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Football: Dykes’ decision to make no change at quarterback is bolder than you think

First-year coach Sonny Dykes, who has reshuffled the hand dealt him regularly this fall in hopes of reversing the Golden Bears’ fortunes, made perhaps his boldest move yet Friday.

He changed nothing at the most important position on his team.

After nearly a week of speculation, Dykes announced that freshman Jared Goff has retained his starting quarterback job entering Saturday night’s game at Washington.

Goff and redshirt freshman Zach Kline shared first-team reps in practice and the stage seemed set for Kline to get his first chance to take the reins as the starter.

The Bears are 1-6, winless in Pac-12 Conference play and there was a bit of a “why not?” feel to the prospect of a change at quarterback.

It would have been the easy call, perhaps the popular one among Old Blues dying to see some tangible results from a season whose initial promise largely has drained away.

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Football: Defense chases historically bad numbers

Cal nose tackle Deandre Coleman, who attended Garfield High perhaps five minutes from Husky Stadium, expects to have 40 friends and family members at Saturday night’s game against Washington.

“It’s my senior year,” he said. “I’ve got to come out with a bang.”

Seven games into coach Sonny Dykes’ debut season, the Golden Bears have yet to make that kind of noise on defense. Cal ranks third-to-last nationally in total yards allowed, second-to-last in scoring defense and last among 123 FBS schools in passing yards surrendered.

“We’ve seen signs in practice,” Dykes said. “We haven’t seen a whole lot in a game up to this point.”

If there’s no improvement, the Bears are on target to field the statistically worst defense in Cal’s 131-year football history.

Having already given up at least 40 points in five games, the Bears are allowing 44.4 per game. They are on pace to give up 533 points — 102 more than Tom Holmoe’s 1-10 team of 2001 surrendered in one less game.

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137

Football: Oregon State game thread

FINAL SCORE: Oregon State 49, Cal 17. Beavers (6-1, 4-0 Pac-12) ride 493 passing yards and 4 TDs from Pleasanton native Sean Mannion to their fifth straight win. Cal (1-6, 0-4) loses its 11th straight game to an FBS opponent. The big question: Did SonnyDykes ignite a quarterback controversy? It wasn’t raining on Jared Goff when he was pulled as it was three weeks ago at Oregon. Zach Kline didn’t light up the night, but he gave the Bears a spark and got them into the end zone twice. My guess: Dykes opens up the QB competition again this week in advance of the Bears’ trip to Washington.

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Football: Cal provides transportation options

Here’s a link to Cal’s athletic website and suggestions for getting to Saturday night’s football game in anticipation of a BART strike.

– For fans arriving early in Berkeley, the Cal men’s basketball team is holding a free open workout from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at Haas Pavilion. Click here for details.

– Here’s an Associated Press story on former Cal wideout Keenan Allen, who has blossomed in his NFL rookie season for the San Diego Chargers.

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Football: Time running short for Cal seniors

This still is the beginning for Cal’s football program under first-year coach Sonny Dykes, but time is running out for the team’s nine scholarship seniors.

For defensive end Dan Camporeale, Saturday night’s game against Oregon State is one of six remaining chances to make a statement.

“So for the rest of my life,” Camporeale said, “I can say I’m proud of what we did.”

No one in the program is feeling that sense of achievement so far. The Bears (1-5, 0-3 Pac-12) have lost five games to Football Bowl Subdivision opponents by an average margin of 24 points. Beating the Beavers (5-1, 3-0), led by NCAA passing leader Sean Mannion, won’t be easy.

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***** 

 CAL VS. OREGON STATE

RECORDS: Cal 1-5, 0-3 Pac-12; Oregon State 5-1, 3-0.

KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m., Memorial Stadium.

TV: ESPN2

RADIO: 810-AM

SERIES HISTORY: Cal leads 34-31-0, but Oregon State won 62-14 last season at Corvallis, Ore., in former coach Jeff Tedford’s final game. The Beavers have won five of the past six meetings and 11 of the past 14. Cal has not beaten OSU in Berkeley since 1997.

STORYLINES: Two of the nation’s most prolific passers clash when Cal freshman Jared Goff (No. 4 nationally at 2,036 yards) duels Pleasanton native and OSU junior Sean Mannion (No. 1 at 2,511 yards). … The Bears continue to chase their first win over an FBS team since beating Washington State last Oct. 13. . . . Six other Bay Area native play for the Beavers, including defensive end Dylan Wynn of Concord and cornerback Ryan Murphy of Oakland, both starters. Antioch’s Terron Ward rushed for 128 yards against the Bears last season.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal – RB Daniel Lasco (shoulder), CB Stefan McClure (knee), OG Matt Cochran (ankle), C Chris Adcock (knee) are out. Oregon State – TE Connor Hamlett (knee) and Saf Zach Robinson (head) are out.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s young cornerbacks vs. Oregon State junior wideout Brandin Cooks. Cal, which ranks second-to-last nationally in passing yards allowed per game (321.8), hopes to contain must try to slow Cooks, who leads the nation’s pass catchers with 63 receptions, 944 yards and 11 touchdowns.

STATS THAT MATTER: The combined record of Cal first five FBS opponents is 25-5. The combined record of Oregon State’s first five FBS foes is 13-17. … Cal has been outscored 96-31 in the first quarter. … OSU has allowed just seven sacks while the Bears have surrendered 20, worst in the Pac-12. … OSU’s defense boasts a conference-best 12 interceptions, including an NCAA-best five by junior cornerback Steven Nelson.

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Football: Offense can’t deliver in loss to Bruins

The Cal offense took the heat for this one.

After a 37-10 loss to No. 11 UCLA in front of 84,272 fans at the Rose Bowl, Cal quarterback Jared Goff called the performance of the defense “stellar.”

And if that was perhaps generous, certainly it was an improved effort by a unit that has been one of the nation’s worst.

The offense, meanwhile, scored 10 points in a second-quarter burst but otherwise was quiet.

“They gave us a chance to win and we didn’t capitalize on it,” Goff said of the defense’s work. “That’s probably mainly on me. If the offense doesn’t play well, it’s my fault.”

Sonny Dykes, the first Cal coach to start 1-5 in his debut season since Mike White in 1972, was disappointed the offense couldn’t get much done.

“We haven’t put a solid football game together all year where we played well on both sides of the ball,” Dykes said.

The Bears (1-5, 0-3 Pac-12) still haven’t beaten a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent since a 31-17 win at Washington State a year ago Sunday.

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Football: UCLA game thread

FINAL SCORE: UCLA 37, Cal 1o. The Bears (1-5, 0-3 Pac-12) remain winless against FBS teams since a year ago Sunday, when they won 31-17 at Washington State. No. 11 UCLA, which got a career-high 410 passing yards and 3 TDs from Brett Hundley, improved to 5-0, 2-0 in the Pac-12. Goff was 26 for 43 for 215 yards, by far his least-productive full-game performance.

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Football: Bears won’t turn yards into points until running game in the red zone clicks

In senior Vincenzo D’Amato, Cal has one of the nation’s most accurate field goal kickers. But the Golden Bears are finding that you don’t win in the Pac-12 Conference by scoring three points at a time.

Cal (1-4, 0-2) takes on No. 11 UCLA (4-0, 1-0) at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night, and maximizing opportunities in the red zone will be paramount against a team averaging 48 points a game.

In order to turn yards into touchdowns, the Bears must finish drives inside the opponent’s 20-yard line. And to do that, they need to run the ball better.

Through five games, Cal has called 38 runs in the red zone and those plays have netted an average of 1.7 yards. “That’s not good,” first-year Sonny Dykes said.

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*****

 CAL VS. UCLA

RECORDS: Cal 1-4, 0-2 Pac-12; UCLA is 4-0, 1-0.

KICKOFF: 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Rose Bowl, Pasadena.

TV: ESPN2

RADIO: 810-AM

SERIES HISTORY: UCLA leads 50-32-1. Cal won 43-17 last season and has won nine of the past 14 meetings, but just one of the past six in Pasadena.

STORYLINES: Playing its fourth Top-25 team this season, the Bears hope to recapture the magic of a year ago against the Bruins when they rode four touchdown passes from Zach Maynard and 151 rushing yards from C.J. Anderson to their best victory of the season. … UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley, who had a touchdown passing, running and receiving last week at Utah, had his worst career game against the Bears last season, intercepted four times and sacked five times. Cal’s Kam Jackson had three of the picks. … Three more defensive players are out due to injuries this week, including starters Stefan McClure and Jalen Jefferson. McClure is done for the season after knee surgery this week.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal – CB Stefan McClure (knee), LB Jalen Jefferson (head), CB Joel Willis (head), OG Matt Cochran (ankle), C Chris Adcock (knee) are out. UCLA – DT Ellis McCarthy (head) and RB James Jordon (ankle) are doubtful. OT Torian White (leg) is out.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal left tackle Freddie Tagaloa vs. UCLA outside linebacker Anthony Barr. Tagaloa’s job is to protect quarterback Jared Goff’s backside, but the super-quick Barr, a second-team All-American a year ago, has 15.5 sacks the past two seasons.

STATS THAT MATTER: Cal has been outscored 86-31 in the first quarter and allowed the opposing team to score a touchdown on its first possession in every game. … The Bears have 10 turnovers the past two games and rank 118th nationally in giveaways at 3.2 per game. … A 25 1/2-point underdog, Cal has failed to cover the spread in 11 straight games. … UCLA ranks last in the nation in penalties with 10.75 per game. … UCLA is the fifth opponent in six games with an unbeaten record entering its game vs. Cal. Those six teams were a combined 13-2 at the time they faced the Bears.

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Football: Injured Joel Willis has full movement

UPDATED

Cal sophomore cornerback Joel Willis was resting comfortably at Oakland’s
Highland Hospital on Saturday with movement in all his extremities after being injured on the second-half kickoff against Washington State.

Willis was expected to be held at the hospital overnight, Cal said, and released soon.

A Cal spokesperson confirmed that Willis was released from the hospital on Sunday.

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Football notebook: Would desperate Golden Bears really resort to using receivers on defense?

As if Cal receiver Chris Harper wasn’t busy enough Saturday against Washington State — catching 13 passes for 217 yards — now he’s a candidate to perhaps play defense?

After injuries continued to strip down the Bears’ ranks at cornerback, coach Sonny Dykes said Harper and fellow receiver Bryce Treggs already have been given some practice reps on defense and will get more.

“We considered both today. We just didn’t feel like they had enough practice,” said Dykes, stressing that they would be used in a game only in an emergency situation.

Dykes also said a couple running backs could get the chance to work at linebacker.

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