Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Sports Network: Bulldogs and Bears battle in Berkeley

Here is the link.


Berkeley, CA (Sports Network) - The eighth-ranked California Golden Bears play their final tune-up game before heading into Pac-10 action, as they host the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs from Memorial Stadium this Saturday.  The Bears enter the contest on a winning note, posting a hard fought 34-28 triumph over Colorado State last weekend. It was a solid win, but not nearly as impressive as their season-opening 45-31 triumph over ranked Tennessee. Still, with the victories Cal is off to a 2-0 start for the third time in four years, and it is now in search of its fourth 3-0 start during the Jeff Tedford era. Reaching that feat shouldn't be a problem for the Bears, who have won 19 of their past 21 home games.

As for Louisiana Tech, it gave nationally-ranked Hawaii all that it could handle last weekend, but in the end, the Bulldogs were on the short-end of a 45-44 overtime decision. It was a tough setback for LaTech, which opened the 2007 campaign with a 28-7 triumph over Central Arkansas. Cal and LaTech have met just one time previously on the gridiron, with the Bulldogs posting a 41-34 victory in Shreveport in 1997.  In a wild affair, LaTech rolled up 410 yards of total offense against Hawaii last weekend, but it was unable to convert a game-winning two-point conversion attempt in overtime of a 45-44 setback. The Bulldogs answered Hawaii's score in overtime and elected to go for the win instead of the tie, but Zac Champion's pass fell incomplete and the Warriors escaped with the win. Champion connected on 23-of-36 pass attempts for 187 yards and two scores in the setback and that was a big improvement from his 71-yard passing performance in the team's season-opening win over UCA. Patrick Jackson also put forth a solid effort last weekend, as he rushed for 98 yards and two scores on 23 totes. It was the second straight strong performance by Jackson, who opened the season with a 120-yard and one touchdown effort. As a team, the Bulldogs have run the ball effectively this season, gaining 190 yards in their opener and 223 last weekend.

The Bulldogs faced one of the most explosive teams in the nation last weekend, so it is to no surprise they allowed 593 total yards to Hawaii. LaTech, which gave up 386 total yards in its opener to UCA, was burnt for 548 yards through the air last weekend. The defense, however, did come up with three big turnovers, giving them nine takeaways this season. Getting to opposing quarterbacks has also been a strength of this unit, which has eight sacks to its credit. Antonio Baker followed up an impressive 15-tackle performance in the team's opener by posting14 stops and a forced and recovered fumble in last weekend's loss.

Cal turned to its ground game to carry the load this past weekend, rushing for 245 yards on just 31 carries in a 34-28 triumph over Colorado State. It was the second consecutive eye-popping effort on the ground by the Bears, who rushed for 230 yards in their season-opening win over Tennessee. DeSean Jackson is one of the most dangerous and versatile players in the nation and he showed that on a 73-yard touchdown run this past weekend. It was quite a scamper by Jackson, who ranks second on the team with nine catches and 84 receiving yards this season. Jahvid Best is another player that can take it to the house on any touch and he did so on a 64-yard scamper last weekend. Justin Forsett, however, is the featured back in this offense and he gained 59 yards and a score on 13 carries last weekend. It was an average performance by Forsett, who rushed for 156 yards and touchdown in the team's opener. Nate Longshore didn't have his best game last weekend, but he didn't throw an interception either. Longshore, who threw for 241 yards and two scores in the team's opener, completed 19-of-29 tosses for 146 yards last weekend.

Defensively, Cal was less than stellar last weekend, allowing Colorado State to roll up 458 yards of total offense, including 301 via the pass. The Bears, who surrendered 382 total yards to Tennessee in their opener, did force Colorado State into three turnovers and that played a big part in the outcome. Cal also excelled in getting to the quarter, as it posted five sacks last weekend. Anthony Felder headed the charge, recording 13 tackles to go along with a forced fumble and two sacks.

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