50 GREATEST GOLDEN BEARS - #31 - STEVE RIVERA#31 - STEVE RIVERA - WIDE RECEIVER (1973-1975)
Steve Rivera held Cal's all-time leading receiving mark with 138 receptions for sixteen years (until the record was broken by Brian Treggs in 1991) and was the first Golden Bear to earn consensus All-America honors at wide receiver.
In his senior year, Rivera hauled in 57 catches, at that time the most ever by a Cal player in a single-season. Rivera and teammate Wesley Walker were perfect complements: While Rivera lacked Walker's blazing speed he more than made up for it with sticky fingers and an elusive quality in the open field. Over his career Rivera had five games of more than 100 yards receiving, and he averaged 15.1 yards per reception.
Rivera's biggest day as a Bear came in his junior season against Stanford, when he totaled 205 yards receiving, including a 26-yard touchdown in the closing seconds that appeared to salt the game away for Cal. Stanford of course came back to win that game on a 50-yard field goal, but Rivera was named first team all-Pac 8 at receiver.
Rivera went on to spend two years in the NFL with the San Francisco 49ers and the Chicago Bears.