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Husky Football Blog

The latest news and analysis on the Montlake Dawgs.

November 17, 2007 at 12:20 PM

Cal game thread

SIGNING OFF FOR NOW — With UW closing in on another score, this has all the looks of a Husky win. And that means I need to head down to the field to handle other post-game duties so this is all I’ll have for now.
If UW holds on to win, will be curious to hear your thoughts and how this colors the season now.
I’ll have more after the game.
RUSSO RIPS OFF LONG PUNT RETURN — A career-best 63-yard punt return
for Russo may just about seal this for the Huskies.
RANKIN HAS A HIP POINTER — So his day may be done. But so may be Cal’s as the Bears appear to be losing control committing two penalties to kill that drive. UW is winning this game the way it used to win November games here, with running, timely defense and special teams. Rankin has 224 yards on 21 carries, which may be what he ends the day with.
UW IN CONTROL END THIRD QUARTER — Reffett causes the fumble with the hard hit there and everything is trending UW’s way right now. UW has 361 yards to 343 for the Bears, having outgained Cal by 50 yards in that quarter.
The attendance is 60,005 official, likely 10,000 or so fewer than that actually in the stands at its most full today.
A LOT GOING UW’S WAY TODAY — The Huskies are playing really well, no question, but they are catching their share of breaks. Not sure way that play where Bonnell was called for grounding wasn’t a lateral and a fumble. But this is the same crew that blew the quick whistle when Ohio State did that here earlier this year so maybe it’s some payback coming UW’s way.
UW COMING UP CLUTCH TODAY — Cal closes to 31-23 but the Bears had second-and-goal at the 1 and couldn’t get it in with Te’o-Nesheim making a big play on second down. UW is making as many plays at critical times as it has in any game this season. This next drive feels like one that could really determine things. If UW can score again, Cal may find it hard to keep coming back.
RANKIN CLOSING ON RECORDS — The UW single-game rushing record is 296 by Hugh McElhenny against WSU in 1950. Next on the list is 259 by Corey Dillon against Oregon in 1996 (Dillon had just 222 against San Jose State that day leaving at the end of the first quarter).
HUSKIES TAKE ADVANTAGE OF CAL DECISION — UW got the ball to start each half and scored each time, with a TD to start the game and a FG to start the third quarter. Ryan Perkins kicked a career-high 45-yarder FG there, continuing what has to date been the best day of the season for the special teams.
TOLAR BACK IN — Ryan Tolar has returned at guard after his one-half suspension.
RANKIN OVER 200 — Rankin rips off a 46-yard run and now has 219 yards for the game. That’s his second 200-yard game in three weeks.
DESEAN JACKSON OUT WITH THIGH CONTUSION — DeSean Jackson is done for the day for Cal with a thigh contusion. He had four catches for 31 yards before being injured and one punt return for 23 yards.
MORE ON OREGON OPENER — I talked to Todd Turner who confirmed that he is in talks to move the game next year with Oregon to Aug. 30 and move the Oklahoma game to Sept. 13 to create a bye. He also said is talking to some teams about trying to move a game to Dec. 6 to create another bye in the schedule, as well. But he said none of it, including the Oregon move, has yet been approved.
HALFTIME STATS — Rankin has 171 yards on 17 carries in the first half, an amazing average of 10.1 per carry and probably the best performance here by a Husky since Corey Dillon’s game against San Jose State in 1996. We’ll see if the Huskies can keep going in the second half or if Cal makes some adjustment. Forsett has 118 yards on 15 carries for Cal, an average of 7.9 yards per.
Bonnell is 5-14 for 51 yards but has a touchdown and has not thrown an interception.
Longshore is 14-17 for 147 yards and three TDs but the interception was huge.
UW is indeed winning the special teams battle so far holding Cal to no KO return longer than 24 yards while obviously getting a turnover on a punt and watching as the Bears botched an extra point that looms huge right now.
WILLINGHAM COMMENTS AT HALF: He first mentioned how big the score before half was because now UW will get the ball to start the third quarter, as well, which is probably why Tedford so wanted to score on that last drive. Not sure exactly what happened there but Cal must have screwed up how it handled the coin toss.
“You couldn’t ask for it to come back any better,” Willingham said.
On Rankin, he said that “Obviously Louis is running very well but the offensive line is taking responsibility, as well. The whole key will be if we can continue that mindset.”
Asked about Cal’s running, Willingham said a goal had been to keep Forsett to 100 yards. “We’ve got to do a better job of getting in the right gaps. We have people in the right places based on the structure of the defense. We we have to make the right plays.”
Cal has 268 yards at the half to 236 for UW but the difference is the two Cal TOs leading to two short scoring drives for the Huskies, that UW was able to convert with relative ease.
HUSKIES GET BREAK, TAKE ADVANTAGE — UW can’t complain about not getting breaks today. The fumbled punt and then the review go UW’s way and the Huskies cash in with the Bonnell to Reece face to go ahead 28-20 with 12 seconds left. None of that may have happened had not Cal called a time out after UW failed to convert third down on the preceeding drive. UW looked content to let the clock run out there but Cal wanted another shot at it. Both times Cal has had a chance to get the ball with a chance to take the lead it has immediately turned it over and UW has regained the lead.
CAL KEEPS IT CLOSE — Justin Forsett now has 118 yards on 15 carries with a career long of 58 leading to a TD on that last drive. You may be aware that the Cal player who caught the TD on that last drive, James Montgomery, was a commit to UW for a few months for the Class of 2006 before deciding to stay home and attend Cal.
RANKIN UPDATE — He has 170 yards on 16 carries but that drive was stalled largely due to the holding penalty.
JACKSON HURT — Cal WR DeSean Jackson is being worked on on the sidelines for some soft of foot or leg injury. Looks like he got hurt on that pass play that resulted in the penalty, maybe, or maybe the return before that.
RECRUITS IN THE HOUSE — There are expected to be three top recruits here today (you can see the list here from Scout.com) including JC receiver Carl Moore and Kennedy High DE Everette Thompson so this inspired performance by UW could pay off in several ways for the Huskies today.
RANKIN GOES OVER 1,000 — With a 21-yard run to the 1-yard line Rankin now has passed the 1,000-yard mark the first UW player to do that since Rashaan Shehee in 1997. UW now leads 21-13.
SAVANNAH FIRST CAREER INTERCEPTION — Savannah gets an interception that is a huge momentum swing for the Huskies as Cal l had appeared to regain some control of the game.
DAVENPORT HURTING — Apparently Byron Davenport suffered some sort of ankle, leg, foot injury and was limping at practice on Thursday and that is apparently why he is not in the lineup. That seems big right now with Matt Mosley starting at the one CB spot and the Huskies unable to stop the Bears.
CAL COMES RIGHT BACK — This is turning into a shootout as the Bears come right back to make it 14-13 on Nate Longshore’s second pass. Longshore is 11-12 for 114 yards passing.
HUSKIES UP 14-6 AT END OF FIRST QUARTER —- UW has 141 rushing yards in this quarter to 23 for the Bears, and 160 overall to 87 for Cal. A solid start for the Huskies, though we’ve seen them start well before. Erick Lobos is seeing some significant time at DT so far.
CAL CLOSES TO 14-6 — You felt like the Bears needed to do something there to stay in this one and they did, driving 76 yards for a TD. But they blow the extra point with a high snap to keep it at 14-6.
RANKIN RUNNING WILD — Louis Rankin has 125 yards and the Huskies appear to be on the verge of a 14-0 lead as they are completely dominating this one so far. UW has 139 rushing yards and just scored on a 13-play drive that included just one pass. Rankin is 22 yards away from 1,000 for the season.
HUSKIES LOOKING GOOD SO FAR — A three-and-out for Cal on its first series and another first down for UW.
MOSLEY FOR DAVENPORT — That’s the only defensive change I see with Matt Mosley in place of Byron Davenport at one cornerback spot.
UW LEADS 7-0 — The Huskies went right down the field with ease and if there was any question about UW’s motivation in this one it appears to have been answered. Also of note is that Johnie Kirton was in for the entire series and caught just his second pass of the season. With Bonnell in, the offense is a little more of the traditional spread passing attack which includes heavier use of the tight end. So Kirton could have a big day today.
BONNELL IS THE QB as UW takes the field for its first play. Also of note is that Ben Ossai is starting at LT for the first time in three games ahead of Cody Habben.
— UW’S CAPTAINS today are Carl Bonnell, Greyson Gunheim, Jordan Reffett and Anthony Russo.
— I’ll start the game thread with this huge, breaking news — William Hung, of American Idol, uh, fame, will sign “She Bang” at halftime.
Hung will apparently perform as part of Husky Idol festivities, something I know little about.
Hung likely won’t be signing in front of very many. UW sold about 62,000 tickets for this game, but right now, about two-thirds that many appear in attendance, the weather and the losing likely having made a few decide to stay home.

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