Kendrick makes most of limited playing time

PASADENA — The Pac-10's leading tackler didn't play much Saturday — only enough to clinch a victory for Cal.

Linebacker Mychal Kendricks didn't start for the first time this year and got in for only a handful of plays. But he made one of the most memorable ones by intercepting a pass by UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince and returning it 68 yards for a touchdown.

The turnover ended a Bruins drive that could have cut Cal's lead to one score and instead gave the Bears a 45-26 lead with 5:05 to play.

"The game right then was still back and forth and anything can happen," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "It was a huge play."

Kendricks didn't start partly because he missed the entire bye week of practice with a shoulder injury and partly because defensive coordinator liked how D.J. Holt had practiced in his place. Kendricks, who entered the day pacing the conference in tackles (9.2 per game), estimated he got in for about 15 plays.

"I'm going to support the team no matter what," Kendricks said. "I'm going to support the coaches' decision, whatever they chose to do. Starting or not, getting a pick felt good."

  • After two subpar games, punter Bryan Anger averaged 50 yards on seven punts, including a 72-yarder in the second quarter. He helped the Bears escape from deep in their own territory on a handful of occasions after.


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    "I thought one of the keys of the game was Bryan Anger," Tedford said.

  • Saturday's win was Tedford's first in Los Angeles and Cal's first at the Rose Bowl since 1993. "It's not personal at all," Tedford said. "It's for the program. It's for the people before us. It's a great feat for this year's team."

  • Running back Jahvid Best missed most of Cal's first possession of the second half. He was treated in the locker room for dehydration and shortness of breath. The game time temperature was 100 degrees.

  • Cornerback Darian Hagan has one of his best games of the season, recording five tackles and three pass breakups.

  • Kicker Vince D'Amato was forced out of the game after injuring his shoulder on a kickoff in the second quarter. Giorgio Tavecchio replaced him and made all three of his PATs and added a 24-yard field goal.

    — Jonathan Okanes