Cal hopes for redemption at Colorado

By George Devine, Sr.

After a 62-28 loss to USC in this year’s last game at Berkeley, the Bears hope for their first Division I win of the season at Colorado, kicking off at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 16.

The Buffaloes lost their 14th straight Pac-12 game and are 0-6 in conference this year (3-6 overall), bringing up the rear in the South division as Cal (0-7, 1-9) is in the North division cellar.

The Colorado loss was to Washington, 59=70. Huskies are now 6-3/3-3 and bowl eligible. Leading the charge for the Buffs against Cal will be WR Paul Richardson and running backs Tony Jones and Christian Powell. On defense, ILB Addison Gillam will give the “Bear Raid” offense trouble, despite the chemistry achieved this year between Cal QB Jared Goff and wideout Kenny Lawler, a fellow freshman.

Following the game at Colorado, the Bears will go to Stanford for the annual Big Game, this year on Saturday, November 13 at a time TBD.

Cal hosts Trojans in last home game

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By George Devine, Sr.

Cal ends its home season for 2013 by hosting USC at Noon on Saturday, November 9. The Trojans are coming off a 31-14 win at Oregon State on Friday, November 1 under interim coach Ed Orgeren who is 3-1. Marqise Lee is back in uniform for the visitors, and had 5 catches for 105 yards, including a 71-yare touchdown. He will be hard to stop in Strawberry Canyon. In addition, the Bears will be up against a formidable secondary which put the stop to the vaunted Beavers. USC is now 3-1 in the Pac-12 and 6-3 overall.

Cal, in losing 33-28 to Arizona, has continued its pattern of demonstrating impressive individual statistics in a series of losses (1-7). QB Jared Goff now is fifth on Berkeley’s list for single-season passing yards (2,881) but this is his team’s worst year in recent memory. Key factors are the predictability of Coach Sonny Dykes’ “Bear Raid” offense led by Goff, the inability of the offensive line to give Goff time to find his receivers, the tendency to overthrow so as to avoid effective coverage, and the inability to turn long passes into trips across the goal line. Add to that an injury-ridden defense which the San Francisco Chronicle last week referred to as “porous”, a description used earlier in this space.

Despite the loss, the score was close for much of the game and demonstrated the Bears’ most effective outing against a Division 1 team this year. A high spot for the Bears against the Wildcats was the performance of freshman Kenny Lawler, who caught three touchdown passes. He will be expected to challenge the USC defense. Another redshirt freshman, Cedric Dozier, started at cornerback against Arizona and may figure in the USC game as well.

Cal’s next two games are on the road: November 16 at Colorado and the Big Game at Stanford November 23. Kickoff times are TBD.

Cal returns home to host Arizona

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By George Devine, Sr.

After a 41-17 loss to Washington in Seattle, the Golden Bears return to the salubrious confines of Memorial Stadium to host Arizona at the traditional Berkeley kickoff time of 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, November 2.

The visitors will come into Strawberry Canyon 5-2 on the season and 2-2 in Pac-12 play, after a 44-20 win over Colorado the previous weekend. Ka’Deem Carey rushed for four touchdowns and will be the one to watch for the battered Bear defense. He is now the leading rusher around the country. In addition, quarterback B.J. Denker ran no less than fifteen keepers for 192 yards, and will likely rival Cal coach Sonny Dykes’ vaunted “Bear Raid” offense. This despite 336 passing yards for Berkeley QB Jared Goff against the Huskies.

After the Arizona game, Cal is home again for the Joe Roth Game against USC on November 9, with kickoff time TBA. That will end the home season for the Bears, who play at Colorado on November 16 and at Stanford for the annual Big Game on November 23.

Cal to face Portland State

By George Devine, Sr.

After losing their initial non-conference game against Northwestern, 44-30, the Golden Bears will host the Vikings of Portland State at 2 p.m. on Saturday, September 7, at Memorial Stadium. PSU, a member of the Big Sky Conference, showed its mettle in defeating Eastern Oregon (NAIA), 57-17, in its first game of the season.

The game showed off the talents of the Vikings’ offense, which racked up 672 yards, 450 of them on the ground. That will challenge the Bears to ramp up their defense which allowed two Northwestern touchdowns late in the game to change the outcome. Moreover, Sonny Evans’ charges, who were easily picked off by Northwestern, will have to polish their “Bear Raid” offense – led in dramatic fashion by true freshman QB Jared Goff — against the likes of Aaron Sibley who ran an interception 64 yards into the end zone, in addition to Corey Crowder and Jeremy Lutali who each intercepted the Mountaineers. Portland State notched five turnovers in all.

Besides sharpening their general offensive skills, Cal will have to continue the inventive approach that Evans has signed his name to, what with the fake field goal that had kicker Vincenzo D’Amato actually receiving a lateral from holder Jackson Bouza and sending it back to Bouza, who reached the end zone. It is the kind of thing Evans became known for in his last post at Louisiana Tech, and it has left the Berkeley fans hungry for more.

After the Portland State game, Cal hosts one more non-conference foe, Ohio State, at 4 p.m. on Saturday, September 14. The remaining games, all Pac-12 conference games, are as follows, with kickoff times TBD:

September 28 @ Oregon
October 5 Washington State
October 12 @ UCLA
October 19 Oregon State
October 26 @ Washington
November 2 Arizona
November 9 USC
November 16 @ Colorado
November 23 @ Stanford