FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Stadium (81,067) — Berkeley, California.
Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Colorado 1-1, Cal 1-0. Away Record:
Colorado 1-0, Cal 1-1. Neutral Record: Colorado 0-1, Cal 0-0. Conference
Record: Colorado 0-1, Cal 0-1. Series Record: California leads, 4-3.
GAME NOTES: The California Golden Bears will try recover from a devastating
loss when they host the Colorado Buffaloes in a Pac-12 Conference clash at
Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
At halftime last Saturday, California held a commanding 28-6 lead over
Arizona. However, the Golden Bears watched that lead slip away in the fourth
quarter when they allowed 36 points, including a miracle touchdown pass from
Anu Solomon to Austin Hill on the last play of the game. The loss was the
first of the season for California, which is now 2-1.
Colorado has alternated wins and losses in its first four games. The season
began with a 31-17 disappointment against Colorado State and was followed by a
41-38 escape act against Massachusetts. The Buffaloes then fell at home to
Arizona State (38-24) before notching a 21-12 triumph over Hawaii last week.
These teams met in Boulder last season and the Buffaloes ran away with a 41-24
victory. Cal still leads the all-time series, but by the slimmest of margins
The first four games of the season have shown a drastic improvement on offense
for Colorado. The Buffaloes were dead last in the Pac-12 in total yards last
season (369.9 ypg), but they are currently seventh in the conference, picking
up a solid 449.8 yards per game.
The connection quarterback Sefo Liufau has with Nelson Spruce has been a major
reason for the team’s offensive improvement. Spruce leads the league in
receptions (37), receiving yards (518) and touchdown catches (seven). He also
has seven receptions of more than 20 yards, more than the rest of the team
combined. Shay Fields (27 receptions, 201 yards, two TDs) is the next-best
Liufau has relied on Spruce quite a bit and with great success as he has
completed 64 percent of his pass attempts for 1,124 yards and 10 touchdowns.
He threw for fewer than 1,900 yards last season, but the improved production
has also come with five interceptions.
Christian Powell is a workhorse for the CU offense, as he has logged 249 yards
on 49 carries, both team-highs. He is also the only player on the roster to
have a 100-yard game and to have more than 10 runs of at least five yards.
Colorado put forth an impressive defensive effort against Hawaii, limiting the
Rainbow Warriors to 286 yards of total offense. The Buffaloes actually rank
fourth in the Pac-12 in total defense, but they have still struggled to keep
teams off the scoreboard, letting up nearly 30 points per contest.
Tedric Thompson (38 tackles) and Addison Gillam (34 tackles, 2.5 sacks) give
the Buffs strong performers in the secondary and at linebacker, respectively.
Even with Spruce playing at such a high level, the Buffaloes may have trouble
keeping up with California’s high-octane offense. The Golden Bears have moved
the ball at will this season, averaging 522.7 yards per game, while ranking
fourth in the Pac-12 in scoring (43.7 ppg). They tallied 573 yards against
Jared Goff keeps the offense moving with his strong play under center. He had
his first game of more than 300 passing yards against Arizona, finishing with
380 on 60 percent passing. He also added to his touchdown total (10) with
three scoring strikes. He ranks behind only Oregon’s Marcus Mariota and Utah’s
Travis Wilson in Pac-12 passer rating (185.8).
Although Goff has been extremely productive, he has not relied all that
heavily on any one receiver. Bryce Treggs (10 receptions, 162 yards, two TDs)
is the leader in receiving yards, but he is one of five players with at least
eight receptions and 100 yards. Treggs was the most explosive playmaker
against Arizona, finishing with 119 yards and a score on five grabs.
Daniel Lasco and Khalfani Muhammad get most of the work in the running game.
Lasco racked up 123 yards and a touchdown against Arizona and Muhammad chipped
in with 95 yards and two scores. The duo have combined for 377 yards and five
TDs in the first three games.
California’s defensive prowess has not caught up to its ability on offense,
although it has improved from a year ago. The Golden Bears are allowing 29
points and 427.3 yards per game. However, they showed a ton of weakness
against Arizona, letting up 36 points in the fourth quarter alone and 627
yards in all.
Jalen Jefferson (22 tackles) leads the team in tackles and has one of its
eight sacks. Obviously getting pressure on the quarterback is still an area
that needs improvement.
Cal has played extremely well in 11 quarters this season. However, the final
frame against Arizona is a blemish that will be tough to get past. Colorado
has also improved from last season, but it still lacks the offensive firepower
to keep up with the Golden Bears.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: California 36, Colorado 26