John Hefti - USA Today Sports
Cal heads up to Oregon to take on the Ducks in Eugene Saturday night, as both teams are rebounding from losses a week ago, with the games being winnable for each of them. There's a fair amount of similarities between the two teams, both being 3-1 under new head coaches, both with rebuilt defenses that have had an impact early.
Where: Autzen Stadium
Time: 7:30 PM
TV/Radio: Fox Sports One/KGO 810 AM
Key Injuries: Cal officially announced that Cameron Saffle would be out for the year Wednesday, as the Bears are now missing two opening day starters.
Demetris Robertson has been out the past two weeks, and it's questionable whether he'll be able to play tonight.
For Oregon, they missed WR Charles Nelson a week ago, and ILB AJ Hotchkins went out with an injury again ASU. Whether they'll be back is questionable.
Keys for Cal:
- Cal was +4 in turnover margin before last week's fourth quarter disaster. Now they'll have to work that back up and hold onto the ball against Oregon. Ross Bowers was involved in all six turnovers last week, and he practiced well during the week, noting multiple times that he never wants that to happen again. For Cal's sake, it can't
- Cal hasn't faced an RB like Royce Freeman yet, and the Bears need to gang tackle to take down the strong Oregon back. He's not going to be held to the 10 yards on 15 carries he had a year ago now that he's healthy, but the Bears have to set the edge, contain the Oregon RBs, and give Devante Downs, Ray Davison, and Evan Weaver a smaller box to tackle in to stop Freeman and company.
- Getting the running game going is needed, getting Pat Laird and Vic Enwere going, as well as integrating Zion Echols and Derrick Clark. The Bears went away from the run game early against USC, and while the Oregon defense has been stout, taking pressure off Bowers and creating easier third downs is going to be a necessity. Along with that, Echols is a big play threat that they don't have without Robertson. Getting him going after giving him 3 or 4 touches a week ago is something worth watching.
- Getting pressure on Justin Herbert forced a number of incompletions a week ago, and Cal is going to have to do the same, getting creative in their pass rush packages while keeping Herbert from scrambling, which he's very capable of.
— Cal Football (@CalFootball) September 29, 2017
Defense travels, and Justin Wilcox and staff proved early that they're not afraid to go on the road and make an impact. After seeing the Washington State game a night ago, along with watching the film from the past week, the Bears have to know how much of a missed opportunity last week was. This is a winnable game for the Bears, the best chance for them to get a win during the USC-Oregon-Washington gauntlet. Oregon's had their fair share of struggles in getting to 3-1, as have the Bears, and this one looks to be more even than a lot of people might assume.
Cal 31, Oregon 30
Below is all of our Cal-Oregon Coverage from the past week
Monday, September 25th
Tuesday, September 26th
Wednesday, September 27th
Thursday, September 28th
Friday, September 29th