The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs might have had a better chance to upset No. 8 California this weekend had the Golden Bears not had a close call last weekend. Cal built a big lead before sweating out a 34-28 win over Colorado State. "Last week against Colorado (State) we learned our lesson about taking anyone lightly," Bears coach Jeff Tedford said. "There's no question after watching tape (of Tech) that they're big and athletic. No doubt that will have guys' attention." Today's 5:30 p.m. matchup in California Memorial Stadium will be the second meeting between the Bulldogs and the Bears. Tim Rattay and former Huntington High standout Troy Edwards led the Bulldogs to a 41-34 win over Cal in 1997 in Shreveport's Independence Stadium. The Bears finished 3-8 that season with wins over Oklahoma, Houston and Oregon State, while the Bulldogs were 9-2 with another significant win over Alabama.
The Bulldogs are coming off a disappointing 45-44 overtime loss to then No. 20 Hawaii, that came down a 2-point conversion attempt getting knocked down on the game's final play. Tech coach Derek Dooley isn't sure how his team will respond this week against the vaunted Bears. "We'll find out (today), because we certainly had some lessons to build on after the Hawaii game," Dooley said. "It's important for us not to feel too good, because we better not forget that we didn't win the game." Dooley is hoping to motivate his team by reminding them that playing a top-10 team will get highlights of the game shown on ESPN. "If we lay an egg, everyone will know it," Dooley said.
Tech wide receiver Josh Wheeler said his team put last week's game behind them early in the week, but he wasn't given away any secrets about this week's game plan. "We came in a 6:30 Monday morning and watched game film. Checked it out and we'll try to correct our mistakes this week. Right now, our focus is on Cal," Wheeler said. "You try to scout out your opponents and see what they're doing, but as far as any specific advantages, we're not going to be broadcasting them at a news conference at this point. We're trying to get prepared to give them a good run." Bears offensive lineman Mike Gibson said earlier this week that his team respects the Bulldogs. "They're a well-disciplined team; they're really good. They're a traditional style team and they play hard and physical," Gibson said. "They are a bit bigger than Colorado State. They are a lot like Tennessee, in terms of being bigger and more physical, which as an offensive line, we like."