Washington at Cal preview
Washington (4-4, 2-3); California (3-6, 2-4) Time: 6 p.m., Memorial Stadium. TV: ESPN2. Radio: KJR 950 AM, 102. 9 FM. Line: California by 4...
Washington (4-4, 2-3); California (3-6, 2-4)
Time: 6 p.m., Memorial Stadium.
TV: ESPN2. Radio: KJR 950 AM, 102.9 FM. Line: California by 4.
The setup: Huskies come in revived after a 20-17 win over No. 7 Oregon State and enter a portion of the schedule that appears more favorable, looking for two wins to become bowl-eligible. California is 3-6 after a 49-27 loss at Utah last week that increased speculation about the future of coach Jeff Tedford. Cal needs to win out to have a chance at making a bowl.
Key matchup: UW's front seven vs. Cal's offensive line. The Bears have some solid skill players (though lessened considerably with the news that standout receiver Keenan Allen is out with a knee injury). But what has really ailed the Bears this season is an offensive line that has allowed 34 sacks, tied with Washington State for most in the Pac-12. Washington, meanwhile, has often struggled to get a pass rush, ranking last in the conference in sacks with 11. The Huskies' defensive efforts should be simplified a bit with the loss of Allen, who is fourth in the conference in receptions at 6.7 per game. Stopping Cal's running game and forcing the Bears to throw to a suddenly thin receiving corps will be the best way to stop the Bears offense.
What to expect: There isn't a whole lot that separates these teams in statistical areas, and they also run many of the same schemes. The Huskies, knowing they haven't played well on the road but now face a vulnerable opponent, might be aggressive early. Cal's biggest strength might be a running game that averages 168.8 yards, and the Bears are sure to test a UW rushing defense that is 11th in the Pac-12, allowing 185.1 yards per game.
Notes: UW and Cal are the only teams that have played in what is now the Pac-12 every season since the conference was founded in 1916. The Huskies hold a 50-38-4 edge in the series, which began in 1904. UW has won the past three, including 31-23 last year in Seattle and 16-13 two years ago in Berkeley. ... This will be UW's first game in Cal's renovated stadium. The Huskies played the last game in the stadium before it was renovated in 2010. ... Cal has declared the game a "Gold Out" with all fans being encouraged to wear gold. ... The game will be televised to a national audience on ESPN2 with the broadcast team of Carter Blackburn, Rod Gilmore and Jemele Hill. ... The only Cal player from Washington expected to play is junior defensive lineman Deandre Coleman of Garfield. Coleman has started all nine games for the Bears and has 39 tackles, 5.5 for a loss. ... Receiver Cedric Dozier of Lakes High lists Roanoke, Ala., as his hometown. He is a true freshman this year and is redshirting.
Upset brewing? Cal is listed as a four-point favorite, no doubt due largely to UW's recent road woes — six straight losses all by 17 or more points. But the Huskies appear to have a lot more momentum coming into the game, fresh off their upset of Oregon State while the Bears have lost their past two. If UW can get off to a quick start and quiet whatever crowd is there, the Huskies could snap their road losing streak.
Injuries: Out for UW are RB Jesse Callier (knee), DE Hau'oli Jamora (knee), RB Deontae Cooper (knee), WR James Johnson (wrist), OL Erik Kohler (knee), OL Colin Tanigawa (knee) and DL Lawrence Lagafuaina (leg). For Cal, WR Keenan Allen is out with a left knee injury suffered against Utah and OLB Chris McCain (ankle), ILB Jalen Jefferson (concussion), OLB Brennan Scarlett (broken hand), DT Viliami Moala (ankle), WR Bryce Treggs (ankle) and CB Marc Anthony (concussion) are all questionable.
Prediction: Washington 21, California 13.