March 2, 2021



Cal football vs.  Oregon: What to know before Saturday’s game in Berkeley

Cal football vs. Oregon: What to know before Saturday’s game in Berkeley


Records: Oregon 3-1, 3-1 in Pac-12; Cal 0-3, 0-3 in Pac-12

Kickoff: 4 pm Saturday at Memorial Stadium, Berkeley


Radio: KGO (810 AM)

Series history: Cal leads 41-39-2 (Oregon has the series at 40-40-2). The Ducks prevailed 17-7 last season and has won 10 of the past 11 meetings. Cal’s most recent victory was a 52-49 double-overtime win at home in 2016.

Oregon storylines: The Ducks are coming off a 41-38 loss to rival Oregon State, their first defeat in more than a year. . . No longer a contender for a spot in the College Football Playoff, Oregon is nonetheless a dangerous offensive team. The Ducks have a new coordinator (Joe Moorhead), a new quarterback (Tyler Shough) and five new offensive linemen, and yet they lead the Pac-12 in scoring (38.5 points) and total offense (491.8 yards). . . Shough (pronounced shuck) is the Pac-12’s pass efficiency leader and has thrown for more yards (1,158) than any Oregon quarterback after his first four starts. That’s impressive, considering his predecessor was Justin Herbert, now starting for the NFL’s Los Angeles Chargers as a rookie. . . Cal is 6-0 in games played in California under coach Mario Cristobal. . . Oregon still can win the Pac-12 North with a win at Cal and a victory over Washington next week.

Cal storylines: Picked to finish second in the Pac-12 North, the Bears are in search of their first victory. . . . Since their first season in 1882-83, the Bears have opened the season 0-4 just three times: 1957, 1980 and 2001. . . Cal has lost its past two games, to Oregon State and Stanford, by a total of five points while having a punt, field goal and PAT blocked, fumbling away a punt and having long punt and kickoff returns wiped out by penalties. . . Quarterback Chase Garbers has started 21 games over three seasons but has never played against the Ducks. He is 13-8 as a starter, 13-5 when he starts and finishes the game. . . Linebacker Kuony Deng, a preseason All-Pac-12 pick, broke out with 14 tackles against Stanford after two quiet games to start the season.

Oregon roster updates: Safety Nick Pickett and nickel Jamal Hill, who both missed the Oregon State game with injuries, practiced this week and are expected to start. Running back CJVerdell left the OSU game with an apparent injury but practiced and should play. Less certain is the status of inside linebacker Dru Mathis and edge rusher Adrian Jackson Jr.

Cal roster updates: Starting tackles Jake Curhan and Will Craig are cleared to play after two weeks in quarantine following COVID-19 tracing. Likewise, tight end Collin Moore and outside linebacker Braxten Croteau will play for the first time since the Nov. 15 opener at UCLA. Starting offensive guard Valentino Daltoso, who joined his O-line mates in quarantine, had not yet been cleared, coach Justin Wilcox said in his final media briefing of the week. Also still questionable to play are inside linebacker Evan Tattersall and nose guard Stanley McKenzie, both sidelined for undisclosed reasons.

Matchup to watch: Cal running attack vs. Oregon’s run defense. The Bears come off a season-best 241-yard rushing performance against Stanford while the Ducks have allowed an average of 268 yards on the ground in their two most recent games.

Stats that matter: Oregon has scored 42 points or more in nine of its past 12 games against Cal. . . The Ducks are among four Power 5 teams averaging at least 275 passing yards and 200 rushing yards. . . Cal had no running play as long as 15 yards in its opening game at UCLA but had seven of them against Stanford. . . The Bears have scored on their first possession in every game (two touchdowns and a field goal).