Jan. 12, 2014
DAVIS, Calif. - UC Davis football coach Ron Gould is noted for developing outstanding running backs with several protègès from his 16 years coaching with the California Golden Bears moving on to productive NFL careers. Gould can now claim three former players still alive in the NFL playoffs.
Marshawn Lynch, whose 140 yards and two touchdowns - including a raucous 31-yarder clinching score in the fourth quarter - during Seattle's 23-15 win over New Orleans on Saturday, will look to lead the Seattle Seahawks into Super Bowl XLVIII on Feb. 2.
Meanwhile, Shane Vereen of the New England Patriots and C.J. Anderson of the Denver Broncos will square off in the AFC Championship in Foxboro, Mass., next weekend, guaranteeing Gould at least one former player in the Super Bowl. New England beat Indianapolis 43-22 on Saturday while Denver edged San Diego 24-17 on Sunday.
"I'm very proud of all my backs and wish them all the best of luck," Gould said Sunday evening. "I'm like a proud father. It's great to see their hard work pay off into the success they're having."
Lynch was the star for the Seahawks on Saturday, setting a franchise playoff rushing record. He carried the ball 28 times, averaging 5.0 yards. His final touchdown, which came with 2:40 left in the game, got the home crowd so excited that seismologists believe a fan-generated earthquake at CenturyLink Field occurred.
Lynch earned AP All-Pro status in 2012 and is enjoying a standout career with Seattle. The seventh-year pro ranked second at Cal with 3,230 rushing yards while receiving All-America honors. Seattle will host San Francisco in the NFC Championship next Sunday.
Vereen rushed five times for 17 yards and caught two passes for 16 more during the Patriots' home win against the Colts. He's averaged 4.7 yards per carry during the 2013 season. Vereen, who's in his third year with New England, gained 2,834 yards and scored 29 touchdowns at Cal.
Anderson was activated by the Broncos in time for Sunday's win over the Chargers, providing Denver more depth at the running back position. He's an undrafted rookie who gained more than 1,100 yards for Gould while at Cal.