The Bears go to Seattle to face their second true-Freshman starting QB in two weeks. Last week Jarrod Heard of Texass ran wild through the Bears’ secondary for 188 yards, Cal won on a missed PAT, and Cal came away fortunate to have faced the Longhorns’ talented underclassmen early in the season.
Huskies QB Jake Browning is one of three true Freshmen starting at QB in the Pac-12. He’s been compared favorably to Jared Goff, and he’s thrown for a lot of yards. That said, I don’t think that he’ll give the Bears nearly as much trouble as Jarrod Heard did last week. UW’s receivers aren’t as skilled as Cal’s, and I think that Cal’s defense will get a fair number of stops. Their WRs are fast, so they might rack up yards on the 10-yard outs while Cal’s DBs give them a big cushion. They make regular use of their FB and TE in the passing game, too. As always, watch for the TE up the middle on 3rd downs!
The Huskies’ running game has yet to materialize. Three of their OL starters are freshmen, and they’re still learning — a lot. Don’t expect them to break through against Cal.
Defensively, the Huskies are tough, but not as tough or talented as last year. Daniel Lasco expects to play, so the Bears will have their #1 RB. That’s a lot of weapons for the defense to track.
The real story of this game is that in 2014, Washington came to Berkeley and administered a harsh physical beat-down on the Bears. This year, the Bears are looking for payback. They come into this game stronger, deeper, faster, and more talented than last year’s squad, and last week’s win against Texas gives them some swagger.
Jared Goff will pass efficiently. The chains will move. And Cal’s offense will turn in another 40+ performance.
Prediction: Cal wins, 42-35.