Saturday, 26 October 2013

The 2013 Pac-12 Journey Game 66: Washington is reeling but California is so much worse

What teams are playing?

The California Golden Bears and the Washington Huskies.

Where is this game being played?

Husky Stadium in Seattle, Washington.

What time does this game start and where can I find it on my television?

8:00 PM (PT) on Fox Sports 1.

What is the point spread?

Washington is favored by 29 and a half points (-29.5).

What should I watch for when California has the ball?

How quickly does Jared Goff get benched? Goff was removed from the game last week after a poor performance and has not accounted for a touchdown in three of Cal's past four games. This is particularly bad facing a talented and desperate team on the road that is starving for a win after being embarrassed last week. The Huskies were a top five defense through the first five games of the season but have been run over for 600+ yards in each of the past two games by Oregon and Arizona State. The Huskies have had their biggest problems stopping the run allowing 265 rushing yards to Oregon and 314 to ASU. The good thing for Washington is Cal is hopeless trying to run the ball. With a patchwork offensive line and a lack of dynamic talent in the backfield, Cal can't run the ball and that means they are putting everything on either Goff or Zach Kline who will probably play in this game for a variety of reasons.

Goff is a perfect example of why total yardage is one of the last stats you should ever look at when evaluating a quarterback. Goff was the national leader in passing yards after Cal's first three games and he still ranks in a tie for third in the Pac-12 in passing yards with 2236. However, Goff only has nine touchdown passes and has thrown seven interceptions. Compare that to Washington's Keith Price who is trailing Goff by 443 yards but has 14 touchdowns and only four interceptions. Goff is a struggling young quarterback who has lost his confidence and Washington has a pass defense that may have struggled the last two weeks but still ranks among the nation's elite. Washington is allowing a 105.83 opposing passer rating and 5.4 yards per opposing pass attempts, both rank second in the Pac-12. It's going to be a long night for Goff and probably for Kline too.

What should I watch for when Washington has the ball?

Do you expect the Huskies to get off the team bus and show up at Husky Stadium? Good, because I do too and that means Washington will score a lot of points. Cal had a young and largely untalented defense to begin with and that has been compounded by a run of injuries. Five players who started Cal's opener against Northwestern are out for the season due to either injury or in Chris McCain's case dismissal from the team. Washington had its worst offensive game of the season last week but that was probably just an aberration. The Huskies were physically and emotionally drained coming off back to back grueling games against Stanford and Oregon and had to go on the road to face a good team. The Huskies are back home against a bad team and have spent the entire week getting ripped into by their coaches for their poor effort against the Sun Devils.

Look for Washington's offensive line to man up and play with a physical edge against a weak front seven to pave the way for Bishop Sankey to get back on track with another 150+ yard performance. Price practiced all week without any tape or other protection on his injured right thumb for the first time in three weeks so look for him to be sharper and more accurate as well as he looks to pick apart Cal's ghastly secondary.

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