With week one of the 2013 College Football season in the books, many ranked teams walked away with a victory while others were left licking their wounds. Today, the Golden Bears take on the Vikings of Portland State. This past weekend, eight major programs were defeated by FCS schools, division 1-AA, most notably Eastern Washington upsetting Oregon State 49-46. Berkeley has one of the hardest schedules, facing three ranked opponents in the first four games. With the 44-30 Northwestern defeat still fresh in our minds, Cal cannot afford to overlook Portland State.
This will be the second meeting between the Vikings and the Golden Bears. On September 16, 2006; Cal pounded Portland State in Memorial Stadium, 42-16. With the aid of a 100+ yard day from DeSean Jackson and Marshawn Lynch, the Bears totaled 502 yards on offense. Also, knocking out two PSU quarterbacks on defense. It’s been a long and rough journey since then for the Cal football program. It’s difficult to label this match up as a trap game because of the different levels of competition, but it’s exactly that. Portland State is coming off a 57-17 victory over Eastern Oregon, finishing with 672 yards of total offense. The Vikings will be looking for it’s first victory over a PAC 12 opponent in school history.
Despite the loss, Cal has to be happy with the success it displayed on the field. Jared Goff had an impressive college debut. He finished 38 of 63, 445 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. Sonny Dykes’ system translated to success very quickly. The receiving core is also building a relationship with Goff. Chris Harpor finished with 110 yards and Bryce Treggs with 145 yards receiving. Without those crucial interceptions in the third and fourth quarter, Cal could of stolen a win from a top 25 opponent. But some areas need improvement if Cal hopes to survive the season with a winning record.
I expected more production from the defense as an entire unit. Allowing 44 points doesn’t give your offense an opportunity to win, especially when it’s a new offense and new scheme. The linebacking core is very thin with injuries and the transfer of key players. Cal needs someone to step up and contribute. The defensive line also showed signs for disappointment. Deandre Coleman, who is a projected 2014 first round draft pick, had little contribution. In order to have a chance against ranked teams, the Golden Bears need to add pressure.
With a tough schedule week in-week out, Cal needs to take this opportunity to set the tone. Portland State is not simply going to rollover and play dead; they are a respectable football program. They recruit from Oregon, Washington and California, including community college transfers. The Golden Bears can use this game to fine tune their offense motor; limit turnovers and run the ball effectively. On defense; work on different fronts, looks, and add pressure. It’s hard not to look ahead to Ohio State and Oregon, but first, Cal needs to put away Portland State.