When Washington has the ball
The Bears had no answer for Locker, who ran for 77 yards and completed 19 of 23 passes for 248 yards and three touchdowns last year in a 42-10 win in Seattle last season. That game helped propel him to the top of the NFL draft chart. Locker hasn't been able to put together a game like that this season for various reasons. The biggest being a cracked rib he suffered a month ago in a victory against Oregon State.
The Husky faithful hope that nine days off will give Jake Locker the health he needs to start throwing the ball better down field. He will need to do that if Washington hopes to beat Cal. A more mobile Locker who tucks away the ball a dozen times would be nice to see but figure on a more conservative approach that will help keep him healthy.
The Bears are very beatable but it will take a balanced offense to accomplish it. Washington went one dimensional in its victory over UCLA last week by relying on its running game almost the entire second half. Chris Polk and Jessie Callier are one of the better running duo's in the country. Expect UW to incorporate plenty of misdirection to counter Cal's strength against the run.
Washington needs to loosen things up by hitting Jermaine Kearse, Devin Aguilar, and D'Andre Goodwin down field. Throw balance at this Cal defense mixed in with some power and you can score enough points to beat them.
When California has the ball
The Bear offense wasn't great before QB Kevin Riley went down with a knee injury. Now they are struggling even more with Brock Mansion at the helm. Mansion has yet to prove that he can lead the Bear offense effectively. He has had only two meaningful TD drives in the last two games. He is prone to making the same type of mistakes we saw last week against the UCLA QB's.
Shane Vereen is the California offense. If you stop him, you stop the Bears, sounds simple right? Well...Vereen has been very productive this season rushing for 1061 yards and three touchdowns. He averages over five yards per carry and has break away speed. Once this guy breaks into the secondary he is gone.
UW defensive coordinator Nick Holt's focus is going to be completely on stopping the run and putting the game on Mansion's shoulders. If UW is able to accomplish that it could be a long day for the Bears offensively. Turnovers as usual will be key. Mansion is prone to turn the ball over so UW may be able to create the same type of scoring opportunities last week that they did against UCLA.
The Bears have played much better at home this season, especially on defense. They are 4-2 at their place, including a 15-13 loss to No. 1 Oregon. Stopping the run has been Cal's strength on defense so far this season.
Jake Locker is still nursing a cracked rib that has limited his effectiveness for several weeks. He may not be the same player that dominated the Bears last season in a 42-10 victory.
This critical game for both teams will be the final contest in the current configuration of Memorial Stadium, which opened in 1923 and has been the home of Cal football for each of the 88 seasons since. The venue will undergo
an extensive renovation and retrofit that will move Cal’s 2011 home games to San Francisco’s AT&T Park. Cal will return to Memorial Stadium in 2012.
UW DT Alameda Ta'amu has been been dominant the last few weeks anchoring the middle of the defensive line. He took time off from practice this week with a sore ankle. A good game from Ta'amu is critical for Washington.
Steve Sarkisian Quotes
"I think the bowl game would be great for a lot of reasons, let's not kid ourselves here," Washington coach Steve Sarkisian said, mentioning the reward it would be for the seniors, the added practice time for the younger players and simply how it would represent progress in his second year as coach. "Whether or not that means we're getting better or not, I think it just feels that way. To play a 13th game would be great for the program's sake."
Jeff Tedford Quotes
"You still see a guy (Jake Locker) who's very explosive. He's big, he's fast, he gets in the open field. They have designed runs for him where he can get in the open field and he can hurt you. Moves the pocket, makes plays with his legs and then getting out of the pocket and throwing the football. He can throw it accurately in designed passes and he can make things happen when things break down, and he has weapons around him. [WR] Jermaine Kearse is a very good player and [TB Chris] Polk is playing very well, so Jake is a dangerous guy, there's no doubt about it and we've seen plenty of times when he's hurt you. He's hurt us. You know, last year he did. It's going to be very important to try to keep him corralled a little bit."
Washington holds an all-time series lead of 47-38-4.
Washington pounded the Bears 42-10 in Seattle last season.
The Cal defense ranks first in pass defense (182.5 ypg) and second in total defense (316.4 ypg).
The Cal offense is seventh in the Pac-10 in total offense (338.5 ypg).
Cal is 37-8 (.822) in its last 45 contests at Memorial Stadium.
Cal has scored either on a turnover or after forcing a turnover in seven of its 11 games in 2010.
Cal is second in the Pac 10 and 13th nationally with 30.0 sacks so far on the season.
California enters the game 5-6 and must beat Washington to keep alive a seven game bowl streak under Coach Jeff Tedford.
Washington is 4-6 and has to get to 6-6 to get to a bowl, which means winning its last two games at Cal and at Washington State.
Washington has won just once on the road since 2007 and that was earlier in the season at USC.
Washington hasn't won in Berkeley since 2001.