Pac-10 loss to No. 1-ranked USC (5-0, 2-0 in conference).
The redshirt junior played 29 offensive snaps and produced first
downs on three of his season-high five touches.
But his most notable brush with NCAA lore occurred with about nine
minutes left in a game the visitors hoped would be the program's
first victory in seven tries against a team sitting atop the national
By that time, Cal quarterback Aaron Rodgers was piling up
precedents of his own, completing his first 23 pass attempts to set
school and conference single-game records for consecutive
completions. That total also tied him for the NCAA single-game high,
established by Tennessee's Tee Martin in 1998.
Add those to the three straight he completed at the end of a 49-7
drubbing of Oregon State Oct. 2, and it was 26 in a row as Cal (3-1,
1-1) broke the huddle on second-and-eight from the Trojans' 36-yard
Rodgers was flushed to his left by the USC pass rush, as Manderino
darted into the flat, his familiar rout that resulted in his two
But, this time, Manderino was hawked by a USC defender all the way
to the visitors' sideline, prompting Rodgers to intentionally loft
the ball out of bounds on a direct line above Manderino.
Thus, what could have been an NCAA-record-setting reception,
instead floated hopelessly over Manderino's head.
"Aaron makes good decisions and he threw that one away," said
Manderino, who had a record-setting career at Newport Harbor,
including a Newport-Mesa-best 31 touchdowns as a senior tailback in
2000. "I didn't know if I was open or not, but when I turned around
after the ball went out of bounds, I saw the USC guy had me covered."
When it comes to versatility at the fullback spot, Manderino has
In addition to his punishing blocking, the 6-foot-1, 225-pound
former walk-on -- he was awarded a scholarship the week before making
his first start in the 2002 season-opener -- has compiled some modest
Including Saturday, he now has 27 career carries for 116 yards and
one touchdown, as well as 23 receptions for 202 yards and two TDs.
Yet, despite his most prolific individual performance of the