-opening loss, but he's been red-hot since, completing 55 of 80 passes (68.8 percent) for 795 yards and 10 touchdowns in his last three games. Longshore leads the Pac-10 in passing efficiency. He had his second four-touchdown game of the season last week against Arizona State. Longshore earned the starting job in the 2005 preseason but broke his leg in the second quarter of the Bears' opener against Sacramento State. He riddled the Sun Devils last week; what will he do against an OSU secondary that has allowed one touchdown pass this season?



"It's difficult. It's a tough environment there. We've always had a difficult time playing there. It's not the loudest place in the conference, but it's a hostile environment, no question. They play very well at home." -- Cal coach Jeff Tedford on Reser Stadium, perhaps forgetting that his team won 49-7 the last time it set foot in the place

"I don't know how you play much better than Daymeion's playing right now. It seems like every time they throw the ball his way, he's either getting his hand on it or intercepting the ball. He studies the game so well. When the ball comes in his direction, he has a great instinct to go get it. . . . I would find it very hard to think that anybody could play much better than he's playing right now." -- Tedford on cornerback Daymeion Hughes, one of the best pass defenders in the country



OSU linebacker Eric Moala-Liava'a is linked to an important milestone in the Beavers' football history, and it involves the California Golden Bears. What happened the night of Nov. 6, 1999, and what does it have to do with Moala-Liava'a? For the answer, go to the Behind the Beavers Beat blog at behindbeaversbeat.blogs. or see The Sunday Oregonian.

Register-Guard: Cal QB's pitching a fit return with style

By Bob Rodman

First, he had to overcome California football coach Jeff Tedford's highly involved playbook.  Then it was overcoming phenom junior college transfer Joe Ayoob for the starting quarterback job. But less than 30 minutes into Cal's 41-3 win over Sacramento State to start his redshirt freshman season in 2005, Nate Longshore broke his leg and tore an ankle ligament.   The season was gone and there were two more hurdles for him to overcome.   "It was tough," understated Longshore, who leads the 20th-ranked Bears (3-1) into Saturday's 1 p.m. Pac-10 Conference game against Oregon State (2-1) at Reser Stadium.   It wasn't exactly back to square one for Longshore, a 6-foot-5, 233-pound sophomore with a powerful arm and an ever-increasing flair for running the Cal offense. But it was close.  "Being on the sideline and not being able to contribute physically was the hard part," he said, "but I learned a lot, gained a lot of experience in game planning and dealing with scouting reports."

In August and for the second fall camp in a row, Longshore outdueled Ayoob for the starting job. But in the season-opener at Tennessee, the Bears landed hard on old Rocky Top, falling 35-18 before a national television audience.  Longshore survived physically but was just 11-of-20 passing for 85 yards and one interception. He was lifted in the third quarter.  "We had to refocus our attention to one thing at a time," he said in the aftermath of Cal's crash. "One practice, one game at a time. Each of us had some goals that we locked onto and we shouldn't have done that." Since, the Bears have been golden.  They dropped definitive crushings on Minnesota 42-17, Portland State 42-16 and Arizona State 49-21.  In those past three games, Longshore had a 188.48 passer rating and completed 55-of-80 passes for 795 yards and 10 touchdowns. Two interceptions were just brief interruptions.   For his work, Longshore has been named the top Pac-10 offensive player two of the past three weeks. And for his 18-of-26 for 270 yards and four touchdowns against ASU, he was proclaimed national player of the week by USA Today

"He sees the field better, he's throwing the ball on time, he's extremely accurate with the football and he's putting the ball in places where people can catch it," Tedford said.   "Last year, we were expecting the same thing. Unfortunately, he got hurt, but he's always showed promise and a lot of potential."  Cal's leading receiver, DeSean Jackson, has 20 receptions for 371 yards and six touchdowns. Those six scores are tied for first in the nation.   "We have a quarterback now who can sit in the pocket, make the reads and distribute the ball," Jackson told the Contra Costa Times newspaper earlier this week.  Longshore, the league leader and ninth in the nation in pass efficiency with a 166.9 rating, directed much of the credit for Cal's offense - which leads the Pac-10 in scoring (37.8) and passing (287.8), and is second in total offense (444.5) - to his surrounding cast.

"We have so many athletes," he said, "but we're not out there trying to score a touchdown on every play. We just go after whatever the defense gives us."   Lavelle Hawkins, a wide receiver for the Bears with 15 catches for 229 yards and a touchdown, said Longshore "puts the ball where you can make a play.  "He told me that as long as he plays well, this team will be just fine."  The Beavers are well aware.

"Obviously, we have to try and get pressure on him," Oregon State starting defensive tackle Ben Siegert said.  "Longshore appears to be growing in that offense," OSU coach Mike Riley said. "He's got a great arm, but they also have such a dynamic run game (Marshawn Lynch is averaging 7.2 yards a carry). It makes it the hardest (offense) to defend."  Oregon State's pass defense, while yet to be tested against a Pac-10 opponent, leads the league, allowing just 124.3 yards and only one touchdown.  It's one more thing for Longshore to overcome. And for the Bears in recent years, overcoming the Beavers has not been an easy thing to do. Oregon State has won six of its past seven games against Cal, the one miss coming in 2004 at Reser when the Bears won easily 49-7.

"Oregon State always comes to play," Longshore said. "The more you watch them, the more it seems they rise to the occasion. Last year, they upset us. Two years ago they almost won at LSU."   Longshore and the Beavers go back a ways.  Riley recruited Longshore when he was a high school senior from Canyon Country, Calif., throwing for 34 touchdowns and nearly 3,500 yards.  "Coach Riley was the first to offer me a scholarship," Longshore said.  "He was my favorite thing about Oregon State. People love playing for him, but I wanted to stay closer to home."  The Beavers' loss, obviously, was the Bears' gain.

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Sports Memo: Cal Well Coached

Read the entire article here.



Well coached?  Zero penalties, zero timeouts, zero turnovers and only two third downs faced on offense through the first 25 minutes of the game.  Throw in a special teams touchdown and a flawless gameplan against a Top 25 foe and you can understand why Jeff Tedford deserves all the accolades that he gets.  Remember, the Bears were a 1-10 football team the year before Tedford arrived at Berkeley.  Now, he’s recruited the size, speed and talent that the Bears lacked five years ago.  Watch out for this team when they face USC for the PAC-10 title in November, because there is absolutely nothing missing from this team….. if they can figure out how to stop the run.

SF Chronicle: Who's on the Bubble Four Weeks In?

Jake Curtis writes:


Nate Longshore: The Cal quarterback has been better than expected the past three games, and could be the next great Jeff Tedford quarterback. But Longshore's success came at home and quarterbacks prove their mettle on the road. In his only road game, at Tennessee, he played poorly, and the Bears go on the road Saturday against Oregon State.

Oregonian: Bears' Hughes shrinks field


CORVALLIS -- Typically, on Mondays and Tuesdays, Oregon State quarterback Matt Moore has just a vague idea about what he'll face in the next game. He doesn't dive into an opponent's defensive tendencies until later in the week.  That might be a good idea, because if Moore spent too much time watching California cornerback Daymeion Hughes -- who wears No. 13 -- it might get demoralizing.   Hughes is a 6-foot-2, 188-pound senior who figures to be playing in the NFL next season. He's one of those athletes good enough, and confident enough, to bait a quarterback.

Read the entire article here.


Oregonian: Dr. Tailback and Mr. Hide

When Cal's Marshawn Lynch is on the field, he commands attention.


BERKELEY, Calif. -- Marshawn Lynch might be the most bashful Heisman Trophy candidate in the history of the award. California's junior tailback has tackle-breaking power at the point of attack and breakaway speed when he reaches the secondary.  But he enjoys an interview about as much as a trip to the dentist. Lynch averages 7.2 yards per carry, which is considerably higher than his average words per response.  “He's a real shy dude," said Cal wide receiver Robert Jordan, one of Lynch's cousins.   Lynch hasn't always shown up for the regular weekly interview the Cal media relations staff arranged this season to promote his Heisman candidacy. He declined to enter the interview room after the Golden Bears' victories this season over Minnesota and Arizona State.

Read the entire article here.

Oregonian: Forsett becoming a threat on several fronts


The best one-on-one, open-field tackle in California's victory over Arizona State last week came when Cal's Justin Forsett planted Terry Richardson, ASU's dangerous return man, at the Sun Devils' 24-yard line while covering a kickoff.  "I played a little linebacker in high school," Forsett said with a smile. "I'm used to tackling."   Last year, Forsett rushed for 999 yards while spelling Marshawn Lynch at tailback. He put up 235 yards on New Mexico State, 187 on Illinois and 153 against UCLA.  Those are marquee numbers, which in many programs would exempt Forsett from special teams. But the 5-foot-8, 186-pound junior starts on the Bears' kickoff and punt return units.   "I know my role," Forsett said. "I give Marshawn a reliever now and again, and I have a chance to get on the field on special teams. I take pride in my role, and I get to do a lot of things. It's fun."

Read the entire article here.

AP: No. 20 Cal looks to avoid letdown




CORVALLIS, Ore. -- California was ranked 18th and feeling good about itself when Oregon State paid a visit last year. The Beavers left with an upset victory - and the Bears haven't forgotten.  "They're hungry from last year," Oregon State center Kyle DeVan said. "They were ranked, I think, in the top 20 at the time we beat them down there in Strawberry Canyon. They're going to come here with blitzes, stunts, and their defense is going to go after our offense."  Yep, the Bears are still steamed about the Beavers' 23-20 victory that dropped them in the rankings last year. Oregon State also stopped Cal's 10-game winning streak at Memorial Stadium.

"They came into our house last year and not only did they beat us, but they were more physical than us. That's something that doesn't happen to us too often, to have a team be more physical than we are," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "This year, our guys are looking forward to having another chance to play them."  Cal especially struggled last season with OSU running back Yvenson Bernard, who rushed for a career-high 194 yards and two touchdowns.  This season Bernard is averaging 110 yards a game.  "He's a very, very, very cocky running back, and as a defense, we know that," linebacker Mickey Pimentel said. "After he makes a big run, he always shakes his dreads, or he's nodding his head. We already watched him on film, and that's a very cocky running back. As a defense, you love to play against that, because it gets you even more fired up.

Read the entire article here.

SF Chronicle: Bears, with Cameron, off to Corvallis for needed road win


Rusty SimmonsCal left tackle Andrew Cameron, who missed the last two weeks with a sprained ankle, is expected to play Saturday against Oregon State, but coach Jeff Tedford isn't ready to name him the starter just yet.  "We anticipate that he'll be ready to go," Tedford said, "but we've still got to see how he warms up and everything. It'll be a game-time decision."  Sophomore Mike Tepper, who has impressed coaches while starting in Cameron's place the last two weeks, would start if Cameron can't.   Home alone: Safety Thomas DeCoud, who strained the MCL in his right knee in the first quarter of last week's win over Arizona State, won't make the trip this weekend, Tedford said.  Bernard Hicks will get his first collegiate start in place of the team's leading tackler, and Tedford said Robert Peele, Kenny Frank and Gary Doxy could also rotate in at safety.

Out of the gates: Cal players have stressed a need to set the tone early, which is something their defense has struggled to do the last three weeks. In each game during that span, Cal's opponent has scored on its first drive.

Read the entire article here.

Contra Costa Times: Hearing voices in his head

By Jay Heater

Technology has allowed us to stick a couple thousand songs into a box the size of a cigarette lighter. We have Internet access in devices slightly bigger than a matchbox. We can take pictures with our telephones. So why shouldn't football players be able to hear?  As college football stadiums become more cavernous and fans become savvy to the fact they can affect games with noise, visiting players have struggled to operate without one of their senses.  Technology could change that fact if the NCAA decided to alter its rule that prevents players from wearing communications devices on the field.  UC Berkeley electrician Kurt Sakasegawa, who sets up communications for the Bears coaching staff each game, said he would be able to equip all the Bears with speaking and listening devices in their helmets so they could communicate even if a local Air Force base were performing flyovers.

Read the entire article here.

Thursday, September 28, 2006 Riley Meets the Press

Q: Talk about Cal in General

A: I think their last game kind of summarizes all of it. They had big plays on defense for scores and big special teams plays for touchdowns. They have an explosive offense with a lot of talent and I think that overall they’ve got very good team speed and athletic ability.

What does last week’s win do for OSU spirits?

I think that a lot of us feel better about winning the day after the game and all that. I think our team still needs to remember the sense of urgency we had after the Boise State game. We really had a great week of practice because the opponent’s ability level was only going to rise from there. As it did after our first games. I just think we need to get better and practice with the same type of urgency we had the last couple of weeks.

Thoughts on Pac-10 so far... USC and Arizona?

I think that there are going to be some surprising scores and games every week that everybody doesn’t suspect necessarily. We’re getting into it now, everybody is and everyone is competing for a spot in the conference standings.

Cal passing game vs. OSU’s first three opponents

They have got really some talented receivers. And Longshore appears to be growing in the offense. He’s an excellent passer. I saw him in high school on the practice field, and he is very good, he’s just got a great arm. Like I said he’s been productive. That is a big dimension for them.

Does Cal compare up to what you have seen in the first three games?

No, Cal is much better. Hawkins and Jackson, they’ve had those guys for awhile. They are more productive and making more plays than they have in the past. And the years experience is huge for them. And probably the general growth of the offense, they have such a dynamic run game. It’s like we always talk about that balance with run and passes. It makes it the hardest to defend. 

Does this game answer a lot of questions about what type of team OSU is?

Well, no. I think you have to go into the season to figure that out. We’re going to go for a long time. There’s a tremendous stretch in front of us. Once again this is the biggest game of the week as far as I’m concerned. We’ll have a great challenge ahead of us. That’s what it is.

How is Cal’s offense different to defend under Dunbar?

They have added a dimension that is different in the four-wide package and running a little bit of like what Oregon does with the spread. They are still doing what they have done well for a long time with the two backs and the things they do there. So you are preparing for multiple looks.

Josh Linehan’s knee?

The doctors, the trainer and Josh are making a plan, but I am thinking he is doubtful for this week. But besides that I don’t know any more.

What has surprised you about OSU’s pass defense?

I think the one thing is that the big test is yet to come. They will be tested a little more this week for sure. Our statistics are great, but they are somewhat misleading. The reason for that is Boise State didn’t need to pass, and the other two teams we dominated pretty well and got good pressure. If we continue to do that our pass defense will be good. I thought all along our guys are good players and now have a year more experience so they should be better. They are also high character guys. They have worked hard, are conscientious, they took some lumps last year on big plays. We all hope that continues, just playing good sound football and being very, very competitive. It’s the nature of that position. It’s a tough one. You have to be tough minded and you’ve got to be talented. They have got to put that together. They will be tested this weekend.

On stopping Cal’s running game

You have to get people on Marshawn Lynch because he can break a tackle and he’s one of those guys who can beat you with speed on the outside and run hard inside. So you need to get somebody to him and get help because you can never assume he’s done. That’s the kind of back he is. The other guy, I like him too. They’ll bring in that Forsett. They’ve got two backs we’ll have to contend with for sure. Then you also have to balanced defense because they can obviously, with the good receivers, throw the ball.

On Cal’s defense and it’s (sic) speed.

They have excellent team speed. They fly around and play aggressively. They have guys who have played for awhile in a lot of areas so they are confident. There speed is good and they do fly around, that’s what it looks like on film. Looking back even at the Tennessee game, that’s misleading. There were three big plays against them, besides that they played pretty well. They ran two hitch routes on blitzes and the guy broke a tackle and went a long way for a touchdown. And they had a busted coverage on a seam route go for a touchdown. Those three plays were gimmes. They play good solid defense and have good personnel. They have experience, so it’s a factor.

On Kyle Loomis and comparing punting games.

One of the beautiful things about our last game was Idaho’s average drive start was the 21 yard line. And Kyle had three punts inside the 20, and I think one was inside the 10. He had two punts that were 40 yards out of bounds. Forty and 41 were caught as the guy ran out of bounds. If you did that every time, you would lead the nation in net punting. Those were two beautiful punts. He had a great week of practice. And I expect him to continue to improve. If you can punt like that and play good field position that will be another major factor in the game.

On Yvenson Bernard’s role vs. Cal.

I think we’re going to have to be balanced. We’re going to have to run the ball. That always helps big time, when you talk about moving against a very good athletic defense. You can stabilize some things when you run the ball. Then we have to take care of the ball when we throw. Cal has some excellent defensive backs including Hughes, he’s one of the best ones that I’ve seen in this league in awhile. He’s dangerous, so you’ve got to be smart. So combine the ability to run the ball and then take care of the ball when you throw it, those will be factors.

Evaluate Matt Moore so far. Any surprises?

I think he’s taking care of the ball in most instances. I think he can continue to improve on decision making and reads and those kinds of things. Good overall, running the team and doing a good job.

If Linehan can’t play, what does shift to Andy Levitre at right tackle mean?

Well the positive thing is that Andy is a good player. He’s done an excellent job in many different times of spot duty. So we are very confident in him. I think he’ll go in and play well. We have six guys we’ve considered starters. I hate it to go to five and Josh Linehan is a fabulous guy, has been a great leader and one of the real tough guys on our team. I’m hoping that he gets back soon, and at the same time I’m confident in Andy being ready to go.

AP: Oregon State: contender or pretender?

The Beavers (2-1) figure to shed some light on the answer this week when they host No. 20 California.   Oregon State is out to show that a 42-14 defeat at Boise State on Sept. 7 was just a hiccup and that blowouts of overmatched Eastern Washington and Idaho are a better indicator of their prowess.  Enter conference play and the Golden Bears, winners of three straight since a season-opening loss at Tennessee. Led by tailback Marshawn Lynch (112 yards per game rushing) and quarterback Nate Longshore (completing 69 percent of his passes), Cal brings the momentum of a 49-21 win over Arizona State.  Oregon State's defense returned to form in a 38-0 win over the Vandals Saturday, but coach Mike Riley cautioned against putting too much stock in that win.  "There's a tremendous stretch in front of us," he said Tuesday. "Once again this is the biggest game of the week as far as I'm concerned. We'll have a great challenge ahead of us."  California embarrassed the Beavers in its last appearance at Reser Stadium -- a 49-7 win in 2004. Oregon State returned the favor last year, beating then-No. 18 Cal 23-20 in Berkeley.  Oregon State tailback Yvenson Bernard ran for 194 yards in that game, but this time the Bears might have the X-factor in Lynch, a Heisman Trophy candidate who is averaging 7.2 yards per carry. Receiver DeSean Jackson is tied for first in the nation in receiving touchdowns with six, and Longshore has proven to be a significant upgrade over last year's starter, Joe Ayoob.

"It's a very, very versatile offense," said Oregon State safety Sabby Piscitelli. "They have a great running back (Lynch) and Longshore's stepping up. ... He looks good, he's throwing well, throwing on time."   But the Beavers believe the game is mostly about whether they have the toughness to fight through adversity, something they lacked in the Boise State game, when they sat down after the Broncos erased a 14-0 deficit and then kept going.

Read the entire article here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

RealFootball365: Top 25 Weekly Review

Read the entire article here.


NO. 20 CALIFORNIA GOLDEN BEARS: Cal made a loud and clear statement that they are in the hunt for the Pac-10 title this year with a resounding 49-21 victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils ...soph QB Nate Longshore solidified his hold on the starting spot with a performance that outshone ASU's more celebrated Rudy Carpenter...Longshore's line: 18-26, 264 yards, 4 TDs, 1 int. Carpenter's line: 16-36, 177 yards, 2 TDs, 4 INT...the game was virtually out of reach at halftime with the Bears leading 42-14...Cal is rapidly erasing the memories of their opening game embarrassment in would be a much different game if played today...Jeff Tedford's crew heads to Corvallis, Oregon this weekend to take on the Oregon State Beavers .

Oregonian: Cal should give Beavers a reality test

Oregon State gets a chance to silence the naysayers when it takes on the 20th-ranked Bears

CORVALLIS -- Oregon State has nowhere to hide Saturday against No. 20 California.  Dominating Eastern Washington and Idaho was nice, but what did it prove?  Getting blown out at Boise State wasn't the end of the world, but was it a sign the Beavers are every bit the team predicted to finish seventh in the Pacific-10 Conference?  Those questions might be answered against the Bears -- who might be better than the 2004 Cal team that strutted into Reser Stadium and embarrassed the home team 49-7.  Beavers coach Mike Riley refused to say that his team would be defined by its conference opener, but his players seemed to sense how big the next four quarters might be in determining the direction the season takes.

Read the entire article here.

Sports Network Predicts Cal over Oregon State 37-20

(20) California (3-1) At Oregon State (2-1)

GAME NOTES: A pair of Pac-10 teams will do battle in Corvallis this weekend as the 20th-ranked California Golden Bears take on the Oregon State Beavers. California was expected to make some noise this season, but after a 35-18 loss to Tennessee in the opener, some thought the Golden Bears may have been overrated. Since that defeat, however, the club has reeled off three consecutive wins, including a 49-21 romp over Arizona State last week to open league play. Cal has now topped 40 points in each of its last three outings, proof of the explosiveness of the offense. As for Oregon State, it has won two of the three games it has played thus far, including a 38-0 thrashing of Idaho last weekend. While both wins came over inferior opponents, the lone loss came by a wide margin against Boise State (42-14). The hope is that the Beavers will use the home crowd to their advantage this weekend to knock off a favored group of Golden Bears. Cal leads the all-time series with OSU, 32-26, but the Beavers have won six of the last seven meetings.


California racked up 42 points in the first half against Arizona State and cruised to victory in that contest. Nate Longshore threw four touchdown passes, including one to DeSean Jackson who also returned a punt for a score. The offense accounted for 409 yards and easily overcame a pair of turnovers. Standout tailback Marshawn Lynch carried the ball 17 times for 124 yards and caught a touchdown pass as well. Cal is ranked 12th nationally in both scoring offense (37.8 ppg) and total offense (444.5 ypg). To the surprise of many, the club has relied more heavily on its passing game than the run to score points. Longshore, a sophomore with tremendous size, has completed 66 percent of his passes for 880 yards with 10 touchdowns and three interceptions. Jackson has clearly been his top receiver, as he has hauled in 20 balls for 371 yards and six touchdowns. As for Lynch, he has posted 449 yards and three scores while averaging a sensational 7.2 ypc.


Sure, Cal surrendered 414 total yards and 21 points to Arizona State, but the Sun Devils were blanked in the fourth quarter and were never able to get on a roll. The defense made a ton of big plays for the Golden Bears, who finished the contest with four interceptions and a fumble recovery. Add five sacks to the mix and Cal was causing havoc all day. Daymeion Hughes obviously came to play, as he tied for the team lead with 10 tackles and registered two interceptions. Both Zack Follett and Nu'u Tafisi registered a pair of sacks. Teams are scoring 22.2 ppg against the Golden Bears, who are surrendering 388.2 total yards. Of the 11 touchdowns that the defense has allowed, eight have come through the air. Opponents are recording 13.8 yards per catch, suggesting that big plays can be made against the Cal secondary. The run defense has been mediocre at best, yielding 4.3 ypc to opposing runners.


Oregon State scored 56 points in the season opener against Eastern Washington before being held to 14 points by Boise State. Last weekend, the OSU offense bounced back strong with 31 of the team's 38 points against Idaho. The Beavers mixed the run and the pass evenly, with 38 rushes and 35 passes. A total of 23 first downs and 380 yards were posted, and three different players scored a rushing touchdown. The leading ground gainer was Yvenson Bernard, as he compiled 117 yards on 23 carries. As for the passing attack, Matt Moore completed 16-of-31 throws for 169 yards with one score and one interception. Despite a pair of giveaways, Oregon State still held the ball for well over 34 minutes. The Beavers are averaging 36.0 ppg and 375.3 total ypg. Both Moore and Sean Canfield have seen time under center, and both have done an adequate job. Joe Newton has just 10 catches to his credit, but three have resulted in touchdowns. As for Bernard, he has compiled 330 rushing yards and four touchdowns while averaging five yards per carry.


Defensively, Oregon State dominated Idaho last week as expected. The Beavers intercepted four passes, recovered a pair of fumbles and posted three sacks, and those big plays led to the shutout victory. Idaho ran the ball 24 times for just 57 yards and completed only 8-of-23 passes. Oregon State is only allowing 19.7 ppg and 239.3 total ypg despite the blowout loss to Boise State in week two. The club ranks 15th nationally in total defense, but that stat is a bit deceiving. With 11 takeaways and 11 sacks through only three weeks, it is obvious that there is some big-play ability present on the defensive side of the ball. Alan Darlin currently leads the Beavers in tackles with 18, and three of his stops have resulted in lost yardage. Vea Akau'ola is tops with 4.5 TFLs, and he has two sacks to his credit.


Oregon State has looked great against a pair of cupcakes and even started well against Boise State, but the Beavers completely fell apart against their only quality opponent. Expect Cal to take care of business on the road.


Sports Network Predicted Outcome: California 37, Oregon State 20


Salem Statesman Journal: Cal shaping up as big test for Beavers

OSU returns to Pac-10 play after blowout win against Idaho


CORVALLIS -- One of these weeks, Oregon State figures to be involved in a close game. How the Beavers react remains a mystery.  OSU has been part of three blowouts so far this season. The Beavers defeated Division I-AA Eastern Washington, 56-17 in the season opener, lost 42-14 at Boise State, and routed Idaho, 38-0 on Saturday in their first game in 16 days. Saturday's matchup against No. 20 California could be one of those trial-by-fire games that tests OSU's mettle. "Yes, we'd like to know who we are. We'd like to know how we respond to every situation," quarterback Matt Moore said Tuesday. "But the most important thing is just winning the ballgame." This much we know about the Beavers: They have much to prove on the road, they can handle overmatched teams and they are a work in progress. Coming off an impressive victory -- the Idaho game was OSU's first shutout since the 1983 Civil War game against Oregon ended in a scoreless tie -- should help the Beavers' confidence heading into their Pacific-10 Conference opener. "We can't be too confident after that win," tight end Joe Newton said. "We have to come in and prove that we can get it done in the Pac-10."

The Beavers certainly got it done last season against the Golden Bears, posting a 23-20 victory at then-No. 18 California in their most impressive performance of the season. OSU went on to lose four of its last five games and fall out of bowl contention. The Bears, who are led by tailback Marshawn Lynch and quarterback Nate Longshore, are coming off a 49-21 victory against Arizona State. They have won three straight games since losing their season opener at Tennessee. OSU was able to shut down the run against Idaho after giving up 240 yards rushing and five touchdowns to Boise State's Ian Johnson. Lynch (449 yards, three touchdowns) might be the best back OSU faces this season. "We kind of get a chance to redeem ourselves against a better rushing team to kind of make up for what happened at Boise State," defensive end Joe Lemma said. But Cal is hardly one dimensional. Longshore leads the Pac-10 in passing efficiency, and wide receiver DeSean Jackson has six touchdown receptions.

Cal's defense has stepped up as well since the opener. The Bears intercepted ASU's Rudy Carpenter four times last week and forced five turnovers overall. OSU goes into the game an 8 1/2-point home underdog. "I think our team still needs to remember the sense of urgency that we had after the Boise State game," OSU coach Mike Riley said, "and really have a great week of practice because the opponents' ability level is going to rise dramatically as it did after our first game."

Notes: Staring offensive tackle Josh Linehan (knee sprain) is out for the Cal game. He will be replaced by Andy Levitre. ... Defensive end Curtis Coker, who missed the Idaho game because of a violation of team rules, is expected back for Saturday's game.