Simply looking at the numbers, Saturday’s contest between the California Golden Bears and the Oregon Ducks appears to be about as one-sided as they come. While Cal boasts a high-powered aerial attack thanks to new coach Sonny Dykes and freshman quarterback Jared Goff, the Golden Bears are atrocious on defense, which doesn’t exactly bode well for heading into Autzen to take on one of the best offenses in the nation.
Oregon players, however, know not to take the Golden Bears lightly. Here’s what three-year starter Hroniss Grasu had to say about taking on Cal:
Every time I’ve played them it has been a very physical game. Defensively, I know they’ve changed the coaching staff, so the scheme is going to be a little bit different. But I watched the whole Ohio State game and Ohio State has a very physical offense, and (Cal) held up against them. It’s going to be another good test for the offensive line (Eugene Register Guard).
Head coach Mark Helfrich echoed Grasu:
They’ve always been a very talented group just athletically. We know a lot of those guys from trying to recruit a lot of them. We know the athleticism and the capability of those teams, and our guys will prepare with that in mind.
The Ducks are favored by 36.5 points but don’t be surprised if the game is closer. Despite losing, Cal has played Oregon tough the past few seasons. The 2012 meeting between the two saw Cal hang with the Ducks for a majority of the game — Oregon only led by a touchdown in the third quarter — before Marcus Mariota helped the Ducks pull away for the 59-17 win. The 2011 game ended in a 43-15 win for the Ducks, but star running back LaMichael James suffered a ghastly injury during the contest. The 2010 game was by far the closest, with the Ducks escaping Berkeley with a 15-13 win after the Gold Bears held the Oregon offense to a season-low 317 yards.
The game begins at 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time and can be seen on the Pac-12 Network.
[Source: Eugene Register Guard]