CALIFORNIA FOOTBALL

Life of Riley includes share of noisy nights

2010-09-24T00:00:00Z 2014-07-08T16:11:59Z Life of Riley includes share of noisy nightsPatrick Finley Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
September 24, 2010 12:00 am  • 

The 28,000 or so Nevada fans who eyeballed Cal last week had some encouragement, Kevin Riley suspects.

"They sell alcohol at the stadium," the quarterback said, "So they were pretty drunk.

"They were going wild. It's college football. It was fun."

The result - a 52-31 shellacking on Friday - was not.

After winning their first two games by a combined 104-10 score at home, the Golden Bears earned a Top 25 ranking and national buzz before the loss.

The Golden Bears hope for a better result Saturday at Arizona Stadium, but plan on even more crowd intensity. The sold-out Arizona Wildcats game against Iowa drew 57,864 fans, more than double the Nevada crowd.

"Arizona, their fans do a great job there," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "Watching on TV last week, it was obvious they really create a home-field advantage."

Like most teams, the Golden Bears aren't quite the same on the road.

They've won 85 percent of their games at Memorial Stadium - 35 of 41 - dating to the final two home contests of 2003. Throw out three home losses each to USC and Oregon State, and Cal is a perfect 35-0 at home during that stretch.

On the road during the same period, however, Cal is barely over .500 at 19-18.

"Playing on the road's always a little different offensively, because you have the noise," Riley said. "It takes a lot more concentration.

"The first couple of games you don't realize how loud some stadiums can get. It's hard for the outer linemen to hear you.

"When things don't go your way, it's more difficult, because you don't have the crowd."

Cal's 4-2 road mark last year was its first above .500 since 2005.

In Riley's four years, however, the Golden Bears and Wildcats have split. Each school won its home games.

"We know Arizona's a good team," Riley said. "They have been for the past four years."

The Golden Bears pump crowd noise into each practice. Riley's experience helps; his 31 career games are tied with Washington's Jake Locker for the most among Pac-10 quarterbacks.

"Having a quarterback that has dealt with that before, in the venues that we play, it's nothing new to him," Tedford said. "That doesn't mean it's any easier."

This ain't Reno.

"I think it's going to be a dogfight," running back Shane Vereen said. "I don't expect anything less than Arizona's best.

"I know we're working hard, coming off a loss.

"We have something to prove to ourselves and the nation."

On StarNet: Find a YouTube video of California's highlights and low points against Nevada from Saturday night at azstarnet.com/video

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