In their 26 games since the start of the 2019 season, the high-flying Oregon Ducks have been held under 20 points only three times. Cal’s defense can claim two of them.
But the Cal team that put the Ducks on 17 points in a win last season and the same total in a loss a year ago with 9 Oregon (4-1, 1-1) didn’t perform on the same level that entered Friday’s matchup. Has been doing. Pac-12) at Autzen Stadium.
“Defensively, we need to play at a higher level,” said Cal defensive coordinator Peter Sirmon.
The Bears (1-4, 0-2) haven’t beaten an FBS team since their win over Oregon last December, and they’ve beaten any of their first five opponents this season on less than 21 points. not kept.
This would create quite a challenge against the Oregon team that leads the Pac-12 in scoring at 35.8 points per game. The Bears, accustomed to leaning on their defense in recent years, are ranked 11th in the conference, allowing an average of 27.6.
Here are the four keys to a Friday night game:
protect the edge
Cal’s biggest problem on defense has been his inability to prevent big plays in the passing game. But Oregon is a mighty running team and will likely remain so, even after running back CJ Wardell, with a leg injury, to be ruled out for the rest of the season.
Travis Dye, who has run for more than 2,200 career yards, is very capable, and has many run plans in Oregon, but often the success seems to be going out.
“We have to do a great job in the field of defence. He has good pace and makes plays on the periphery,” said Cal coach Justin Wilcox.
win the turnover battle
Wilcox recognized it as one of two goals for Friday night, as well as just playing a more consistent brand of football. Bears have an even turnover margin, with six giveaways and six takeaways.
Oregon ranks second in turnover margin nationally with a plus-2.2 per game, with 13 takeaways and just two turnovers, which puts Michigan among the lowest in the country.
Be prepared for Kyvan Thibodaux
The Ducks star edge rushers will crash out of the first half on Friday night after being evicted for a second-half targeting penalty in the team’s most recent game at Stanford.
Cal quarterback Chase Garbers said the Bears are game-planning for Oregon’s entire defense, not just one player — even if he’s a potential No. 1 NFL Draft choice.
But Wilcox will not reduce the potential effect of thibodox. “We understand the circumstances of when he will be in and when he will not,” he said. “He’s the kind of guy you have to account for. There are some things that can be done to help.”
get christopher brooks on track
Cal struggled to quell the crowds near Washington state two weeks ago. The Cougars sacked the Garbers four times and rarely gave him time to throw the ball downfield, as the Bears had done so effectively in the previous three games.
An established means of slowing down the rush is to counter it with a strong run game. Wilcox indicated that running back Christopher Brooks could get the ball higher.
“Chris Brooks is looking fresh and strong right now,” Wilcox said.
Well, sure he is. The 6-foot-1, 235-pounder has pushed the ball just 20 times this year, but averages 6.2 yards per attempt.
Two years ago, Brooks reached more than 900 yards. Cal could use some of that in Oregon.