Tipoti's forced fumble a sign of his consistent play

Junior nose tackle Aaron Tipoti is starting to make a name for himself for something other than his poor acting ability.

Tipoti, who was in the center of a controversy last season after being instructed by defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi to fake an injury against Oregon, has become a disruptive force along the Bears defensive line in recent games. Saturday, he forced a fumble by Utah quarterback Jon Hays that was recovered by safety D.J. Campbell and led to a field goal.

Tipoti replaced Kendrick Payne as Cal's starter three weeks ago after recovering from groin and shoulder injuries. He's been consistently getting into opponents' backfields ever since.

"He's been a starter the past three weeks because he played better than Kendrick Payne," Cal defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast said. "I think that's helped him. The biggest thing is he's been 100 percent. He's been nicked up. He's a disruptive player, and I think he has a real bright future here at Cal."

It was the second career forced fumble for Tipoti, who spent last season behind Payne and Derrick Hill on the depth chart.

"It's just having the coaches have a great game plan every week and executing the game plan," Tipoti said. "I want to make this my future, so I have to do a little extra."


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  • Linebacker Dave Wilkerson, a projected starter at the start of the season who has been in and out of the lineup with an assortment of injuries, had a career-high five tackles, including 11/2 sacks. He had a crushing hit on Hays in the first quarter that went for a 9-yard sack.

    "I think it brought some more energy to the team," Wilkerson said. "When anyone makes a big play or big hit like that, we know it's time to step it up even more. It makes us all juiced and ready to go."

  • After initially saying Saturday's win was "desperately needed," Cal coach Jeff Tedford backtracked and simply said his team played with a sense of urgency. The Bears snapped a three-game losing streak and notched their first Pac-12 win of the season.

    "Sense of urgency? Yes. Desperation? No," Tedford said. "I didn't see any panic in practice. The taste in the guys' mouth to stop the bleeding is awesome. Everybody is happy and excited."

  • Cal quarterback Zach Maynard is one of three Pac-12 quarterbacks to throw for at least 200 yards in every game this season.

  • Kicker Giorgio Tavecchio missed just his second field goal attempt of the season. He made two others and is 11 for 13 this year.

    -- Jonathan Okanes