Oregon St. (5-1, 3-0) at California (1-5, 0-3) / Memorial Stadium / 7:30 PDT / ESPN2 / KEJO 1240 AM / KEX 1190 AM
Oregon St. ventures to Strawberry Canyon, where the Beavers have not lost since 1996, to take on California. The Bears have been anything but Golden, especially defensively, giving up nearly 2,000 yards in their last 4 losses, and now they take on not only the nation's leading passer in Sean Mannion, but also the country's top receiver in Brandin Cooks.
Mannion has thrown for over 350 yards in all 6 games this season, and over 400 the last 5, including 493 in last weeks 52-24 win at Washington St. All if those numbers are Oregon St. records.
California has their own spectacular quarterback in freshman Jared Goff, who is 4th in the country in passing yards, having thrown for 2,036 yards so far.
The key difference is Mannion has thrown for 25 touchdowns, whereas California has only 11, and just 9 by Goff, as the Bears haven't been nearly as successful at finishing off their opportunities.
For the second week in a row, Oregon St. is playing at a league opponent's stadium they haven't visited since 2009. This will be the Beavers' first look at renovated Memorial Stadium, which reopened last season. The seismic and otherwise inspired overhaul necessitated California playing their home games elsewhere in 2011, and the Bears hosted the Beavers at the San Francisco Giants' AT&T Park in San Francisco.
The Bears won that one 23-6, which is their only win over the Beavers in the last 6 seasons. Last year, Oregon St. ran California out of Reser Stadium, winning 62-14, rolling up 559 yards in the process, and ending former Bears coach Jeff Tedford's tenure in Berkeley.
That game marked Mannion's return to the starting lineup after missing time with a knee injury, and he threw for 325 yards and 4 touchdowns.
California still leads the series 34-31, but Oregon St. has won 11 of the last 14 meetings to narrow the gap considerably. The Beavers have had 2 different 4 game winning streaks during that time, including such memorable games as the 31-28 win in 2007 when it appeared the Bears, who entered the game undefeated and appeared headed for being ranked #1 in the nation until end of game confusion ended in an Oregon St. win, and the infamous clip board and head set throwing episode, and the 2009 knockout of an airborne Jahvid Best.
The Beavers 10 1/2 point favorites, but even on the road, that doesn't seem too excessive.
Oregon St.'s biggest injury issue entering the game is a bruised knee that will keep tight end Connor Hamlett, who sat out the second half at Washington St., out of this game as well.
California running back Daniel Lasco is also out, after suffering a shoulder injury against UCLA, and Bredan Bigelow has been practicing at wide receiver, so the rushing game that is already secondary in the "Bear Raid" attack will likely be further diminished.
Buildingthedam will be at the game, and have midnight analysis afterwards!