No. 19 Oregon (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12) vs. No. 24 California (3-0)
Where: Memorial Stadium in Berkeley, Calif
When: Saturday, September 29th at 7:30 p.m.
Play-by-Play: Justin Kutcher
Analyst: Petros Papadakis
Sideline Reporter: DeMarco Murray
Radio: Oregon IMG Sports Network
Play-by-Play: Jerry Allen
Analyst: Mike Jorgensen
Sideline Reporter: Joey McMurry
Pre-Game Show: Terry Jonz
Betting Line: Oregon (-2.5) — Over/Under = 58
History: 41-38-2 Cal. Even though Cal leads the overall series, the Ducks are 7-1 since the start of the decade. The lone loss was a 52-49 thriller in double overtime two years ago in Berkeley. Oregon exacted revenge with a 45-24 victory last year, a game that will be remembered where quarterback Justin Herbert broke his collarbone rushing for a touchdown.
Oregon Storyline: How does Oregon respond after last week’s heartbreaking defeat to No. 7 Stanford? The Ducks’ response will go a long way into determining what type of culture head coach Mario Cristobal is building. Quarterback Justin Herbert was sensational in four quarters against Stanford’s elite defense, but he will be tested by Cal’s ball-hawking safeties. Justin Hollins and the defense must stay disciplined against the Golden Bears dual-threat quarterbacks. Altogether, this is the game that will make or break Oregon’s season… no pressure.
Cal Storyline: Under second year head coach Justin Wilcox, a former Duck, Cal is back in the national rankings at No. 24 after an undefeated start to the season. A defensive wizard, Wilcox has Cal’s defense among the top 30 in the nation. Junior safeties Jaylinn Hawkins and Ashtyn Davis have five interceptions on the year, showing off incredible closing speed and ball skills. The offense is finding more balance under Chase Garbers, a dual threat quarterback who’s growing more comfortable each day. Last year, Cal started 3-0 before finishing the season 5-7 (2-7 in Pac-12). Do the Golden Bears make the jump this year to Pac-12 North contender or are they still a step behind?
Oregon Players to Watch: Junior WR Dillon Mitchell; Freshman RB CJ Verdell; Senior LB Kaulana Apelu; Sophomore CB Thomas Graham Jr.
Cal Players to Watch: Junior S Jaylinn Hawkins; Freshman QB Chase Garbers; Senior LB Jordan Kunaszyk; Senior RB Patrick Laird
Matchup to Watch:Oregon Passing Offense vs. Cal Passing Defense
Oregon Depth Chart:Click Here
Cal Depth Chart:Click Here
Jake Curtis (Cal Bears Maven): Oregon 30 — Cal 20
Jeff Faraudo (Cal Bears Maven): Cal 31 — Oregon 30
Weather Forecast: 63 degrees and partly cloudy at kickoff. Five-percent chance of rain with 79-percent humidity. Winds expected at 14 mph.
Prediction: How does Oregon recover from last week? My guess is the Ducks show up to Berkeley and make a statement to Cal and the rest of the Pac-12 that they’re still a contender. Cristobal has this team mentally strong and I think based on the leadership the Ducks have, they’re going to roll. Herbert will have a big game, but I think it’s running back CJ Verdell (and Tony Brooks-James if he plays) who play well. The defense limits Cal running the ball, making the offense one dimensional and that won’t be able to keep up with Oregon. Ducks get a huge victory going into their bye week
Oregon 45 — Cal 27