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Football: Cal-Utah game thread

UPDATED

FINAL SCORE: Utah 49, Cal 27. Bears lose their second straight, fall to 3-6, 2-5 in Pac-12. Must win three in a row — Washington, Oregon and Oregon State — to become bowl eligible. Utah snapped a four-game losing streak and improved to 3-5, 1-4 in the conference.

Click here for my game story.

0:29 3rd Q: John White just ran 7 yards for a touchdown and it’s 42-6 Utah. That’s more points than the Utes scored against FCS school Northern Colorado.

4:26 3rd Q: Keenan Allen’s 15-yard catch ties Geoff McArthur’s Cal career record of 202 receptions. It’s 35-6 and Utah is threatening. What a spectacular night for a record!

HALFTIME: Utah leads 28-6. Do yourself a favor, flip the channel to the ninth inning of the Giants game. Cal’s offense has not scored a touchdown since 10:27 left in the fourth quarter at Washington State — a span of 100 minutes, 27 seconds, if you don’t count all the days in between. Bears have 119 yards of offense in the half, meaning they had 4 yards in the second quarter. That is definitely not good.

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Football: OG Galas out after appendicitis attack

Cal offensive guard Dominic Galas, expected to perhaps make his first start of the season Saturday night at Utah, is out after suffering an appendicits attack earlier Saturday.

Few details are available at this time, but it’s the latest setback for the senior from Modesto, who missed the first seven games this season after surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle.

Galas, who started every game at center last season, was moved to guard in the spring but did not participate after undergoing shoulder surgery in January.

Sophomore Chris Adcock will start at right guard against the Utes.

Meanwhile, OLB Chris McCain (ankle), DE Mustafa Jalil (knee) and ILB Jalen Jefferson (concussion) did not travel with the team to Salt Lake City. OLB Brennan Scarlett (broken hand) will dress for the game, but is considered doubtful to play.

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Football: Cal-Utah game preview

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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Basketball: Indiana No. 1 in preseason poll; Arizona, UCLA only ranked Pac-12 teams

Indiana is the preseason No. 1 in the AP Top-25 poll that has only two representatives from the Pac-12 Conference.

Arizona checks in at No. 12, with UCLA one spot behind. The Bruins’ prospect depend on the eligibility of two elite freshmen, Shabazz Muhammad and Kyle Anderson, neither of whom is yet cleared by the NCAA to play.

Cal plays two non-conference games against teams ranked in the preseason poll: Dec. 2 at No. 23 Wisconson, and Dec. 9 at home vs. No. 18 UNLV.

Here’s the poll.

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Football: Pac-12 picks, Week 9

Cal coach Jeff Tedford tells us every week that the Bears are taking the rest of the schedule day by day, game by game. Really, what choice do they have?

But it’s an approach that could work for Cal, at least to a point.

The Bears have four games left, and need to win three of them to become bowl eligible. It won’t be easy, but the order of the games works to their favor: at Utah, vs. Washington, vs. Oregon, at Oregon State.

Imagine if you flip-flopped those four games, and the Bears, at 3-5, were facing unbeatens Oregon and Oregon State the next two weeks. Admit it, you’re thinking 3-7, right?

But Utah and Washington — a combined 1-7 in Pac-12 play — are games the Bears can win. If they deliver on these two, suddenly they are 5-5 and the mindset is different.

At that point, the assignment no longer feels quite so imposing. The Bears can tell themselves they simply need to win one more game and they’re in. Then playing ‘em one at a time is all they need.

Can they actually win that one?

Let’s see if they can get there first.

LAST WEEK: 5-0
SEASON: 44-16

Saturday

– Colorado at No. 2 Oregon, noon (Pac-12 Networks): The Ducks (7-0, 4-0 Pac-12) host the Buffaloes (1-6, 1-3) in a battle of the league’s best offense (51.0 ppg) vs. its worst defense (42.6 ppg). Oregon — which has scored 30 points or more in 20 consecutive games — apparently has something to prove to the BCS computer after falling from No. 3 to No. 4. But what could the Ducks possibly do against this opponent to impress? The Buffs’ most remarkably grotesque defensive statistic: They have allowed nine times more TD passes (27) than they have pass interceptions (3). Oregon 56, Colorado 3.

– UCLA at Arizona State, noon (FX): An intriguing game for the Sun Devils (5-2, 3-1), who will try to bounce back from a reality-check shellacking at the hands of Oregon. Just as hard to figure which Bruins (5-2, 2-2) will show up. Their only wins since beating Nebraska back on Sept. 8 have been at the expense of Colorado and Utah, a combined 1-7 in the conference. Arizona State 30, UCLA 24.

– No. 10 USC at Arizona, 12:30 p.m. (ABC/ESPN2): Could be a trap game for the Trojans (6-1, 4-1), who must avoid looking ahead to a week from now and a showdown with Oregon. USC leads the all-time series 28-7 over the high-scoring Wildcats (4-3, 1-3), who have scored at least 50 points three times for the first time in 58 years, but whose defense cannot be trusted. I’m seeing four more Matt Barkley TD passes. USC 35, Arizona 24.

– Washington State at No. 19 Stanford, 3:15 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks): The Cardinal (5-2, 3-1) may run for 400 yards against the Cougars (2-5, 0-4). Seriously. The game plan may just call for quarterback Josh Nunes to hand the ball off to Stepfan Taylor 37 times while throwing just 10 passes. And that could work against the Cougs. Stanford 38, Washington State 10.

– Cal at Utah, 6:45 p.m. (Pac-12 Bay Area): Can the Bears (3-5, 2-3) run the ball again? Can they survive the road? Will the Bear quit, will the Bear die? With a bowl bid fading from realistic view, this is a real test of a team’s will to hang with its coach. Coach Jeff Tedford and his players have had each other’s backs so far, but the defense-minded Utes (2-5, 0-4) won’t be easy-pickings. Cal 21, Utah 17.

– No. 7 Oregon State at Washington, 7:15 p.m. (Pac-12 Networks): The Beavers (6-0, 4-0) are off to their best start since . . . drum roll, please . . . 1907. No kidding. The Huskies (3-4, 1-3) have dropped three in a row since upsetting Stanford, surrendering 52 points in two of those. Oregon State has allowed just 99 points all season — best in the Pac-12. Defense wins this one. Oregon State 24, Washington 14.

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Football: Can Bears avoid the `Star’ treatment at the hands of Utah’s defensive line standout?

Cal offensive coordinator Jim Michalczik conceded that Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei won’t make every tackle Saturday night when the teams clash in Salt Lake City.

“He’s just overpowering,” Michalczik said. “A lot of times you see the guard going backwards. He may not make the tackle, but he’s disruptive.

“He was a tough guy for us last year and he’s an even better player now,” Michalczik said. “He’s just so big and so strong, he overpowers guys. You’ve got to try to help guys with him.”

Click here for more on the challenge facing Cal’s offensive line.

 

 

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Football: Dominic Galas could start at OG, but three linebackers remain iffy for Utah

Senior guard Dominic Galas could move into starting lineup, but three linebackers remain iffy, at best, for Cal’s game Saturday night at Utah.

Coach Jeff Tedford said redshirt freshman inside linebacker Jalen Jefferson remains sidelined with a concussion he suffered two weeks ago at Washington State.

Starting outside linebackers Brennan Scarlett (broken hand) and Chris McCain (ankle) are listed as questionable, but McCain was limping badly as he left the practice field on Thursday.

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