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Golden Nuggets: Shane Vereen, Missing Piece for the Giants

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Vereen is Mr. Do-It-All for the New York Giants, and Aaron Rodgers is solidifying his case for NFL NVP in the first half of the season. Meanwhile, Swimming & Diving lands a big time freestyle recruit.

Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

Men's Soccer

Cal Men's Soccer retired #20 in honor of Eloi Vasquez in a 0-0 draw with #17 Washington.

Volleyball

Junior Maddy Kerr registered 15 digs to move into 10th place on Cal's all-time list but the Cal volleyball team fell to Oregon State on Sunday.

Men's Water Polo

Cal Splits Pair Of Sunday Matches But Beats Stanford To Take Third

After dropping a morning semifinal to No. 1-ranked UCLA at the Kap7 SoCal Invitational, the No. 4 Cal men's water polo team had a chance to shake that result off and bring a significant victory home with a third-place showdown against rival Stanford at Pepperdine.

The Bears made the most of their opportunity, jumping out to an early lead and never giving it back to pick up a 14-11 win over the No. 3-ranked Cardinal and finish third at the end of a highly competitive weekend in Malibu and Los Angeles.

Women's Tennis

Twenty years ago, California's Amanda Augustus celebrated her own doubles title at the Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships. On Sunday, the now Golden Bear head coach celebrated another championship at the All-American when Maegan Manasse and Denise Starr captured Cal's third overall doubles crown at the Riviera Tennis Club.

Swimming & Diving

Anina Lund Makes Verbal Commitment To California Golden Bears

The California Golden Bears claimed a verbal commitment from distance freestyler Anina Lund in a bid to help regain its freestyle strength.

Lund will be a big asset to a program that had not been very strong in distance freestyle recently. She'll partly fill a gap left by the departure of Cierra Runge from the program and will score well in the 500 and 1650 freestyles at the Pac 12 championships in her freshman year.

Lund, who currently represents Badger Swim Club in New York state, holds best times of 4:49.40 in the 500 free and 16:27.90 in the 1650 free that were done at the 2013 U.S. winter nationals. Those would be good for top-16 finishes at the 2015 Pac 12 meet. Lund also has potential to contribute in the 200 free in time, with a 1:50.23 current personal best.

Men's Golf

Cal used significant contributions from all five players in the lineup to post a six-stroke lead after the first 36 holes of the Alister MacKenzie Invitational hosted by the Bears were played Tuesday at the par-71, 6734-yard Meadow Club.

Field Hockey

Two complete-game shutouts this weekend helped redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Kori Griswold to her second consecutive America East Defensive Player of the Week honor, and third in four weeks.

Football

On the CFB Playoff Fence

California Golden Bears

Trending: UP

Look on the bright side, Bears: You turned the ball over six times and still had a chance to tie (or beat) Utah in the closing minutes on the road on Saturday night. Cal gets a week off before playing at No. 18 UCLA on Oct. 22 in a game it can't afford to lose.

National Football League

ESPN: 5 Reasons why Aaron Rodgers is the NFL's MVP So Far

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Aaron Rodgers waited three years to win his second NFL Most Valuable Player award. The wait for his third should be much shorter.

The Green Bay Packers quarterback and reigning MVP is on track to be the league's first back-to-back winner since Peyton Manning in 2008 and 2009.

Here are five reasons Rodgers -- not Tom Brady or Andy Dalton or anyone else -- is the leading candidate this year:

More with less: Rodgers lost his most explosive receiver for the season when Jordy Nelson blew out his right knee in the preseason. The next-best deep target, second-year pro Davante Adams, has played a total of three snaps in the past three games because of an ankle injury. Yet Rodgers has been as efficient and accurate as ever. He has completed 70.6 percent of his passes, which is on pace to surpass his best season, in 2011 (when he won his first MVP). Yes, Rodgers still has Randall Cobb, but he has yet to play at 100 percent because of the shoulder injury he suffered in the preseason. Rodgers' other two primary targets are a rookie (Ty Montgomery) and a veteran who has been cut by two teams since the end of last season (James Jones).

Making Jones a star: Speaking of Jones, Rodgers has turned the 31-year-old journeyman into a star after both the Oakland Raiders and New York Giants cast him aside. Only one NFL receiver, Arizona's Larry Fitzgerald, has more touchdown catches than Jones, who caught his fifth in five games during Sunday's win over the St. Louis Rams. It didn't take Rodgers long at all to reconnect with Jones, who caught a pair of touchdowns in the opener against Chicago just a week after he was re-signed. Jones played his first seven seasons in Green Bay before leaving in free agency in 2014. He's on pace for his first 1,000-yard season.

Shane Vereen: The Giants' Missing Piece

Shane Vereen has proven to be as versatile as advertised, which is a big reason the 3-2 Giants are currently in sole possession of first place in the NFC East.

The running back, one of the Giants' most important free agent offseason acquisitions, is third on the team in both rushing (101 yards on 25 carries) and receiving (20 catches for 208 yards).

His multiple skills last night helped the Giants overcome a late deficit to defeat the San Francisco 49ers, 30-27, in a thriller in MetLife Stadium. Vereen led the Giants with eight receptions for 86 yards, including a two-yarder for the game's first touchdown, and three catches that accounted for 51 of the Giants' 82 yards on the game-winning drive. His last touch was a 24-yard reception that advanced the ball to the San Francisco 20-yard line. Two plays later, Eli Manning hit tight end Larry Donnell for the game-winning 12-yard touchdown pass with just 21 seconds remaining.