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Cal Looks to Make it 4 Straight over Oregon

Ducks 5.5 point Home Underdogs

9/26/09

Many thought that the Oregon Ducks would simply “go away” after losing RB Blount to suspension after their week one loss to Boise State. However, they have won both games since losing the star RB. They will take on the California Golden Bears this week, a team that is trying to dethrone USC in the PAC-10 this year. Both teams desperately need a win here, but the Ducks probably need it more. California was a handy winner of last year’s meeting, but will find it tougher this time around playing in Oregon. The crowd will be raucous and this game will be one that people will be talking about the next day. The line at most sportsbooks is Cal -5.5 with a total of 57. Note that the game opened at Cal -7 at Bookmaker.com, the first to post the lines each week and has been driven down to 5.5 by Oregon backers.

Last week the California Golden Bears allowed the Gophers to hang around and put together a couple of big drives. QB Kevin Riley picked up 252 yards through the air, but wasn’t able to find the end zone. In the end, Jahvid Best proved too good for the home team, putting up 5 TDs and rushing for 131 yards on 26 touches. The RB is clearly the best player on the team, and a candidate for the Heisman Trophy. Best also went wild in California’s week one rout 52-13 rout of Maryland. In that game he had 137 yards and 2 TDs on 10 carries. He had a long run of 73 yards. The Golden Bears success will largely hinge on his ability to get big yardage.

While last week’s game was closer than some would have liked, the Golden Bears did well in many categories. They were able to get QB Adam Weber to throw 3 INTs, and they picked up 4 turnovers on the whole. Oregon turned the ball over 4 times in their last game, so it is possible they could do it again. The defense was able to hold Minnesota to 39 rushing yards and just 233 yards of total offense. California will probably not have trouble getting points on the board thanks to RB Best. Their key to victory will be stopping Oregon’s running game. The Ducks had 217 rushing yards last week, which comprised over two thirds of their total offense. If they can shut down the run they will win this game easily. If not, they could be in for a long day.

The Oregon Ducks looked good in their last game, a 31-24 victory over #18 Utah. The Ducks were the first team to beat Utah in over two calendar years. The Utes had won 16 consecutive games. They held the Utes to 297 yards of total offense, and forced QB Cain to throw 2 INTs. RB LaMichael James did his best Blount impression, rushing for 152 yards and a TD on 27 carries. He had a long run of 45 yards. If Oregon is to have a chance to win this game he will have to put up similar numbers this week. The passing game was a bit slow, with QB Masoli throwing for just 95 yards and an INT.

The Ducks did poorly converting on a 3rd down. They also blew two tries on 4th down. For them to be successful against the Golden Bears they will have to get the passing game moving. Masoli has to step up and take some pressure off the running game. The defense has been solid thus far, but will have a tall order in stopping California. They answered the question last week when stopping Utah meant winning or losing the game, but the Golden Bears offense is much more potent than the Utes. Oregon needs for the crowd to play a big factor as a 13th man. California has struggled on the road in the past, and the Ducks need every advantage that they can get.

The line currently stands at -5.5 in favor of the California Golden Bears. The offense looks potent, and Best is a future NFL RB. The defense has been holding up, and came up with some big stops against Minnesota last week. Oregon has been a bit slow on offense and they have struggled to convert on third and fourth down. We look for Cal to make it 4 straight over Oregon here and with the number less than a touchdown, we'll lay it. Cal -5.5

 

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