CAL VS. NORTHWESTERN
RECORDS: Cal 3-9, 2-7 in Pac-12 in 2012; Northwestern 10-3, 6-3 in Big Ten.
KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m., Memorial Stadium, Berkeley.
SERIES HISTORY: Northwestern leads 1-0. The Wildcats beat Cal 20-14 in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1, 1949.
STORYLINES: It’s all new for Cal, which kicks off the Sonny Dykes era against the nation’s No. 22 team. The uptempo Bear Raid spread offense will feature six freshmen or sophomore starters, four of them first-time starters, including freshman quarterback Jared Goff. … Over the past 100 years, Cal coaches were 12-6 in their first game. … Cal faces seven preseason Top-25 teams on its schedule, including three before the end of September. …The Cal defense must contain Northwestern senior Venric Mark, who averaged 105 rushing yards and 18.7 yards per punt return last season.
INJURY UPDATE: Cal — MLB Nick Forbes (back) is out. DE Brennan Scarlett (hand) is doubtful. SS Avery Sebastian (head) and WR Chris Harper (shoulder) are probable. Northwestern — No injuries reported.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal defense vs. Northwestern quarterbacks. The Golden Bears ranked 104th nationally last season in pass defense, allowing 271.9 yards per game. (Dykes’ Louisiana Tech team was last at 340.4 yards per game). Cal is likely to be without three defensive starters vs. Wildcats’ tag-team quarterback duo of Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian, who last season combined to pass and rush for 3,123 yards and accounted for 27 touchdowns through the air and on the ground.
STATS THAT MATTER: The past six Cal coaches have won their debuts, dating back to Roger Theder’s 36-26 road loss to 10th-ranked Nebraska in 1978. No Cal coach has lost his debut while playing at home since Marv Levy in 1960, when the Bears fell 7-3 to Tulane. … Northwestern is 7-0 in season openers under coach Pat Fitzgerald. … The 2012 season marked just the second time in 100 years Northwestern has won at least 10 games.