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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 2, 3:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Memorial Stadium (63,000) -- Berkeley, California. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: Arizona 3-0, Cal 1-4. Away Record: Arizona 2-2, Cal 0-3. Neutral Record: Arizona 0-0, Cal 0-0. Conference Record: Arizona 2-2, Cal 0-5. Series Record: Tied, 14-14
GAME NOTES: Two teams with different offensive philosophies will be matched up Saturday at Memorial Stadium when the Arizona Wildcats do battle with the California Golden Bears in Pac-12 action.
Powered by All-American Ka'Deem Carey, the Wildcats blew past Colorado, 44-20, last weekend for their second straight win. Carey rushed for 119 yards and four touchdowns in the contest as the Wildcats picked up 670 yards of total offense, the third-highest single-game mark in program history. The victory evened Arizona's conference record at 2-2 and improved its overall mark to 5-2. Arizona is now one of eight schools in the league to have at least five victories this season.
California is not one of those eight squads. In fact, the Golden Bears have just a single victory in eight tries this season. That came against FCS foe Portland State. Since that victory California has dropped six straight games, failing to score more than 20 points in the last three. Five of those losses have come in league play. That has the Golden Bears in last place in the North Division.
It has been a few years since these teams went head-to-head. The last matchup came during the 2010-11 season when Arizona escaped with a 10-9 victory. The win tied the all-time series at 14 wins apiece.
Even though Arizona is actually ranked in the bottom half of the conference in total offense (465.3 ypg), its effort on Saturday showed just how potent the Wildcats can be. In the contest the Wildcats again relied heavily on running the ball as they racked up 405 rushing yards.
Carey has been the lynchpin of the rushing offense, which ranks 11th nationally in yards per game (288). Carey (920 yards, 10 TDs) is the leading rusher not only in the Pac-12 but the nation at 153.3 ypg, a feat he accomplished last season as well. Against Colorado, Carey not only picked up 119 yards but also scored four touchdowns. Carey has scored at least once in 14 of the last 15 games and has had 100 yards in 10 straight games, the longest streak in the country.
However, Carey was not the only star in the running game last Saturday. Quarterback B.J. Denker had 457 yards of total offense in the contest, including a team-high 192 yards on the ground. Denker has rushed for 519 yards and eight scores on the campaign, while finding time to be a solid passer. In all Denker has thrown for only 1,241 yards on 57.1 percent passing, with eight touchdowns against three interceptions.
Nate Phillips (17 receptions, 268 yards, three TDs) had his third straight week of at least 60 receiving yards and second straight as the leading receiver for the Wildcats. Samajie Grant (24 receptions, 177 yards, TD) leads the team in catches but has been utilized on more short-yardage routes.
Although offense is clearly the strength for the Wildcats, they have still managed to be a solid defensive team as well. Arizona is fifth in the Pac-12 in total defense (366.3 ypg), holding foes to less than 20 points per game. However, the Wildcats don't create much pressure, with only nine sacks. Tra'Mayne Bondurant has hauled in three interceptions to lead a strong secondary. Jack Fischer (47) and Scooby Wright (49) are the leading tacklers.
California could not be more different than the Wildcats on offense. Sonny Dykes has installed a pass-heavy attack in Berkeley in his first season and the results have led the Golden Bears to being the third-most prolific passing attack in the Pac-12 (356.4 ypg). California is also a step ahead of the Wildcats in total offense, ranking sixth in the conference (468.3 ypg).
At the head of the aerial assault is freshman QB Jared Goff. There have certainly been some growing pains for Goff, as well as some flashes of brilliance. Goff has piled up 2,592 yards, completing 60.2 percent of his pass attempts. However, he has held the ball too long at times and thanks to some suspect protection, has been sacked 25 times already. Goff has also only thrown 10 touchdown passes, while being intercepted seven times. Goff threw for 336 yards last week against Washington for his fourth 300-yard game of the season.
Chris Harper and Bryce Treggs have been on the other end of the majority of Goff's throws this season. Harper is the primary target and is ranked among the top five in the conference in receptions (58) and yards (796), while also adding five touchdown receptions. Treggs has also been reliable with 54 receptions for 591 yards and a score this season.
Injuries have plagued the backfield for the Golden Bears causing Brendan Bigelow (280 yards), Khalfani Muhammad (258 yards, two TDs) and Daniel Lasco (213 yards, two TDs) to have inconsistent seasons. Lasco is listed as questionable for Saturday's game with a shoulder injury.
Though the pace they play is partially to blame, California's defensive performance this season has been disastrous. The Golden Bears are allowing 44 points and 540 yards of total offense each weekend. They are last in the Pac-12 in each category and among the five worst teams in the country as well. Khairi Fortt (54 tackles) is the leading tackler for the unit, which does rank fifth in the conference in tackles for loss (50).
For two straight seasons opponents have known that to stop the Wildcats you have to stop Carey. Thus far few teams have succeeded in that endeavor. Although the Golden Bears will be throwing the ball all over the field and may stay competitive early on, they don't have the type of defense to hold the nation's leading rusher back for too long.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Arizona 41, California 24
10/30 10:39:41 ET
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