Football: It’s only September and already Bears face virtual must-win vs. Arizona State

October hasn’t even arrived and already Cal faces a game it cannot afford to lose.

The Bears will try to show they’re better than their 1-3 record and Arizona State hopes to prove it’s as good as its 3-1 start.

Here’s my game preview.


RECORDS: Arizona State 3-1, 1-0 in Pac-12, Cal 1-3, 0-1 in Pac-12.

KICKOFF: 1 p.m., Saturday at Memorial Stadium.



SERIES HISTORY: Cal leads 17-14. Cal won 47-38 in 2011 and has won four in a row in the series. ASU has not beaten Cal in Berkeley since 1997.

STORYLINES: The Bears, coming off consecutive road losses to Top-25 foes Ohio State and USC, need a win to keep alive their bowl hopes. Only one Cal team (2003) has recovered from a 1-3 start to earn a postseason bid.  . . . Arizona State, under new coach Todd Graham, has been one of the Pac-12’s best offenses and defenses so far, posting its three wins by an average margin of more than 39 points. . . . ASU has yet to face an opponent that both started and finished the game with its starting quarterback.  . . . The Bears hope to establish the run against an ASU defense that is fast and aggressive but not particularly big.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal — TE Richard Rodgers (foot) and OT Matt Summers-Gavin (knee) are questionable. TE Spencer Hagan (knee), ILB David Wilkerson (ankle), ILB Khairi Fortt (knee), OG Dominic Galas (shoulder), CB Stefan McClure (knee) are out. Arizona State — LB Carlos Mendoza (shoulder) and DL Corey Adams (back) are out.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s defense vs. Arizona State’s spread offense. This is the third game in five the Bears have played against an opponent whose quarterback will run. Cal lost the previous two — to Nevada and Ohio State. The Sun Devils’ offense is deceptive and efficient. Cal must contain quarterbacks Taylor Kelly and Michael Eubank, who have combined to complete 73 percent of their passes with eight touchdowns, but also have rushed 240 yards, discounting sack yardage.

STATS THAT MATTER: ASU has forced 10 turnovers in four games and has 39 tackles for loss — tied for most in the country. Cal is 114th nationally, allowing 33 tackles for loss.  . . . ASU’s 165 points are the most it’s scored through four games since 2005.  . . . The Sun Devils are outscoring opponents 108-31 in the first half and 40-0 in the fourth quarter.  . . . Cal wide receiver Keenan Allen, fourth on school’s career receptions list at 173, needs eight catches to pass Bobby Shaw for the No. 3 spot.

Jeff Faraudo

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    You guys are one Southern Utah win from the Bottom 10 worst teams in college football.

    You get a beatdown again tomorrow.

  • CalBearister

    You guys are one Escalade driven by Silas Redd away from the death penalty.

  • Easy Ed

    Moron I’m really getting tired of hearing “Daddy” complaining about you. “Daddy” said he has worked hard and made a fortune. “Daddy” hoped that you would be able to take over the business someday but he’s worried that you are such a loser that you’ll run the business into the ground. Please come back to Cal, show him you have what it takes so that he’ll stop drinking to numb his shame. You can still try to get into Cal, study hard and make him proud. 36 years old is not too late to strive for excellence. GO BEARS!!!

  • Eric

    I think we win today. Not because of Tedford’s game plan, but because the players have to have pride and desire to win in front of the fans. But I think it will be close and scary (at least, I am trying to be optimistic).

  • covinared

    at least the game is on tv!

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Let’s take a pop quiz.

    When will the UCB state fans present at today’s game at CMS boo for the first time today:

    1. After Wayward’s first interception
    2. After Wayward’s second interception
    3. After Tedford refuses to go for it on 4th and 1 inside the opponents 40 yard line
    4. After UCB state unsuccessfully attempts its fifth down the line wide receiver screen in 6 attempts
    5. After UCB state runs the draw with 3rd and 15
    6. With UCB state down by 6 in the 4th quarter, Tedford chooses to kick a field goal with the ball on ASU’s 2 yard line and 4 and goal to goal.

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    How many times will Maynard be sacked like a poster on SF Gate who posts up at 4:44AM but gets removed?


  • Takeoffthatredshirt

    I’ll be there to support the Bears.

    An afternoon in Berkeley with family and friends is a great way to spend a fall weekend.

  • Juancho

    Will hurt to watch dj foster play for asu. One of the direct losses of tosh gate. If we could get one guy we lost in tosh gate id pick dj.

    Who would you guys want back from the tosh exodus. Lots to choose from

  • Juancho

    Reports are bigelow has already gone home to study. He got his 4 carries out of the way in the morning.