Oregon (2-4) vs California (3-3)
Two of the most disappointing teams in the Pac-12 meet Friday (Enter Games of the Week) as Oregon visits California. Cal is looking to bounce back from a surprising 47-44 overtime loss at Oregon State on Oct. 8, while Oregon are off to their worst start in 30 years. The Ducks bring a four-game losing streak into this contest, but they’ve won their last seven straight matchups against Cal.
Oregon appeared to be a team in disarray following the Washington rout two weeks ago. They’ve allowed Huskies quarterback Jake Browning to throw for 304 yards and collect a school-record six touchdowns. The green and gold will look to come together against the inconsistent Golden Bears, who have previously beaten Texas and Utah but allowed Oregon State to rush for 474 yards and record its first conference win in nearly two years. Friday’s contest figures to feature plenty of offense with both teams allowing at least 40 points per game while ranked among the worst in the country in several defensive categories.
Freshman quarterback Justin Herbert is expected to make his second career start. He completed 62 percent of his passes while throwing for 179 yards and a pair of touchdowns with one interception against the stellar Washington defense. The Ducks boast the league’s top running game at 257.8 yards per game. Friday’s gameplan figures to be filled with a heavy dose of Royce Freeman, Tony Brooks-James and Jarret LaCoste against the porous Cal run defense. Oregon has a number of freshmen starting on both sides of the ball. Linebacker Troy Dye is one of them. He ranks second on the team with 30 tackles. Oregon has won 27 of its 31 road conference games since the beginning of the 2009 season and have scored 20-plus points in 36 straight games, tying TCU for the nation’s longest current streak.
Last week’s bye came at a good time for quarterback Davis Webb. He had averaged 376 passing yards with 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions, but was limited against Oregon State with a hand injury. Webb is expected to start against Oregon along with receiver Chad Hansen. Hansen was a former walk-on who has 59 catches for 770 yards and eight touchdowns. He hopes to play through an ankle injury. While the defense continues to struggle without several injured starters, Cal featured a balanced offensive attack against Oregon State. Tre Watson and Khalfani Muhammad rushed for a combined 299 yards.