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Football: Cal vs.UCLA game facts

Cal vs. UCLA

KICKOFF: Saturday, 12:30 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley.

TV/RADIO: ABC/ESPN2; 810-AM.

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

SERIES HISTORY: UCLA leads 51-32-1. UCLA won 37-10 in 2013.

STORYLINES: This is a big game for two teams coming off disappointing performances a week ago. The Bears staggered to a 31-7 home loss to Washington after scoring at least 45 points in each of their previous four games. The Bruins, preseason favorites in the Pac-12 South, have dropped two home games in a row, losing 30-28 to Utah and 42-30 to UCLA in a game where they trailed by 32 points. . . . Cal, despite its stumble last week, has a winning record at the halfway point of the season for the first time since 2009. . . . Cal is likely to play without starting left guard Chris Borrayo (head), disrupting a run of six straight games with the same five starters up front. Matt Cochran would take his place. . . . The latest seven inductees into the Cal Athletic Hall of Fame, led by Oympic swim star Natalie Coughlin, will be recognized on the field during the game. . . . This is the annual Joe Roth Game, honoring the late All-America quarterback, whose No. 12 is the only jersey retired by the school.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal: S Stefan McClure (calf) and S Michael Lowe (head) will play; RB Khalfani Muhammad (thumb) is probable; OG Chris Borrayo (head) is doubtful; DE Brennan Scarlett (knee) S Griffin Piatt (knee) and CB Joel Willis (knee) are out. UCLA: OT Simon Goines (knee) is questionable; OG Alex Redmond (ankle) is doubtful; CB Randall Goforth (shoulder) is out.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s running game vs. UCLA’s run defense. The Bears want to re-establish their ground attack after falling behind early against Washington and relying on the pass. Daniel Lasco has been one of the team’s most consistent performers and the offensive line is eager for a bounce-back game. The Bruins ranks just 10th in the conference defending the run after giving up 258 yards to Oregon last week.

STATS THAT MATTER: Cal has beaten UCLA seven straight times at Memorial Stadium dating back to 1998. . . . Quarterbacks Jared Goff of Cal and Brett Hundley of UCLA rank fourth and sixth, respectively, among the nation’s most efficient passers. . . . Cal and UCLA rank 10th and 12th in the Pac-12 in defensive sacks, while the Bruins are last in sacks against with 25. . . . UCLA has scored just 22 points in the first quarter, Cal has scored 63. . . . Bruins RB Paul Perkins, coming off a 190-yard rushing effort vs. Oregon, has topped 100 yards in three of the past four games.

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Football: Bears try to put last week behind them

Fans arriving at Memorial Stadium on Saturday afternoon to watch Cal play UCLA may wonder if they’re about to see the Bears who averaged 50 points through their first five games or the team held to a single touchdown by Washington last week.

Glenn Parker, analyst for the Pac-12 Networks and a former NFL offensive lineman, offers those fans an Aaron Rodgers-like response: Relax.

“After the season they had last year, the (4-1) start they had this year puts unrealistic expectations on those guys from a fan perspective. They think they should win every game,” said Parker, who worked the Cal-UW game.

“This is a process. They have grown immensely in a year and a half. The reality is probably somewhere between the unbeaten team the fans want and 1-11 of last year.”

*****

Does the Cal-UCLA rivalry mean anything to the two programs anymore? The L.A. Times explores the question, with a biting response from former Cal quarterback star Mike Pawlawski.

*****

Even so, no one envisioned the offensive meltdown the Bears (4-2, 2-2 Pac-12) experienced in a 31-7 loss to Huskies. So the question remains: How will Cal respond against UCLA (4-2, 1-2), a team fighting expectations issues of its own?

Offensive coordinator Tony Franklin expects the Bears to play with the kind of energy and effort he saw the first five games.

But when he flipped on the tape of the UW game, he saw something else.

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Football: OG Chris Borrayo in question for UCLA

Starting left guard Chris Borrayo, who sustained a “ding” to his head against Washington, is questionable to play Saturday against UCLA, coach Sonny Dykes said after practice Thursday.

If Borrayo cannot play, sophomore Matt Cochran will get the call.

Cal has started the same five players on the offensive line in each of their first six games.

Safeties Stefan McClure (calf) and Michael Lowe (head) both will start against the Bruins, Dykes said. McClure has missed each of the first four Pac-12 games and Lowe was scratched last week.

As expected, starting defensive end Brennan Scarlett (sprained knee) is out. Scarlett, who injured the knee two weeks ago at Washington State and did not play last week, has not practiced all week. Freshman Noah Westerfield will start in his place.

Backup running back Khalfani Muhammad, who sat out the UW game after breaking his left thumb the previous week, practiced this week and should play, Dykes said. Muhammad is wearing a cast on his hand.

Reserve linebacker Edward Tandy is expected back and will play special teams after recovering from a head injury.

 

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Football: Treggs on facing Bruins — `It’s personal’

For wide receiver Bryce Treggs – who seriously considering switching from Cal to UCLA while in high school and still has numerous friends who play for the Bruins – this is not just another game.

“It’s personal,” he said.

The Bears (4-2, 2-2 Pac-12) and Bruins (4-2, 1-2) collide Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium, and Treggs finds motivation wherever he looks.

A native of Inglewood, Treggs counts UCLA players Jordan Payton, Ishmael Adams and Jaleel Wadood among his friends.

“I know ‘em very well,” said Treggs, explaining he cuts off communication with his Los Angeles-based buddies prior to meeting on the field. “There’s no texting, there’s no friends during game week. I’ll talk to them after this week and the weeks before this. But game week, I’m with my teammates.

“All games are important,” Treggs said, “but this is the one I really want to get.”

Treggs admits he considered decommitting from Cal for about a week prior to signing day when new UCLA coach Jim Mora made a strong, late bid. The Bears already had seen several top recruits flip to new schools – Shaq Thompson to Washington, Ellis McCarthy to UCLA, Arik Armstead to Oregon – and Treggs was tempted.

“They were pushing a lot. I’m not going to lie, I considered going there, but ended up sticking with my commitment,” he said. “I’m happy with my decision. I’m a Golden Bear.”

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Football: Piatt, Willis latest Cal DBs to go down

Things continue to get worse for the Pac-12 Conference’s most beleaguered pass defense.

When Cal faces UCLA on Saturday at Memorial Stadium, the Bears will be without safety Griffin Piatt and cornerback Joel Willis, both gone for the season with ACL knee injuries, coach Sonny Dykes said Tuesday.

The loss of Piatt, a former walkon receiver who started all four conference games, could be particularly troublesome for the Bears, who rank last in the Pac-12, having allowed 402 passing yards per game and 24 touchdown passes.

Piatt, who leads the Bears (4-2, 2-2 Pac-12) with three interceptions and 40 tackles, has struggled at times due to inexperience at the position. But at least he was healthy and available until being injured during Saturday’s 31-7 loss to Washington.

“It’s an area we don’t have a lot of depth,” Dykes said.

Starting safeties Stefan McClure (calf) and Michael Lowe (head) sat out the Washington game, with McClure missing the past four outings. Dykes said he expects both to play against UCLA (4-2, 1-2) and star quarterback Brett Hundley.

Avery Sebastian, who missed all but one game last season because of an Achilles tendon tear, sat out two of the team’s first six games this fall due to various ailments. The Bears lost freshman safety Quentin Tartabull to an ACL injury in August.

“It’s just a position where we haven’t been able to stay healthy,” Dykes said.

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Football: Dykes optimistic safeties will return for UCLA, but Brennan Scarlett is week to week with sprained knee

Coach Sonny Dykes said tonight he expects to have starting safeties Michael Lowe and Stefan McClure back for Cal’s game Saturday against UCLA, but labeled defensive end Brennan Scarlett as “week to week” with a sprained knee.

None of the three played Saturday when the Bears lost 31-7 to Washington.

Scarlett injured the knee early in the fourth quarter against Washington State a week ago but returned to finish the game.

“It didn’t react well this week,” Dykes said. “He’s week to week. We’ll see how he’ll respond this week.”

Later, when asked if it’s unlikely Scarlett will be ready for UCLA, Dykes said, “I think he’ll have a chance. We’ll see how he feels, how the knee reacts.”

McClure, who has missed four straight games with a calf injury, practiced on a limited basis Sunday night and will do a little more Tuesday. Asked if he expects McClure to make his return against the Bruins, Dykes said, “I do, unless he has a setback.”

Lowe, who sat out the UW game with a head injury, has been cleared to do non-contact work and will practice on that basis Tuesday. Dykes believes he should progress through the week and play Saturday.

Safety Griffin Piatt, who was elevated to a starting role after McClure’s injury, hurt his knee against UW. His prognosis is unknown at this point, Dykes said.

Backup running back Khalfani Muhammad sat out Saturday after breaking his left thumb at WSU. He had surgery early in the week and is wearing a cast.

“The biggest thing is him getting used to carrying the football and handling the ball with his thumb in a cast,” Dykes said. “The size of the cast will get smaller and smaller.”

Muhammad is expected to wear a cast on his hand for about four weeks.

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Football: Rodgers throws game-winner with 3 secs left

Former Cal star Aaron Rodgers, in his 100th NFL start, engineered his 11th fourth-quarter comeback win, throwing a 4-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Quarless with a 3 seconds left as the Green Bay Packers beat the host Miami Dolphins 27-24.

Rodgers threw for 264 yards and three TDs and has thrown 10 touchdown passes during the Packers’ three-game win streak.

 

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Football: Cal-Washington game thread

The nation’s second-highest scoring offense could not find the end zone Saturday until it didn’t matter.

Cal, which entered the day averaging 50 points a game, was shut out in the first half and never threatened Washington in a 31-7 defeat before 44,449 fans at Memorial Stadium.

But none of the Bears, starting with coach Sonny Dykes, was willing to say that Cal was in over its head against a higher-level foe after starting the season 4-1.

“I thought it was more us than it was our opponent today,” Dykes said. “I want to give Washington credit — they played very well and had a good game plan. But we need to own that (loss) more than to say we played somebody better.”

The Bears had scored no fewer than 45 points in their four previous games, but UW’s defense took away quarterback Jared Goff’s ability to throw the ball downfield, and the offense rarely found any rhythm.

“Hold them to seven points?” first-year UW coach Chris Petersen said. “I didn’t think that would happen.”

Tied for first in the Pac-12 North when the day began, the Bears (4-2, 2-2) looked overmatched against the Huskies (5-1, 1-1), who won for the sixth straight time in the series. Goff was sacked four times and the Bears fumbled five times, losing three of them.

“It was us,” running back Daniel Lasco said. “Everybody was saying we can score 50 points easily. I feel like a lot of people bought into it, and they didn’t realize how hard it is to win a football game.”

“We might have gotten a little complacent,” Goff agreed. “We have full confidence in ourselves. We have UCLA this week … go get them.”

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One-time Cal commit Shaq Thompson turned the game in Washington’s direction with one play.

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Football: Cal vs. Washington game facts

Cal vs. Washington

KICKOFF: Saturday, 3 p.m. at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley.

TV/RADIO: Pac-12 Networks; 810-AM.

RECORDS: Cal 4-1, 2-1 in Pac-12; Washington 4-1, 0-1.

SERIES HISTORY: Washington leads 51-38-4. Washington won 41-17 in 2013 and has won five in a row in the series.

STORYLINES: With a win, the Bears would move within a single victory of being bowl eligible. Since 1980, only one of nine Cal teams that started the season 4-1 or better has failed to reach a bowl game. That was the 1998 squad that finished 5-6. . . . For the first time in four weeks, Cal faces a team that doesn’t appear determined to exploit the Bears’ defensive secondary woes. Arizona, Colorado and Washington State combined for 1,709 passing yards and 18 TD passes against the Bears. By comparison, UW averages 48 rushing attempts per game and ranks last in the Pac-12 at 162.6 passing yards per game. . . . UW’s Marcus Peters, a junior from McClymonds-Oakland, is expected to return to the starting lineup after sitting out the Illinois game for a sideline outburst and then the first three defensive series vs. Stanford for unspecified reasons. Regarded as one of the nation’s top cornerbacks, Peters has three interceptions this season and 11 for his career.

INJURY UPDATE: Cal: RB Khalfani Muhammad (thumb) and WR Darius Powe (shoulder) are probable; S Stefan McClure (calf) is questionable; LB Edward Tandy (concussion) is out. Washington: S Kevin King (illness) is probable; OT Ben Riva (knee) is questionable.

MATCHUP TO WATCH: Cal’s offense vs. Washington LB Shaq Thompson. A one-time Cal recruiting commit from Sacramento, Thompson has developed into a game-changing star for the Huskies. The 6-foot-1, 228-pound junior has forced three fumbles, recovered two, intercepted a pass and shares the team lead with four touchdowns, including one as a running back. “He’s kind of all over the place,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. “He’s always around the ball.”

STATS THAT MATTER: Cal quarterback Jared Goff, No. 2 nationally in pass efficiency rating at 188.45, is coming off a school-record 527-yard performance at WSU. Goff needs just 87 passing yards to move ahead of Aaron Rodgers into ninth on Cal’s career list . . . Washington ranks second nationally in turnover margin at plus-2.2 per game. The Huskies have 12 takeaways and just one giveaway, a lost fumble. . . . First-year UW coach Chris Petersen, who won 92 games in eight seasons at Boise State, leads all active FBS coaches with a career winning percentage of .885.

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Football: Bears focusing on UW, not the bowl math

Cal fans may be doing the postseason math, but quarterback Jared Goff said worrying about a bowl game in October is not on the Golden Bears’ to-do list.

“People talk about it outside our locker room, but we’re not concerned with that at all,” said Goff, who will lead the Bears (4-1, 2-1 Pac-12) against Washington (4-1, 0-1) on Saturday afternoon at Memorial Stadium.

“We know six (wins) is most of the time a bowl berth, but we’re not thinking of that at all. That’s something an immature team would do. I think we’re so far past that. We’re so much more disciplined than we were before.”

While Old Blues have the luxury of scanning the schedule of seven remaining games and trying to earmark two that will make Cal bowl eligible, coach Sonny Dykes said his team has done a good job of avoiding that distraction.

“Way too early,” he said. “The big thing we’ve tried to preach from Day 1 is the process. To me, if you start talking about who’s in first place or how many games to this or that, you start to destroy the process. The good thing is I haven’t heard one player talking about it.”

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