Wednesday, September 12, 2007

AP: Louisiana Tech-California Preview

Here is the link.



After surviving a scare in its most recent victory, California likely won't take its next nonconference opponent for granted.  The eighth-ranked Golden Bears (2-0) look to win their ninth straight game at Memorial Stadium when they host Louisiana Tech on Saturday.  Cal held on for a 34-28 win at Colorado State last Saturday, as the Rams scored 14 points in 53 seconds late in the fourth quarter against the Bears' reserves to make things interesting.  "It's a great lesson for us that the game's never over,'' Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "We put some backup guys in that let some (receivers) get behind them. It's just a lesson that you have to practice hard every day to be prepared because you never know when your opportunity's going to come.''  It's likely Tedford won't make the same mistake again Saturday if his team opens a big lead against Louisiana Tech (1-1), which lost 45-44 in overtime to then-No. 20 Hawaii at home last week. "Every game is important, but the games that test you are crucial," Cal quarterback Nate Longshore said.

Three Bears rushed for more than 50 yards - including receiver DeSean Jackson, who scored on a 73-yard reverse - as Cal totaled 245 yards on the ground, its most since a 274-yard effort in a 42-38 victory over Washington State on Oct. 22, 2005. Cal wouldn't mind another big play from the junior Jackson, who returned a kickoff 77 yards for a touchdown in a 45-31 win over Tennessee on Sept. 1 and continues to turn heads across the nation. "And I did what I do best, which is get into the end zone," said Jackson, who has 284 all-purpose yards on 15 touches this season. Though Cal's offense has been solid through two games, its defense will look for a better performance after allowing 458 yards - 301 through the air - to Colorado State. Louisiana Tech totaled 410 yards against a strong Hawaii defense, but should still be in for a challenge at Cal, as the Bears will try for their seventh straight home victory over a nonconference opponent. Saturday will be the second meeting between the schools. Louisiana Tech won 41-34 at home on Oct. 4. 1997.

The Bears will have to deal with Bulldogs quarterback Zac Champion, who was 23-for-36 for 187 yards and two touchdowns against Hawaii, but couldn't connect on a 2-point conversion in overtime that would have beaten the Warriors. "It would have been great to win and we were close, but I think we showed we can hold our own when we have this type of effort and performance," Louisiana Tech coach Derek Dooley said. Senior Patrick Johnson rushed for 98 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries against Hawaii and is averaging 5.0 yards per carry, gaining 218 yards through two games. He rushed for 854 yards and seven touchdowns on 170 carries in 2006. Louisiana Tech, 3-10 last season, is 3-28 against ranked teams and will try to avoid its fifth straight loss to a Top 25 opponent.


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