Tedford Tournament of Champions: Cal 2005 vs. Cal 2006
And then there were three.
After the decisive 2004 beatdown on a talented yet flawed 2007 team, we’re entering what appears to be the most entertaining matchup of this tournament insofar. A stronger 2005 team angled against a developing but talented 2006 offense. The chronically maligned Joe Ayoob versus the chronically injured Nate Longshore. Marshawn Lynch dueling himself. And all of that coming into a head in a seven game series.
Who will win this battle? Find out after the jump.
Game 1: Cal ’06 49, Cal ’05 20
All of ’06’s weapons worked well in a 49-20 blowout. This is going to get confusing because these offensive rosters are virtually identical, so bear with me.
Joe Ayoob was injured in an early sequence in the first half; his replacement Steve Levy would throw an interception on the first play, leading to a quick Justin Forsett ’06 touchdown that put his team up 14-0. Levy would march his team down the field for Forsett ’05 to score to cut the lead to 14-6. Nate Longshore then brought the ’06 team down the field for two scores on quick minute drives to make it 28-6.
Both Lynch/Forsett combos combined for over 230 yards rushing. Longshore threw an efficient 17-27, 231 yard game with 3 TDs and an INT; Ayoob struggled with his accuracy going 16-40 for 235 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT.
Tom Schneider missed all four field goal attempts in both his ’05 and ’06 incarnations, the ’05 missing three that could have closed the gap on the ’06 team, two in the second half with ’05 trailing only 28-13. But after the second missed field goal, Marshawn Lynch ’06 sealed the game with two fourth quarter TDs.
Game 2: Cal ’06 45, Cal ’05 10
For the second straight game, the stats looked similar. The result was again anything but. Cal ’06 scored the last 38 points to rout the ’05 team and go up 2-0. DeSean Jackson ’05 scored an early 31 yard TD scamper to give the Bears a 10-7 lead, but that was all the offense could muster.
A disastrous second quarter would do in the ’05 team. After 80 and 77 yard drives that capped off in a Forsett TD dive and a Lynch 35 yard scamper to make it 21-10, Desmond Bishop ’06 would intercept Ayoob and return the ball to the red zone; Lynch would score again to make it 28-10. The ’05 Bears would also have a punt blocked and have their Marshawn fumble, but would suffer no further damage. A 29 yard catch by Lavelle Hawkins would give the Bears a 35-10 lead in the third quarter and there would be no threat after that.
Again Ayoob completed under 50 percent of his passes, going 19 for 41 for his passes with 1 TD and 1 INT. Longshore threw less but was more efficient, going 15 for 26 for 225 yards for 2 TD. ’06 Forsett and Lynch had an even more dominant game, combining for 268 yards and 4 TDs; ’05 Forsett would barely touch the ball, as Joe Ayoob spent most of the second half scrambling away from heavy pass rush (13 carries for 28 yards). ’05 Lynch had 32 carries for 130 yards.
Game 3: Cal ’05 59, Cal ’06 26
Marshawn Lynch ’05 would not let his team fall into the insurmountable 3-0 hole. Three fourth quarter touchdowns by BeastMode put Game 3 out of reach as the Cal ’05 team picked up its first win of the series.
Three costly Nate Longshore interceptions in the second half doomed the ’06 team. With the team driving to tie with 6 minutes left in the third, Longshore’s pass flew right into Tim Mixon’s arms. Although the ’06 defense forced a DeSean fumble, they settled for a field goal to make it 31-26, they would never get a chance to retake the lead. The next drive down the field Lynch would bounce 42 yards into the end zone to make it 38-26, and Longshore would be picked off almost immediately on the next drive, setting up another Lynch TD to make it 45-26 and put the game out of reach. A Lynch TD and a Forsett TD scamper after another Longshore INT with his team down 25 would put in the final margin.
Nate would struggle the entire game, completing only 12 of his 34 passes for 156 yards.
Game 4: Cal ’05 24, Cal ’06 17
Nate Longshore and the 2006 team seemed to have a great chance at taking command of this series, up 10-0 in the first quarter. But after starting Game 4 4-4 for 53 yards and a TD resulting off of a Joe Ayoob INT, Longshore would only pass for 75 more yards as the ’06 passing offense stalled for the rest of Game 4.
The ’05 defense stiffened after Cal ’06 took a 7-0 lead, sacking Longshore six times and picking him off once. Also two red zone opportunities would result in only three points, as Longshore was sacked on the first encroachment and picked off on the second, the interception coming late in the 4th quarter. Cal ’05 would take off much of the remaining time, and a two minute offense stalled when Longshore was sacked at the ’05’s 40 yard line, threw a pass for a loss, scrambled for a yard, and underthrew Robert Jordan in the end zone.
With Longshore’s arm sputtering, Tedford turned to the running game, getting 188 yards from Marshawn Lynch (who would score ’06’s remaining points on a 64 yard run). But after the early pick, Ayoob would settle down and lead the ’05 team down the field on touchdown drives of 88 and 81 yards in the 3rd quarter, both capped off by LaRyelle Cunningham TDs that gave the ’05 team the lead for good at 21-17. A Tom Schneider field goal early in the 4th rounded off the scoring.
Nate Longshore finished 18-28 for 128 yards and 1 TD, 1 INT; Ayoob was 19-39 for 328 yards and 2 TD, 1 INT. Lynch ’05 would have a quieter game, but would go for 23 carries for 104 yards.
Game 5: Cal ’06 38, Cal ’05 31
Marshawn Lynch ’05 might have had the better game, but Marshawn Lynch ’06 had just enough experience.
Both BeastModes combined for 457 yards of total offense and 6 TDs, but the ’05 Lynch committed a crucial fumble down the stretch which handed the ’06 Bears a crucial 3-2 lead in this best-of-seven series.
Joe Ayoob’s second pass from scrimmage was intercepted by Zack Follett, which Nate Longshore converted into a TD throw to Robert Jordan. The two Lynches traded TDs and Ayoob scored on a scamper to even things up at 14-14 at the end of the 1st quarter.
Ayoob had a chance to give the Bears the lead early in the 2nd quarter, but Peele intercepted another Ayoob pass to quash that effort. A spectacular catch by Lavelle Hawkins gave the ’06 team the lead for good, and a missed field goal led to a late drive and a Lynch draw run that gave the ’06 Bears a 28-14 lead. The ’05 Bears marched right back thanks to Lynch, who gained 70 yards in 27 seconds to cut the lead to 28-21.
Back came ’06 Marshawn, who went on a 71 yard tear to start the 3rd quarter and would dive in to the end zone later on in the drive to push the lead back to 14. ’05 Marshawn came right back down the field on the next drive with a 33 yard run and a 6 yard TD rush to halve the deficit back at 7. A field goal by ’05 Schneider cut the lead to 4; his ’06 incarnation kicked a chippie to make it a 7 point game.
Ayoob would march his team down the field in the final few minutes down to their red zone at Cal ’06’s 17 yard line, but Lynch would fumble the ball and the Bears recovered it with two minutes remaining. Two Forsett runs of 40 and 11 sealed the deal for the ’06 team.
Longshore had his best game of the series, going 24 for 38 for 308 yards and 2 TDs. Ayoob finished 18 for 31 for 265 yards and his 3 interceptions.
Game 6: Cal ’05 29, Cal ’06 24
Joe Ayoob and Cal ’05 stayed alive for one more game.
Ayoob threw two first quarter scores, adding a crucial 4th quarter score late, and the ’05 defense sacked Nate Longshore four times and picked him off twice in a game they led from start to finish. They would have to stave off a furious rally at the end though.
The ’05 team took command early in their desperation game, with three early drives of 68, 61 and 50 yards that led to a 17-0 lead, including two TD tosses to DeSean Jackson and Lavelle Hawkins. Longshore would start the game 1-8 with an INT, but gradually got into form and cut into the lead several times, getting it to 20-14 at the start of the 3rd (including overcoming a dramatic 1st and 30 through four downs). A Schneider ’05 FG would make it a two possession game, but Schneider ’06 answered right back to make it 23-17 with 5:22 left in the 4th.
In under two minutes, Ayoob marched the team right back down the field, capping it off with a decisive TD throw to LaReylle Cunningham to make it 29-17 (a two point conversion failed). But the ’06 team wasn’t done yet–Longshore came right back to drive his team 86 yards and make it 29-24 on a Marshawn Lynch scamper with 2:13 left. After using up their timeouts, a strong DeSean Jackson ’06 punt return brought the team at Cal ’05’s 46 with under 1:18 left.
Driving to the 25 with 0:28 seconds left, the 2006 team seemed ready to take the game and the series, but Longshore was dropped behind the line of scrimmage trying to pick up the 1st down on a short 2nd and 2, and a desperation pass to Lavelle Hawkins ’06 in the end zone was overthrown as time expired.
After the astounding rushing production in Game 5 by both sides, the running games were at a minimum with both sides combining for only 197 yards. Justin Forsett and Marshawn Lynch would combine for all of ’06’s scores, but the bulk of the yards was picked up by Longshore pacing the passing offense.
Game 7: Cal ’06 45, Cal ’05 44
Longshore overcame four interceptions to find Eric Beegun in the end zone with 3 minutes remaining to move the ’06 Bears onto the title game. In a game for the ages, the ’06 team blew 11 and 15 point leads only to come right back with go-ahead scores.
After the ’05 Bears marched down the field and scored on an Ayoob throw to Desean, Longshore would throw two picks on his first two throws right to Daymeion Hughes and Tim Mixon deep in his own territory. However, the ’05 Bears only managed one field goal on those turnovers to up the lead to 10. Nate would recover though, leading the ’06 team right down the field for three consecutive TD drives to give ’06 a 21-10 lead (including 2 Justin Forsett TD runs and a Lynch catch). They were aided by an Ayoob INT to Desmond Bishop. Ayoob would recover to lead the team down the field for 10 points in the final three minutes, although sandwiched in between was another long ’06 drive capped off by Lynch’s 1 yard TD run.
Longshore would then go 4-4 for 59 yards on the opening third quarter drive, capped off by another Lynch run to give the ’06 Bears a 35-20 lead. But after Ayoob answered with a TD drive of his own to cut the lead to 8 with 1:38 left in the third, a bizarre sequence occurred at the 3rd/4th quarter juncture, with Longshore and Ayoob throwing 3 interceptions on three passes in five plays (Mixon completing the hat trick with two more picks of Nate). DeSean Jackson ’05 ultimately caught a screen pass to the outside from Ayoob soon thereafter and ran it in, and a Stevens two point conversion tied things up at 35.
After a quick three-and-out, the ’05 Bears got excellent field position and marched down the field for a Schneider 35 yard field goal to give them a 38-35 lead. A 45 yard throw from Nate to DeSean set up an ’06 Schneider FG of his own, but ’05 Forsett came right back with a 79 yard scamper to give the ’05 Bears a 6 point lead. Unfortunately, ’05 Schneider, who struggled all series long with his kicking, missed the extra point to keep things at 44-38.
Enter Longshore, who orchestrated a perfect drive, going 5 for 5 for 74 yards, setting up the final play for Beegun to give his team a 1 point lead. Ayoob tried one last time to march his team down the field with a big throw to Robert Jordan, but a first down catch at Cal 06’s 35 yard line slipped out of LayRelle Cunningham’s hands and the 4th down throw to Lynch was off the mark.
The loss ruined an excellent game for Ayoob, who threw for 227 yards and 4 TDs, and wasted 355 yards of total offense from the duo of ’05s Forsett and Lynch. The ’06 Lynch/Forsett duo had less yardage (214 yards), but scored Cal’s first five touchdowns.
So it’s Cal 2004 vs. Cal 2006, just like many of us probably expected. Who do you think we’ll win? We’ll find out who’s the best Tedford team next weekend when we simulate the final results!
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