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Opponent Preview - California Golden Bears (11/12)

The Beavers will look to get revenge at home in 2022

NCAA Football: Pac-12 Media Day Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

California Golden Bears

  • Head Coach: Justin Wilcox (6th Season)
  • 2021 Record: 5-7 (4-5 in Pac-12)
  • Last Meeting: 10/30/2021 - Cal 39, Oregon State 25
  • Key Returners: S - Daniel Scott, LT - Ben Coleman & C - Matthew Cindric

What to Know:

As I make my way through these opponent previews I can’t help but chuckle that Oregon State’s only road win last year was when they smoked USC. Which reminds me of another humorous event, Justin Wilcox rejecting Oregon despite being an alumni. Anyways back to Cal and last years extremely frustrating 39-25 loss. Chase Garbers led Cal to 517 yards in total offense and accounted for 4 TDs (3 passing/1 rushing). It was not the finest defensive performance for the Beavs.

Chase Garbers is off to the NFL, but Jack Plummer transferred in from Purdue and the word on the street was being able to play Oregon State one last time was the main draw. Though the Beavers will look to flip the script and get the win on the 2nd go-around.

Justin Wilcox signed an extension that runs through the end of 2027 this offseason despite Cal being relatively average during his 5 seasons in Berkeley. Much like Stanford, the Golden Bears have had to deal with extensive Covid restrictions though. Could this be the year Cal puts it all together and makes a run at the Pac-12 championship?

In order to do that Cal needs a much improved offense. Despite annihilating Oregon State’s defense a year ago, Cal was not good offensively for most of the season. They averaged just 23.8 PPG (96th in the country), but overall were much better compared to the beginning of the Wilcox era. Their offensive line could be good this season, but there’s a lot of inexperience at the skill positions. Can the unproven running backs and wide receivers immediately make a splash? Jack Plummer will be expected to bring the group together, but the offense could struggle yet again.

Defensively Cal has been very good under Justin Wilcox and it will be their strength once more. They added talented Washington linebacker Jackson Sirmon and welcome back Brett Johnson (DL) who missed all of 2021. Also Daniel Scott will be one of the best safeties in the conference. A year ago Cal gave up just 22.3 PPG (32nd in the country) and that was a down year for Justin Wilcox’s defense.

Oregon State’s defense needs to show up this year in Reser. Asking the offense to win this game via shootout is just not realistic. Cal plays really hard, runs a pro-style offense and wins with their defense/special teams. Those types of teams can give Oregon State trouble. Cal should be better than they were in 2021 and I think Justin Wilcox and his squad go bowling this season. If Oregon State isn’t prepared they’ll be frustrated by Cal for the 2nd straight season.

Player To Watch

Jack Plummer - Quarterback

Syndication: Journal-Courier Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Beaver fans are familiar with Cal’s new starting quarterback. He helped lead Purdue to a 30-21 victory over Oregon State back in the 2021 opener. He’s got talented freshman Kai Millner gunning for his job, but Jack Plummer has the experience and will get the opportunity to showcase it with Cal’s offense. The pressure is on to see if Plummer can do just that.


Oregon State’s defense has more depth than in recent years. That depth makes a big difference in Reser and the Beavers win a low scoring contest 20-13.

Game Info

  • Date: November 12th
  • Time: TBD
  • Location: Reser Stadium (Corvallis, Oregon)

2022 Opponent Previews