It's a quick turnaround for the Ducks this week as they head to the Bay Area for a matchup with the California Golden Bears on Friday night. The game will be played at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, 45 miles south of Berkeley. Don't expect too many Cal fans to be in attendance however. On the same night, the Giants and Royals will square off in Game 3 of the World Series at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
The Ducks haven't lost to Cal since 2008 when they were upset in a monsoon at Memorial Stadium. Since then, the Ducks have rattled off five straight wins in the series, winning by an average of 30 points each time. Take out the 2010 nail biter in which Oregon squeaked out a 15-13 win, and the Ducks have beat Cal by an average of 37 points in their other four wins. This one should be closer than in recent years, but I'm seeing another easy win over the Bears for the Ducks. Let's take a look at the guys on offense who will try and snap Cal's losing streak to the Ducks.
Leading the Bears is sophomore Jared Goff, who has thrown for 2,482 yards with 24 touchdowns and just four interceptions. Goff also has a passer rating of 167.3, which would top the single-season school record of 164.5 set by Dave Barr in 1993. His 24 passing touchdowns rank second in the nation while his passing efficiency ranks fifth in the nation.
Golf's game of the year so far came against Washington State when he threw for 527 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions in a wild 60-59 win over the Cougars.
Compared to Heisman hopeful Marcus Mariota, Goff actually has the statistical edge in several categories, including touchdown passes, passing yards per game and total offense. Goff will be Cal's best chance at upsetting the Ducks on Friday.
In the backfield for Cal is junior Daniel Lasco, who has 102 carries for 523 yards and six touchdowns. Lasco ranks seventh in the Pac-12 in rushing, averaging 74.7 yards per game. Last month, Lasco had two straight games with over 100 rushing yards against Arizona and Colorado. Last week against UCLA, Lasco had only 44 yards on 19 carries (2.3 ypc) but had two touchdowns.
Lasco can also make big plays through the air. Against Colorado, Lasso had a 92-yard touchdown reception, the longest pass play in school history. This year, Lasco has 18 receptions for 203 receiving yards and two touchdowns. He is Cal's leading scorer with eight total touchdowns.
Jared Goff has plenty of targets through the air. Five Cal receivers have at least 20 catches this season. Leading the receiving corps is Bryce Treggs who has 33 catches for 401 yards and five touchdowns, including a season-best performance against Washington State with 10 catches for 120 yards. Treggs also had two touchdown catches in that game.
Leading Cal in receiving touchdowns is Kenny Lawler, who has six touchdown catches in 2014. He's second on the team with 28 catches for 387 yards. Lawler scores frequently, with 11 touchdowns in 18 career games. Another good option through the air for Goff is Chris Harper, who has 25 catches for 334 yards and four touchdowns this year. Harper and Lawler are tied for the most career touchdowns (11) among active Cal players.
Who to Watch For
Like I stated earlier, Jared Goff will be Cal's best chance at upsetting Oregon. If he can't get going, we're looking at another 40 or 50 point blowout for the Ducks. Goff is one of the more talented quarterbacks Cal has had in recent years, and if he were on a top 10 team in the nation, I have no doubt his name would be tossed around in the Heisman chat. Instead, he's stuck on Cal. Poor bastard.