Friday Fast Facts – California Week

… “T.I.P.S” – Our weekly preview postings, are available for your review and comment. The written preview for the CU/Cal game can be found here, while the CU at the Game podcast preview for the game can be found here

Big Picture … 

Bring your umbrella … It’s been raining all week in Berkeley. There is a 98% chance of rain on Friday. Chances go down to 46% chance for Saturday’s game against the Buffs (predicted high of 60-degrees), before going back up to a 94% chance on Sunday. The Buffs may slip in and out of the Bay Area without getting rained on … but the Buffs and their fans shouldn’t count on it.

Strange as it may sound, this is only the third time Colorado will be playing in Berkeley since joining the Pac-12. The teams have only played ten times overall, with the only two prior games in Berkeley between the Buffs and Bears as members of the Pac-12 (with those games being played in 2014 and 2018);

Strange as it may sound, part II … Including last weekend’s game against Arizona, the Buffs have already had three games this season without a turnover. There have been a grand total of seven seasons in CU history with no turnovers in four of its games … the Buffs have never had a season with five games without a turnover;

— Colorado scored touchdowns by offense, defense, and special teams last weekend against Arizona. It was just the second time this season a Power Five school pulled off the hat trick (seventh time overall in FBS). Notre Dame had offensive, defensive and special teams scores against Wisconsin on Sept. 25th (a 41-13 victory);

— The game will be telecast nationally on the Pac-12 Networks (Saturday, 1:40 p.m., MT), with Roxy Bernstein on the play-by-play, and Lincoln Kennedy on color. KOA radio will have Mark Johnson, in his 18th year with the play-by-play, and former CU head coach Gary Barnett in his sixth year as the full-time analyst.


CU & California … 

— California holds a 6-4 advantage in the all-time series against Colorado … with a 4-0 advantage in games played in Berkeley;

— The series dates back to 1968, when Cal shutout the Buffs, 10-0, in a game played in Berkeley. The next three games were played in Boulder between 1972 and 1982. The Buffs won the first two, with the Bears taking the 1982 contest;

— The 1982 game was memorable in Buff lore as it was the first game coached by CU’s all-time wins leader, Bill McCartney. The Bears won, 31-17, in the first game coached at Cal by former Minnesota Vikings quarterback Joe Kapp (a rare game with both coaches making their debuts).

— The Bears won again in Berkeley in 2010, 52-7, with Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott on hand saying that there was a “less than 50 percent chance” of Colorado joining the Pac-12 in 2011;

— Of course, the Buffs did join the Pac-12 in 2011, and did play the Bears again. The game, a 36-33 overtime win for California, though, was not an official Pac-12 game, as the Buffs and Bears finished off a home-and-home non-conference commitment before CU officially started Pac-12 play;

— The Buffs broke a three-game losing streak in the series with a 41-24 win over Cal in Boulder in 2013. Sefo Liufau threw for 364 yards, with Paul Richardson and Nelson Spruce collecting 140 yards receiving apiece;

— When the two teams played in Berkeley in 2014 it was a record-setting game. Cal outlasted the Buffs, 59-56, in two overtimes. Sefo Liufau passed for 455 yards and seven touchdowns (hitting Nelson Spruce for a school-record 19 receptions), but the effort was wasted as Jared Goff threw for 458 yards and seven touchdowns to lead the Bears to a win. In the game, 37 CU school records (29 individual; 8 team) were set. The 14 combined passing touchdowns also set an FBS record for the most touchdown passes in a single game.


The Last time …

November 24, 2018 … California 33, Colorado 21 … 

Game StoryColorado quarterback Steven Montez threw two interceptions for touchdowns in the first two minutes of the game, with the Buffs committing five turnovers overall in falling to California, 33-21. The five first half turnovers, including three interceptions by Montez and two fumbled punts by Ronnie Blackmon, led to 24 Bear points and a deficit the Buffs were unable to overcome.

The Colorado defense held the California offense to 217 total yards, and one-of-17 conversions on third down, but the Buffs were only able to muster 318 total yards of their own. A three-yard touchdown pass from Montez to Juwann Winfree late in the third quarter made it a 27-21 game, but the Buffs would get no closer.

The game did produce a CU milestone, however, on the Buffs’ final scoring drive of the season. On successive plays, Travon McMillian went over 1,000 yards rushing for the season (1,009) and Laviska Shenault went over 1,000 yards receiving for the season (1,011), marking the first time in school history in which the Buff offense produced a 1,000-yard rusher and a 1,000-yard receiver in the same season.

“Obviously you guys were at the game and we didn’t play very well early got behind three scores with turnovers and obviously that changes the game,” said interim head coach Kurt Roper. “But I think those guys really fought hard and they competed for the entire game and tried to battle back in it and gave us a shot. I just told those guys after the game is we really appreciate all the sacrifices they make for us as coaches to allow us to coach a game and moving forward it’s a great program and it’s going to do nothing but ascend.”

Continue reading game story here

The Second-to-Last Time … 

October 28, 2017 … Colorado 44, California 28

Game story … On an afternoon when Rashaan Salaam’s No. 19 was retired by the school, the Colorado offense put forth an effort CU’s Heisman trophy winner would have been proud to witness. Steven Montez threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns as the Buffs posted 553 yards of total offense in a 44-28 Colorado victory over California.

A week after being benched in the second half against Washington State, Montez went 20-for-26, also rushing for a seven-yard touchdown. Phillip Lindsay posted “Salaam-worthy” 33 carries for 161 yards, while Shay Fields led the receiving corps with four catches for 101 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown.

“I was really happy with the way Steven [Montez] played,” said Mike MacIntyre. “That’s the way I expect him to play all the time, because he can do all those types of things. The offensive line did a good job and helped him. [Phillip] Lindsay does what Lindsay does. He’s pretty special always.”

Continue reading game story here


Statistically speaking … 

Breaking the trend … The five games between the two schools since the Buffs joined the Pac-12 have all been high scoring affairs, with a combined 375 points scored; the fewest being 54 combined (in 2018) and each game both teams have scored at least 21 points. The over/under for the game Saturday is 43.5 … and, with the two teams coming in with a combined record of 3-9 and rain in the forecast … it’s another good week to take the under;

Garbers looking to pass Cal legends in the stats book … Cal quarterback Chase Garbers had 31 rushing yards last week and now needs 2 yards to tie Joe Kapp (see Kapp reference in the 1982 CU/Cal game recap) for the most career rushing yards by a Cal quarterback (931). Garbers also has 43 career passing touchdowns, tied with Aaron Rodgers for 8th-most in school history;

Is the Buff defense ready? … Through six games this season, Cal has shown a knack for long first-quarter drives, with at least one drive in every game going 63 yards or more in the opening period. The Bears had two each vs. Nevada, TCU and Sacramento State and one at Washington, vs. Washington State and at Oregon. Cal has scored eight touchdowns on their first two drives of the game on scripted possessions (12 total possessions). On the 48 other drives Cal has had this season, the Bears have scored only nine touchdowns;

—  How bad is the CU offense? … The only major offensive category in which the Buffs are not in the bottom ten in the nation (between 120th and 130th nationally) is rushing offense – 88th (135.5 yards/game);

Betcha’ didn’t know … The name of Cal’s stadium … On Aug. 23, Cal Athletics, Learfield’s Cal Bears Sports Properties, and West Realm Shires Services Inc., owners and operators of FTX.US, a leading U.S.-regulated cryptocurrency exchange, announced the first-ever collegiate cryptocurrency naming rights sponsorship. As part of the $17.5 million, 10-year deal, Learfield will accept the full payment in cryptocurrency on behalf of the university;

Betcha’ didn’t know, II … The latitude of Berkeley is 37 87’ 17”, which means it is technically southwest of Boulder.


Coach and Player Notes … 

— CU coach Karl Dorrell is 3-2 against Cal (all as head coach at UCLA from 2003-07); Cal coach Justin Wilcox is 1-1 against Colorado;

— Junior punter Josh Watts, the Pac-12 Conference’s leading punter, is enjoying a breakout season, averaging 48.7 yards for 35 punts (with a net of 42.0); that’s sixth in the NCAA.  He is averaging 52.7 yards for 11 punts from the CU 25 and inside, and 49.9 for 30 kicks from CU’s side of the field. He has averaged 48 yards or more for five straight games; the last time a CU punter averaged over 47 yards a kick for five games in a row (minimum of four punts) was back in 2004, when John Torp had that number or better for six straight;

— After having four different starting offensive line combinations in the first four games, the Buffs have now had the same starting group the last three games: Jake Wiley at left tackle, Kary Kutsch at left guard, Colby Pursell at center, Casey Roddick at right guard and Frank Fillip at right tackle. “I believe we played better last week,” Dorrell said. “We want to continue to shore up our issues on that in terms of our offensive front and I believe we’re going to play better now.”

— Another week, another new record for linebacker Nate Landman. Last week, a “Most Tackles for Zero Gains, Career” was created, with Nate Landman now holding the CU record, with 30. This week, the new record is “Most Fourth Down Stops, Career“. Nate Landman has nine in his career (including the fourth-and-goal stop against Arizona last weekend). CU’s comment in the Game Notes: “Old Record: never found anyone with more than six“;

Injury list … is no longer issuing the injury status for its players (do you miss “doubtful”, “questionable”, and “probable”? So do I).  Cornerback Nigel Bethel was injured against Arizona, and will be out for some time. Running back Ashaad Clayton also missed the Arizona game, and remains out for the Cal game. The list of players who have been lost for the season … Marcus Bell, WR; Jeremiah Doss, DT; Chris Miller, S/OLB; J.T. Shrout, QB; and Jaylen Striker, CB.


Pac-12 Notes … 

— Pac-12 release … Washington State announced on Monday that head coach Nick Rolovich was relieved of his duties along with QB Coach Craig Stutzmann, OL Coach Mark Weber, CB Coach John Richardson and DT Coach Ricky Logo. Def Coord Jake Dickert was named acting head coach;

From VegasInsider.comCU opened as a ten-point underdog to Cal when the odds were released on Sunday … 

Pac-12 lines for Week Eight: 

  • Washington at Arizona … Washington is a 18.5-point favorite on the road (Friday, 8:30 p.m., MT, ESPN)
  • Colorado at California … California is a 9.0-point favorite (Saturday, 1:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks)
  • No. 10 Oregon at UCLA … UCLA is a 12.0-point favorite (Saturday, 1:30 p.m., MT, ABC)
  • BYU at Washington State … BYU is a 4.5-point favorite on the road (Saturday, 1:30 p.m., MT, FS1) … up from 2.0 since the firing of Nick Rolovich
  • USC at Notre Dame … Notre Dame is 6.5-point favorite (Saturday, 5:30 p.m., MT, NBC)
  • Utah at Oregon State … Utah is 3.0-point favorite on the road (Saturday, 5:30 p.m., MT, Pac-12 Networks)


One Reply to “Friday Fast Facts – Cal Week”

  1. This is always a nice/interesting/fun read with
    cup of coffee.

    Good start to a Football Friday.

    Go Buffs Beat Cal…………………………….like a drum.

    Note: Double praying for the enlightening lightning bolt to enlighten the OC of the Mighty Buffs. A strike from above……………………..(try it you will love it)…………..Air power will devour.

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