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Football: Cal-Utah game preview

By Jeff Faraudo
Friday, October 26th, 2012 at 3:52 pm in Football, Gameday.

Cal coach Jeff Tedford isn’t fooled by Utah’s 0-4 start to the Pac-12 season.

He expects Utes fans — especially on a “blackout” night with all of them decked out in black —  to make the Bears feel entirely unwelcome.

“This’ll be a different place than Washington State was. Washington State is always hostile. This place, it doesn’t matter what their record is, doesn’t matter anything,” Tedford said. “They are passionate about what they do.

“You watch game tape and you see the fans bouncing up and down in the stands. It’s very, very loud and they’re very into it. And they never stop. Some places go up and down. This stays at a high pitch.”

Here’s my game preview story, focusing on senior RB Isi Sofele’s return to his roots in Salt Lake City.

CAL AT UTAH

RECORDS: Cal 3-5, 2-3 in Pac-12; Utah 2-5, 0-4

KICKOFF: 6:45 p.m. Saturday, Rice-Eccles Stadium, Salt Lake City

TV: Pac-12 Bay Area

RADIO: 810-AM

SERIES HISTORY: Cal leads 5-3. Cal won 34-10 last year, but Utah won the two previous meetings, including the most recent matchup at Salt Lake City in 2003, when Alex Smith and the Utes topped Aaron Rodgers and the Bears 31-24.

STORYLINES: This is virtually a bowl elimination game. Cal needs to win three of its final four games to become bowl eligible while the Utes must take four of five to do so. . . . The Bears’ two Pac-12 victories came over UCLA and Washington State in night games. Utah has designated this its annual “blackout” game, with players donning black uniforms and helmets and fans asked to wear black. . . . Cal’s defense, which has held three straight opponents to 21 points or fewer, hopes to exploit a Utah team that has lost four straight for the first time in coach Kyle Whittingham’s eight seasons and features true freshman Travis Wilson at quarterback.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal – LB Brennan Scarlett (broken hand) and DL Viliami Moala (ankle) are questionable. LB Chris McCain (ankle) is doubtful. LB Jalen Jefferson (concussion) is out. Utah – Saf Quade Chappuis (shoulder), OG Jeremiah Toaeone (undisclosed injury) and OL Latu Heimuli (undisclosed injury) are out.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Once again, the focus is on Cal’s erratic offensive line, which was overwhelmed last week by Stanford and now faces a Utah defensive front led by elite NFL draft prospect Star Lotulelei (6-4, 320) at DT. The Utes rank second in the Pac-12, allowing just 333 yards per game. Cal has absorbed an NCAA-worst 67 tackles for loss, including 33 sacks. Senior OG Dominic Galas, who missed the first seven games after surgery for a torn pectoral muscle, may start.

STATS THAT MATTER: Junior WR Keenan Allen, with 200 career receptions, needs just three to pass Geoff McArthur as Cal’s all-time leader . . . Despite rushing for just 3 yards last week vs. Stanford, the Bears still rank fifth in the Pac-12 in the category at 171.0 yards per game . . . Utah, which led the Pac-12 in interceptions with 19 last season, has picked off just two passes this fall . . . The Utes also are last in the conference in total offense (303.3 yards per game), field goals (3) and first downs (17.0 per game).

 

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  • Juancho

    Blackout night huh? Brings back memories of not being able to recall memories. Boy i miss college.

    Amen.

  • Easy Ed

    Ditto Juancho except you have to wonder who you’ll wake up next to in the morning

  • Juancho

    Thats for sure easy ed. In retrospect that wasnt always bad. Althiugh there were a few maynard performances in my day sprinkled in.

  • Woj

    Did they fire Tedfraud yet? Everything else going on with Cal’s 2012 season matters less than getting rid of the old losing coach asap and finding a much better replacement for 2013.

  • Woj

    To expedite and assure Tedfraud’s dismissal, Go Utes!!!

  • MoreNCsarecoming

    Marquise Lee is a boss

  • wehofx

    #1-3 yeah, I miss those days, too. J, I was going to ask what exactly you meant by “maynard performances” but on second thought, I don’t wanna know$

    Kinda sad only 5 posts on game day. I get it. I, too, am kinda apathetic about this game and our (lack of) prospects.

    One piece of good news hot off twitter. Jarred Goff is sticking with us. I had a bed feeling he was going to bail.

    Go Bears! Never give up. Keep fighting!

  • Easy Ed

    After last year I don’t count any recruit until signing day. With the coaching situation in flux I don’t see any 5 star recruits in our 2013 class

  • Eric

    As good as Marquis Lee is, a dumb QB, a dumb coach, and sanctions will eventually catch up to U$C. Oh well – guess all of the prognosticators were 100% wrong.

  • Larry

    Marquise Lee is a boss LOSER!!! HAHAHHHAHAHA!