Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tucson Citizen: Cal won't look past Wildcats this time

The California Golden Bears have a good memory.  Arizona's 24-20 upset victory in November over the then-No. 8 Bears ruined a possible Pac-10 title and Bowl Championship Series invitation for Cal.  At a team meeting Sunday, Cal coach Jeff Tedford told his team not to forget the game, in which UA rallied from a 17-3 second-half deficit before 55,519 fans at Arizona Stadium.   "We brought it back into their minds so they know what that game was all about," Tedford said. "There's no question we have enough guys on this team that remember."   Arizona hopes to forget its 29-27 loss to New Mexico last week when it heads to Berkeley, Calif., on Saturday for a 3 p.m. kickoff. Another win over the No. 6-ranked Bears would go a long way to restore fans' confidence in the UA program.  "Any time you beat a team like (Cal), you are doing something right," UA coach Mike Stoops said. "This year's (Cal) team is probably more complete than a year ago. They are very explosive offensively and put a great deal of speed at every position.   "We are going to have our work cut out for us."

California cruised into last year's game on an eight-game winning streak and looking ahead to a showdown the following week with USC.  The Bears weren't expecting the Wildcats, with a 3-5 record, to make big plays down the stretch. "We just messed up in Arizona," Cal offensive lineman Mike Tepper told The Associated Press. "I don't know any other way to say it."  Cal (3-0) once again is looking at a possible Pac-10 crown and BCS bid. The Bears have won one revenge game this season, downing Tennessee 45-31 after the Vols embarrassed Cal in 2006.  They won't overlook UA again.  "Arizona played well and deserved to win. We didn't play very well that day," Tedford said. "It's not about talk. It's about execution."  UA had virtually everything go its way in a victory that was followed by the fans trying to uproot the goal posts.  Cal had a 79-yard touchdown run by Marshawn Lynch called back because of a penalty in the first quarter.

The Bears were called for defensive holding after picking off a pass while leading 17-10. Two plays later, another interception, this time at the goal line, was called off because of interference.  The Wildcats' Antoine Cason came up with a highlight reel interception return for a touchdown to give Arizona a 24-17 lead with 12:39 left in the game.  Cal receiver Lavelle Hawkins beat the UA secondary deep but stumbled without contact and landed at the Wildcat 1. The Bears settled for a field goal.  Receiver DeSean Jackson had a 63-yard touchdown reception called back after video replays showed he stepped out of bounds on the Arizona 41.  Cal managed one offensive touchdown.  "They played good defense. They are always really stingy on defense. They (then) made plays when they needed to offensively," Tedford said. "That is the key. They kept battling and made big plays."  There was none bigger than Cason's 39-yard TD interception return. Cason also knows that means little when the teams meet this time.  "This is a new year and they are going to have different ways to attack us," Cason said. "We have to be ready."  Before last year's game, the Bears had outscored Arizona 66-0 in the previous two outings.  That can't be forgotten as well.  "They are going to be coming after us knowing we embarrassed them last year," UA defensive end Jason Parker said. "We can't take them lightly."

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