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Golden Nuggets: Jared Goff, Hardy Nickerson win Cal Football MVPs

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Jared Goff and Hardy Nickerson win offensive and defensive Team MVPs for the Golden Bears, and Tom Shields leads Team USA to victory in the pool.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Men's Swimming and Diving

Shields Leads USA To Win At Duel In The Pool: Former Cal Star Sets Three American Records As Team USA Defeats Team Europe

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Former Cal men's swimming star Tom Shields broke a pair of his own American records in the butterfly as well as one in the 400-meter medley relay to highlight Team USA's seventh win over Team Europe at the Mutual of Omaha Duel in the Pool at IUPUI Natatorium.

Shields wasn't the only Bear to make a major impact in Indianapolis. Nathan Adrian, who also still trains at Spieker Aquatics Complex alongside Shields, contributed to American record swims in the 400 medley relay and 400 freestyle relay while also winning the 50 and 100 freestyle. And, current Bear standout Josh Prenot helped add to Team USA's lead with a win of his own, claiming the 200 IM crow.

Men's Water Polo

Men's Basketball

Football

Nickerson And Goff Named 2015 Team MVPs: Junior Duo Among 18 Golden Bears Honored Individually

Juniors Jared Goff and Hardy Nickerson were named the 2015 Cal Football Bear Backers Offensive and Defensive MVPs to highlight a series of awards announced at the team's annual awards banquet held Sunday evening at Haas Pavilion.

Goff became the first Cal quarterback to earn first-team All-Pac-12 honors since Aaron Rodgers in 2004 by breaking his own school records in passing yards (4252) and TD passes (37) through the team's 12 regular-season contests. He leads the Pac-12 and ranks third in the nation in touchdown passes, while he is fourth nationally in passing yards per game (354.3) and fifth in passing yards.

Nickerson has a team-high 101 tackles in 2015 to become the first Cal player to record 100 stops or more in a season since Mychal Kendricks registered 107 in 2011.

Armed Forces Bowl opponents Cal, Air Force on similar trajectory

Some of the horrid details of 2013 will sound familiar to Air Force fans.

The team went winless in conference. The defense was one of the worst in the nation. The offense turned to a freshman quarterback for much of the season.

Only, this wasn't the Falcons. Well, it was, but it wasn't only the Falcons.

Air Force's Armed Forces Bowl opponent, California, had things even worse in that 2013 season before using it as a springboard back to bowl eligibility.

Air Force went 2-10 two years ago. Cal was 1-11. Air Force's defense gave up 40 points a game. Cal's gave up 45.9. The Falcons scored 24 points a game. The Golden Bears scored 23.

Yet here they are, set to meet in an extra game.

"That season kind of made us who we are today," said Cal junior quarterback Jared Goff, who threw for 3,508 yards as a freshman but lost 10 of 11 starts. "It kind of improved our character and maturity and leadership and all that other stuff."