External elements won’t gang up on the Cal football team Saturday. There will be no rain and no Top-25 opponent at Memorial Stadium.
The rest is up to the Golden Bears (1-3, 0-1 Pac-12), who will try to beat an FBS opponent for the first time since last Oct. 13 when they take on Washington State (3-2, 1-1) in a 1 p.m. kickoff. That last FBS victory came against the Cougars.
“You’re always happy when there’s no rain as a football player,” said freshman quarterback Jared Goff. “That’s why I went to Cal.”
Goff was pulled late in the first quarter at Oregon last week, with Cal trailing 27-0 in a spectacular downpour. The Bears lost 55-16, but Goff held off Zach Kline in practice this week to retain his starting job.
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CAL VS. WASHINGTON STATE
RECORDS: Cal 1-3, 0-1 Pac-12; Washington State 3-2, 1-1.
KICKOFF: 1 p.m., Memorial Stadium, Berkeley.
TV: Fox Sports 1
SERIES HISTORY: Cal leads 44-25-5. The Bears have eight in a row, including 31-17 last season. WSU’s most recent victory in the series was by a 48-38 margin in Berkeley in 2002.
STORYLINES: The Bears hope to kick-start their season after a killer four-game opening stretch that included three games vs. Top-25 opponents. … Freshman Jared Goff is back as the starting quarterback after being pulled late in the first quarter of the Bears’ 55-16 loss at Oregon when he fumbled twice in the rain. … WSU quarterback Connor Halliday was injured against Stanford last week, but practiced all week and is expected to start. … Cal coach Sonny Dykes spent seven years on WSU coach Mike Leach’s staff at Texas Tech. Cal’s Bear Raid offense is a descendent of Leach’s Air Raid, one of the main differences being the Bears’ faster pace. Cal is averaging 95.0 plays per game, WSU just 69.8.
INJURY UPDATE: Cal — OT Steven Moore (head) and CB Kam Jackson (ankle) are questionable. RB/KOR Khalfani Muhammad (head) and WR Maurice Harris (shoulder) are doubtful. OG Matt Cochran (ankle), DE Brennan Scarlett (hand) and DT Mustafa Jalil (knee) are out. Washington State — None reported.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s offense vs. WSU’s defense. The Bears hope sunny Bay Area skies prompt the revival of the Bear Raid offense after a rainstorm contributed to five turnovers in the loss at Oregon. Look for Cal to try revving its ground game. Brendan Bigelow has looked more comfortable in practice this week, and WSU ranks 10th in the Pac-12 against the run.
STATS THAT MATTER: Cal has been outscored 72-31 in the first quarter, and opponents are averaging 9.9 yards per snap in the opening period. … WSU (13) and Cal (11) have the most turnovers in the Pac-12. Five of the Cougars’ giveaways have occurred in the red zone. … WSU ranks 121st out of 123 teams nationally in rushing offense (60.6 yards per game) and has fewer rush attempts than any team in the country.