For the first time this season, the Texas will take to the road and for the first time this season, California will enjoy home field advantage when the Longhorns roll into Berkeley Saturday night. The meeting between the ‘Horns and Golden Bears will be the second in as many years after Cal escaped Austin with a 45-44 victory last season following a missed Texas extra point to tie the game.
This time around, each of the two programs have many similarities and even more differences from their respective 2015 squads. No. 11 Texas is finally ranked again, largely due to a massive youth contingent from 2015 having matured, found some continuity and taken a step forward. Cal, on the other hand, lost talent across the board, including No. 1 NFL Draft pick in quarterback Jared Goff and a bevy of his top receivers, along with a tremendous amount of defensive depth; primarily in the front seven.
Much like last season, Cal’s defense hasn’t been very good; to say the least, and that’s even more noticeable for a rushing defense that’s given up 582 yards in two games. That could be a recipe for disaster against a Texas offense that has more than enough quality talent in the backfield, which can all be hitched to Tyrone Swoopes 18-Wheeler package if Shane Buechele isn’t looking to torch Cal over the top. But in any case, with a Cal connection between quarterback Davis Webb and receiver Chad Hansen that’s proving to be the most lethal in the nation early on, and one of the most accurate kickers in the country, the Golden Bears will have no shortage of quality offense to keep up with the ‘Horns if a shootout ensues.
Can Cal right the ship after a crucial game-ending interception dropped the Golden Bears to 1-1 on the season? Will Buechele’s poise and calm confidence carry over to a late-night road game after he enjoyed the comfort of DKR for his first two starts?
We’ll find out Saturday night.
· Texas leads 5-1.
· The Longhorns are 3-0 on the road in Berkeley.
· Texas’ largest margin of victory was 56-15 in 1970.
· Cal’s largest margin of victory was 45-44 in 2015.
· This will be Texas’ first game on the road in Berkeley since 1969.
What to know about Cal
· The Golden Bears are 1-1 after last weeks 45-40 loss to San Diego State.
· Saturday night’s meeting with Texas will be Cal’s home opener.
· Cal has won 12 of its last 14 home openers dating back to 2002.
· Cal is currently 2nd in the nation in passing yards per game (481.5) and tied for 3rd in total offense per game (617).
Cal Players to Watch
· Davis Webb – tied for 1st in NCAA in passing touchdowns with Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes; 2nd in passing yards (963) behind Mahomes.
· Chad Hansen – leads nation in receptions (28) and receiving yards (350) through two games.
· Entire wide receiver corps – Webb spreads the ball around the he has the playmakers to do so.
· Matt Anderson – the junior kicker has hit all five field goal attempts this season and 15-straight dating back to last season, including 20 of his last 21.
· Through two games, Shane Buechele’s six passing touchdown already matches the Texas true freshman record. Bobby Layne passed for six in 1944.
· Buechele has eclipsed the 200-yards passing mark in each of his first two games. The only other true freshman in Texas’ 124-year football history to record a 200-yard passing game was Rick McIvor, who did so against Baylor in 1979.
· Texas has scored 91 points in the first two games of the season; the most for a Texas team since scoring 100 (59, 41) in the first two games of the 2009 season against Louisiana-Monroe and Wyoming.
· 14 true freshmen have seen the field in Texas’ first two games.
· Texas .682 road winning percentage over the past 10 seasons is good for second-best in the nation.