7:00 PM ET, October 16, 2004
Memorial Stadium, BERKELEY, CA
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) -- Too many of Aaron Rodgers' teammates are just too talented. That was the California quarterback's conclusion after another near-flawless performance by an offense that has been mostly unstoppable this season.
Geoff McArthur caught two of Rodgers' career-high four touchdown passes and Cal (No. 9 ESPN/USA Today, No. 8 AP) racked up 550 total yards in a 45-28 victory over UCLA on Saturday.
J.J. Arrington ran for a career-best 205 yards and two scores for the Golden Bears (4-1, 2-1 Pac-10), who rebounded from last week's heartbreaking loss to top-ranked Southern California with more of the same power, balance and big-play poise from coach Jeff Tedford's loaded team.
"Sometimes it's almost like we have too many choices," said Rodgers, who went 19-of-29 for 260 yards. "Our line keeps people off me, and they open big holes for our running backs. Our receivers are doing a great job. When we get everything going, it's beautiful."
The Bears' focus was off in their first practices following last Saturday's 23-17 loss to the Trojans, so Tedford bluntly addressed his team's focus on Wednesday. After watching the Bears dominate another opponent, Tedford knew his speech had worked.
"Last week's game stunned us and stayed with us for a long time," Tedford said. "But we have plenty of guys who are talented and who weren't going to let this linger into this week."
In Cal's first home game in five weeks, Rodgers and Arrington led an offense that seemed to move whenever it pleased -- and McArthur, the nation's second-leading receiver last year behind Pitt's Larry Fitzgerald, had his biggest game of the season.
McArthur finished with nine receptions for 163 yards, including an early 20-yard TD catch and an 80-yard scoring romp down the UCLA sideline in the fourth quarter. He started slowly this season while struggling with a strained oblique muscle, but his long run showed he hasn't lost a step.
"When you've done something like I did last year, you become addicted to it," McArthur said. "You want to do well every time, so today felt great."
Drew Olson also threw four touchdown passes, but the Bruins (4-2, 2-1) couldn't catch up after Cal took a 35-14 lead on McArthur's long scoring run. Olson finished 20-of-36 for a career-best 299 yards for UCLA, which had its four-game winning streak snapped.
"It's probably the hardest loss we've ever felt," Olson said. "To come in and have a chance, we were there with them, and to end up losing by 17, it's just disappointing."
The Bears lost top receiver Chase Lyman for the season last week with a knee injury but replaced him with a bit of everything. Tight end Garrett Cross and freshman running back Marshawn Lynch both made scoring catches, and McArthur resumed his role as Rodgers' favorite target in a tough spot.
Cal also ran the ball superbly again, getting 290 yards on the ground -- 271 from Arrington, Lynch and Terrell Williams, their three talented tailbacks. The Bears entered the game second in the nation in total offense, and they exceeded their average (510.3) while making three scoring drives in the fourth quarter.
Arrington, who broke several long runs in the final minutes as the Bears held on to their lead, became the first running back in Cal history with five straight 100-yard games, breaking Chuck Muncie's 1975 record. Muncie finished second in the Heisman Trophy voting that season.
"We wanted to kill their will in the second half," Arrington said. "I love it when they put the ball in my hands. I've waited a long time to do this."
Maurice Drew turned two short passes into long touchdowns, but UCLA's star tailback rushed for just 42 yards. The Bruins kept things interesting with Drew's 43-yard TD catch and Joe Cowan's 46-yard scoring catch in the final seven minutes.
"We've got to work on everything right now," Drew said. "The passing game did a great job. Our running game is going to have to pick it up. We're real close. We're on our way."
The Bears led 14-0 before UCLA scored two touchdowns in 56 seconds midway through the second quarter.
After Marcedes Lewis caught a 15-yard TD pass from Olson, Williams fumbled the kickoff return. UCLA scored again two plays later, with Drew taking a screen pass through a crowd of defenders for a 27-yard score.
But Rodgers mounted an 80-yard scoring drive shortly before halftime, with Cal converting a fourth-and-6 before Cross made a fingertip 26-yard TD catch 17 seconds before halftime.
The game began under cloudy conditions and finished in darkness at Memorial Stadium, where temporary lighting was installed for the late start. The stadium was packed with 69,898 fans -- not a big number at some schools, but the largest Cal crowd for any game not featuring Stanford since 1991.
Cal hadn't played at home since beating New Mexico State on Sept. 11, but three of the Bears' next five games are in Berkeley.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||3-13||5-13|
|4th Down Conversions||1-3||2-2|
|TD||10:55||GEOFF MCARTHUR 20 YD PASS FROM AARON RODGERS (TOM SCHNEIDER KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 69 yards.
|TD||7:19||J.J. ARRINGTON 1 YD RUN (TOM SCHNEIDER KICK)|
Drive info: 12 plays, 88 yards.
|TD||4:50||MARCEDES LEWIS 15 YD PASS FROM DREW OLSON (JUSTIN MEDLOCK KICK)|
Drive info: 7 plays, 83 yards.
|TD||3:54||MAURICE DREW 27 YD PASS FROM DREW OLSON (JUSTIN MEDLOCK KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 24 yards.
|TD||0:17||GARRETT CROSS 26 YD PASS FROM AARON RODGERS (TOM SCHNEIDER KICK)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||9:34||MARSHAWN LYNCH 27 YD PASS FROM AARON RODGERS (TOM SCHNEIDER KICK)|
Drive info: 5 plays, 60 yards.
|TD||14:07||GEOFF MCARTHUR 80 YD PASS FROM AARON RODGERS (TOM SCHNEIDER KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 85 yards.
|TD||6:42||MAURICE DREW 43 YD PASS FROM DREW OLSON (JUSTIN MEDLOCK KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 44 yards.
|FG||4:00||TOM SCHNEIDER 28 YD FG|
Drive info: 6 plays, 61 yards.
|TD||2:39||JOE COWAN 46 YD PASS FROM DREW OLSON (JUSTIN MEDLOCK KICK)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 77 yards.
|TD||1:29||J.J. ARRINGTON 9 YD RUN (TOM SCHNEIDER KICK)|
Drive info: 3 plays, 44 yards.