Cal Football vs. Fresno State: Bears Receivers And Defense Step Up To 36-21 Victory

The California Golden Bears will be playing a neutral site game in Candlestick Park against the Fresno State Bulldogs. Cal looks to recover from a 5-7 season, their worst effort in the Jeff Tedford era.

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Candlestick Park Violence: Beating At Cal-Fresno State Game

At least the NFL can have somewhat of an excuse when it comes to violence at Candlestick. It's not just Raiders and Niners fans who can get into a tizzy in Bay Area games; Cal and Fresno State fans can sure get in on the action themselves.

According to Bay City News, a man was left beaten bloodied and unconscious after a verbal altercation between rival groups of Golden Bears and Bulldogs fans just after kickoff. He suffered a broken nose and lacerations to the back of the head. The suspect is being held in custody. It's hard to tell if Cal or Fresno fans had tickets to the game since the parking lots are supposed to be cleared prior to kickoff, so it's not known if these are fans of the game or just various locals looking to stir up trouble.

It's hard to say whether you can call this violence has any bearing on the previous Candlestick violence. But it certainly is another black mark on the Candlestick Park environment and a proper response by security at the game.

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Zach Maynard Offers Promise And Peril For Cal Football

Zach Maynard is starting a new era at quarterback for Cal football. There were a lot of good signs against the Fresno State Bulldogs, but there's a lot the Golden Bear transfer has to work on before he's truly ready for the teeth of the Pac-12 schedule.

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Cal Football vs. Fresno State Recap: Bears Defense & Receivers The Difference In Sloppy Victory

The California Golden Bears used to be known for their inspiring offense. But it was their defense that was the truly decisive unit on Saturday against the Fresno St. Bulldogs, and led Cal to another season opening victory with a final score of 36-21. 

Cal has prided themselves on having one of the best run defenses in the Pac-12, and it was the engine that  powered Cal to victory on Saturday. The Bulldogs managed 29 yards of rushing before a garbage-time drive helped them pick up an extra 42. Fresno was 2 for 14 on third down and averaged a meager 3.7 yards per play on defense, and pretty much managed no meaningful points by their own production.

The Cal defensive effort was led by linebackers Mychal Kendricks (9 tackles, 2.5 for a loss) and D.J. Holt (7 tackles, 2 TFL), who sealed up the inside and kept Fresno one-dimensional on offense. Josh hill, David Wilkerson and Ryan Davis all put up sacks, and Hill added two tackles for loss.

Don't be deceived by the 21 points Fresno put up as sign, because the Cal defense's worst enemy was their special teams unit and their offense. Two of the Fresno touchdowns were gift-wrapped, and one was tied up with a pretty bow. Cal started the game with terrible field position, and Zach Maynard's first pass was an interception right into the hands of L.J. Jones, setting up Fresno right in the red zone. The Bulldogs punched it in three plays later to give them an early 7-0 lead. Then Cal got pinned deep on a nice Fresno punt, and Isi Sofele lost the ball in the end zone when he struggled to avoid the safety, and defensive back Cristin Wilson recovered the fumble for the Bulldogs's second touchdown.

Maynard really struggled in his first outing as Cal starting quarterback after a promising start. After an interception on his first throw, Maynard did a good job finding Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones on successive first downs. An Isi Sofele 14 yard rush and Anthony Miller 8 yard completion gave Cal first and 10 inside the 12, and after Will Kapp converted a fourth and 1, Sofele punched it in to cut the Cal lead to 7-6 (the extra point was blocked on a low kick by Giorgio Tavecchio).

Fresno then went three-and-out on the next drive thanks to a huge tackle on 3rd and long by Mychal Kendricks, and Cal went back on the attack. Maynard found Jones for a huge 21 yard gain, and Sofele broke open for a 39 yard score to give the Bears a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Tavecchio's extra point attempt was blocked again, and Cal's lead stayed at 12-7. After Fresno went three and out again, Maynard found Allen twice on 19 and 31 yard catches, capping it off with a 42 yard throw on a post route to Jones to make it 19-7. The fumble recovery by Fresno made it 19-14 at halftime.

The Bears broke it open in the third quarter. Maynard showed his legs with a 48 yard rush off a zone-read, and then needled it down the sideline to Jones, who galloped it in for his second score of the game. Jones (5 catches, 118 yards, two touchdowns) and Allen (8 catches, 112 yards) were a deadly one-two combo.

Maynard struggled with his accuracy after a successful first quarter, completing 9 of 24 passes the rest of the game after starting out 7 for 11. The offensive line struggled to protect him from the speedy Fresno front seven, and he had trouble getting solid exchanges with his center Dominic Galas. But Maynard also looked far less comfortable under center and started missing throws and receivers as the game progressed. He still did manage 266 passing yards and 53 yards on the ground though, so he was able to make big plays. Sofele put up 83 yards rushing, mostly from his first quarter production.

Cal's defense was finally rewarded with two turnovers in the third quarter. First Fresno quarterback Derek Carr got pressured in the pocket on a Fresno drive and lifted a ball high and away of his receiver, and cornerback Steve Williams was in perfect position to make an interception to kill the Fresno drive. Then on one of his first snaps of the game, true freshman Cecil Whiteside came off the edge, stripped Carr of the ball, and Trevor Guyton scooped it up and strided into the end zone.

Tavecchio redeemed his two early extra point misses by nailing a 40 yard field goal (neither team had much success punting in the swirling Candlestick winds, averaging less than 40 yards a punt). Fresno State managed a successful drive late in the 4th quarter against Cal's second-unit defense, culminating in a Carr connection to Josh Harper in end zone.

Jeff Tedford improved to 73-42, and is now one win away from tying Andy Smith for the school's leader in wins.

For more on Cal football, go to the California Golden Blogs.

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Cal vs. Fresno State Score Update: Lead 33-14 In Wild One At Candlestick Park

The California Golden Bears enter the fourth quarter leading the Fresno State Bulldogs 33-14 as they have used big plays and avoided some near misses to take control of a wild game. Since jumping on top 19-7 in the first quarter, the Bears have put up 14 more points in the third quarter to push the lead up to 19.

The Bulldogs cut the lead to 19-14 in the second quarter after Cal running back Isi Sofele fumbled the ball in the Bears end zone. Defensive back Cristin Wilson jumped on the ball to get the score.

The Bears were able to stave off further Fresno State momentum in part by running out most of the final 4:10 of the second quarter on a 14 play drive that somehow only gained 25 yards. Although Cal didn’t score, they kept Fresno off the field and got into the half with the lead.

The Bears opened the second half with a stop of the Bulldogs as the Cal defense has been mostly up to the task in the opener. After a quick three and out, Cal took over at their own nine yard line and used the big play to break things open a bit. Zach Maynard scrambled for a 48-yard gain, Fresno State committed a pass interference call and the Bears capped the drive with a 23 yard hook-up from Maynard to Marvin Jones for the score and the 26-14 lead.

The Bears defense added one more score with a sack, forced fumble and recovery run back for a touchdown late in the third quarter. On 3rd and short, QB Derek Carr was sacked for a loss of seven yards by linebacker Ceci Whiteside. Carr fumbled the ball and Trevor Guyton recovered and ran it back 22 yards for the touchdown.

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Cal Vs. Fresno State Score Update: Golden Bears Record Huge First Quarter, Lead 19-7

The California Golden Bears lead the Fresno State Bulldogs 19-7 as the second quarter gets underway. Cal has done exceptionally well on the offensive side of the ball, racking up 235 total yards in just a little over one quarter of action.

The game started out on a bad note as Cal's very first play of the game, a pass by quarterback Zach Maynard, was intercepted. The Bulldogs then got their first (and up to this point, only) touchdown of the game just three plays later on a nine-yard run by Robbie Rouse.

The Golden Bears responded by driving 67 yards the following drive and scoring on a one-yard rush by Isi Sofele. He was not done, however. Sofele followed that play up a few minutes later with a 39-yard touchdown run. He has 77 rushing yards and two touchdowns on just twelve carries.

Maynard had a touchdown of his own later in the quarter, hitting Marvin Jones for a 42-yard strike. Maynard has completed eight of 15 passes for 179 yards and one touchdown thus far.

Cal had their first two extra points blocked, but managed to knock in the last one. The Cal offense is on fire right now, scoring 19 points in the first quarter. We'll have to wait and see how high the Golden Bears can push this total.

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Fresno State Vs. California: Game Time, TV & Broadcast Info, Notes & More

The California Golden Bears open their 2011 college football campaign on Saturday afternoon against the Fresno St. Bulldogs of the WAC. Fresno State is 2-0 all-time against the Golden Bears, winning both contests in 1995 and 2000. Here is the relevant information regarding the game:

Teams: Fresno State Bulldogs, California Golden Bears
Time: 4:00 p.m.
Location: Candlestick Park, San Francisco, CA
TV: Broadcast on Comcast SportsNet California
Radio: KGO 810 AM
Rankings: Neither team is ranked in either the Associated Press poll or the USA Today Coaches poll; the Golden Bears are ranked No. 27 in the preseason Sagarin ratings, while Fresno State is No. 70.
Favorite: Cal is favored by 10 points, per Bodog.
Last Meeting: Fresno State defeated California 17-3 back in 2000.
Streaks: California looks break a three game losing streak that extends back into the 2010 season. The Golden Bears last played a neutral-site game in 1997, losing to Louisiana Tech in Shreveport.


For more news and information on Cal football, head on over to California Golden Blogs.

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Cal vs. Fresno State: Candlestick Park Travel Tips

Due to the Cal stadium renovation, the Bears will be playing their home games at Candlestick Park during the 2011 season. For Cal fans, this is a significant change from the normal routine of traveling to Berkeley and enjoying a game in Strawberry Canyon. Whether driving, walking or taking BART, it generally has not been too difficult to get to Cal games, minus the hills of course.

The San Francisco 49ers and San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (Muni) have provided details on how to get to Candlestick Park for the 2011 season. While the Stick is buried behind a sizable hill and is not in a particularly convenient location, it is still relatively simple to get to games.

Parking can be a pain coming off 101 as the gridlock of people trying to get into the stadium can create a mess. The best recommendation is to hop Muni down to the stadium. There are a few options worth considering that range in price from $4 to $12 roundtrip.

There are four different Muni shuttle options depending on where you get off in the city. If you’re BART’ing over from the East Bay, I highly recommend getting off at the Embarcadero Station and taking the T-Line. You’ll get off at Gilman and Third and hop a quick shuttle using your T-Line transfer:

75X Candlestick Express
Origin: Balboa Park BART
Stops: Nonstop to stadium
Frequency: every 5 minutes
Travel time: 26 minutes
First trip to game: 1:00 pm
Last trip to game: 4:00 pm

79X Candlestick Express
Origin: Sutter and Sansome
Stops: 79X stops
Frequency: every 5 minutes
Travel time: 22 minutes
First trip to game: 1:00 pm
Last trip to game: 4:00 pm

86 Candlestick Shuttle
Origin: Bacon and San Bruno
Stops: Nonstop to Stadium
Frequency: TBA
Travel time: 9 minutes
First trip to game: Noon
Last trip to game: TBA

87 Candlestick Shuttle
Origin: Gilman and Third (T-Third Street Rail stop)
Stops: Nonstop to Stadium
Frequency: TBA
Travel time: 5 minutes
First trip to game: 12:30 pm
Last trip to game: TBA

When you leave the game, if you’re taking public transportation head out to the west entrance of the stadium where the bus dropped you off. There will be numerous buses for all four bus lines waiting to take you back to the original pickup point.

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Fresno State vs. Cal Injury Report: Bulldogs Safety Phillip Thomas Breaks Leg, Out 8-12 Weeks

The California Golden Bears are looking to revitalize their offense on Saturday, and they'll probably look to punish Fresno in the trenches with their superior size. Now a dire task for the Fresno St. Bulldogs just got even tougher. Fresno State safety Phillip Thomas was supposed to be the best player on the entire team and the man who would hold up the backlines from the Cal rush attack and deep receiving game, but a freak accident in practice will now leave him watching the majority (if not all) the season on the sidelines. Bryant-Jon Anteola of the Fresno Bee reports.

Thomas suffered a broken left leg and a high-ankle sprain at practice late Wednesday that will force him to miss Saturday's opener against Cal and likely the entire season.

The Bulldogs' top defensive back and playmaker was participating in a non-contact drill that focused on stopping the option run on Fresno State's grass practice field when he made a "full-speed plant, change of direction and snapped a bone in his leg," coach Pat Hill said.

The junior out of Bakersfield High underwent surgery Thursday and is expected to need at least 8 to 12 weeks of recovery, Hill added.

The injury to Thomas means that Fresno will have a totally green secondary on Saturday. Walk-on Cristin Wilson will have to replace him, so the downgrade from a potential NFL star like Thomas to Wilson is considerable. Derron Smith and Isaiah Green are both returning players, but without Thomas back there, Fresno's ability to defend plays in the open field could be greatly diminished. Keenan Allen and Marvin Jones could have some huge advantages in the secondary if Zach Maynard gets the pass protection he needs, and if the Cal tailbacks escape the first level on running plays, the running back platoon could run all over the Golden Bears on Saturday.

For more on the Cal-Fresno game, head to the California Golden Blogs.

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Cal vs. Fresno State: Bulldogs Hold 5000+ Ticket Advantage Over Golden Bears

The Fresno St. Bulldogs can hang their heads high and bark loud and proud for turning out in huge droves for this weekend's neutral site game at Candlestick Park against the California Golden Bears. According to John Crumpacker of the San Francisco Chronicle, Fresno State has sold 14,334 tickets, compared to 9,100 for Cal. Fresno State has long passed the 10k mark that was needed to get the guaranteed $1 million+ revenue. Cal should get most of the revenue, but they might have to buy the remaining tickets to get the remaining revenue.

Cal fans will probably still buy a lot of tickets off of StubHub, GroupOn, or various other third-party ticket organizations to ensure a sizable fan turnout. But this is a pretty weak moment for the Cal Athletic Ticket Office and Athletic Director Sandy Barbour, as a lot of the flaws for establishing this game in the first place seem to have risen to the surface. Fan apathy, expensive tickets and parking, and an unattractive opponent have left the team in a potential road environment

I'm fairly certain that Cal Athletics will just want this game to kickoff and the Bears garner a victory so they can avoid having to figure out what happened here.

For more on Cal football, go to the California Golden Blogs.

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Cal vs. Fresno State Crucial Matchup: Golden Bears Offensive Line vs. Bulldogs Front Seven

If the California Golden Bears are to let loose the offense on opening weekend against the Fresno State Bulldogs, they must use the power of the offensive line behind Mitchell Schwartz, Matt Summers-Gavin, Justin Cheadle, Brian Schwenke and Dominic Galas to unleash the Cal running attack against Logan Harrell, Travis Brown and the Fresno State front seven.

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Cal vs. Fresno State History: Bulldogs Have Won Two Prior Games

When the California Golden Bears take the field against the Fresno State Bulldogs, they won't just be fighting for a return to respectability in the Pac-12. They'll be fighting for ghosts of Cal past who couldn't vanquish their Central Valley colleagues in two prior matchups.

(Home team in caps)

1995: Fresno State 25, CAL 24

No real records of this game, but it was Keith Gilbertson's final year, and it was horrid.  The team finished 3-8, 8th in the Pac-10. That Cal team featured Tony Gonzalez, Dameane Douglas, Ryan Longwell, Bobby Shaw, Duane Clemons and Regan Upshaw. Fresno State had Lane Kiffin at quarterback. It's probably best that Cal Athletics burned all records of the game.

Fresno State went on to go 5-7 that season (well come on, LANE KIFFIN was quarterback), and was part of a stretch that led to Jim Sweeney's ouster and Pat Hill becoming the head coach for the program. Jeff Tedford was offensive coordinator for the Bulldogs that season.

2000: FRESNO STATE 17, Cal 3

Commonly described by Cal fans as one of the most horrifying games in program history. Cal piled up over 300 yards of total offense, but Kyle Boller went 16 for 36 for 197 yards and threw two costly picks, while in the last game he ever played without getting sacked seven times, David Carr piled up 325 passing yards on 24 completions through 41 attempts with two touchdowns.

Fresno State finished 7-5 this season, Cal finished 3-8. This was not enough to convince the Athletic Department to fire Tom Holmoe, so he stayed on, and Cal was punished with a 1-10 season.

For more on Cal football, go to the California Golden Blogs.

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Cal vs. Fresno State: Golden Bears Struggle To Sell Tickets

The California Golden Bears could be playing a virtual road game in Candlestick Park when they take on the Fresno State Bulldogs, as Cal is lagging in ticket sales behind their Central Valley cousins.

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