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Know Thy Enemy: California Golden Bears

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NCAA Football: Stanford at Oregon
The CJ Verdell Redemption Tour begins now
Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports

The Ducks travel to Berkeley for a potential #Pac12AfterDark date with a long time friend.

Head Coach: Justin Wilcox

2017 Record: 5-7 (2-7) 4-2 home and 1-5 away

2018 Record: 3-0

Key Numbers + Info (2018 season)

OOC Opponents: North Carolina, BYU, Idaho State

Points per game: 30.0

Points allowed per game: 19.33

Avg. yards per rush: 4.2

Avg. yards per rush allowed: 3.4

Avg. rush yards per game: 180

Avg. rush yards per game allowed: 131.7

Rushing TDs: 3 for, 3 against

Avg. pass yards per game: 202.33

Avg. pass yards per game allowed: 170.67

Passing TDs: 7 for, 3 against

Collective Pass Completion Rate: 64%

Collective Pass Completion Rate Against: 52%

Analysis

  • Cal has struggled to put away FBS opponents in the passing game and on offense in general.
  • Their 3-0 record is based on defensive acumen and catching their opponents at the right time. In particular, North Carolina had multiple players suspended due to various issues. BYU has struggled mightily on offense so far. Idaho State is well, Idaho State.
  • The red zone stats are nearly identical with 7 touchdowns for to 6 against.
  • Against the FBS opponents, they are averaging a paltry 22.5 points per game.
  • In addition, the passing game isn’t just clicking as they have averaged a Sam Bradford like 6.07 yards per pass.
  • Their run game isn’t much to write home about either.

Keys to an Oregon win

  • Mental health. That was a rough loss last week on primetime national television, no less. The coaching staff will need to get the players fired up and ready to go against a stingy defense first opponent led by a coach that knows them well. Can the Ducks collectively bounce back and avoid a let down game?
  • Pass game. Will someone not named Dillon Mitchell step up to help him out? Mitchell doubles the second leading receiver (JJ3) in terms of receptions and yards per game. He has more receptions than the second and third receivers combined. The receivers need to carry over last week’s effort into this weekend and beyond.
  • Defense. Preferably the one that showed in the first half of last week, please. The pass rush has been there many times this season. Cal is going through some tough times at QB so any kind of pass rush will be of some help for the Ducks. Cal’s pass game is terrible so Cover 2 might be beneficial here.

Keys to an Oregon loss

  • Secondary. To put it mildly, the secondary has been very subpar outside of Ugo Amadi. The corners look like FCS level defensive backs. The safety play has been misguided and inexperienced at best. Some of the fault lies on DC Jim Leavitt’s desk as he has failed to scheme around the corners by providing safety help over the top. Then again, some of the safeties’ inconsistencies have been so glaring that he probably has no choice but to leave the corners on islands.
  • Offensive Complacency. OC Marcus Arroyo has been on point for the most part but there are times when he gets cute. The Ducks came out on fire during the first half last week but couldn’t keep the momentum going. The run game has been stellar, though so there’s that. Center Jake Hansen had a poor game that featured game changing bad snaps. It’s not like he was facing Ed Oliver aka Aaron Donald 2.0 across from him, either. I hope it isn’t a long term problem.

What are the odds?

The Westgate Superbook has Oregon as 2.5 point favorites. O/U is set at 58. The money line is Oregon -140 Cal +120

William Hill has Oregon as 2.5 point favorites. O/U is set at 58. The money line is Oregon -140 Cal +120