California looks for another monumental win against Oregon State
BERKELEY, Calif. -- Derek Anderson's last road trip was a disaster. He threw five interceptions and Oregon State left with an embarrassing 16-14 upset loss at Fresno State.
That's been the only blemish on the Beavers' respectable record so far.
Next up is California, riding high after last week's thrilling three-overtime win against then-No. 3 Southern California. In that game, the Golden Bears' shaky secondary got a major confidence boost by shutting down USC's talented receiving corps.
So, Anderson desperately needs to show he can be successful on the road against a good team when Oregon State and Cal play Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium, which is quickly becoming an imposing venue for visitors.
"Preparation is the key," Beavers coach Mike Riley said. "For our whole team it's important to win on the road. If we want to be a contender, we obviously have to do that. This will be about as big a test as we've had, for sure, up to this point."
Beating the Trojans was huge for the Bears -- it was Cal's most surprising victory in decades and should provide a big boost in coach Jeff Tedford's rebuilding effort.
But it doesn't get much easier this weekend. California has lost four straight meetings to Oregon State, and the scrappy Beavers forced six turnovers in a decisive 45-17 win against Arizona State in their conference opener.
"They always seem to have our number," said Cal kicker Tyler Fredrickson, who booted the game-winning field goal against USC.
Both teams are undefeated after the first week of Pac-10 play, and the winner of Saturday's game will be an early front-runner in what should be a tight and unpredictable Pac-10 race.
Cal (3-3, 1-0 Pac-10) has won two straight, including that dramatic 34-31 victory against the heavily favored Trojans. But the Bears took a hit this week when they lost senior receiver Jonathan Makonnen for the season with a stress fracture in his left foot. He had a team-high seven catches for 104 yards in last week's win.
"Cal is a very good football team, and they proved it -- if anybody didn't know it -- last weekend," Riley said. "They've got a swarming, versatile defense full of variety. They keep you off-balance.
"Then they basically have the same thing offensively -- a variety of things they do well, and they can run the ball, throw the ball, have a great screen game, so they keep you off-balance there."
The Beavers (4-1, 1-0) will be without backup offensive tackle Brandon Lockheart, suspended by Riley for a violation of team rules. Lockheart started the first three games at left tackle before being replaced by senior Brian Kilkenny.
In 2002, the Bears lost to the Beavers 24-13 in Corvallis, with tailback Steven Jackson gaining 239 yards on 35 carries and scoring three touchdowns.
While Anderson has thrown for seven touchdowns, he can be vulnerable -- he's also already thrown 10 interceptions. But the Beavers have 10 offensive starters back from 2002 surrounding him.
"They have an experienced offensive line and a physical run game," said Tedford, who played for Riley in the CFL. "They force you to load the box up to stop the run.
"I think Derek Andersen is playing better. He was shaky at the beginning of the season, but has really calmed down," Tedford said. "They are a veteran team, and whenever you have an offensive line like they do, then you can really use all your offensive weapons."
This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index
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