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Preview: California @ Washington State
California (2-4, 1-2); WSU (2-4, 0-3) Time: 7:30 p.m., Martin Stadium. TV: Pac-12 Networks. Radio: 710 ESPN. Line: Cal by 7. The setup: California tries...
California (2-4, 1-2); WSU (2-4, 0-3)
Time: 7:30 p.m., Martin Stadium.
TV: Pac-12 Networks. Radio: 710 ESPN. Line: Cal by 7.
The setup: California tries to continue momentum created by a big victory over UCLA last week. WSU is seeking its first Pac-12 victory under first-year coach Mike Leach.
What to expect: Cal alternates between a running game led by Isi Sofele and C.J. Anderson and passing by Zach Maynard, often on the run outside the pocket. WSU, struggling last week on offense at Oregon State, will try to protect better and make faster decisions in its passing game with Connor Halliday at quarterback.
Key matchup: Cal TE Richard Rodgers versus WSU OLBs Cyrus Coen and Eric Oertel. The 265-pound Rodgers was expected to be a big part of the Cal attack before hurting a foot. He's healthy now and a reliable safety valve for Maynard.
Notes: First game of the second half of the season for both teams. ... Cal has won seven straight in the series and leads it 43-25-5. ... Anderson had 21 carries for a career-high 151 yards last week for Bears against UCLA, and Maynard had his best game as a Bear with 25 of 30 for 295 yards. ... Cal has no bye week this year, playing 12 straight weeks. ... Bears defense isn't up to last two years' standard — No. 1 in Pac-12 total defense in 2010-11 — allowing 418.5 yards for 9th in the league, while WSU is 10th at 455.2. ... Cal is only 10th in run defense at 167, but WSU is a poor last in rushing at 41.3. ... Cougars are No. 9 in the nation in sacks with 19, and Cal has allowed a nation-leading 28. ... WSU "Buck" LB Travis Long's 7.5 sacks is tied for most in the country. ... WSU has its bye Oct. 20.
Upset brewing? If WSU can re-ignite its struggling offense, it seems like a real possibility, especially if the Bears revert to inconsistent ways and don't react well to a Saturday-night game in Pullman.
Injuries: California — CB Marc Anthony (knee), DL Todd Barr (calf), probable. WSU — OT Wade Jacobsen (neck-shoulder), probable.
Prediction: WSU, 27-24.