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Ohio State Needs To Win With More Style

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Cal freshman quarterback Jared Goff leads the nation's top-ranked passing attack. Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images.
Cal freshman quarterback Jared Goff leads the nation's top-ranked passing attack. Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images.

Unranked California (1-1) welcomes Ohio State to Memorial Stadium for a 7 p.m. (Eastern Time) kick Saturday. The Golden Bears dropped the season-opener to Northwestern, 44-30, and rebounded — barely — with a 37-30 win over FCS Portland State last week. 

Despite the slow start, Cal boasts the nation’s top passing attack under first-year head coach Sonny Dykes. Freshman QB Jared Goff is 72-of-115 passing for 935 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions. The Golden Bears are averaging 582.5 yards of total offense (472.5 passing, 110 rushing), and the high-tempo unit ran 99 plays against Northwestern.

“I think he has a good grasp of the offense,” Withers said of Goff. “Obviously this is one of those offenses where you just call plays and you go, so he’s getting it in and calling it.”

WR Bryce Treggs has 21 catches for 266 yards. RBs Khalfani Muhammad and Brendan Bigelow lead the ground attack. Bigelow tallied 160 yards rushing only four carries with two touchdowns (81, 59) against the Buckeyes last year.

“I talk to my defensive staff (about the) rotation of defensive linemen to keep them fresh, because (Cal) will wear you out,” Meyer said. “Pass rush is the most exhausting thing for a defensive lineman. So (we just need to) keep them fresh, so we can get a hand or two on their quarterback when they drop back.”

The key to the game will be Ohio State sustaining long offensive drives to keep the high-octane Cal offense off the field. If the Buckeyes can keep the Cal offense out of rhythm by keeping the ball out of the hands of Goff and the defense keeps excelling, Ohio State should walk out of Berkley with a win.

For The Record

Ohio State has a 6-1 all-time series advantage over Cal. Last season in Columbus it took a late touchdown pass from Miller to Devin Smith to ice the game, 35-28.

Meyer has a 2-0 career record over the Golden Bears. His first win against Cal came in 2003 (31-24) as Utah’s head coach before he added last season’s win.

Prediction

Ohio State 38, Cal 23