California (3-8) at (15) Oregon State (7-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 17, 10:30 p.m. (et)
By Phil Neuffer, Associate College Football Editor
GAME NOTES: The No. 15 Oregon State Beavers finish up their season with the
first of two home games this weekend, when the California Golden Bears come to
Reser Stadium for a Pac-12 bout.
A largely disappointing season for California will come to a close in this
matchup as there are no more games left on the schedule, and with the Golden
Bears just 3-8 overall this season, no postseason. It will be the second time
in the last three seasons that California has failed to earn a bowl invite
after a seven-season streak in postseason play from 2003-2009.
"The bowl game situation is obviously disappointing. It is not something we
are used to," said head coach Jeff Tedford while looking towards the future.
"We have a good group of young guys, from the offensive line to the skill
players you saw today. I am very committed to getting the program back to
where it needs to be."
Tedford's coaching seat has been heating up in recent years so it remains to
be seen if he will still be around in Berkeley to complete a turnaround.
The surprising season for Oregon State hit another road block last week when
the Beavers came up short on the road to another nationally ranked team in
Stanford. The 27-23 loss dropped Oregon State to 7-2 overall. This matchup for
the Beavers is just an appetizer for the Civil War in the season finale next
weekend when the Beavers host the No. 1 Oregon Ducks in a game that will have
much more than instate bragging rights on the line.
It has been more than 100 years since these teams first met up on the
gridiron. In that time there have been 64 total meetings, 34 of which
California has won, including a 23-6 victory last season.
The backfield tandem of C.J. Anderson and Isi Sofele has been the key to
California's limited success on offense. Although they rank near the middle of
the conference in both scoring and total offense, the Golden Bears are the
fourth most productive rushing team (182.4 ypg). Both Anderson and Sofele have
been the primary cogs in the California rushing machine. Anderson leads the
team with 729 yards and four touchdowns. Sofele has started seven games and
has led the team in carries (128) but is behind Anderson with 653 yards and
The passing game was not overly productive this season before it lost lead
receiver Keenan Allen for the last two games. On the season the Golden Bears
are averaging only 215.2 yards passing. After Allen, Chris Harper is the next
best option. Harper has brought in 38 passes for 515 yards and a pair of
Allen's loss is not the only bad news for the passing game. Joining Allen on
the injury list is quarterback Zach Maynard, listed as doubtful with a knee
injury this week. Maynard's backup is Allan Bridgford, who has completed just
13-of-37 pass attempts for 145 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions in
limited minutes this season.
California has played tough on defense for stretches but its overall body of
work is not all that impressive. The Golden Bears are the third from last in
the Pac-12 in total yards allowed (430.5 ypg) and just slightly better in
scoring defense (30.5 ppg, ninth).
The quarterback situation at Oregon State was far from a concern a few weeks
ago. However after opening day starter Sean Mannion was injured in early
October a quarterback controversy has begun to brew. Cody Vaz filled in for
Mannion in that first game Mannion missed and threw for 332 yards and three
touchdowns in a road win over BYU. Since then Vaz has taken the majority of
the snaps and started four of the five games. Vaz is listed as questionable
for Saturday's game with an ankle injury.
"The situation is pretty obvious. Cody's hurt and Sean is chomping at the bit
and ready to go," head coach Mike Riley said about his quarterbacks. "As far
as the role they'll play we'll have to play it out and go day to day."
Riley admitted that he is still uncertain about who he will give the start to
on Saturday but did say that two days of practice would be enough for Vaz to
get the nod.
Regardless of who plays at quarterback, the Beavers' passing game will go only
as far as Markus Wheaton and Brandin Cooks takes it. Wheaton has been both
Vaz and Mannion's favored target with a team-high 61 receptions for 878 yards
and nine touchdowns this season. Cooks has also excelled with a team-high 988
yards on 57 receptions. Starting running back Storm Woods (25 receptions, 191
yards) is the only other player on the roster with more than 18 receptions.
Woods has not been an overly productive back this season but has played well
enough. He has rushed for 634 yards and six touchdowns and is averaging a
healthy 4.8 yards per carry.
While its offense has not been in line with some of the more elite teams in
the Pac-12, the defense has been as effective as any in the conference. The
Beavers are allowing the second fewest points per game in the Pac-12 (19.1
ppg) and the fourth fewest total yards (347.7 ypg). The Beavers are especially
strong against the run, where they rank behind only Stanford (99.7 yapg).
The defense up front has been stout with the play of Scott Chricton (15.0
tackles for loss, 9.0 sacks) and Michael Doctor (56 tackles, 6.0 tackles for
loss). However, the secondary has perhaps the most dynamic playmakers.
Cornerback Rashaad Reynolds leads the team in tackles (57) and pass breakups
(12) and has collected three interceptions, while fellow cornerback Jordan
Poyer has brought in a Pac-12 leading five picks.
The quarterback situation is concerning for Oregon State entering this
matchup. However California has even bigger injury issues and has been a much
weaker team than the Beavers even at full strength. Expect Poyer and Reynolds
to make Bridgford's first start a nightmare and put Oregon State back in the
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oregon State 27, California 17
11/14 10:38:31 ET
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