College Football Preview: California Golden Bears at Texas Longhorns

California Golden Bears at Texas Longhorns
Saturday, September 19, 2015, 7:30 pm Eastern, TV: Fox
Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium – Austin, Texas
Opening Line: California -3
Current Line: California -6 1/2 (-105)
Opening Total: 60
Current Total: 58
Opening Money Line: Cal -265 / Texas +230
Current Money Line: Cal -235 / Texas +205

Cal is a 6.5 touchdown favorite at Texas Saturday.
Cal is a 6.5 touchdown favorite at Texas Saturday.

The California Golden Bears have had one winning season since 2010. In 2013, they were 1-11. Still, Cal is almost a touchdown favorite Saturday at the Texas Longhorns. That is more a testament to how far the vaunted Longhorn football program has fallen than to Cal improving. Cal is 2-0 this season, while Texas is 1-1.

Texas has won all five meetings against California dating back to 1959. The Longhorns won the last meeting 21-10 in the 2011 Holiday Bowl in San Diego. Texas comes to Berkeley next season to complete the home and home.

California is coached by Sonny Dykes. The Golden Bears have home wins over Grambling 73-14 and last week against San Diego State 35-7. Cal was a 12.5 point favorite against San Diego State and the total was 59. The Aztecs actually scored first but the Golden Bears scored the last 35 points of the game. California is 2-0 ATS and the total is 1-1 this season.

Texas is coached by Charlie Strong. After getting crushed by Notre Dame 38-3 on the road in the opening game, Texas rebounded last week with a 42-28 win over Rice at home. Two late touchdowns by Rice allowed them to get inside the 14.5 point number. The total was 49.5. Although Texas scored 42 points, they had only 277 total yards. Texas had a defensive touchdown and a punt return for a touchdown. Rice shot themselves in the foot with five turnovers and 55 penalty yards. Texas is 0-2 ATS and the total is 1-1 this season.

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Cal is outscoring teams 54-11 this season. The Golden Bears average 571 yards per game on offense, including 396 passing and 175 rushing. California is allowing 311 total yards per game on defense, including 172 passing and 140 rushing yards. The Bears have forced 7 turnovers and have 2 of their own. Cal averages 43 penalty yards per game and opponents average 98.5 yards per game.  The Golden Bears are 11/25 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 12/36. Cal has forced 5 sacks and allowed 3 of their own. The Bears are 12/15 scoring in the red zone with 11 touchdowns. Opponents are 1/1 with a touchdown. The Golden Bears have two pick sixes this season.

Quarterback Jared Goff has passed for 630 yards with 6 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Back-up Chase Forrest has thrown for 162 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Running back Daniel Lasco is questionable with a hip injury. He has 24 carries for 137 yards with 2 touchdowns, along with 2 catches for 20 yards. Khalfani Muhammad has 12 carries for 102 yards and a catch for 7 yards. Vic Enwere has 10 carries for 52 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Trevor Davis has 4 catches for 170 yards and a touchdown. Bryce Treggs has 7 catches for 117 yards. Kenny Lawler has 8 catches for 103 yards and 3 touchdowns. Bug Rivera and Maurice Harris each have a touchdown catch. Receiver Matt Rockett is probable with a knee injury. Jack Austin is out until late October with a foot injury.

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Texas is being outscored 33-23 this season. The Longhorns average 220 yards per game on offense including 116 passing and 105 rushing yards. On defense, Texas is allowing 495 yards per game including 274 passing and 221 rushing yards. Texas has forced five turnovers and has one of their own. The Longhorns average 46 penalty yards per game and opponents average 47. Texas is 5/21 on third down conversions and opponents are 23/36. The Longhorns have forced 3 sacks and allowed 5. Texas is 2/2 scoring in the red zone with 2 touchdowns. Opponents are 7/8 with 6 touchdowns. Texas has a punt return for a touchdown plus a defensive touchdown.

Quarterback Jerrod Heard has thrown for 130 yards with 2 touchdowns, and rushed for 84 yards on 12 carries. Tyrone Swoopes has thrown for 105 yards and rushed for 25 yards on 11 carries. Running back Johnathan Gray has 17 carries for 57 yards with a touchdown, plus a catch for 8 yards. D’onta Foreman has 9 carries for 28 yards with a touchdown. John Burt has 2 catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. Daje Johnson has 6 catches for 45 yards. Armanti Foreman has 2 catches for 43 yards and a touchdown.

Cal is 5-0 ATS in road games, 4-0 after a straight up win by 20 points or more, 5-1 after a straight up win, and after allowing less than 20 points, 4-1 in non-conference games, in September and after passing for more than 280 yards, and 5-14 after gaining more than 450 total yards.

Texas is 4-1 after allowing more than 200 rushing yards and against Pac 12 teams, 2-6 after a straight up win, 1-4 in non-conference games, 1-5 at home, 0-7 after scoring more than 40 points, and 0-4 overall.

Texas has been pathetic on offense, and the defense hasn’t been much better. A lot of the offensive woes can be attributed to a terrible offensive line that can’t pass protect or run block consistently. Cal has looked impressive so far but against lesser competition. Texas can’t get into a shootout but I don’t think the defense can stop the Golden Bears either. I think Cal wins comfortably on the road.

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